UPSC IFS Exam Pattern

The UPSC IFS Selection is a 3-stage process comprising Prelim, IFS Mains and Interview Process. The prelim is qualifying in nature whereas the Mains and Interview scores are combined to arrive at final merit list.


UPSC conducts a common Preliminary Exam for Civil Services Examinations. The Prelim consists of 2 objective papers. Paper-I covers General Studies while Paper-II relates to Aptitude Test. Paper-II is qualifying in nature, where candidate is required to score 33% of the marks to qualify. Candidates who qualify the UPSC CSE Prelim cutoff for IFoS will be able to appear for the UPSC IFS Main.


Candidates who qualify Preliminary exam are called for the Mains exam, which is a series of written papers. The IFS Mains consists of 6 papers of 300 marks each. The General Knowledge and General English paper are common to all candidates however candidates must select 2 optional subjects of their choice.

Each optional subject will have 2 papers. Each paper of the optional subject will comprise 8 descriptive type questions. These will be split up into Section ‘A’ and Section ‘B’ – each consisting 4 questions each. The candidates are however, required to answer only 5 questions from each optional paper.

Paper Subject Marks Duration
Paper-1 General Knowledge 300 3 hours
Paper-2 General English 300 3 hours
Paper-3 Paper-1 of 1st Optional subject 200 3 hours
Paper-4 Paper-2 of 1st Optional subject 200 3 hours
Paper-5 Paper-1 of 2nd Optional Subject 200 3 hours
Paper-6 Paper-2 of 2nd Optional Subject 200 3 hours
Total Marks 1400

Candidates are required to select 2 optional subjects from the list of 14 subjects for the IFS Mains Examination

  • Agriculture
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Forestry
  • Geology
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical
  • Engineering
  • Physics
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

The option to club the following optional subjects will not be permitted for the UPSC IFS Mains Exam:

  1. Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering
  2. Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  3. Agriculture and Forestry
  4. Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  5. Mathematics and Statistics
  6. Not more than one Engineering subject – Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering cannot be combined with each other.

On the basis of marks secured in the Main exam, candidates will qualify for Interview, The combined marks of the Main exam and Interview are used to produce the final result.