IAS Exam Written Test Pattern- Main Exam

The Civil Services (Main) Examinations conducted during the month of October/November. Here, those who are selected in the preliminary examination only are eligible to appear.

Main Examination
Only those who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year, are eligible for the Main examination of that year, provided they are otherwise eligible for the Main Examination.NOTE:The prospective candidates are advised to note that no changes are being introduced at this stage in the Civil Services (Main) Examination and Personality Test in the scheme of Civil Services Examination (CSE) for 2011 Onwards.

Civil Services Main examination has two optional subjects (two papers each carries 300 marks), one General Studies (two papers each carries 300 marks), one essay (carries 200 marks) - total 2000 marks. Other than this, there are two language papers one in Indian language and one in General English at the level of 10th standard. This is to test the ability of the candidate's proficiency in his mother tongue / Indian language and English. Total nine papers. These two papers carry 300 marks each but it will not be considered for the ranking. It is must to clear these two papers. If a candidate fails to clear these papers, his other papers will not be evaluated.

The Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and the depth of understanding of the candidates, rather than merely the range of their information and memory. Sufficient choice of questions is allowed in the question papers.



One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the candidate from the 18 languages included in the VIIIth Schedule to the Constitution (Qualifying Paper)

300 Marks

Paper-IIEnglish (Qualifying Paper)300 Marks
Paper-IIIEssay200 Marks
Papers IV & VGeneral Studies (300 Marks for each paper)

600 Marks


Papers VI, VII, VIII & IX

Any two subjects (each having 2 papers) to be selected from the prescribed optional subjects (300 marks for each paper)

1200 Marks
Total Marks for Written Examination2000 Marks
Interview Test300 Marks
Grand Total2300 Marks

List of Optional Subjects - IAS (Main)

- (Total 25)

Animal Husbandry & Vetinary ScienceMathematics
AnthropologyMechanical Engineering
BotanyMedical Science
Civil EngineeringPhysics
Commerce & AccountancyPolitical Science & International Relations
Indian HistoryZoology

Optional Subjects for the Main Examination:

Optional subjects: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology. Each paper is of 3 hours duration.

Literatures:Arabic, Assamese, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Marathi, Malayalam, Manipuri, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.

The following combinations not allowed are:

  • Political Science & International Relations and Public Administration
  • Commerce and Management
  • Anthropology and Sociology
  • Maths and Statistics
  • Agriculture and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Management and Public Administration
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science and Medical Science
  • Any two branches of engineering.
  • Combination of two literatures in the above list.

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