UPSC conducts many exams every year. Most prestigious exam is CIVIL SERVICES EXAM.

Some details are provided below. Always check official notification about vacancy as there may be some updates every year.

Services and Posts

The Civil Services Examination(CSE) offers the widest range of jobs in our country and is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). There are about twenty-three (23) services offered through this single examination.

Preliminary Examination of the Civil Services Examination for recruitment to the Services and Posts mentioned below will be held by the Union Public Service Commission (Mostly in May - June every year) in accordance with the Rules published by the Department of Personnel & Training in the Gazette of India Extraordinary . 

(i) Indian Administrative Service.
(ii) Indian Foreign Service.
(iii) Indian Police Service.
(iv) Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’.
(v) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
(vi) Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’.
(vii) Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
(viii) Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’.
(ix) Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration).
(x) Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’.
(xi) Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
(xii) Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’.
(xiii) Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group 'A'.
(xiv) Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’.
(xv) Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’
(xvi) Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’.
(xvii) Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’.
(xviii) Indian Trade Service, Group 'A' (Gr. III).
(xix) Indian Corporate Law Service, Group "A".
(xx) Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade).
(xxi) Delhi, A&N Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group 'B'.
(xxii) Delhi, A&N Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group 'B'.
(xxiii) Pondicherry Civil Service, Group 'B'.
(xxiv) Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’.

Some of the top services offered are the two All India Services, viz., the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) along with the other central services, viz., Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS) etc.


Syllabus and Pattern

UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted in three phases:

  • Preliminary Examination (Objective)
  • Main Examination (Subjective)
  • Interview (Vocal)


Phase 1: Preliminary Examination 



Objective Questions



Paper I: General Studies1002 Hours200
Paper II: CSAT802 Hours200
Total Marks  400


Note: The marks which are secured in the prelims are only for qualifying the Mains Examination. It is not counted to determine the order of merit. The Qualifying marks for Paper II: CSAT is 33%. For every incorrect answer, you will be penalized 1/3rd of the total marks allocated to that question. The candidates will be promoted to the Mains only based on the marks in Paper I: General Studies.



UPSC Prelims Syllabus Maximum MarksDuration Of Exam

General Studies Paper – I

  • 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, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization
  • General Science
200 Marks2 Hours

CSAT/ General Studies Paper- II 

Qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

  • 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)
200 Marks2 Hours


UPSC Prelims PYQ's
Indian Constitution complete video series


Phase 2: Main Examination 

The Mains Examination is a written Examination. It consists of 9 Papers out of which 2 are Qualifying in nature namely Paper A and Paper B; remaining 7 papers which are  Paper I to Paper VII marks added to interview marks for final Ranking. The Questions will be available in Hindi as well as in English.

S. NoName of  PaperName of  SubjectMarks
1.Paper-A.Modern Indian Language. (Qualifying Paper).300.
2.Paper-B.English (Qualifying Paper).300.
4.Paper-II.General studies-I.250.
5.Paper-III.General studies-II.250.
6.Paper-IV.General studies-III.250.
7.Paper-V.General studies-IV.250.
8.Paper-VI.Optional Subject (Paper-1).250.
9.Paper-VII.Optional Subject (Paper-2).250.
 Total. 2025.


Note: Here, Modern Indian Language means any language which is included in the 8th Schedule to the Constitution of India.

The Final Ranking of the candidates is based on the marks obtained in the Mains and the Interview.


Syllabus of IAS Mains Examination 



 Paper Name



1Essay PaperAny Topic (Current issues)250
2GS Paper IIndian Heritage and
Culture, Indian History, World History, World Geography, Indian Society, Important Geo-physical phenomena
3GS Paper IIGovernance, Indian Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and
International relations, Welfare Schemes, Statutory, regulatory and quasi-judicial bodies, Role of civil services in  a democracy, India’s relation with neighbour countries, International institutions
4GS Paper IIITechnology,
Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment,
Indian Economy and its various sectors,Government Budgeting,  Land Reforms,Inclusive Growth,Security and Disaster Management
5GS Paper IV

Ethics and Human Interface



Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Public/Civil service value

Probity in Governance

Case study on above topics

Indian Language Paper
Comprehension of given passages
Precis Writing
Usage and Vocabulary
Short Essays
Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa 
7EnglishComprehension of given passages
Precis Writing
Usage and Vocabulary
Short Essays 
8Optional Paper IAs opted by Candidate250
9Optional Paper IIAs opted by Candidate250


IAS Mains Classes 

IAS Mains History Optional 


List of Optional Subject in CSE Mains 

The List of Optional Subjects is as follows:   

(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

The literature of any one of the languages such as Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English.

Note: The candidate can select the literature of any of the above languages only if he or she has graduated in the Literature of that specific Language as the Main Subject.

UPSC Civil Services Interview 

The interview is conducted after the Candidate is passed in the Mains Examination. The Interview plays an important role in the Selection of the Candidate.(275 marks)

  • The Selected candidate will be interviewed by a Board which consists of the Competent as well as fair-minded members. The Board will have the record of career of the Candidate. The candidate will be asked questions on the General interest of the Board. The purpose of the interview is mainly to review the Candidate’s Personality Suitability for a Career in Public Service i.e. IAS. The Board also observes and judges the Mental Ability as well as Mental Caliber of the Candidate. The Interview is conducted to assess the intellectual qualities as well as the Social behavior of the Candidate and the interest of the candidate in the Current affairs. The Board essentially observes the qualities such as Mental Alertness, Clear & Logical Exposition, Critical Powers of Assimilation, Social Traits, Interest & Knowledge on Current Affairs, Balance of Judgment, Variety & Depth of Interest, Ability of Social Cohesion, Leadership Skills, and Intellectual & Moral Integrity.
  • The Objective of the Interview is not to cross-examine the candidate, but to analyze his or her Intellectual & Mental Qualities.
  • The Board is interested to ask the questions relating to the events occurring in India as well as the World. As the candidates are already examined on the topics of Current Affairs and the Subjects in the written Examinations, the Board is interested to ask these questions. The Score of the Candidate will be based on the Personality test conducted as well as the intellectual Qualities.   



  1. The candidate must have at least a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university to take the UPSC exam.
  2. Even those candidates who have written the final year exams of the qualifying exam (bachelor’s degree) and are awaiting results can apply. Also, candidates who would write the final exam are also eligible to apply for the IAS prelims exam. But, these candidates must produce proof of passing the exam while applying for the IAS mains exam.
  3. 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 ,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. The applications for the Main Examination are called sometime in the month of August/September.
  4. In exceptional cases the Union Public Service Commission may treat a candidate who has not any of the foregoing qualifications as a qualified candidate provided that he/she has passed examination conducted by the other Institutions, the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission justifies his/her admission to the examination.
  5. Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications which are recognised by Government as equivalent to professional and technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the examination.
  6. 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.



  1. For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
  2. For other services, a candidate must be either:
  3. a citizen of India, or
  4. a subject of Nepal, or
  5. a subject of Bhutan, or
  6. a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
  7. a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

Provided further that candidates belonging to categories (b), (c) and (d) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.

Note: A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.


Age Limits

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 respective year. Necessary action to make corresponding changes in respective Rules/Regulations pertaining to various services is being taken separately.


Age Relaxation

The upper age limit prescribed above (of not having attained the age of 32 years as on 1st August) will be relaxed as in:



Age Relaxation

For candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled TribeUp to a maximum of 5 years
For candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidatesUp to a maximum of 3 years
In the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereofUp to a maximum of 3 years
In the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/ SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st August (of the year in which s/he is appearing for the Preliminary Examination) and have been released (i) on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1st August of the year in which he/she is appearing for the Preliminary Examination) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or (ii) on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or (iii) on invalidment.Up to a maximum of 5 years
In the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1st August of the year in which s/he is appearing for the Preliminary Examination and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months’ notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.Up to a maximum of 5 years
For blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped candidatesUp to a maximum of 10 years


Upper age limit is also calculated on the date Aug 1. This means if the candidate is appearing for 2020 prelims, he/she should be below the mentioned maximum limit by Aug 1, 2020. Upper age limit is fixed different for different categories, which is as given below.

  1. Upper age limit for General category: 32 years.
  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 Orthopedically handicapped persons (general category): 42 years.

Apart from the mentioned limits, OBC/ SC/ ST candidates will get the benefit of cumulative age relaxation. This means age relaxations gets added in special cases, say, for example, if the person is OBC + Ex-servicemen, he will get an extension of 3 + 5 = 8 years, so his upper age limit now stands at 40 years.


Attempts Limit

A general category candidate has an age limit of 32 years, but that doesn’t mean that he can write this exam as many times as he wishes. There are some restrictions on the number of times this exam can be taken, which again is different for different categories.

  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.

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


How to Apply 

Candidates are required to apply online using the website Detailed instructions for filling up online applications are available on the above mentioned website.

Note: The applicants are advised to submit only single application; however, if due to any unavoidable situation, if he/she submits another/multiple applications, then he/she must ensure that application with the higher RID is complete in all respects like applicants’ details, examination centre, photograph, signature, fee etc. The applicants who are submitting multiple applications should note that only the applications with higher RID (Registration ID) shall be entertained by the Commission and fee paid against one RID shall not be adjusted against any other RID.

All candidates, whether already in Government Service, Government owned industrial undertakings or other similar organizations or in private employment should submit their applications direct to the Commission.

Persons already in Government Service, whether in a permanent or temporary capacity or as work charged employees other than casual or daily rated employees or those serving under the Public Enterprises are however, required submitting an undertaking that they have informed in writing their Head of Office/Department that they have applied for the Examination.

Candidates should note that in case a communication is received from their employer by the Commission withholding permission to the candidates applying for/appearing at the examination, their application will be liable to be rejected/candidature will be liable to be cancelled


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By Naresh IAS