All about UPSC Civil Services Exam

UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) consists of 3 stages. The stages are:

  1. Preliminary Exam (objective)
  2. Main Exam (written)
  3. Interview (personality test)

Prelims – The Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II). The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for the main exam.

Mains – The written examination (main) will consist of the nine papers, but only 7 papers will be counted for final merit ranking. For the rest two papers, the candidate should secure minimum marks prescribed by the commission each year.

Interview – The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest.

 

Stage I: IAS Exam – UPSC Prelims

Sl. No.Name of the PaperNature of the PaperDuration of the ExamQuestionsMarks
1IAS Exam Paper – I: General StudiesMerit Ranking Nature2 Hours100200 Marks
2IAS Exam Paper – II: General Studies (CSAT)Qualifying Nature2 Hours80200 Marks

 

Stage II: IAS Exam – UPSC Mains

The second stage of the IAS Exam is called the Mains Exam, which is a written descriptive examination and comprises 9 papers. The 9 papers in IAS Exam (Mains) are as follows: Paper-A (Compulsory Indian Language); Paper –B (English) which are qualifying in nature, while the other papers like Essay, General Studies Papers I, II, III, and IV, and Optional Papers I and II are considered for the final ranking.

Sl. No.IAS Exam PaperName of the PaperNature of the PaperDuration of the ExamMarks
1Paper – ACompulsory Indian LanguageQUALIFYING NATURE3 Hours300 Marks
2Paper – BEnglish3 Hours300 Marks
3Paper – IESSAYMERIT RANKING NATURE3 Hours250 Marks
4Paper – IIGeneral Studies I3 Hours250 Marks
5Paper – IIIGeneral Studies II3 Hours250 Marks
6Paper – IVGeneral Studies III3 Hours250 Marks
7Paper – VGeneral Studies IV3 Hours250 Marks
8Paper – VIOptional Paper I3 Hours250 Marks
9Paper – VIIOptional Paper II3 Hours250 Marks
TOTAL1750 Marks
Interview or Personality Test275 Marks
GRAND TOTAL2025 Marks

NOTE:

  • The candidates can select their medium of writing the UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains Exam as Hindi or English or any other language listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Indian Languages included in the IAS exam are as per languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  • The candidates who score above the prescribed cut-off marks in the IAS exam (Mains) will get the summons for the Personality Test (last stage of the IAS exam).
  • The final ranking of the candidates is on the basis of the marks obtained by them in the Main Examination and Personality Test/Interview Round of the IAS exam.

Any degree (graduation).

  1. any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India.
  2.  or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament.
  3.  or declared to be deemed as a University Under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956.
  4.  or possess an equivalent qualification.

Candidates who have appeared at an examination the passing of which would render them educationally qualified for the Commission’s examination but have not been informed of the results as also the candidates who intend to appear at such a qualifying examination will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary Examination.

All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite examination with their application for the Main Examination failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination.

Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications which are recognized by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the examination.

Candidates who have passed the final professional M.B.B.S. or any other Medical Examination but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the Examination provided they submit along with their application a copy of certificate from the concerned authority of the University/Institution that they had passed the requisite final professional medical examination.

In such cases, the candidates will be required to produce at the time of their interview original Degree or a certificate from the concerned competent authority of the University/Institution that they had completed all requirements (including completion of internship) for the award of the Degree.

Note: Final year students can also apply.

The minimum age to appear for IAS Exam is 21 years. This means that the candidate must have at least 21 years of age on 1st August of that given year when the exam is held.

For example, if the candidate is appearing for 2020 prelims, he/she should be above 21 years of age by Aug 1, 2020.

Upper age limit is also calculated on the date Aug 1.

  1. Upper age limit for General category: 32 years.</li style=”color:black;”>
  2. Upper age limit for OBC: 35 years.
  3. Upper age limit for SC/ST: 37 Years.
  4. Upper age limit for Defense Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof: 35 years.
  5. Upper age limit for Ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service: 37 years.
  6. Upper age limit for blind, deaf-mute and Orthopaedically handicapped persons (general category): 42 years.

Number of Attempts: 

  1. The number of attempts for IAS exam: General Category: 6 attempts till 32 years of age.
  2. The number of attempts for IAS exam: OBC: 9 attempts till 35 years of age.
  3. The number of attempts for IAS exam: SC/ST: unlimited attempts till 37 years of age.

Note: Physically Handicapped /disabled candidates belonging to General category will get the benefit of 9 attempts till the age prescribed by UPSC – 42 years

 

Number of Attempts: 

  1. The number of attempts for IAS exam: General Category: 6 attempts till 32 years of age.
  2. The number of attempts for IAS exam: OBC: 9 attempts till 35 years of age.
  3. The number of attempts for IAS exam: SC/ST: unlimited attempts till 37 years of age.

Note: Physically Handicapped /disabled candidates belonging to General category will get the benefit of 9 attempts till the age prescribed by UPSC – 42 years

Candidates have to opt for any one subject from the following given list.

  1. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  2. Anthropology
  3. Botany
  4. Chemistry
  5. Civil Engineering
  6. Commerce and Accountancy
  7. Economics
  8. Electrical Engineering
  9. Geography
  10. Geology
  11. History
  12. Law
  13. Management
  14. Mathematics
  15. Mechanical Engineering
  16. Medical Science
  17. Philosophy
  18. Physics
  19. Political Science and International Relations
  20. Psychology
  21. Public Administration
  22. Sociology
  23. Statistics
  24. Zoology
  25. Literature of anyone the 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.
  26. Agriculture

Facts about Optional Subjects for IAS Mains

S. NoOptional SubjectNumber of ApplicantsSuccess rate in 2014Success rate in 2015Success rate in 2016
1.History3000 +/- 508.3%7.7%6.5%
2.Geography3000 +/- 507.2%5.6%9.8%
3.Public Administration3000 +/- 505.1%6.2%5.3%
4.Sociology3000 +/- 509.2%9.1%10.6%
5.Philosophy + Psychology + Political Science + Economics2000-3000Avg above 10%Avg above 10%Avg above 10%
6.All other science/art subjects (in total)1000-1500Avg above 12%Avg above 12%Avg above 12%
7.All Other Literature SubjectsLess than 1000Avg above 5%Avg above 5%Avg above 5%
TOTALAround 15000

Caution: Don’t choose optional based on above facts given. Many other factors also play role in candidate’s success.