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UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam Pattern Change from 2013

A Primer
A knowledge transmission initiative by Dr Praveen Kumar Assistant Director General of Foreign Trade , Indian Trade Service* Probationer Source- UPSC Prelims 2013 Notification, for further detail read the 93 page document *Indian Trade Service is an IAS Allied Group A service (in common parlance) under the Ministry of Commerce, GoI

What has not changed?

The no. of attempts for any socio-economic category The age limits and exemptions thereof The array of services which are included in the civil services The continued importance of diligence and aptitude vis a vis mathematical intelligence/ rote memory The competition and obviously the charm ; )

Source- UPSC Prelims 2013 Notification and personal analysis/ wisdom : )

What has changed?

Before 2013
Subject/ Item in Mains Exam
Essay English Language Hindi / Regional Language General Studies Optional Subject 1

In and After 2013

New Scheme marks
New Scheme weight age out of total marks~ in %


Weight age out of total marks ~ in %

200 200 200 600

8.7 Zero Zero 26

200 100 Abolished 1000

9.6 4.8 Zero 48.2

600 600 300

9 2300

26 26 13

500 Abolished 275


24.1 Zero 13.25

Optional Subject 2 Personality Test

Number of papers an aspirant need to write Total Marks




Source- UPSC Prelims 2013 Notification

What has changed ..


An aspirant needs to prepare in greater detail for general studies. The syllabus now requires a thorough reading of topics from public admin, philosophy, ethics, psychology etc. ALSO apart from conventional topics such as geography, history and polity Only one optional subject..with a weightage only half of the general studies paper Literature subjects can be opted only if studied at the graduation level Essay and English Paper is now combined and has to be taken in one sitting of 3 hours duration No regional language paper..Hindiphobes can relax now! The exam for a subject can be written in a medium other than English or Hindi only if the total number of such students writing the exam are more than 25 The total number of days on which the exams would be held might be 4 only as compared to previous 5 The duration of the exam would be less than the normal 21 days since all exams can be held simultaneously for all candidates (my analysis) The time gap between these papers can decide the fate of aspirants in a big way, data crammers can have an upper hand if the papers are stacked closely!

So what now..
Reduce the focus from your optional subject and prepare for General Studies which would help in CSAT and mains both The syllabus and sub-topics have undergone a major change at least for the GS paper...line by line perusal and analysis is needed to accurately circumscribe the knowledge level expected Enough time for CSAT May 26th and more so for starts tentatively from Nov 8th this year The pattern change would obviously attract more candidates since the requirement to master 2 subjects has been done away with..I expect a 20% increase in applications But still..some 1000 students would emerge winners! All the best!