Civil Services Examination

Details of Civil Services Examination held by UPSC in India


Civil Services Examination

The Civil Services Examination is divided in two successive stages:

  1. Civil Services (Preliminary)

This examination is for the screening and selection of candidates for Civil Services (Main) Examination.

The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions).

This examination is only a screening test. The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination will not be counted towards determining final order of merit in Main examination.

  1. Civil Services (Main)

The Main Examination will consist of written examination and a personal interview.

The written examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type.

Candidates who obtain minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination will be called for personal interview.

The total marks obtained in written and personal interview will determine final ranking.

UPSC conducts the Civil Services Main examination after the preliminary examination once every year.

Age Limit

A candidate must be at least 21 years old and should be less than 32 years old. The upper age limit is relaxable for some castes, Ex-servicemen and differently abled candidates.

Exam Centres

As announced by UPSC

Subjects in Civil Services (Preliminary) Exam

Paper Number Name Type of Paper Max. Marks Duration Notes
Paper I General Studies Objective 200 2 hours
Paper II General Studies Objective 200 2 hours Qualifying paper with minimum 33% marks

Paper I Syllabus

Current events of national and international importance

History of India and Indian National Movement

Indian and World Geography

Indian Polity and Governance

Economic and Social Development

General issues on Environmental Ecology

Bio-diversity and Climate Change

Paper II Syllabus


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)

Subjects in Civil Services Main Exam

Written Examination (Essay Type)

Paper Number Name Question details Max. Marks Duration
Paper A Indian Language Please see pattern of questions below 300 3 hours
Paper B English Please see pattern of questions below 300 3 hours
Paper I Essay 250 3 hours
Paper II General Studies I Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society 250 3 hours
Paper III General Studies II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations 250 3 hours
Paper IV General Studies III Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management 250 3 hours
Paper V General Studies IV Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude 250 3 hours
Paper VI Optional Subject – Paper 1 250 3 hours
Paper VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 250 3 hours

Total:  1750 Marks

The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and Paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in Paper A and Paper B will not be counted for ranking.

List of optional subjects for Main Examination

Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology and Literature of any one of the following languages:

Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

Paper A (Indian Languages) pattern of questions

(i) Comprehension of given passages (ii) Précis Writing (iii) Usage and Vocabulary (iv) Short Essays (v) Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa

Paper B (English) pattern of questions

(i) Comprehension of given passages (ii) Précis Writing (iii) Usage and Vocabulary (iv) Short Essays

Interview for Personality Test

The personality test will be conducted by a board of members who will test candidate in Current Affairs and General Knowledge.

The qualities that will be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

The personality test carries maximum 275 marks.

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