UPSC Mains Subject Wise Weightage

UPSC Mains Subject-Wise Weightage

What is the syllabus and exam pattern of mains?

The Civil Services Examination comprises two successive stages:

  1. Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Civil Services (Main) Examination; and
  2. Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview/Personality Test) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and posts.

Preliminary Examination is meant to serve as a screening test only. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Civil Services (Main) Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Civil Services (Main) Examination.
The Civil Services (Main) Examination will consist of a Written Examination and an Interview/Personality Test. The Written Examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type out of which two papers will be of qualifying in nature. Marks obtained for all the compulsory papers (Paper-I to Paper-VII) and Marks obtained in Interview/Personality Test will be counted for ranking.
Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Civil Services (Main) Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an Interview/Personality Test. The number of candidates to be summoned for Interview/Personality Test will be about twice of the number of vacancies to be filled. The Interview/Personality Test will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).
Candidates will be allotted to the various Services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and posts.


  1. The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
  2. Evaluation of the papers, namely, 'Essay', 'General Studies' and Optional Subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on ‘Indian Languages’ and ‘English’ but the papers on Éssay', General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 25% marks in ‘Indian Language’ and 25% in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers.
  3. The paper A on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.
  4. The paper A on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for Candidates belonging to Persons with Benchmark Disability (only Hearing Impairment sub-category) provided that they have been granted such exemption from 2nd or 3rd language courses by the concerned education Board/University. The candidate needs to provide an undertaking/self-declaration in this regard in order to claim such an exemption to the Commission.
  5. Marks obtained by the candidates for the Paper I-VII only will be counted for merit ranking. However, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all of these papers.
  6. For the Language medium/literature of languages, the scripts to be used by the candidates will be as under

Language Script

  • Assamese Assamese
  • Bengali Bengali
  • Gujarati Gujarati
  • Hindi Devanagari
  • Kannada Kannada
  • Kashmiri Persian
  • Konkani Devanagari
  • Malayalam Malayalam
  • Manipuri Bengali
  • Marathi Devanagari
  • Nepali Devanagari
  • Odia Odia
  • Punjabi Gurumukhi
  • Sanskrit Devanagari
  • Sindhi Devanagari or Arabic
  • Tamil Tamil
  • Telugu Telugu
  • Urdu Persian
  • Bodo Devanagari
  • Dogri Devanagari
  • Maithilli Devanagari
  • Santhali Devanagari or Olchiki

For Santhali language, question paper will be printed in Devanagari script; but candidates will be free to answer either in Devanagari script or in Olchiki.

List of optional subjects for Main Examination:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science and International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.


  1. The question papers for the examination will be of conventional (essay) type.
  2. Each paper will be of three hours duration.
  3. Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English. Notwithstanding this, the Candidate will have the choice to write the Optional Papers in English also if candidates opt to write Paper I-V except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any one of the language included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.
  4. Candidates exercising the option to answer Papers in any one of the languages included in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution of India mentioned above may, if they so desire, give English version within brackets of only the description of the technical terms, if any, in addition to the version in the language opted by them. Candidates should, however, note that if they misuse the above rule, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to them and in extreme cases; their script(s) will not be valued for being in an unauthorized medium.
  5. Candidates should note that if any irrelevant matter/signages/marks etc. are found written in the answer script(s), which would not be related to any question/answer and/or would be having the potential to disclose the candidate’s identity, the Commission will impose a penalty of deduction of marks from the total marks otherwise accruing to the candidate or will not evaluate the said script(s) on this account.
  6. The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) will be set in Hindi and English only.

The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.
The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honours degree 1evel i.e. a level higher than the bachelors’ degree and lower than the masters’ degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.

UPSC Mains Cut-off Marks – Over the Years

Year Cut-off Marks Percentage
2005 986/2000 49.3
2006 975/2000 48.75
2007 1005/2000 50.25
2008 954/2000 47.7
2009 899/2000 44.95
2010 904/2000 45.2
2011 842/2000 42.1
2012 700/2000 35
2013 562/1750 32.1
2014 678/1750 38.74
2015 676/1750 38.62
2016 787/1750 44.97
2017 809/1750 46.22
2018 774/1750 44.22
2019 751/1750 42.91
2020 736/1750 42.05
2021 745/1750 42.57


Year History Art & Culture Geography Society
2013 Freedom Struggle – 3, Post Independence – 5, World History – 4 3 12 6
2014 Freedom Struggle – 3, World History – 3 4 10 5
2015 Freedom Struggle – 2, Post Independence – 5, World History – 2 2 7 6
2016 Freedom Struggle – 3, World History – 1 2 9 6
2017 Freedom Struggle – 1, Post Independence – 3, World History – 1 2 6 7
2018 Freedom Struggle – 1, Post Independence – 2 3 4 11
2019 Freedom Struggle – 2, Post Independence – 1, World History – 1 1 8 10
2020 Freedom Struggle – 2 4 8 6
2021 Freedom Struggle – 2 5 8 5
2022 Freedom Struggle – 3 3 8 6


2013 Polity – 4, Constitution– 4 4 10 5
2014 Polity – 2, Constitution– 4 6 3 5
2015 Polity – 4, Constitution– 4 4 4 4
2016 Polity – 4, Constitution– 3 5 4 4
2017 Polity – 6, Constitution– 2 5 3 4
2018 Polity – 10, Constitution– 0 3 3 4
2019 Polity – 6, Constitution– 2 6 2 4
2020 Polity – 4, Constitution– 6 3 3 4
2021 Polity – 3, Constitution– 6 2 5 4
2022 Polity – 6, Constitution– 4 4 3 3



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