Civil Services Exam 2022 – Civil Services Selection Process, Eligibility, Services, Vacancies, Cutoffs, Syllabus and FAQs

Civil Services Exam 2022 – Civil Services Selection Process, Eligibility, Services, Vacancies, Cutoffs, Syllabus and FAQs

The Civil Services Exam (CSE) in India is a nationwide competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Civil Service posts are categorized into two groups: Group A and Group B. About 24 services are there which comes under the civil services exam and includes the IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IPS (Indian Police Service), IFS (Indian Foreign Service), etc. Click here to view the full list of Civil Services.

The complete process of  the Indian Civil Services Examination starts from the official notification of the preliminary exam, until the declaration of the final results takes place within a year.

Selection Process and Exam Pattern

It is conducted in three phases – a preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II also popularly known as Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT), and a main examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven are counted followed by a personality test (interview).

  1. Stage 1 – UPSC CSE (Preliminary) – Objective Type 
    • UPSC Preliminary exam is qualifying in nature. It is a screening test to select the students for the further selection process. The marks of preliminary exams are not considered in the final merit list. It comprises of two objective type papers of 200 marks each.
PaperSubjectsTotal MarksDuration
IGeneral studies2002 hours
IICSAT2002 hours

The UPSC Civil Services Examination (Preliminary) consists of two papers (objective type), each of 200 marks (with a total of 400 marks) and two hours’ duration. To qualify for the CSE Mains, a candidate needs to clear both the papers.

  • General Studies (GS) paper- consists of 100 questions, while the second paper – CSAT consists of 80 questions. Both papers have negative marking. Each correctly answered GS question will be given two marks.
  • Similarly, in the CSAT paper, since we have 80 questions for 200 marks, correctly answered CSAT question would attract 2.5 marks each, while every wrongly marked question would attract a negative marking of 0.833 for each wrong answer, which will be deducted from the total marks.
  • The Prelims Admit Cards are released on the official website of UPSC 2-3 weeks before the date of the examination. 

Note- Questions that are not attempted will not attract any negative marks.

  1. Stage 2 – UPSC CSE (Main) – Descriptive Type
    • Mains exam is the second stage in CSE selection process it comprises of 9 descriptive type papers –One Essay paper, four General Studies paper, two optional papers (You can choose as per your choice from CSE Optional subjects), two Language papers (Marks scored in this paper will not be included at final ranking order, but the candidate needs to score at least 25% in each paper to qualify).
    • Duration- All papers are of 3 hours
    • Total (Written test) – 1750 Marks
  1. Stage 3 – UPSC CSE Personality Test / Interview – Personality is test is the final round in the CSE selection process. Only those candidates who got shortlisted after mains exam are allowed to attend the interview 
    • 275 Marks
    • Grand total – 1750+275 = 2025 Marks

Candidates who get selected are recruited and trained for various services by the Central Government and then different State Cadres are allotted as per preference and ranking.

All candidates are requested to carefully read the Rules of Civil Services Examination notified by the Government (Department of Personnel and Training) and the Notice of Examination. The Candidates applying for the examination should ensure that they fulfill all eligibility conditions for admission to examination. Their admission to all the stages of the examination will be purely provisional subject to satisfying the prescribed eligibility conditions. Mere issue of e-Admit Card to the candidate will not imply that his/her candidature has been finally cleared by the Commission. The Commission takes up verification of eligibility conditions with reference to original documents only after the candidate has qualified for Interview/Personality Test.

Name of the ExaminationCivil Services Exam (UPSC CSE | UPSC Civils)
Exam LevelAll India / National Level
Conducing BodyUnion Public Service Commission
Exam ModeOffline / Pen and paper mode
Number of Vacancies796
EligibilityThe Civil Services Age Limit for Indian Citizens is between 21 – 32 years.
Number of AttemptsSix attempts are allowed for General Category aspirants in UPSC Civil Services
UPSC CSE Date05 June, 2022

Eligibility Criteria

QualificationAge LimitNationality
Graduation21-32 years
(Age relaxation as per category)
Indian Citizens Only
  • Candidates those who are applying for the Civil Services Exam 2022 are required to fulfil the following criteria:
    • Candidates who are in their final years and yet to appear for the final exam or those who are waiting for the results are also eligible to appear for UPSC preliminary Examination. All such candidates must produce proof of having passed the said examination along with the application for the main examination.
    • Candidates who have a professional and technical qualification recognized by the Government or equivalent are also eligible to apply.
    • Students who passed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination, but are yet to complete their internship can also appear for the examination. Although, they must submit the certificate of course completion (including internship) from the concerned authority of the University/Institution along with the Main Examination application.
  1. Nationality
    • For the Indian Administrative Service(IAS), the Indian Foreign Service(IFS) and the Indian Police Service(IPS) a candidate appearing for the exam must be a citizen of India.
    • For other services, a candidate must be either-
      1. a citizen of India, or
      2. a subject of Nepal, or
      3. a subject of Bhutan, or
      4. Tibetan Refugees who came to India before 1st January 1962, to be settled permanently in India, or
      5.  he/she should be a person of Indian origin (PIO) who has migrated from the countries like – Pakistan, Burma, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zaire and Vietnam, the United Republic of Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Uganda, East African countries of Kenya,  intending to settle in India permanently.
    • The candidates those who belong to categories (2nd), (3rd), (4th) and (5th) should possess a certificate showing the eligibility issued by the Government of India. Such candidates can take the exam before getting the said certificate of eligibility, but only after the Government of India has issued the certificate, he/she would get the offer of appointment.
  2. Educational Qualification
    • Candidates those who are applying for the Civil Services Exam 2020 are required to fulfil the following criteria:
      • Candidates who are in their final years and yet to appear for the final exam or those who are waiting for the results are also eligible to appear for UPSC preliminary Examination. All such candidates must produce proof of having passed the said examination along with the application for the main examination.
      • Candidates who have a professional and technical qualification recognized by the Government or equivalent are also eligible to apply.
      • Students who passed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination, but are yet to complete their internship can also appear for the examination. Although, they must submit the certificate of course completion (including internship) from the concerned authority of the University/Institution along with the Main Examination application.

Eligibility related queries

What is the age limit criteria for the UPSC civil services examination?

  • As per the Civil Services Age Limit criteria, the candidate should be a minimum of 21 years old as o1st August 2020 (for UPSC CSE 2020) and maximum 32 years as of 1st August 2020, i.e., he/she must have been born not earlier tha2nd August 1988 and not later tha1st August 1999.
  • How many attempts are there for the Civil services exams?

  • On a maximum number of attempts, the restriction is valid since 1984.
  • For General category – its six attempts (or up to 32 years of age). Whereas, In case of SC and ST Candidates (SC/ST) – there is no Limit on the number of attempts but are allowed to take the exam until 37 Years of age, for Other Backward Classes (OBC) – 9 attempts (or up to 35 Years) and In case of physically handicapped candidates – 9 attempts for general and OBC, while for SC/ST have no bar on the number of attempts.

    Is there any reservation for ex-servicemen in the UPSC exam?

  • es, relaxations of up to 5 years in case of ECOs/SSCOs those who have completed an initial phase of assignment of 5 years of Military Services as o1st August 2020.
  • Age Limit

    • As per the Civil Services Age Limit criteria, the candidate should be a minimum of 21 years old as o1st August 2020 (for UPSC CSE 2020) and maximum 32 years as of 1st August 2020, i.e., he/she must have been born not earlier tha2nd August 1988 and not later tha1st August 1999.
    • Age Limit is an essential factor in the Eligibility criteria. Therefore, candidates those who are applying for UPSC Exam should properly check the details before filling the online application form.
    • Age limit relaxations for Civil Services Exams are discussed below:
    CategoryUPSC Age Limit- Upper RelaxationNumber of Attempts
    General326
    OBC35 (3 years relaxation)9
    SC/ST37 (5 years relaxation)Unlimited (Up to age limit)
    Defense Services Personnel35 (3 years relaxation)9
    Persons with Benchmark Disability EWS (Economically weaker section)35 (3 years relaxation)9
    • As per the Eligibility for Defense Servicemen, during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area, the person Disabled in operations, therefore, has unique age limit relaxation.
    • In case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Services as o1st August 2020 and whose assignment that has been extended beyond five years and in whose cases the Ministry of Defense issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be getting released on three months’ notice on a selection from the date of receipt of an offer of appointment.
    • Maximum of 10 Years relaxation – in case of Blindness, deaf-mute, orthopedically handicapped persons and acid attack victims.
    • For further details, related to age limitations, aspirants should refer to the latest UPSC Notification.

    Exam Frequency

    • The Civil services exam is conducted every year (Once in a year)
    • The examination schedule is announced in January or February of each year, after which the selection is made in three stages. (Preliminary, Mains and Interview)
    • The Prelims exam is usually scheduled in June or July of each year, Main exam is usually scheduled for January of each year and the Personality test is scheduled for April or May of each year. Please note these schedules are tentative, the final dates are updated on the website as and when UPSC announces the yearly calendar.

    How to Apply

    • Candidates are required to apply online on the official website – https://upsconline.nic.in
    • Use the mentioned detailed instructions to fill the form.
    • Candidates should have details of one id card viz. Aadhar Card/ Voter Card/ PAN Card/ Passport/ Driving license, etc.
    • The facility of withdrawal is available for those who do not want to appear for CSE.

    Roles and Responsibilities

    The role of a civil servant is very venerable; it demands great responsibility and reverence. To handle the continuous work pressure without giving in, it is also important that an officer is physically and mentally fit and healthy.

    Government affairs handling that involves framing and implementation of policy in consultation with the concerned Minister, etc.

    Vacancies and Cut-Offs

    The number of vacancies to be filled through the civil services examination in 2022 is expected to be approximately 712 which include 22 vacancies reserved for Persons with Benchmark Disability Category:

    • 5 vacancies for candidates of (a) blindness and low vision
    • 6 Vacancies for (b) deaf and hard of hearing
    • 6 Vacancies for (c) locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy
    • 5 Vacancies for (e) multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (c) including deaf-blindness.

    However, the final number of vacancies may change. Reservation will be made for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, the Economically Weaker Sections and Persons with Benchmark Disability in respect of vacancies as may be fixed by the Government.

    Preliminary (Prelims) Exam Syllabus

    The 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 on 05 June, 2022.

    The fresh UPSC application form for IAS Exam will be out on 2nd February 2022.

    Candidates appearing in Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2022 will be required to indicate information such as:

    • Detail of Centres for Civil Services (Main) Examination and Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination
    • Optional subject to be selected for the examination
    • Medium of examination for Civil Services (Main) Examination
    • Medium of Examination for Optional Subject if he/she chooses any Indian Language as the Medium of Examination for Civil Services (Main) Examination
    • Compulsory Indian Language for Civil Services (Main) Examination at the time of the filling up online application itself.
    • Negative marking will be by One –Third marks [ (0.66-paper1)/(0.83-paper2)] for each wrong answer.
    • Paper 2 is qualifying in nature; you need only 33% marks to clear this paper.
    • In the PwD category, blind candidates are allotted 20 minutes extra for each paper.
    • The Prelims Admit Cards would be released on the official website of UPSC 2-3 weeks before the date of the examination.

    The number of candidates to be admitted to the Civil Services Mains Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this Examination. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Civil Services Mains Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Civil Services Mains Examination.

    UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination Centres

    The UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination will be held at the following centres:

    AGARTALAGORAKHPURPATNA
    AGRAGURGAONPORT BLAIR
    AJMERGWALIORPRAYAGRAJ (ALLAHABAD)
    AHMEDABADHYDERABADPUDUCHERRY
    AIZAWLIMPHALPUNE
    ALIGARHINDORERAIPUR
    ANANTPUR (ANDHRA PRADESH)ITANAGARRAJKOT
    AURANGABADJABALPURRANCHI
    BANGALOREJAIPURSAMBALPUR
    BAREILLYJAMMUSHILLONG
    BHOPALJODHPURSHIMLA
    BILASPURJORHATSILIGUDI
    CHANDIGARHKOCHISRINAGAR
    CHENNAIKOHIMATHANE
    COIMBATOREKOLKATATHIRUVANANTHAPURAM
    CUTTACKKOZHIKODE (CALICUT)TIRUCHIRAPALLI
    DEHRADUNLEHTIRUPATI
    DELHILUCKNOWUDAIPUR
    DHARWADLUDHIANAVARANASI
    DISPURMADURAIVELLORE
    FARIDABADMUMBAIVIJAYAVADA
    GANGTOKMYSOREVISHAKHAPATNAM
    GAYANAGPURWARANGAL
    GAUTAM BUDDH NAGARNAVI MUMBAI
    GHAZIABADPANAJI (GOA)

    The Centres and the date of holding the examination subject to be changed at the discretion of the Commission. Applicants should note that there will be a ceiling on the number of candidates allotted to each of the Centres, except for Chennai, Dispur, Kolkata and Nagpur.

    Allotment of Centres will be on the “first‐apply‐first allot” basis, and once the capacity of a particular Centre is attained, the same will be frozen.

    Applicants, who cannot get a Centre of their choice due to ceiling, will be required to choose a Centre from the remaining ones. Applicants are, thus, advised that they may apply early so that they could get a Centre of their choice.

    No request for changes in these details once online application is submitted shall be entertained by the Commission.

    Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper 1)

    • National and international – current affairs.
    • Indian History and Indian National Movement.
    • Indian and World Geography- Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
    • Indian Policy and Governance
      1. Constitution
      2. Political System
      3. Panchayati Raj
      4. Public Policy
      5. Rights Issues
    • Economic and Social Development – such as -Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, etc.
    • General issues on the Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – no subject specialization is required.
    • General Science

    Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)

    • Comprehension
    • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
    • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
    • Decision-making and problem solving
    • General mental ability
    • Basic numeracy (such as- numbers and their relations, the orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class Xth level), DI (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)

    Mains Exam Syllabus (1750 Marks)

    The Mains Examination of the Civil Services Examination will be held by the Union Public Service Commission on 16th September, 2022.

    The candidates who are declared to have qualified Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to mandatorily indicate order of preferences only for those services participating in the Civil Services Examination for the year, for which he is interested to be allocated to, in the on-line Detailed Application Form-II [DAF-II], before the commencement of Personality Tests (Interview) of the 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 qualifying examination along with their application (i.e. Detailed Application Form-I) for the Main Examination, failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination. Such proof of passing the requisite qualifying examination should be dated earlier than the due date (closing date) of Detailed Application Form-I of the Main Examination.

    Candidates admitted to the Main Examination will be required to pay a further fee of Rs. 200/- (Rupees Two hundreds only).

    The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Services (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.

    • This phase examines the candidates on various subjects. The Main Exam consists of nine conventional (descriptive) papers out of which two papers are qualifying.
    • The candidate is only allowed to write the IAS Mains after successfully qualifying in the prelims exam.
    • Mains exam evaluates the candidate’s academic talent and his/her ability to present his/her idea/understanding of the particular topic according to the requirements of the question in a time-bound manner.
    • UPSC CSE 2021 Mains exam consists of 9 papers, out of which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each.

    These are the two qualifying papers:

    1. Any Indian Language
    2. English Language

    If a candidate does not qualify, then the marks obtained by such candidates will not be considered for the final shortlisting.

    The Structure of the language papers is as follows:

    • Types of questions are as follows
    1. Essay writing – consists of 100 marks
    2. Reading comprehension –  consists of 60 marks
    3. Precis Writing –  will be of 60 marks
    4. Translations:
      • English to compulsory language  –  consists of 20 marks
      • Compulsory language to English –  will be of 20 marks
    5. Grammar and basic language usage –  consists of 40 marks.

    The purpose of the paper is to evaluate the candidates’ ability to evaluate and understand serious issues and to express his ideas clearly on the table.

    The pattern of questions is as follows:

    • Comprehension of given passages
    • Precis Writing
    • Usage and Vocabulary
    • Short Essay

    Syllabus for Mains Paper 1

    Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance, and women candidates are encouraged to apply.

    Essay: Candidates may be required to write articles on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep close to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

    Syllabus for Mains Paper 2

    General Studies (GS) 1: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

    • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.Modern Indian history will cover the facts from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues.The Freedom Struggle — This topic will cover its various stages and significant contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.Salient features – Indian Society, Diversity of India.Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.Effects of globalization on Indian society.Impacts of Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.Salient features of world’s physical geography.Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

    Syllabus for Mains Paper 3

    General Studies (GS) 2: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

    • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.Separation of powers between various organs disputes redressed mechanisms and institutions.Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.Issues relating to poverty and hunger.Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications,models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizen’s charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.Role of civil services in a democracy.India and its neighbourhood- relations.Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and affecting India’s interests.Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

    Syllabus for Mains Paper 4

    General Studies (GS) 3: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

    • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.Government Budgeting.Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; PublicDistribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.Land reforms in India.Effects of liberalization on the Economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.Investment models.Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.Disaster and disaster management.Linkages between development and spread of extremism.Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; money-laundering and its prevention.Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

    Syllabus for Mains Paper 5

    General Studies (GS) 4: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude.

    This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered:

    • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; the role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion. Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections.Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
      Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and integrity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.Case Studies on the above issues.

    Syllabus for Mains Paper 6 & 7

    Optional Subject Papers I & II – Candidate may choose any optional subject from the List of Optional Subjects mentioned down below.

    PaperSubjectMarks
    Paper A (Qualifying paper)Indian language300
    Paper B  (Qualifying paper)English300
    Paper – IEssay250
    Paper-IIGeneral studies- I250
    Paper – IIIGeneral Studies – II250
    Paper – IVGeneral Studies – III250
    Paper – VGeneral  Studies – IV250
    Paper – VIOptional subject – Paper I250
    Paper – VIIOptional subject – Paper II250
    Sub TotalWritten Test1750
    Personality Test (Interview)275
    Grand Total2025

    Optional Subject Papers I & II – Candidate may choose any optional subject from the List of Optional Subjects mentioned down below.

    List of optional subjects for Mains Examination:

    1. Agriculture
    2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
    3. Anthropology
    4. Botany
    5. Chemistry
    6. Civil Engineering
    7. Commerce and Accountancy
    8. Economics
    9. Electrical Engineering
    10. Geography
    11. Geology
    12. History
    13. Law
    14. Management
    15. Mathematics
    16. Mechanical Engineering
    17. Medical Science
    18. Philosophy
    19. Physics
    20. Political Science and International Relations
    21. Psychology
    22. Public Administration
    23. Sociology
    24. Statistics
    25. Zoology
    26. Literature of any one of the following languages.

    Note- For detailed syllabus click on the link – UPSC Official Syllabus – and download the notification pdf.

    UPSC Civil Services Main Examination Centres

    The UPSC Civil Services Main Examination will be held at the following centres:

    AhmedabadDehliPatna
    AizawlDispur (Guwahati)Prayagraj (Allahabad)
    BangaluruHyderabadRaipur
    BhopalJaipurRanchi
    ChandigarhJammuShillong
    ChennaiKolkataShimla
    CuttackLucknowThiruvananthapuram
    DehradunMumbaiVijayawada

    The Centres and the date of holding the examination subject to be changed at the discretion of the Commission. Applicants should note that there will be a ceiling on the number of candidates allotted to each of the Centres, except for Chennai, Dispur, Kolkata and Nagpur.

    Allotment of Centres will be on the “first‐apply‐first allot” basis, and once the capacity of a particular Centre is attained, the same will be frozen.

    Applicants, who cannot get a Centre of their choice due to ceiling, will be required to choose a Centre from the remaining ones. Applicants are, thus, advised that they may apply early so that they could get a Centre of their choice.

    Interview or Personality Test Syllabus

  • The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a job in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is designed to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms, this is an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs.Some of the qualities of an ideal candidate to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
  • The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate. Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance, and women candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialized or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their particular subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their State or Country as well as in modern currents of thought and in discoveries which should arouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.
    • Candidates who have qualified or cleared the Civil Services Mains Exam will be shortlisted for the Personality Test (Interview).
    • The personality Test or Interview has a total weightage of 275 marks.

    The panel will judge/examine the candidates on various departments starting from his/her academic interest and specialization.  The assessment will be based on intellectual qualities along with their social and communication skills and his/her interests in current affairs/general knowledge.

    Ideal UPSC Civil Services Candidate

    The qualities the UPSC board members seek in an ideal civil services candidate are as follows-

    • Mental alertness
    • Critical thinking or powers of assimilation
    • Clear and logical exposition
    • Balance of judgement
    • Variety and depth of interest
    • The ability for social cohesion and leadership
    • Intellectual and moral integrity

    The official UPSC CSE notification mentions, “The technique of the interview is based on a natural approach towards the candidate’s knowledge, but it can include directed and purposive conversations which  will reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.”

    For clarification, “The personality test is not intended to be a test for either the specialization or the general knowledge of the candidates because it has been already tested through their written papers.

    All Candidates are expected to possess a keen interest in their academic subjects but as well in the events and changes which are happening around them both within and outside their own Country.

    Note:

    • There is no specific syllabus for UPSC personal Interview. Hence, candidates need to work more on their personality, communication and business etiquettes.
    • The final merit will be based on the marks obtained in the Main Examination and Personality Test.

    Group ‘A’ Civil Services

    • Indian Administrative Services (IAS)
    • Indian Forest Services (IFoS)
    • Indian Police Services (IPS)
    • Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
    • Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service
    • Indian Audit and Accounts Service
    • Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
    • Indian Defence Accounts Service
    • Indian Revenue Service (IT)
    • Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
    • Indian Postal Service
    • Indian Civil Accounts Service
    • Indian Railway Traffic Service
    • Indian Railway Accounts Service
    • Indian Railway Personnel Service
    • Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force
    • Indian Defence Estates Service
    • Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
    • Indian Trade Service
    • Indian Corporate Law Service
    • Indian Revenue Service (CBEC)

    Group ‘B’ Civil Services

    • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officers Grade)
    • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service
    • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service
    • Pondicherry Civil Service
    • Pondicherry Police Service

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What is the necessary educational qualification needed to appear in the UPSC IAS Examination?

      Any equivalent degree which may be regular or distant from a recognized university. The candidate must hold a degree/diploma from any of Universities comprise by an Act of the Central and State Legislature in India or other educational institutions, etc.

    2. Can the final year students of graduation appear for UPSC CS Exam?

      Yes, candidates who are in their final years or finals years and are waiting for their results can also appear for the Prelims, and they are also eligible for admission to the Preliminary Exam.

    3. When should I provide the proof of completion of my graduation examination?

      You need to provide the proof before appearing for the mains exam, and all the candidates who are officially declared qualified by the Commission will be required to produce evidence of passing the mentioned exam with their application for the Mains Exam failing to do so will not be admitted to the Mains Exam.

    4. I hesitated to apply for the Civil Services Exam (CSE) because I can’t speak English fluently. Is it possible for me to write the Civil Services Mains Exam in English and take the interview afterwards in Hindi or any other Indian language?

      You don’t have to hold yourself back just because you can’t speak fluently in English because UPSC gives the options in this regard, such as: 
      If you decide to write the Civil Services Exam (CSE) in English, you have to choose English as the medium for the interview as well, or maybe Hindi or any other Indian language opted by you for the Indian Language Paper (ILP) in the written part of civil services mains exam.  
      On the other hand, if you are released from the Compulsory Indian Language paper (ILP), then you will have to choose between English or Hindi as a medium of your interview as per your comfort zone. 
      Note- To get more updates on the UPSC 2022 notifications, click on: https://www.upsc.gov.in/exams-related-info/exam-notification

    5. If I apply for the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) but do not appear in any paper, will that be counted as an attempt?

      No, an attempt will only be counted if you have appeared in at least one paper- be it Prelims or Mains, because only filling the application form is not considered an attempt, you will have to write the exam. 

    6. If a candidate belongs to any community, like in the OBC list but not in the Central list of OBCs is he/she is considered eligible for the age relaxation, reservations etc. for the Civil Services Examinations (CSE)?

      No, only candidates belonging to the listed communities which are included in the Central list of OBCs are considered eligible for such relaxations, etc.

    7. Is it possible for me to choose an optional subject in CSE (in Mains), which I have never studied before or in the Graduation/PG?

      Yes, you are eligible to choose the optional subject as per your interest as long as you have completed your graduation from a recognized university. 

    8. Can I write different papers in different languages for Civil Services Exam (CSE) Mains?

      No, you have the option to select the language before appearing for the exam to write it either in English or in any language that is mentioned in the UPSC Notification. 

    9. Usually, it is advised that the candidates should carefully study the last ten years question papers of General Studies papers (Prelims) exam as that provides us with the overall overview of nature and format, like- how the questions are framed from the respective themes of the syllabus and also indicate the difficulty level?

      Yes, old/previous years’ papers help the candidates to understand the format and nature of the exam and helps them to prepare their strategies accordingly.

    10. Are individual marks secured the phases in various papers or aggregate marks across all documents considered for merit?

      Total marks are considered.

    11. How severe is the competition in UPSC. Civil Services Examination (CSE)?

      You can understand the level of competition in UPSC from the below-mentioned stats: 
      Number of vacancies released each year: Are between 1000 to 1200. 
      Number of candidates who filled the UPSC form: Are usually more than nine lacs. 
      Number of applicants who appear for the Preliminary exam: Are almost around 4.5-5 lacs. 
      Number of candidates who qualify the Prelims for the mains exam: They are equal to the twelve to thirteen times the number of vacancies released by CSE. 
      Number of Candidates who qualify the mains to appear for the Interview: 2-2½ times the Nos. of vacancies in the CSE Thus, one can say that CSE is one of the most stringent national level exams. 

    12. Will there be any exceptions to anyone in any unfortunate circumstances to the above-mentioned requirements for the UPSC CSE?

      In some exceptional cases, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) may treat a candidate who has not any of the above qualifications as a qualified candidate and prove that he/she has cleared the exam conducted by the other recognized Institution.

    13. I have professional/technical qualification- So, am I eligible to appear for the UPSC Exam?

      Candidates who have a professional and technical qualifications/degree recognized by the Government of India as equivalent to the other professional and a full-time technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the examination.

    14. I have passed MBBS, but I have not completed an internship yet. Can I appear for UPSC CSE?

      Candidates who have passed the final year of a professional MBBS or any other Medical Examination but are yet to complete their internships by the time of applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, but they will have to provide the proof of their qualifications certificate from the concerned University/Institution that they had passed their final professional medical exam, along with their application.

    15. Is it possible to clear the IAS exam without attending any professional classroom (Practical) coaching?”

      Yes, only if you are good at self-study. We are not saying classroom coaching isn’t sufficient- it is, but still, you have to study/revise on your own and if you don’t have a good study plan- doesn’t matter which coaching you have finished you won’t be able to clear the exam.  
      There are some outstanding coaching institutes and professors who help aspirants save a lot of time, effort and even money if you follow up the course for 2-3 times. But like I said- not all coaching institutes provide the qualitative information, just follow up with the study materials and mock tests, and you will be good to go.

    16. Will there be individual cut-offs for papers in Civil Service Prelims exam?

      The minimum cut off for Paper-2 is 33 per cent. The Commission may fix minimum cut-off marks for Paper-1 as well.

    17. Will UPSC CSE deduct marks from the total score for the lousy handwriting or spelling mistakes?

      If a candidate’s handwriting or spelt words are not easily readable, a deduction will be made from the total marks.

    18. Will there be a minimum qualifying mark for the UPSC Mains exam for compulsory subjects?

      The Commission has the diplomacy to fix qualifying marks in any or all the subjects of the examination. Since 2015, the minimum score was 25% for any Indian language, and English language, forex-  For GS1, GS2, GS3 and GS4, minimum qualifying marks demanded are 10%. 

    19. Which stream/subject do I have to choose for graduation if I want to clear UPSC CSE?

      Most of the questions in the first phase like- general studies papers in Prelims and Mains are related to Humanities background. But it is not necessary to take Humanities as your primary stream just to clear the UPSC. CSE. 
      You should select your graduation stream based on your interest and skills – it can be humanities, science, engineering, literature or management, etc. For graduation degree, select any stream as per your requirements. Afterwards, you are free to choose any optional subject for UPSC. Mains exam and it doesn’t have to be the one you studied for graduation.

    20. Is there negative marking for the Preliminary exam?

      There is negative marking for the incorrect/wrong answers for all questions, except for the questions where negative marking will be inbuilt as per their appropriateness and not so appropriate solutions for such problems.

    21. Is it compulsory for an aspirant to take the same optional subjects in the Mains Examination, which he/she had in the UG/PG level?

      No, it is not compulsory. 

    22. If a candidate has applied for the Prelims Exam but has not appeared in the exam, will it still be counted as a UPSC attempt?

      No, an attempt is only counted if a candidate has appeared in at least one UPSC CSE paper.

    23. Can a candidate/aspirant choose an optional subject, which he/she has not studied at a graduation/PG level?

      Yes, a candidate can choose an optional subject he/she has not studied at PG level.

    24. Candidates who belong to a community included in the OBC, SC/ST list of Indian states but not in the Central list are eligible for age relaxation, reservations, etc. for UPSC IAS examination?

      No, only candidates who belong to the communities which are included in the Central lists are eligible.

    25. Can a candidate who has or about to complete his/her education from an open school/ University apply for the UPSC Exam?

      Yes, candidates having passed a bachelor degree from the any open recognized University are eligible to write the exam. The minimum educational qualifications prescribed for the review is a bachelor’s degree. 

    26. Is there any relaxation in several attempts for physically handicapped?

      Only physically disabled candidates belonging to SC, ST and OBC categories are eligible for relaxation in several attempts provided to such groups.

    27. How many times one can take this exam (number of attempts)?

      Number of attempts allowed: General Category– Four (4) Attempts, OBC– Seven (7) Attempts and SC/ST– No restriction.

    28. What is the full form of UPSC?

      The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), India’s premier central recruiting agency is responsible for examinations for All India Services and Central Services. At the same time, the Department of Personnel and Training is the central personnel agency in India.
      UPSC – Recruits candidates for Exams
      All India Services
      Central services and armed forces
      E.g., IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, NDA, IES, etc.
      Headquarter of UPSC- New Delhi
      UPSC contact details:
      Postal Address: UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi – 110069
      Email: [email protected]
      011-23098543/23385271/23381125/23098591
      The working hours of the UPSC are from 10:00 AM till 5:00 PM.

    State Public Service Commissions and Services

    The ‘State Civil Services,’ also known as ‘Provincial Civil Services, ‘ provide a lucrative alternative to the All India Services like the IAS, IPS, and IFS. The State Civil Services (SCS) examinations and recruitment are conducted by the individual states’ public service commissions across the states in India.

    These services are often considered the feeder services of All India Services. The Governors make all appointments to State Services (Group A) of States. Every state has its own separate ‘Public Service Commission’ responsible for conducting competitive examinations to recruit new candidates into a particular State’s Civil Service.

    State civil services officer is a highly reputed post among State level government employees. Each state conducts its own PSC exams. Only the eligible citizens of that particular state can sit for the entrance. Many aspirants see it as an alternative for UPSC or Civil Service exams at the national level.

    Government jobs are something that the citizens need and are also essential for the entire nation. Stable pay to people and stable running of the system is only possible via governmental jobs. But this whole process of selecting people to fill in the job sector isn’t easy.

    And that’s what the Public Service Commission does. It’s the process of a board that controls the whole slot filling job. PSC is through what the governmental body recruits people through a series of examinations.

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    This post was last updated on October 24th, 2021 at 10:08 pm

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