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KAS Exam Pattern

As per the latest Karnataka Recruitment of Gazetted Probationers (Appointment by Competitive Examinations) (Amendment) Rules, the KAS aspirants have to clear the 2-stage exam. The first stage is the Preliminary examination which comprises 2 papers with objective type questions.

The candidates who clear the Prelims become eligible for the Main stage of the exam. The Main stage of the KAS exam consists of a written examination and a personality test (interview). Hence, in effect, the KPSC KAS exam pattern is modeled quite closely on the lines of the UPSC IAS exam.

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  • The Preliminary stage consists of two papers
  • Both the papers comprise objective type questions with multiple choice answers
  • The prelims examination is a qualifying stage to filter candidates for the mains exam.
  • Marks secured at this stage are not counted towards the final merit list, though candidates have to prepare well for this exam as cut-offs are unpredictable and depend on the average score every year.

The Prelims stage consists of two papers which are conducted in offline mode (pen-paper) on the same day. This stage has only objective type (MCQs) questions and it acts as a filtering stage for the Main examination.

The marks in KAS Prelims are not counted for the final merit list, however, aspirants should prepare diligently as the cutoffs vary each year.

Paper 1 No. of Questions Total Marks Exam Duration Negative Marking
General Studies 40 80 2 Hours Yes (0.25 marks penalty for every incorrect answer)
Humanities 60 120 2 Hours
Paper 2 No. of Questions Total Marks Exam Duration Negative Marking
General Studies related to state 40 80 2 Hours Yes (0.25 marks penalty for every incorrect answer)
Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology 30 60 2 Hours
General Mental Ability 30 60 2 Hours
  • Both papers in Prelims consist of 100 questions each.
  • Each question is for 2 marks and negative marking of 0.25 marks for an incorrect answer.
  • The General Mental Ability questions will be of 10th standard level.


  • KPSC has altered the KAS exam pattern in August 2020. Two major alterations in the KPSC KAS exam pattern are:
    1. Optional Papers are removed.
    2. Marks assigned to KPSC KAS Personality test are slashed from 200 to 50.

The new exam pattern for the Main stage of the KPSC KAS exam is as follows:

  • Total of 7 papers
  • English and Kannada language papers are compulsory and qualifying in nature
  • At least 35% marks are needed to clear English/Kannada papers
  • The level of the questions will be of Honours degree level.
  • The questions are descriptive-essay type in nature and there is no negative marking
  • The question papers will be set in both Kannada and English.
  • The standard of Kannada and English language papers will be of First Language Kannada and First Language English at SSLC level, respectively.
  • Total marks – 1250
Qualifying Papers Duration Marks
English 2 Hours 150 (35% qualifying criteria)
Kannada 2 Hours
Merit-ranking Papers Duration Marks
Paper 1 – Essay 3 hours 250
Paper 2 – General Studies I 3 hours 250
Paper 3 – General Studies II 3 hours 250
Paper 4 – General Studies III 3 hours 250
Paper 5 – General Studies IV 3 hours 250

Earlier, the commission gave the following optional subject choices in the KAS exam are:

  1. Agriculture, Agri Marketing, Sericulture and Cooperation
  2. Animal Husbandry, Veterinary Sciences and Fisheries
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Philosophy
  18. Physics
  19. Political Science and International Relations
  20. Psychology
  21. Public Administration
  22. Sociology
  23. Statistics
  24. Zoology
  25. Rural Development and Cooperation
  26. Literature of any one of the following languages:(English, Hindi, Kannada, Urdu)

Note: All the above optional subjects stand invalid now as optional papers have been omitted from the KAS Exam.


The candidates who score above the cutoff in the KAS Mains will be shortlisted for the interview with the KPSC board.

Update – Earlier, KAS Interview score was 200 which now has been slashed to 50.

Here are a few points to note:

    1. Usually, the ratio of the total number of vacancies in that year and candidates called for an interview is 1:3. Reportedly, it has been increased to 1:5
    2. The Personality test board is constituted by the KPSC Chairman
    3. The board consists of 4 persons out of which there shall be 2 KPSC members
    4. The other 2 members will be from among:
      1. Retired All India Services officers
      2. Eminent Professors (Retired) from IITs, IIMs, Central/State Universities
    5. The panel will be chaired by the senior-most KPSC member present.
    6. The maximum marks for the interview are 50
    7. The panel members will not be told the candidate’s marks in the Mains stage.
    8. The KAS interview is to test the mental calibre, societal awareness, balance of judgement and leadership abilities.
    9. The 4 members panel will give marks individually and then the average of those marks will constitute the candidate’s marks in the interview.
    10. The KPSC KAS result or the merit list is the sum of marks in the Mains and the Interview.
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