Examination Details


About the Examination Process

In order to get selected into these coveted services, candidates have to appear in the Civil Services Exam (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and should pass through a three-phase selection process. The three phases are the Preliminary Exam (Prelims), (Main) Examination (Mains) and The Personality Test (Interview).

How to Apply

Candidates are required to apply Online using the official website of UPSC that is www.upsconline.nic.in.

Plan of Examination

The Civil Services Examination consists of three successive stages:

  1. Preliminary Examination
  • It comprises of two papers of 200 marks each i.e., General   Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II.
  • GS Paper-II(also known as CSAT i.e., Civil Services Aptitude Test) is of qualifying nature in which a candidate has to secure 33% marks only.
  • Multiple Choice Questions (Objective type) are asked in this stage. Marks obtained in this stage are counted only to decide merit in preliminary examination, not for final selection. Clearing the Prelims makes one eligible for the next stage of the exam.
  1. Mains Examination

          It is the ‘written stage’ of the examination. It consists of nine   papers of which, marks of only seven papers are  counted in  deciding the final merit list. In the remaining two papers,  a candidate has to secure the minimum qualifying marks           decided by UPSC each year. The question papers for the Mains examination are of conventional (essay) type.

Two Qualifying Papers are:

Paper-A (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution): _________________________________  300 Marks

Paper-B (English): _______________________________    300 Marks

Civil Services Exam Pattern for Mains
Papers Subjects Marks
Paper A One of the Indian languages (listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India) (Qualifying) 300
Paper B English (Qualifying) 300
Paper I Essay 250
Paper II General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society) 250
Paper III General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations) 250
Paper IV General Studies III (Technology, economic development, biodiversity, environment, security and disaster management) 250
Paper V General Studies IV (ethics, integrity and aptitude) 250
Papers VI, VII Two papers on subjects to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks for each paper) 250 250
Sub Total (Written Test) 1750
Personality Test (Interview)    275
Total Marks  2025

Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects from amongst the list of subjects given below:

(i) Agriculture (ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science (iii) Anthropology (iv) Botany (v) Chemistry (vi) Civil Engineering (vii) Commerce and Accountancy (viii) Economics (ix) Electrical Engineering (x) Geography (xi) Geology (xii) History (xiii) Law (xiv) Management (xv) Mathematics (xvi) Mechanical Engineering (xvii) Medical Science (xviii) Philosophy (xix) Physics (xx) Political Science and International Relations (xxi) Psychology (xxii) Public Administration (xxiii) Sociology (xxiv) Statistics (xxv) Zoology (xxvi) Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.


  1. Personality Test (Interview)

The Civil Services Personality Test consists of a board of members for assessing the candidate’s personality. A candidate is asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate.

*Final rank of a candidate in merit list depends upon the total marks scored in Mains Examination and Interview.

          Eligibility Criteria:

  • For the IAS and the IPS, a candidate must be a citizen of India. For other services, a candidate must be either a citizen of India or a citizen of some other country (eligible after meeting with some special conditions).
  • A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August of examination year. The upper age-limit is relaxable, maximum of 5 years for SC/STs candidates and 3 years for OBC candidates. Age relaxation is also applicable for Ex-Defence personnel and candidates with certain disability.
  • A candidate must hold a university degree, or possess an equivalent qualification for appearing in Civil Services Examination. Candidates who have appeared in the final year of degree examination and also the candidates who intend to appear at such a qualifying examination will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary Examination. But such candidates have to produce proof of passing the requisite examination before appearing in Civil Services (Mains) Examination.

          Number of attempts:

Every candidate appearing at the examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six (6) attempts at the CSE. However, relaxation in the number of attempts will be available to the SC/ST/OBC and PwBD category candidates who are otherwise eligible. The number of attempts available to such candidates as per relaxation is as under:





Category to which the Candidate Belongs
Unlimited 09 09 for GL/EWS/OBC Unlimited for SC/ST

Note-I :

PwBD = Persons with Benchmark Disability

GL = General

EWS = Economically Weaker Sections

OBC = Other Backward Classes

SC = Scheduled Castes

ST = Scheduled Tribes

Note-II : An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be deemed to be an attempt at the Civil Services Examination.

Note-III : If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, it will be deemed that the candidate has made an attempt at the Examination.

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