What is Civil Service?

Civil Services are jobs directly related to public service and are widely considered the most prestigious in India. UPSC conducts Civil Service Exams for Central Government job vacancies while the respective State Public Service Commissions like GPSC fills the State Government job vacancies. There are over 20 services which come under the Civil Services Exam conducted by UPSC every year. These services include IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS etc.

What all services are included in Civil Service Exam?

(i)Indian Administrative Service. (ii) Indian Foreign Service. (iii) Indian Police Service. (iv) Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’. (v) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (vi) Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’. (vii) Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (viii) Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’. (ix) Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration). (x) Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’. (xi) Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (xii) Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’. (xiii) Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (xiv) Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’. (xv) Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’ (xvi) Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’. (xvii) Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’. (xviii) Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Gr. III). (xix) Indian Corporate Law Service, Group “A”. (xx) Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade). (xxi) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’. (xxii) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’. (xxiii) Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’. (xxiv) Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’.

What is the pattern of the Civil Services Examination?

Civil Services Examination is a 3-stage examination held every year. Stage 1 – Preliminary Test Stage 2 – Main Exam Stage 3 – Personality Test / Interview

What is the Preliminary Test?

There are two papers in Civil Service Prelims Examination. The questions are objective in nature with the provision of negative marking. The two papers are:   General Studies Paper 1 [which deals with subjects like History, Polity, Economics etc.] General Studies Paper 2 [which deals with subjects like Mental Ability, English Comprehension etc. This paper is popularly known as CSAT – Civil Services Aptitude Test). This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. Moreoever, the CSAT paper is of qualifying nature( with 33% score). That means, out of 80 questions, a candidate is required to answer just 27 questions correctly. It does not matter if you score 28 questions or 80 questions correctly. This change was implemented recently to ward off the fear of candidates from humanities stream.

How much is the cut-off for Prelims Exam?

The cut-off varies every year. Every year the number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies. Since last many years it has been around 12000-15000 candidates. For last few years the cut off has been in the below given range (Marks out of 200) General: 105-120 OBC: 100-110 SC/ST: 90-100 PH: 40-75

What is the Main Examination?

The mains stage is subjective in nature as the answers have to be written on paper. The Examination consists of 9 papers. Marks of 7 out of these 9 papers will be counted for final ranking, while 2 papers will be of qualifying nature. Mark-Counted Papers in UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam
  • 1 paper on essay. (250 marks x 1)
  • 4 papers on from General Studies ( which covers topics like History, Geography  Economics, Polity, Technology, Ecology, Ethics etc). (250 marks x 4)
  • 2 papers on one Optional subject – which can be selected from 25 subjects and 22 languages. (250 marks x 2)
Qualifying Papers in UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam
  • 1 English Language Paper (Comprehension, Precis Writing etc).
  • 1 Regional Language Paper (Comprehension, Precis Writing, Translation etc).
The Civil Service Main Exam marks are calculated out of 1750.  

What is the eligibility to appear for this Examination?

Students must be degree holders or graduates (degree recognized by UGC) to appear for this Examination. Indian students holding a foreign degree need to ensure that their degree is accredited or recognized by UGC. There is no minimum marks requirement. Anyone who has just passed the degree exam can also apply.

What is the minimum and maximum age required to appear in the exam?

Age as on 1st August of the year of the Exam. General category and OBC (creamy layer) : 21- 32 yrs OBC (non-creamy layer) : 21-35 yrs SC/ST : 21-37 Physically Handicapped: 42 Yrs

Is there any attempt limit in the exam?

Yes, there is an attempt limit in this examination. Below are the details  
  • General and OBC (creamy layer) : 6
  • OBC (non-creamy layer) :  9
  • SC/ST : No Limit
  • PH General/OBC : 9
  • PH SC/ST: No Limit

What is the number of vacancies in Civil Services for which the examination is conducted every year by UPSC?

The number of vacancies reported by Union Public Service Commission varies every year. The number of vacancies per year in the last 5 years had varied between 1000 and 1300.  

What is the schedule of the Civil Services exam?

It varies every year. But for students appearing for Civil Services Exam 2018.  
  • Notification and Form filling for Prelim Exam with UPSC – 7th February 2018
  • Date of Prelim Exam – 3rd June 2018
  • Result of Prelim Exam –  Expected by July end or early August 2018
  • Commencement of Main Exam –  1st October 2018
  • Declaration of Main Exam results- January 2019
  • Personality Test- February & March 2019
  • Declaration of Final merit list - April 2019

What are the optional subjects which students can choose?

Students have to choose any one optional subject from a list of the following optional subjects. Students can also opt for literature subject as an optional, if they so desire. Optional subjects (26) offered by UPSC
  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry & Vet Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engg
  7. Commerce & Acc
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engg
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engg
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Pol Sc & IR
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Admin
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Literature of any one following language: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English

What is the Syllabus of the Examination?

Paper I – (200 marks) 2 hrs (General Studies)
  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization
  • General Science.
  Paper II – (200 marks) 2 hrs (CSAT – Civil Services Aptitude Test)
  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. -Class X level)
  • English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)
  • Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper)

Is it possible to clear the exam in First attempt?

Yes, it is possible to clear the exam in the First attempt. In fact many have topped the exam in their first attempts. However, this requires corresponding efforts on the part of the candidate. Consistent preparation and regular answer writing can assure success even in the First attempt.