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UPSC Civil Services Exam Scheme
UPSC Civil Services Exam Scheme

UPSC Civil Services Exam Scheme

Civil Services Examination is one of the most coveted examinations conducted by New Delhi-based Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The exam is a popularly also know as IAS exam. The aspirants of such examination therefore known as IAS aspirants. Through our dedicated website IASaspirants.com we aim to provide complete, clear and authentic information about UPSC Civil Services Exam scheme, syllabus, pattern, previous years question papers, study material, mock test papers, etc.

It is essential for all IAS aspirants or Civil Services aspirants to have right information about the UPSC Civil Services Exam scheme.

Civil Services Exam scheme consists of two successive stages:

  1. Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination; and
  2. Civil Services Main Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and posts.

Note: Please note that Interview is not separate stage of Civil Services Examination, but part of Civil Services Main Examination stage.

STAGE I: Civil Services Exam Scheme – Preliminary Examination (Objective type)

  • The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (CSP) is also popularly known as Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). However, officially for UPSC there is nothing called Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).
  • The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (CSP) consists of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions).
  • The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (CSP) is meant to serve as a screening test only.
  • The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates, who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination, are not counted for determining their final order of merit.
  • The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination is about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year in the various Services and Posts.
  • Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year are eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.
  • The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies PaperII 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.
  • The minimum qualifying marks for General Studies Paper II is 33 percent.
  • In both Paper I and Paper II for each wrong answer there is a negative marking of 1/3rd of the allotted marks of that question.
  • The Preliminary Examination shall comprise two compulsory papers of 200 marks each.
  • Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions).
  • The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. However, questions relating to English Language, Comprehension skills of Class X level will be tested through passages from English Language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
  • Each paper will be of two hours duration. Blind candidates will however; be allowed an extra time of twenty minutes at each paper.
  • For detailed information on Civil Services Exam scheme, syllabus, pattern, previous years question paper please explore this site.
SN Paper Mode Nature Duration Questions Maximum Marks
1 General Studies I Compulsory Objective 2 hours 100 200
2 General Studies II Compulsory Objective 2 hours 80 200
3 Total 400

STAGE II: Civil Services Exam Scheme – Main Examination (Written and Interview)

  • This is the second stage of Civil Services Exam scheme.
  • The Civil Services (Main) Examination (CSM) consists of a written examination and an interview test.
  • The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.
  • The written examination will consist of papers of conventional essay type.
  • Candidates, who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, are summoned by them for an interview for a Personality Test.
  • The number of candidates to be summoned for interview is about twice the number of vacancies to be filled.
  • Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking.
  • Candidates will be allotted to the various Services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and posts.
SN Paper No. Paper Name Nature Duration Maximum Marks
1. Paper A Modern Indian Language (Qualifying Paper) Subjective 3 hours 300
2. Paper B English (Qualifying Paper) Subjective 3 hours 300
3. Paper I Essay Subjective 3 hours 250
4. Paper II General Studies – I
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Subjective 3 hours 250
5. Paper III General Studies – II
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Subjective 3 hours 250
6. Paper IV General Studies – III
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Subjective 3 hours 250
7. Paper V General Studies – IV
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Subjective 3 hours 250
8. Paper VI Optional Subject *
Paper I
Subjective 3 hours 250
9. Paper VII Optional Subject *
Paper II
Subjective 3 hours 250
10. Sub-Total (Written Test) 1750
11. Personality Test (Interview) 275
12. Grand Total 2025

List of optional subjects for Civil Services (Mains) Examinations (CSM)

A candidate has to select any one optionals from the following list.

1. Agriculture
2. Animal Husbandry & 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 one of the following languages:
Arabic, Assamese, Bodo, Bengali, Dogri, Chinese, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.

  • The papers on Indian Languages and English (Paper A and Paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
  • The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio- economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.
  • The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honours degree level i.e. a level higher than the bachelors’ degree and lower than the masters’ degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.
  • Marks obtained by the candidates for all papers (Paper I-VII) will be counted for merit ranking. However, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all papers of the examination.
  • Marks will not be allotted for mere superficial knowledge.
  • Credit will be given for orderly, effective and exact expression combined with due economy of words in all subjects of the examination.
  • Evaluation of the papers, namely, ‘Essay’, ‘General Studies’ and Optional Subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on ‘Indian Languages’ and ‘English’ but the papers on ‘Essay’, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance of who attain such minimum standard as may be fixed by Commission at their discretion for the qualifying papers on ‘Indian Language’ and ‘English’.

Interview Test

  1. This is the final stage of UPSC Civil Services Exam scheme.
  2. The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her 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 career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
  3. The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
  4. The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised 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 special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.

For more details on UPSC and Civil Services Exam scheme visit, http://www.upsc.gov.in