Everything you should know about UPSC Civil Services Exam

“I want to become IAS/IPS.” You might have heard this sentence a lot of times before from your peers, cousins or toppers. Now, you must be wondering what it means exactly? What is the full form of these terms? These terms are related to the civil services in India. A statutory government body Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) conducts the Civil Services exam every year to select civil servants for various government departments. For example, Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Revenue Services(IRS) and many other All India services.
Why should one choose UPSC?
If you are carrying the zeal to serve your country and its people, a career in Public Administration is the perfect option for you. A career in civil services not only assures a prestigious government job but also offers a challenging career with the power to bring efficiency in the country’s administration at the grassroots level. Being a civil servant certainly bring high status and power to change lives and system. It is a high paid job with the highest job security. A civil servant’s job allows you to work on various profiles and to take up new challenging task every day. If you are competitive enough and bear the fire within you to bring real change, this is the job you should choose.
What is the eligibility criteria to appear for the UPSC Civil Services exam?
This is an all India exam where the eligibility requirements are quite basic. To be eligible for this exam, Candidate must be an Indian national, and he/she should be graduated or above.Candidates who have appeared their final year of the graduation exam can also appear for the UPSC exam. Let us discuss the age limit and the number of attempts based on the different categories.

CategoryUpper Age LimitNo. of Attempts
SC/ST37No Bar
PH(Blind,dead, orthopedic)42Gen/OBC: 9, SC/ST: No bar

The age is calculated on 1st of August of the year of Preliminary Examination.
Exam pattern
The pattern of the UPSC civil services exam is also quite basic. It is comprised of two critical stages. They are Preliminary Exam & Mains exams (written test & interview). Let us understand every stage of the exam in detail.
Preliminary Exam: Preliminary exam is the first stage which is based on multiple choice questions. The preliminary exam of civil services is of qualifying nature. That means, the marks obtained in this step will not be counted in the final result. Here is the exam pattern of the preliminary exam.

Name of the paper

No. of questions asked

Marks allottedDuration

General Studies Paper I

1002002 Hours
General Studies Paper II80200

2 Hours


So, the preliminary exam is worth 400 marks in total. Candidates who clear the cut-offs become eligible to appear for the mains exam. Let us understand both the papers in detail,
General Studies Paper I: General Studies question paper cover a bunch of topics based on the current affairs of national and international importance to various static data based subjects such as history, polity, Indian and world Geography, general science and ecology, economic and social development, etc.
General Studies Paper II (Civil Services Aptitude Test – CSAT)
The primary motive of the CSAT paper is to test a candidate’s logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision-making and problem-solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, etc. This paper is of qualifying nature where candidates should attain at least 33% of marks to make the prelims.
Mains Exam:

Name of the paper Marks allottedDuration
Paper A (Indian language)Candidate can take any Modern Indian language but this paper is of qualifying nature.3003 Hours
Paper B (English Language)This paper is of qualifying nature3003 Hours
Paper I (Essay)This is a Essay paper where candidate can write in the medium or language of the their own choice.2503 Hours
Paper II (General Studies I)Indian Heritage and Culture,History and Geography of the World and Society2503 Hours
Paper III (General Studies II)Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations2503 Hours

So, the subtotal of the written exam goes to 1,750 marks. The candidates who successfully clear the Main’s cutoff can appear the final stage of the exam. i.e. Personal Interview.
Personal Interview:
Candidates who clear the Written Examination (Written) are called for the final stage of selection. i.e. Personal Interview. The personal Interview is worth 275 Marks which tests candidate’s communication skills, decision-making ability, and quick thinking. With the Personal Interview, the main examination (written and interview) is worth 2025 marks overall.
The number of vacancies varies every year. UPSC discloses the available no. of vacancies for the current year. If we consider the comprehensiveness of the syllabus, the exam appears to be quite tough to crack. But, it becomes tougher, the moment we consider the competition for a limited number of posts. The most prime element that will help you to sail through is the fire and the passion within you. So, take the first step and start your journey!!

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