Civil Services Examination 2021 – Exam and Selection Process
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.
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).
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.
Civil Services Exam 2021 – Eligibility Criteria
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.
Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service
Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS)
Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS)
Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS)
Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)
Indian Communication Finance Service (ICFS)
Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)
Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
Indian Information Service (IIS)
Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)
Indian Police Service (IPS)
Indian Postal Service (IPos)
Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
Indian Revenue Service (IRS)
Indian Trade Service (ITS)
Pondicherry Civil Service
Puducherry Police Service (PONDIPS)
Railway Protection Force (RPF)
Civil Services Examination 2021 – Vacancies and Cut-Offs
The number of vacancies to be filled through the examination 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.
Civil Services Exam 2021 – Syllabus
UPSC CSE 2021 is considered the toughest set of exams to be conducted in India, and having a clear understanding of the syllabus and subjects helps you prepare your strategy in advance. Here, you will find the complete UPSC syllabus for the CSE conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to prepare your strategy accordingly.
UPSC released the official notification for the Civil Service Exam on February 12, 2021 along with the syllabus.
To understand the UPSC exam pattern, one needs to understand the IAS and IPS syllabus. It will help you in eliminating wasteful efforts like reading unnecessary topics, and hence the strategy will keep you on track.
There is usually a typical UPSC syllabus pattern for services such as the IAS, Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), etc.
The UPSC Prelims syllabus mainly focuses on general and societal awareness which is tested by objective-type (MCQ) questions. On the other hand, the UPSC Mains syllabus is much more comprehensive as this stage comprises of nine theory papers.
Civil Services Preliminary Examination
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 October 10, 2021.
The last date for receipt of applications was on March 24, 2021.
Candidates appearing in Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2021 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.
No request for changes in these details once online application is submitted shall be entertained by the Commission.
Civil Services Mains Examination
The UPSC Civil Services Main Examination will have both the Written and Interview parts.
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.
Civil Services Examination - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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.
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.
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.
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 2021 notifications, click on: https://www.upsc.gov.in/exams-related-info/exam-notification
Answer: 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.
No, only candidates belonging to the listed communities which are included in the Central list of OBCs are considered eligible for such relaxations, etc.
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.
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.
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.
Total marks are considered.
You can understand the level of competition in UPSC from the below-mentioned stats:
- No. of vacancies released each year: Are between 1000 to 1200.
- No. of candidates who filled the UPSC form: Are usually more than nine lacs.
- No. of applicants who appear for the Preliminary exam: Are almost around 4.5-5 lacs.
- No. of candidates who qualify the Prelims for the mains exam: They are equal to the twelve to thirteen times the nos. of vacancies released by CSE.
- Nos. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The minimum cut off for Paper-2 is 33 per cent. The Commission may fix minimum cut-off marks for Paper-1 as well.
If a candidate’s handwriting or spelt words are not easily readable, a deduction will be made from the total marks.
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%.
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.
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.
No, it is not compulsory.
No, an attempt is only counted if a candidate has appeared in at least one UPSC CSE paper.
Yes, a candidate can choose an optional subject he/she has not studied at PG level.
No, only candidates who belong to the communities which are included in the Central lists are eligible.
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.
Only physically disabled candidates belonging to SC, ST and OBC categories are eligible for relaxation in several attempts provided to such groups.
Number of attempts allowed: General Category– Four (4) Attempts, OBC– Seven (7) Attempts and SC/ST– No restriction.