Marking Scheme of UPSC Prelims

The Civil Services Exam conducted every year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is your ticket to a profession in the prestigious civil services. This exam is conducted in three stages – the UPSC Prelims, the UPSC Mains and the UPSC Interview (Personality Test). Each stage eliminates candidates who fail to clear it. Starting with a few lakh candidates, ultimately only about 1000 people make the final cut. In this article, you can read all about the UPSC Prelims marks distribution.

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The two constituent papers carry negative marking in UPSC Prelims. Each paper is for 200 marks which means, the UPSC prelims total marks are 400 marks. But it is to be noted that there is negative marking in IAS Prelims. Details like the marking scheme and UPSC Prelims syllabus about both the papers are given below:

UPSC Prelims Paper 1

The UPSC Prelims Paper1 is officially called the General Studies I Paper and is known commonly as the General Awareness paper.

Prelims General Studies(GS) Paper I Syllabus:

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation General Science.

In this paper, there would be 100 questions and you would have 2 hours to finish it. Each question will have four choices out of which you should pick the correct answer. Each incorrect answer would cost you 1/3rd of the marks allotted to that question.

In this paper, you should score the cut-off mark (minimum required mark) as prescribed by the commission to clear it. (This mark would be revealed only after the final UPSC results are out, after the whole process is done with.) The UPSC will only reveal whether you qualified or not when the IAS Prelims results are declared. Check out the UPSC Prelims cut-off marks trend over the years here.

UPSC Prelims Paper 2

The second paper is called the General Studies Paper II. It is also known as the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

Prelims GS Paper II Syllabus:

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)

In this paper, there are 80 questions and you would have 2 hours to complete it. Here again, there would be four choices given and you have to select the correct option. An incorrect answer will invite a penalty of 1/3rd of the total marks allocated to that question. In the GS paper II, you have to score 33% or 66 marks in the exam.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

The CSAT is a qualifying paper in the UPSC exam and you are required to score at least the minimum required of 33% marks for the marks secured in General Awareness to be counted towards acceptance for the Mains exam.

To qualify for the UPSC Mains, you must score:

1. 33% in the CSAT paper, AND

2. The cut-off marks prescribed by the UPSC or more.

The following table sums up the pattern and marking scheme of the UPSC prelims:

Exam Nature No. of questions Total marks Duration Negative marking Minimum required
GS 1 Ranking 100 200 2 hours Yes Prescribed cut-off
CSAT Qualifying 80 200 2 hours Yes 33%

The UPSC Prelims total marks add up to 400. Aspirants should practice from UPSC previous year question papers to gain an idea of the IAS exam pattern and also check their knowledge of the Civil Services syllabus.

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