UPSC Mains Question Paper PDFs 2023

The UPSC Mains 2023 commenced on 15th September 2023 with the Essay Paper. The IAS Mains 2023 will conclude on 24th September 2023 with the optional papers. The UPSC Mains is the second step in the entire civil services exam process. Candidates who clear the mains exam will be called for the final leg of the exam, that is, the UPSC Personality Test or interview which will be held in January – March 2024.

Download the UPSC Mains Essay Paper from this link.

UPSC Mains Question Papers 2023

The UPSC mains exam consists of nine papers namely, the Essay Paper, four General Studies papers (GS-1, 2, 3 & 4), two optional papers, the English language paper and one Indian language paper. In the below table, we give you the schedule of the UPSC Mains 2023 exam.

Date Forenoon Session

(9.00 A.M. to 12.00 Noon)

Afternoon Session

(2.00 P.M. to 5.00 P.M.)

15 Sep 2023 (Friday) Essay Paper No Paper
16 Sep 2023 (Saturday) GS-1 GS-2
17 Sep 2023 (Sunday) GS-3 GS-4
23 Sep 2023 (Saturday) Indian Language English
24 Sep 2023 (Sunday) Optional Paper 1 Optional Paper 2

The English and the language papers are of a qualifying nature while the remaining papers are counted for merit ranking.

Candidates will be provided with the UPSC Mains Question paper PDFs of both the qualifying papers and the merit ranking papers in the article.

Note – The exams are yet to take place. The PDFs will be available shortly.

If you are looking for the UPSC syllabus for Prelims, Mains and Interview and information on the Civil Services Exam as a whole, refer to the link above.

Download UPSC Mains 2023 GS Question Paper PDFs

In this section, candidates can download the general studies papers of the UPSC Mains 2023 exam from the table below. (Links will be provided as and when the papers are out).

UPSC Mains GS 1 2023 Question Paper UPSC Mains GS 2 2023 Question Paper
UPSC Mains GS 3 2023 Question Paper UPSC Mains GS 4 2023 Question Paper

UPSC Mains Language Question Papers 2023

Though the language papers are of a qualifying nature, they are important because the candidate has to clear these papers with the minimum marks if they want to clear the IAS mains exam. There is a list of languages the candidates can choose from for the compulsory Indian language paper.

The Indian language paper is called Paper A while the English language paper is called Paper B. Candidates can download the language papers from the table below. (Links will be provided once the papers are out).

UPSC Mains 2023 Compulsory Indian Language Question Papers

Assamese  Bengali 
Bodo  Gujarati 
Hindi  Kannada 
Maithili  Manipuri 
Malayalam  Marathi 
Nepali  Odia 
Sanskrit  Punjabi 
Sindhi (Devanagari)  Tamil 
Telugu  Urdu 


UPSC Mains 2023 English Language Question Paper

For tips to crack the English language paper, click here.

Download UPSC Mains Essay Question Paper PDF

  • The UPSC Essay paper segment consists of two sections A and B.
  • Both sections have about four questions each.
  • The candidates have to choose one topic from each section, thus having to answer 2 essay questions in total.
  • The word limit for each question is to be within the range of 1000-1200 words.
  • The marks for each question is 125, thus the total allotted marks are 250.
  • The paper will be included for merit ranking and is not just for qualifying purposes.

The candidates are expected to keep close to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely.

UPSC Mains Question Paper PDF For Optional Papers

For the UPSC CSE Mains exam, applicants have to choose one optional subject from a list of 48. The optional subjects are divided into Paper 1 and Paper 2. Both papers carry 250 marks each. Candidates should choose optional subjects carefully as it is one of the most important factors that determines the rank of the candidate in the final merit list.

You can download the 2023 UPSC mains optional question papers from the table below:

Agriculture Paper I Agriculture Paper II
Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry I Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry II
Anthropology I Anthropology II
Botany I Botany II
Chemistry I Chemistry II
Civil Engineering I Civil Engineering II
Commerce & Accountancy I Commerce & Accountancy II
Economics I Economics II
Electrical Engineering I Electrical Engineering II
Geography I Geography II
Geology I Geology II
History I History II
Law I Law II
Management I Management II
Mathematics I Mathematics II
Mechanical Engineering I Mechanical Engineering II
Medical Science I Medical Science II
Philosophy I Philosophy II
Physics I Physics II
Political Science & International Relations I Political Science & International Relations II
Psychology I Psychology II
Public Administration I Public Administration II
Sociology I Sociology II
Statistics I Statistics II
Zoology I Zoology II

You can download the literature of languages optional papers from the table below:

Bengali Literature I Bengali Literature II
English Literature I English Literature II
Gujarati Literature I Gujarati Literature II
Hindi Literature I Hindi Literature II
Kannada Literature I Kannada Literature II
Maithili Literature I Maithili Literature II
Malayalam Literature I Malayalam Literature II
Manipuri Literature I Manipuri Literature II
Marathi Literature I Marathi Literature II
Punjabi Literature I Punjabi Literature II
Sanskrit Literature I Sanskrit Literature II
Sindhi (Devanagari) Literature I Sindhi (Devanagari) Literature II
Tamil Literature I Tamil Literature II
Telugu Literature I Telugu Literature II
Urdu Literature I Urdu Literature II

For more information about the best optional subject for UPSC, click the link.

Why Should You Go Through UPSC Mains Question Papers

In an exam as tough as the UPSC, it is important to be well-prepared and equipped with all the resources at hand. Apart from covering the UPSC syllabus, candidates should also practice mains answer writing and solve previous years’ UPSC question papers. It is not what you know but what you write on the answer sheet that will fetch you marks. Hence, it is important that you practice answer writing so that you will be able to write the correct answers within the stipulated time and word limit.

For any further assistance, the latest exam updates, study material or preparation tips, turn to BYJU’S for expert assistance.

Other related links:
UPSC Previous Year Question Papers IAS Salary
UPSC Interview Questions IAS Questions & Answers for UPSC
UPSC Monthly Current Affairs Magazine NCERT Notes For UPSC