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Level 1: Preliminary Test

Level 2 : Main Exam

Level 3 : Personality Test / Interview

Level 1 : Preliminary Test – consists of objective questions with penalty (negative marking) for wrong answers. (This year the Prelim exam would be held on 18th June 2017)

Paper 1 – General Studies (200 marks) 2 hours

Paper 2 – CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) (200 marks) 2 hours (This will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%)

There is a cut-off in the Preliminary Test which varies every year and is decided by the UPSC.

The Main Exam (Subjective papers of 2000 marks) consists of 9 papers which are usually held from early December for around 5-7 days. The current pattern of Main examination is as follows:-

General Studies:

  • Paper 1 – 250 marks (3 hours)
  • Paper 2 – 250 marks (3 hours)
  • Paper 3 – 250 marks (3 hours)
  • Paper 4 – 250 marks (3 hours)

Optional Subject 1:

  • Paper 1 – 250 marks (3 hours)
  • Paper 2 – 250 marks (3 hours)
  • Essay – 250 marks (3 hours)

English Language: 300 marks (qualifying paper; marks not included in Main Exam)

Indian Language: 300 marks (qualifying paper; marks not included in Main Exam)

Usually Paper 1 is held from 9 am to 12 pm and Paper 2 is held from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Both the papers of either General Studies or Optional subject are held on the same day.

Students who qualify for Interview are called by the UPSC in March or April. The Interviews usually start 2 weeks after the Main Exam results are announced. The duration of Interviews is around 60 days.

This is computed on the basis of the total marks scored by candidates in Main Examination (1750) and Personality Test or Interview (275). The final result is declared in May.

Final Ranking and Service allocation is based on the combined marks scored in Main Examination (1750) and Interview (275) and on the preferences given by the candidates at the time of filling up of the Main Examination application form.

UPSC publishes the advertisement for holding the Civil Services Examination in the month of February from this year for the Preliminary Test to be held in June .

Applications are invited by UPSC until the stipulated date of that year more specifically mentioned in the year’s advertisement.

Students must be degree holders or graduates (degree recognized by University Grants Commission) to appear for this Examination. Indian students holding a foreign degree need to ensure that their degree is accredited or recognized by UGC.

  • Candidates belonging to General category and OBC (creamy layer) must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 32 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
  • Candidates belonging to OBC (non creamy layer) category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 35 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
  • Candidates belonging to SC category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 37 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
  • Candidates belonging to ST category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 37 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
  • General category and OBC (creamy layer) category have a maximum of 6 attempts.
  • OBC (non creamy layer) have a maximum of 9 attempts.
  • For Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe category candidates there is no limit on the number of attempts till they attain the age of 37 years.
  • Students belonging to OBC/SC/ST can give the first 4 attempts as General category candidates (if they so desire) and thereafter they can avail the relaxation in the number of attempts by availing the category benefits.

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 800 and 1300.

Every year, for the 1st stage (Preliminary Test), the number of students aspiring for the UPSC Civil Services has gone up to more than 800,000 who fill the form and the number of people appearing in the preliminary exam is about 400,000. Out of the 4 lakh candidates appearing in the Preliminary Examination, the number of candidates qualifying is dependent on the number of vacancies in the Civil Services advertised that year. To give an example, if the advertisement is for 1000 vacancies, then about 12,000 candidates would be called (qualified) by the UPSC to appear in the Main exam & the number of candidates who will qualify the Main examination to appear in the Interview would be about 2500.

Please refer it in UPSC website. Since the preliminary exam from this year is advanced to June, the mains will be on October.

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 (25) offered by UPSC

  • 1. Agriculture
  • 2. Animal H & Vet Sc
  • 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. Political Science & International Relations
  • 21. Psychology
  • 22. Public Admin
  • 23. Sociology
  • 24. Statistics
  • 25. Zoology

Literature of any one of the following languages (30) is also offered as an optional subject:-

  • 1. Arabic
  • 2. Assamese
  • 3. Bodo
  • 4. Bengali
  • 5. Chinese
  • 6. Dogri
  • 7. English
  • 8. French
  • 9. German
  • 10. Gujarati
  • 11. Hindi
  • 12. Kannada
  • 13. Kashmiri
  • 14. Konkani
  • 15. Maithili
  • 16. Malayalam
  • 17. Manipuri
  • 18. Marathi
  • 19. Nepali
  • 20. Oriya
  • 21. Pali
  • 22. Persian
  • 23. Punjabi
  • 24. Russian
  • 25. Sanskrit
  • 26. Santali
  • 27. Sindhi
  • 28. Tamil
  • 29. Telugu
  • 30. Urdu
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).
  • The questions will be objective in nature; Multiple choice questions.
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