Civil Services Examination (Mains)
Civil Services Examination (Mains)

UPSC Mains 2024: Date, Admit Card, Exam Pattern, Syllabus, and Strategies

UPSC CSE Mains Exam 2024: The UPSC will conduct the Civil service examination (Mains) from September 20, 2024, onwards. Candidates appearing for the exam will be able to download their e-Admit cards by visiting the official website -
UPSC Mains Exam 2024

UPSC Mains Exam 2024

UPSC Mains 2024: The UPSC Mains exam is the second stage of the Civil Services Examination. Candidates who qualified for the UPSC CSE Prelims exam by scoring above the cutoff in General Studies Paper I and more than 33% marks in General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) are considered eligible to appear for the UPSC Civil Services (Main) examination.

As per the official notification, the UPSC CSE mains exam will be conducted from September 20, 2024 onwards for about 1,056 vacancies. The UPSC Mains paper consists of nine papers, each of which is held on different exam sessions/slots.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s premier central recruiting agency responsible for conducting examinations for appointments to various civil services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Audit and Accounts Service, etc. 

UPSC Mains Admit Card 2024

Candidates must note that the UPSC admit card 2024 for Mains exam will be issued on the last working day of the preceding week of the date of examination. The direct link to download the e-Admit Cards will be made available on, and no admit card will be sent by post to the candidates. 

UPSC Mains Admit Card 2024: How to download UPSC CSE Mains hall ticket 2024?

Candidates can follow the steps to know how to check and download the UPSC Mains exam 2024 online. 

Step 1: Visit the official website -

Step 2: Click on the direct link to download the UPSC Mains admit card 2024 available on the homepage

Step 3: A new login page will appear on the screen

Step 4: Enter the required login details such as registration ID and roll number

Step 5: The UPSC Admit Card 2024 will be displayed on the screen

Step 6: Go through the details mentioned on it and download it for future use

UPSC Mains 2024 Dates

Candidates appearing for the UPSC mains exam 2024 can check the exam related dates in the table below -



Release of UPSC Mains 2024 Admit Card

First week of September 2024

UPSC Mains 2024 Examination 

September 20, 2024 (Onwards)

Declaration of UPSC Mains 2024 Result

First week of December, 2024

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern

The UPSC Civil Services Examination Mains stage consists of 9 papers divided into qualifying and merit-based categories. Candidates can check the details related to the UPSC Mains exam pattern 2024 provided below - 

  • In the qualifying stage, candidates are required to clear Paper-A, which assesses proficiency in an Indian language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, and Paper-B, which evaluates English language comprehension and usage. 
  • In the merit-based stage, candidates must excel in Paper-I, an essay writing component designed to gauge coherent expression and critical thinking skills. Additionally, Papers II through V delve into various aspects of Indian heritage, culture, history, geography, governance, polity, economics, technology, environment, security, and ethics. These papers aim to assess candidates' understanding of diverse subjects crucial for administrative roles. 

Furthermore, candidates select an optional subject for Papers VI and VII, allowing them to delve deeper into a specific area of interest or expertise. Overall, the examination structure is comprehensive, covering a wide range of topics essential for effective civil service leadership and decision-making.

Qualifying Papers:

  •    Paper-A: Indian Language (300 marks): Candidates must choose one of the Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
  •    Paper-B: English (300 marks): This paper tests the candidate's understanding of the English language and its usage.

Papers Counted for Merit:

  • Paper-I: Essay (250 marks): Candidates are required to write essays on multiple topics. This paper aims to assess the ability to articulate ideas coherently and critically.
  • Paper-II: General Studies-I (250 marks): This paper covers Indian heritage and culture, history, and geography of the world and society.
  • Paper-III: General Studies-II (250 marks): Topics include governance, constitution, polity, social justice, and international relations.
  • Paper-IV: General Studies-III (250 marks): Focuses on technology, economic development, biodiversity, environment, security, and disaster management.
  • Paper-V: General Studies-IV (250 marks): This paper deals with ethics, integrity, and aptitude. It includes case studies to test the candidate's ethical thinking and integrity.
  • Paper-VI: Optional Subject Paper 1 (250 marks): Candidates choose an optional subject and answer questions related to it. The subject can be chosen from a list provided by UPSC.
  • Paper-VII: Optional Subject Paper 2 (250 marks): This is the second paper of the chosen optional subject, further delving into the intricacies and advanced topics of the subject matter.






Paper A

Compulsory Indian Language


3 hours

300 marks

Paper B


Paper I



250 marks

Paper Il

General Studies l

Paper lll

General Studies ll

Paper IV

General Studies lll

Paper V

General Studies lV

Paper Vl

Optional Paper l

Paper Vll

Optional Paper ll

UPSC Mains Exam 2024: Proven Strategies for IAS exam

Candidates can have a look at the proven strategies to score well in the UPSC CSE Mains exam 2024. 

  • In-depth Study: Focus on understanding concepts rather than rote learning. It's essential to comprehend the underlying principles and ideas that shape various subjects.
  • Answer Writing Practice: Practice writing detailed answers within the word limit. This helps in developing the skill to express ideas clearly and concisely. Regular practice with mock tests and previous years’ question papers is crucial.
  • Current Affairs: Stay updated with current events and link them to the static portions of the syllabus. Reading newspapers, journals, and participating in discussions can enhance understanding and analytical skills.
  • Optional Subject: Choose an optional subject based on interest and availability of study material. It's important to have a genuine interest in the subject to sustain motivation during the preparation.
  • Time Management: Develop a timetable to cover the vast syllabus systematically. Allocate specific time slots for different subjects and stick to the schedule. Regular breaks and a balanced approach to studying and leisure can help maintain focus and efficiency

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 

The UPSC Mains examination includes 9 papers i.e., Paper A and B which are qualifying in nature and Paper I to VII that includes Essay, General Studies I, II, III, IV, and optional papers i.e., Paper I and II. Candidates can check the detailed syllabus of Paper I to VII provided below.   

Paper-I: Essay

Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. The essay paper aims to assess the candidate’s ability to arrange their ideas systematically and express them coherently. Essays may cover a wide range of issues, from social, political, economic to philosophical topics.

General Studies Papers

Paper-II: General Studies-I

  • Indian Heritage and Culture: Includes the study of Indian art forms, literature, and architecture from ancient to modern times. Important dynasties, cultural movements, and the evolution of art and culture are covered.
  • History: Modern Indian history from the mid-18th century to present, significant events, personalities, and issues. The freedom struggle and its various stages, contributors, and impacts.
  • World History: Events from the 18th century such as the Industrial Revolution, world wars, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, and decolonization. Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc., and their forms and effects on society.
  • Society: Salient features of Indian society, diversity of India, role of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty, and developmental issues. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism, and secularism.

Paper-III: General Studies-II

  • Governance: Indian Constitution, features, amendments, significant provisions, and basic structure. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers, and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Polity: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Social Justice: Issues relating to development and management of social sector/services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Issues relating to poverty and hunger. Important aspects of governance, transparency, and accountability.
  • International Relations: India and its neighborhood- relations. Bilateral, regional, and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.

Paper-IV: General Studies-III

  • Economy: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Agriculture: Major crops, cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport, and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints.
  • Science and Technology: Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Environment: Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
  • Disaster Management: Disaster and disaster management.
  • Security: Linkages between development and spread of extremism. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

Paper-V: General Studies-IV

  • Ethics and Integrity: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators; role of family, society, and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: Content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality, and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion towards the weaker sections.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Concepts and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  • Case Studies: Case studies on the above issues.


General Studies


Paper ll

General Studies l

  • Indian Heritage and Culture
  • History
  • World History: 
  • Society

Paper lll

General Studies ll

  • Governance
  • Polity
  • Social Justice
  • International Relations

Paper lV

General Studies lll

  • Economy
  • Agriculture
  • Science and Technology
  • Environment
  • Disaster Management
  • Security

Paper V

General Studies lV

  • Ethics and Integrity
  • Attitude
  • Aptitude
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration
  • Probity in Governance
  • Case Studies

Optional Subject Papers (Paper VI and Paper VII)

Candidates need to select one optional subject from the list provided by UPSC, and this will be divided into two papers. The level of questions will be higher than a bachelor’s degree but lower than a master’s level. Subjects range from languages, literature, and humanities to sciences, engineering, and medical sciences.

Resource Material for UPSC Mains 2024

UPSC is set to conduct the UPSC Mains 2024 from September 20, 2024 onwards. UPSC demands robust preparation for one of the most difficult examinations in the world. Here are few resources that you must have as a basic of preparatory tool for the better preparation of UPSC Mains 2024.

Indian Language (Paper-A):

  • NCERT books for the respective language (Class 6 to 12).
  • Language-specific grammar books and workbooks.
  • Previous years' question papers to understand the pattern and type of questions asked.

English (Paper-B):

  • High school English grammar and composition books by Wren and Martin.
  • "Word Power Made Easy" by Norman Lewis for vocabulary building.
  • Reading English newspapers like The Hindu, The Indian Express, or magazines like Frontline for improving comprehension and language skills.

Essay (Paper-I):

  • Reading essays from a variety of sources like books, magazines, and newspapers to understand different styles and topics.
  • Practice writing essays on various topics to enhance articulation and critical thinking.
  • "Essay Writing for UPSC" by M. L. Khanna.

General Studies Papers (Paper-II to Paper-V):

  • NCERT books for relevant subjects (History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Environment, Ethics, etc.) from Class 6 to 12.
  • Standard reference books like "India's Struggle for Independence" by Bipan Chandra for history, "Certificate Physical and Human Geography" by G.C. Leong for geography, "Indian Polity" by M. Laxmikanth for polity, and "Indian Economy" by Ramesh Singh for economics.
  • Current affairs magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra, and newspapers for keeping up with recent developments.
  • Previous years' question papers and mock tests for practice.

Optional Subject Papers (Paper-VI and Paper-VII):

  • Choose your optional subject wisely based on your interest and background.
  • Refer to standard textbooks and reference materials
  • Solve previous years' question papers and take mock tests regularly to gauge your preparation level.

Additional Resources:

  •  UPSC syllabus and previous years' question papers are crucial resources for understanding the exam pattern and focus areas.

UPSC Mains 2024 Year - wise Cutoff

UPSC Mains 2024 is scheduled to be held from September 20, 2024, onwards. Candidates can have a look at the UPSC Mains 2024 cut off trends in the table given below.


Cut Off out of 1750



















UPSC Cut Off

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the exam date of UPSC CSE Mains 2024?

As per the official UPSC notification 2024, the UPSC CSE Mains exam will be conducted from September 20, 2024, onwards.

How to download UPSC Mains admit card 2024?

The UPSC Mains admit card 2024 will be made available on the official website - on the last working day of the preceding week of the date of examination.

How many vacancies are there in UPSC CSE 2024?

The number of vacancies to be filled through the UPSC examination is expected to be approximately 1,056 which include number of vacancies reserved for Persons with Benchmark Disability category, blindness and low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy; and multiple disabilities amongst persons including deaf-blindness.

What are the three stages in UPSC CSE exam 2024?

The UPSC Civil Services exam (UPSC) is held in three stages i.e., prelims, mains and the personality test.

When is UPSC releasing UPSC CSE Mains result 2024?

UPSC will release the Civil Services Examination Mains result 2024 on its official website -, however, the result release date is not confirmed by the officials yet.