The Union Public Service Commission conducts recruitment exams for a variety of Group A and a few Group B posts in the Indian government every year. The most prestigious and the most competitive exam conducted by the UPSC is the Civil Services Examination.
The pattern of the UPSC Civil Services Exam 2023 (Mains) is given below. Any changes in the exam pattern or syllabus of the upcoming UPSC Mains exam will be updated here after the release of the notification.
Important dates related to UPSC CS 2022 and 2023 examinations are as follows:
- UPSC CSE (Preliminary) 2022 – June 5, 2022
- UPSC CSE (Main) 2022- September 16-25, 2022
- IAS Interview/ UPSC Personality Test 2022- Yet to be notified
- UPSC CSE (Preliminary) 2023- May 28, 2023
- UPSC CSE (Main) 2023- September 15, 2023
- IAS Interview/ UPSC Personality Test 2023- Yet to be notified
Aspirants can go through the UPSC Mains Question Papers 2022 from the linked page.
This article covers, in-depth, the written stage of the Civil Services exam i.e. UPSC Mains for the year 2023.
Explore The Ultimate Guide to IAS Exam Preparation
Latest Updates about UPSC Mains 2022
The UPSC Notification 2022 was released on February 2, 2022. The Civil Services (Preliminary) Exam 2022 was conducted on June 5, 2022. After the declaration of the Prelims exam, the eligible candidates who have cleared the Prelims have to fill DAF-I to appear in UPSC Mains. The UPSC CSE Mains exam commenced on September 16, 2022 and ended on September 25, 2022. The IAS Interview 2022 dates are yet to be notified.
All the updates related to UPSC 2023 exam, will be notified here for candidates’ reference.
- Detailed Application Form-II (DAF II) will be released post the Civil Services Mains Result. This UPSC DAF has to be filled by the candidates who qualify the personality test.
- The dates of the UPSC Mains 2022 were:
|UPSC Mains 2022 Exam Dates||9 AM – 12 PM||2 PM – 5 PM|
|16 September 2022||Essay Paper||–|
|17 September 2022||General Studies-I||General Studies-II|
|18 January 2022||General Studies-III||General Studies-IV|
|24 January 2022||Indian Language Paper||English Language Paper|
|25 January 2022||Optional Paper-I||Optional Paper-II|
To download UPSC Mains 2021 Question Papers PDF, visit the linked article.
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.
UPSC Mains – IAS Exam 2023
Topics covered in this article:
- What is the UPSC Mains Exam/CSE(Main)/IAS Mains?
- How many candidates will appear for UPSC Mains 2022?
- How to apply for the UPSC Mains 2023?
- Preparation Strategy for the UPSC Mains 2023?
- UPSC Mains Exam Pattern for the IAS exam 2023
- Important information regarding the UPSC Mains and UPSC Mains Syllabus
- UPSC Mains Syllabus – IAS exam 2023
- Qualifying Papers
- General Studies
- Optional Subjects
What is the UPSC Mains Exam/CSE (Main)/IAS Mains?
The UPSC Mains exam is the second stage of the Civil Services Examination. IAS aspirants who clear the Prelims i.e. those who score above the cutoff in General Studies Paper I and more than 33% marks in General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) are eligible to appear for the UPSC Mains.
Candidates who aspire to become IAS, IPS, IFS and IRS officers have to give UPSC Mains before they are cleared for the IAS interview/UPSC Personality Test stage.
How many candidates appeared for the UPSC Mains 2022?
As per UPSC, the total candidates allowed to appear for UPSC mains are twelve to thirteen times the number of Civil Service vacancies for that exam year. For UPSC 2022, the total number of vacancies is 1011 (earlier 861) so accordingly around 13 thousand candidates are expected to have written the UPSC Mains 2022.
How to apply for the UPSC Mains 2023?
Once the Civil Services Exam (Preliminary) results are declared, successful candidates will have to fill out the online Detailed Application Form (DAF) for UPSC Mains on the official website (upsc.gov.in).
The DAF for UPSC Mains has six modules/sections:
- Educational Information
- Parental Information
- Employment Information
- Upload documents
- Final Submission
Some fields like name, Date of birth, exam centre for UPSC Mains, etc., will be prepopulated in the UPSC Mains DAF from the information provided at the time of filling the UPSC online application for CSE(Preliminary).
For UPSC Mains, you can check here which documents need to be uploaded with the DAF.
Note – Once Final Submission is done no changes are allowed online, so candidates should be extra careful and cross-check all details which filling the DAF for UPSC Mains.
Also, this DAF forms the basis of a lot of questions in the IAS interview/UPSC Personality test stage so make sure that you keep a copy of it for your reference.
Preparation Strategy for the UPSC Mains 2023
- Current Affairs are an important part of the UPSC Exam (for Prelims and for UPSC Mains). Ideally, aspirants should prepare Current Affairs for at least 12-15 months i.e. UPSC Mains exam in 2023 will be held from September 15, 2023 onwards, so candidates should prepare Current Affairs from June 2023 onwards.
- Important sources for current affairs preparation for IAS exam 2023 are:
- Yojana Magazine
- Newspapers (The Hindu/The Indian Express)
- Press Information Bureau (PIB)
- Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)
- For the benefit of IAS aspirants, BYJU’S free IAS preparation provides:
- Given that the syllabuses for the UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains overlap, candidates should prepare for both exams at the same time.
- As per UPSC, marks in the Civil Services (Main) exam are not given for superficial answers, so candidates should do answer writing practice.
- An important part of IAS preparation is practising the UPSC previous year question papers. Applicants who are preparing for the upcoming Civil Services examination can download the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers from the linked page.
UPSC Mains Exam Pattern for the IAS 2023
The UPSC Mains or CSE (Main) pattern was revised in 2015. As per the revised pattern, the UPSC Mains 2023 will comprise nine theory papers (essay descriptive type). Out of the nine papers, only seven will be counted for merit ranking. Candidates also have to choose one optional subject for UPSC Mains. More on UPSC Mains optional later in the article.
The maximum marks for the UPSC Mains exam are 1750 (7 papers * 250 marks each). All papers are of three-hour duration.
The UPSC Mains pattern for Civil Services Exam 2023 is given below:
|S.No.||Papers||Subject||Nature of Exam||Total Marks|
|1||Paper A||Indian Language||Qualifying||300|
|3||Paper I||Essay||Counted for Merit||250|
|4||Paper II||General Studies (GS) I||Counted for Merit||250|
|5||Paper III||General Studies (GS) II||Counted for Merit||250|
|6||Paper IV||General Studies (GS) III||Counted for Merit||250|
|7||Paper V||General Studies (GS) IV||Counted for Merit||250|
|8||Paper VI||Optional Subject Paper-I||Counted for Merit||250|
|9||Paper VII||Optional Subject Paper-II||Counted for Merit||250|
Important information regarding the UPSC Mains and UPSC Mains Syllabus
- An IAS aspirant’s marks in the UPSC Mains and IAS interview determine his/her final rank in the merit list
- The UPSC Mains intends to assess the depth of a candidate’s knowledge. Hence, marks will only be given for “relevant, meaningful, and succinct answers.”
- The questions in UPSC Mains test aspirant’s basic understanding, ability to analyse and “view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands.”
- Although UPSC maintains that for General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V), a “well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialised study,” candidates are advised to go through previous year UPSC question papers to ascertain for themselves whether they need ‘specialised study.’
- Candidates are allowed to use Scientific (Non-Programmable) calculators in UPSC Mains if needed.
- The level of examination for the optional subjects in UPSC Mains will be equivalent to an honours degree (between bachelors’ and masters’ level). Only for engineering subjects, Law and Medical Science, the scope is limited to the bachelors’ degree level.
Candidates can download the pdf of the UPSC notification 2023 from the linked page. UPSC CSE 2023 notification will be released on February 1, 2023.
Download the UPSC Notification for IAS exam 2021 PDF
UPSC Mains Syllabus – IAS Exam 2023
The UPSC Mains syllabus can be divided into two parts:
- Qualifying Papers
- Paper A
- Paper B
- Papers which are counted for merit ranking
- General Studies (Paper II to Paper V)
- Optional Subject (Two Papers)
Candidates can go through the UPSC Mains Syllabus from the linked page.
UPSC Mains Syllabus and Exam Pattern for Qualifying Papers
In UPSC Mains, candidates have to score a minimum of 25% marks in Paper A and Paper B otherwise their marks in other papers will not be taken into account. The pattern/syllabus for qualifying papers in UPSC Mains is given below:
|Paper A – Indian Language (any of the Indian languages listed in the 8th schedule of the Constitution)||
|Paper B – English||
Important information regarding UPSC Mains qualifying papers:
- Paper A and Paper B test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious prose in the given language and to express her/her views correctly and clearly.
- The marks in Paper A and Paper B in UPSC Mains will not be counted for merit but if candidates score below 25% in either of these two papers, then their marks in the remaining papers will not even be declared.
- The level of Paper A and Paper B is of a Matriculation (or equivalent) level.
- Paper A (Indian Language) in UPSC Mains is not compulsory for candidates hailing from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim
UPSC Mains Syllabus for Essay paper
As such the UPSC Mains syllabus doesn’t have a prescribed section for the Essay paper. In the essay paper in UPSC Mains, candidates have to write two essays out of a few given options for a total of 250 marks. As per the UPSC, “Candidates are expected to keep close to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.”
Here, candidates can find topic-wise essay questions asked in UPSC Mains in the last 25 years.
UPSC Mains Syllabus for General Studies
The UPSC Mains syllabus for GS papers covers broadly the following subjects/areas:
|UPSC Mains Paper II – General Studies I||UPSC Mains Paper III – General Studies II||UPSC Mains Paper-IV – General Studies III||UPSC Mains Paper V – General Studies IV|
|Indian Heritage and Culture||Governance||Technology||Ethics|
|History and Geography of the World||Constitution||Economic Development||Integrity|
|Social Justice||International relations||Security and Disaster Management||–|
For detailed UPSC Mains syllabus for General Studies Papers, refer to the link.
UPSC Mains Syllabus for Optional Subjects
Since the pattern change in UPSC Mains, candidates now have to choose only one optional subject. There are two papers based on the optional subject for a total of 500 marks (250 marks * 2 papers) which are counted for the merit ranking.
The list of optional subjects for the UPSC IAS exam 2023 and links to the detailed syllabi for each optional subject are given below:
Also, read – Important links for UPSC Mains 2023
Ten best optional subjects for UPSC Mains
|IAS General Studies Notes Links|
|Rowlatt Satyagraha||Rajya Sabha|
|Railway Zones In India||UPSC Books In Hindi|
|Ordinance Meaning||UPSC Sociology Syllabus|
|Food Corporation Of India||Largest Lake In India|
|Consumer Protection Act 2021||Fundamental Rights|