The Civil Services Examination offers the widest range of the job in our country and is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Some of the top services offered by this examination are: IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IPS (Indian Police Service), IFS (Indian Foreign Service), IRS (Indian Revenue Service) etc. There are, in all, about twenty-four services offered through this single examination.

–   A list of all these services is available under section II, ‘Services and posts to be filed through Civil Services Examination.’



Considering the importance and the nature of the jobs, UPSC takes utmost care in selecting the right people. A three-level examination is conducted every once a year to achieve this purpose. The candidates are put through three kinds of testing to ensure that the persons selected have:

  1. A wide range of general awareness;
  2. Analytical ability and content retention capacity ; and
  3. Strength of character and a cheerful mental disposition even under stressful condition, and some other officers like qualities.


Each one of these requirements is tested respectively through:

  1. Preliminary Examination (Objective-type question) , for the selection of candidates for Mains Examination ; and
  2. Main Examination (written /descriptive-type questions) , for the selection of candidates for interview Test and,
  3. Interview Test (Personality Test ), for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.



At the preliminary examination stage, there will be two objective type question papers (multiple choice questions with four alternatives for the answer to every question) common for all the candidates. Both these papers will have equal weight age and carry a total of 400 marks.

The emphasis will be on testing the aptitude of the candidates for the demanding life in the civil service, and on the ethical and moral dimensions of decision-making.

The examination is meant to serve as a screening test only and the marks obtained by the successful candidates (who are declared qualified for admission to the main Examination) will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. The number of candidates admitted to the main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times of total approximate number of vacancies (across all services and posts) to be filled in the year through this examination.

–  These vacancies are notified in the UPSC’s Notification for Civil Services Examination.

The Examination is generally conducted in the month of August every year over one single day and carries a maximum of 400 marks in the following manner:

  1.  Paper 1 – is a paper on General Studies – 200 marks
  2. Paper 2 – is a paper on Aptitude Test – 200 marks (33% marks required only – qualifying paper)


  1. The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. However, questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills (in paper II) of class X Level will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
    * Details of the syllabi are available in section III, ‘Syllabus of Preliminary Examination.’
  2.  Both of the paper will carry 200 marks and will be 2 hours in duration.
  3. Blind candidates will however; be allowed an extra time of twenty minutes at each paper.
  4. Total number of questions asked in paper I will be 100 and that in paper II will be 80.
  5. Only those candidates who are declared by the commission to have qualified in the preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the main examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.
  6. The commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the total qualifying marks as may be determined by the commission, of the two papers put together (subject to minimum of 30 marks in paper I and 70 marks in paper II as set for CSE 2013)
  7. It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Pre) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination.
  8. There will be negative marking for incorrect answers (as detailed below)for all questions except some of the questions which will have differential marking where in the most appropriate answer will get more marks and not so appropriate answer lesser.
  9. There will be four alternatives for the answer to every question. For each question for which a Wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
  10. If a candidate gives more than one answer , it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answer happen to be correct and  there will be same penalty as above for that question.
  11. If a question is left blank, i.e. no answer is given by the candidates; there will be no penalty for that question.


The Main Examination is generally conducted in the month of october and spans over 5 days. It will comprise a total of nine papers (Conventional essay type papers) of the following nature.

  1. 2 papers of Non- Ranking type (the marks obtained by candidates in these papers will not be counted for determining the final order of merit). The two papers of non-ranking type will include.
    * Paper –A : One paper of an Indian language to be selected by the candidate out of languages included in the Eighth Scheduled to the Constitution , and
    * Paper – B: the second paper will be of English language , which is a compulsory language paper.
    * Note: Both these papers will be 300 marks each and will be of a very simple nature (of matriculation or equivalent standard) and, in a way, will mentally prepare the candidate for writing the subsequent examination.
  2.  7 papers of Ranking type (marks obtained in these papers will be counted for merit). The seven papers of ranking type will be:
  1. Paper I –Essay
  2. Four (4) Papers of General studies in the following manner:
  3. Paper- II: General Studies – I on Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and society.
  4.  Paper- III : General Studies – II on Governance , Constitution , Polity , Social Justice and International relations
  5. Paper – IV : General Studies – III on Technology , Economic Development , Bio-diversity , Environment , Security and Disaster Management
  6. Paper – V : General Studies – IV on Ethics , Integrity and aptitude
  7. Paper VI & Paper VII : Two  (2) papers in any one optional subject (candidates may choose any one optional subject from amongst the UPSC`s list of optional subject in the  Main Examination)


  1. All the questions papers for the examination will be conventional (essay) type.
  2. The non-ranking (qualifying) paper on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.
  3. Both the papers of non ranking type will be 300 marks and for 3hours duration each.
  4. All the 7 papers of ranking type will be 250 marks and for 3 hours duration each
  5. Evaluation of the papers , namely , ` Essay` , `All the papers of General Studies ` and both papers of one optional subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on `Indian Languages ‘ and `English `but the papers on essay , General studies and optional subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance of who attain such minimum standard as may be fixed by commission at their discretion for the qualifying papers on Indian language and English .
  6. Marks obtained for all the compulsory papers (only from paper I to paper VII above), i.e.250 x 7 = 1750 will be considered for merit.
  7. Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the commission at their discretion ( subject to minimum 10 % marks in each of the seven competitive paper as set for CSE 2013), shall be summoned by the commission for the interview round

(Or the Personality Test). The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled.

  1. Marks thus obtained, for all the compulsory papers (1750) and marks obtained in interview (out of 275) will be counted for final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to various services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various services and posts.
  2. Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the qualifying languages papers, paper –A & paper – B, in any of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English. for the language medium / literature of languages , the scripts to be used by the candidates will be as under :
SindhiDevanagari or Arbic
SantaliDevanagari or Olchiki

Note: For Santhali language, questions paper will be printed in Devanagari script; but candidates will be free to answer either in Devanagari script or in Olchiki.

(X)       Candidates exercising the option to answer papers in any one of
The languages mentioned above may, if they so desire, give English version within brackets of only the description of the technical, if any, in addition to the version in the language opted by them. candidates should however , note that if they misuse the above rule , a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to them and in extreme cases ; their script (s) will  not be valued for being in an unauthorized medium.

(XI)      The question papers (other than the literature of language
Papers) will be set in Hindi and English only.

list of optional subjects for upsc

Animal Husbandry & Veterinary ScienceMathematics
AnthropologyMechanical Engineering
BotanyMedical Science
Civil EngineeringPhysics
Commerce & AccountancyPolitical Science & International Relations
Electrical EngineeringPublic Administration
Indian HistoryZoology