How Much Negative Marking in UPSC? Calculate and Reduce Negative Markings in UPSC!

How Much Negative Marking in UPSC?

How to Figure Out Your UPSC Exam Score – UPSC exams are already the hardest. And to make it even harder, UPSC added a system of bad marks. In 2007, a method for giving negative marks was put in place, and it has been a part of the way grades are given ever since. If an IAS candidate gives the wrong answer, the checker can take away some points from their score. It changes the total score, and IAS candidates lose a lot of points because of the waymarks are given.

Exam formats have changed over time, but the way that bad marks work hasn’t changed. For every bad answer, 1/3 of the score, or 0.33%, is taken away. This affects how well you do overall. Don’t just take a wild guess, because that will definitely fail.

You have to be very careful about which questions you answer because one wrong answer could change the results. So, think very carefully before you answer the questions. If you aren’t sure about an answer you guessed, it’s better to leave it alone than risk losing points for the right replies.

UPSC Prelims Exam Comprises of Two Papers

  • General Studies Paper 1 (100 Questions of 2 marks each)
  • General Studies Paper 2 (80 Questions)

Both Paper 1 and Paper 2 of the UPSC Prelims are made up of multiple-choice questions with different points for right and wrong answers. Every correct answer is worth 2 points, while every wrong answer is worth -13 points. Every wrong answer is worth one-third of a mark that is taken away from the sum. This 1/3rd means that this question is worth one-third of the points given to it. For each bad answer, these many points are taken away.

How Much Negative Marking in UPSC Prelims?

For every wrong answer on the UPSC preliminary tests, you will lose a third of the total points for that question.

How to Calculate Negative Markings in UPSC?

Well, it’s not that hard. As each wrong answer costs you one-third of your score, three wrong answers will cost you the full score for any question. In other words, three wrong answers will erase the credit for one right answer. In the same way, if you give 30 wrong answers, you won’t get credit for the 10 right ones. Getting a clear picture with an example –

In the General Studies Paper 1 of the UPSC preliminary exams, Surinder gets 75 questions right and 15 questions wrong. He leaves 10 questions unattempted. Here’s how you’ll figure it out:

  • 75 Right answers = (75 x 2) 150 Marks
  • Less: 15 Wrong answers = (15 x ⅓ 2) 10 Marks

So, with 15 incorrect answers, the 10 marks will be deducted from the balance of right answers making it to be 140 marks in total. This means 15 wrong answers eat up 5 correct answers. The other 10 unattempted questions won’t be included whether in addition or subtraction of marks as those questions were not attempted.

Instead, if Surinder would’ve also left the 15 incorrect answers, he would’ve managed to score more. This is the vicious game of negative marking that could squeeze up all your right answers’ credits.

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How to Reduce the Negative Marking in UPSC?

The risky negative scoring loop in the UPSC prelims has a big effect on how the UPSC candidate does in the end. Every year, the UPSC prelims test papers tend to have something new and unexpected in them. The Current Affairs section could be very hard to predict, but General Studies is more or less the same every year in terms of the main subjects and standards.

Objective Questions

The objective questions in the UPSC Prelims are now set up in a way that tests candidates’ knowledge based on how they think. These questions need to be answered with the most accuracy possible. The possibilities are set up so that every choice seems right, so you have to know everything there is to know about the subject. This makes the questions on the Prelims harder.

There is no room for guesswork or half-knowledge when it comes to avoiding and lowering the effects of bad grades. This is easy to say, but when it comes time for the test, the candidates feel the pressure and make mistakes, even on things they have studied well for. Follow the tips below to avoid getting bad marks in the UPSC Prelims.


UPSC exams have a system of negative marks, which affects how well IAS candidates do overall. For every wrong answer, 1/3 of the score is taken away. To calculate negative markings, three wrong answers will cost the full score for any question. The risky negative scoring loop in the UPSC prelims has a big effect on how the candidate does in the end, so it is important to reduce the negative marking. Follow the tips below to avoid getting bad marks.

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