UPSC – MAINS
The UPSC Mains examination is the second stage of the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India. The Mains examination is designed to assess the candidate’s in-depth knowledge, analytical ability, and writing skills in various subjects. It consists of a written examination with nine papers, out of which seven are counted for ranking purposes.
Here’s a brief explanation of the UPSC Mains examination along with key features:
- Structure: The UPSC Mains examination comprises nine descriptive papers, out of which two are qualifying in nature (marks not counted for ranking) and seven are considered for the final merit list.
- Subject Papers: The seven papers considered for ranking are as follows
- Paper A: One of the Indian languages chosen from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution (qualifying in nature).
- Paper B: English (qualifying in nature).
- Paper I: Essay.
- Paper II: General Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society).
- Paper III: General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations).
- Paper IV: General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management).
- Paper V: General Studies IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude).
- Papers VI and VII: Two optional subjects chosen by the candidate. Each paper is from the list of optional subjects provided by the UPSC. Candidates can choose from a wide range of subjects, such as History, Geography, Public Administration, Sociology, Political Science, etc.
- Marks Allocation: The maximum marks for each paper may vary from year to year, but generally, the total marks for the Mains examination sum up to 1750.
- Language Choice: Candidates are allowed to write the papers in any of the 22 languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. However, the compulsory papers (A and B) must be written in specific languages, while the optional papers can be written in the language chosen by the candidate.
- Duration: Each paper is of 3 hours duration.
- Qualifying Papers: Paper A (Indian Language) and Paper B (English) are qualifying in nature, and candidates must score a minimum of 25% marks in each to qualify for the Mains examination. However, their marks are not counted for the final ranking.
- Merit Ranking: The final merit list is prepared based on the total marks obtained in the seven papers considered for ranking, along with the marks scored in the Personality Test (Interview).
- Essay and Ethics Papers: The Essay paper tests the candidate’s ability to present their thoughts coherently and logically. The Ethics paper assesses the candidate’s integrity, ethical understanding, and decision-making ability.
- Optional Subjects: Candidates can choose any two subjects from the list of optional subjects provided by the UPSC. The optional subjects have two papers each.
- Negative Marking: There is a penalty for wrong answers, i.e., 1/3rd of the marks allotted to the question will be deducted as negative marking.
It’s essential for candidates to be well-prepared and have a deep understanding of various subjects to perform well in the UPSC Mains examination. The exam requires a comprehensive study of the chosen subjects and the ability to express ideas effectively in a written format.