UPSC- Civil Services Exam

UPSC- Civil Services Exam

UPSC Exam (IAS | Civil Services | NDA | CDS | AFCAT)

The Civil Services Examination is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service among others.

The Civil Services Examination is based on the British Raj Era Imperial Civil Service tests, as well as the civil service tests conducted by old Indian empires such as in the Mauryan Empire and Mughal Empire. The Civil Services Examination is considered to be one of the most difficult competitive examination in India. On an average, 900,000 to 1,000,000 candidates apply every year and the number of candidates appearing to sit the preliminary examination is approximately 500,000. The examination consists of the following stage. Results are published in mid-August.

  • Stage I: Main examination - Held in October every year.
  • Stage II: Personality Test (interview) - held in March each year. Final results are usually announced in May .

The training program for the selected candidates usually commences the following September.

Eligibility for the examination is as follows:

  • For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, the candidate must be a citizen of India.
  • For other services, the candidate must be one of the following:
    • A citizen of India
    • A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan
    • A person of Indian origin who has migrated from PakistanMyanmarSri LankaKenyaUgandaTanzaniaZambiaMalawiZaireEthiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India

All candidates must have as a minimum one of the following educational qualifications:

  • A degree from a Central, State or a Deemed university
  • A degree received through correspondence or distance education
  • A degree from an open university
  • A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to one of the above

The following candidates are also eligible, but must submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority at their institute/university at the time of the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam.

  • Candidates who have appeared in an examination, the passing of which would render them educationally qualified enough to satisfy one of the above points
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed an internship.
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of ICAI, ICSI and ICWAI.
  • A degree from a private university.
  • A degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities.

The candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years (for the General category candidate) on August 1 of the year of examination. Prescribed age limits vary with respect to caste reservations.

  • For Other Backward Castes (OBC) the upper age limit is35
  • For Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), the limit is 37 years.
  • The upper age limit is relaxed for certain candidates who are backward with respect to other factors and differently abled

The number of times a candidate may attempt the exam is limited as follows:

  • General category candidates = 6.
  • OBC category candidates = 9.
  • SC/ST candidates = unlimited attempts till 37 years of age.

Appearing to attempt one of the papers in the preliminary examination is counted as an attempt, including disqualification/ cancellation of candidature. However, applying to sit the exam but failing to attend is not counted as an attempt.

Following are the services which one gets on qualifying the Civil Service Examination.

All India Services

GROUP A

1.Indian Administrative Service
2.Indian Foreign Service
3.Indian Police Service
4.Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’
5.Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
6.Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’
7.Indian Defense Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
8.Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’
9.Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
10.Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’
11.Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
12.Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’
13.Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group 'A'    
14. Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’
15. Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group A
16. Indian Defense Estates Service, Group ‘A’
17. Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’
18. Indian Trade Service, Group 'A' (Gr. III)
19. Indian Corporate Law Service, Group "A".

GROUP B

20. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade)
21. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group 'B'
22. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group 'B'
23. Pondicherry Civil Service, Group 'B'
24. Pondicherry Police Service, Group 'B’

The Civil service exam is conducted in three phases:

Phase 1:Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)

Phase 2:Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)

Phase 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)

Phase 1: Preliminary Examination:

The Preliminary Examination is composed of two components:

1) General Studies

Paper Subjects Total Marks Duration
I General Studies (GS) 200 2 Hours (9:30AM to 11:30 AM)
II CSAT  200 2 Hours (2:30PM to 4:30PM)

2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

  • Broadly, the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination consists of two papers of objective type, each of 200 marks (hence totalling 400 marks) and of two hours duration. In order  attempt both the papers.
  • Further, the General Studies (GS) paper consists of 100 questions, while the CSAT paper consists of 80 questions. Both papers have negative marks for wrong answers marked to the tune of 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question.
  • To further illustrate this, each correctly answered GS question will be awarded 2 marks. So, 0.66 marks would be deducted from the total for every question that is wrongly marked.
  • 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 penalty of 0.833 for each such wrong answer, which will be deducted from the total.
  • Questions that are not attempted will not attract any negative marks.

1) General Studies (Generally conducted between 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)

The General Studies test is the first paper of the preliminary examination. This test is intended to test the general awareness of a candidate in a wide range of subjects that include: Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and associated UPSC current affairs.

2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

(Generally conducted between 2:30 PM to 04:30 PM)

  • This test is intended to assess the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the occasionally asked ‘Decision Making’ questions.
  • The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempt from negative marks.
  • The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam.
  • The marks obtained in the Prelims will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list.

Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialisation 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 (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. - Class X level)

Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination Syllabus

  • The Mains examination constitutes the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination. Only after successfully qualifying the prelims examination would the candidates be allowed to write the Mains examination.
  • The Mains examination tests the candidate’s academic talent in depth and his/her ability to present his/her understanding according to the requirements of the question in a time bound manner.
  • The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers, in which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each:

         I Any Indian Language                    

          II English Language Paper
Criteria for qualifying the Language Paper:

The papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates who attain 30% marks in Indian Language Paper and 25% marks in English Language Paper as a minimum qualifying standard in these qualifying papers, will be taken cognizance of, for evaluation.In case a candidate does not qualify in these language papers, then the marks obtained by such candidate will not be considered or counted.

Structure of the language papers:

The type of questions asked are –

1. Essay – 100 marks

2. Reading comprehension – 60 marks

3. Precis Writing – 60 marks

4. Translation :

  • English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
  • Compulsory language to English – 20 marks

5. Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks

The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.

Let us take a look at these papers:

PAPER

SUBJECT

MARKS

Paper - I

Essay

(Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate's choice)

250

Paper-II

General Studies- I

(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

250

Paper-III

General Studies- II

(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

250

Paper-IV

General Studies- III

(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

250

Paper-V

General Studies- IV

(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

250

Paper-VI

Optional Subject - Paper I

250

Paper-VII

Optional Subject - Paper II

(A Candidate can also take up literature as an optional subject and candidate need not be a graduate in that language’s literature.)

250

Candidates may choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of subjects given below:

 

Optional Subjects

Literature Langhuage

Agriculture

Assamese

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

Arabic

Anthropology

Bengali

Botany

Bodo

Chemistry

Dogri

Civil Engineering

French

Commerce and Accountancy

German

Economics

Gujarati

Electrical Engineering

Hindi

Geography

Kannada

Geology

Kashmiri

History

Konkani

Law

Maithili

Management

Malayalam

Mathematics

Manipuri

Mechanical Engineering

Marathi

Medical Science

Nepali

Philosophy

Oriya

Physics

Persian

Political Science and International Relations

Punjabi

Psychology

Russian

Public Administration

Sanskrit

Sociology

Santhali

Statistics

Sindhi

Zoology

Tamil

-

Telugu

-

Urdu

-

English

Phase 3: Interview/Personality Test (275 Marks)

  • Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’. These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.
  • The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in the civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.
  • The interview is more of purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.
  • The Interview test will be of 275 marks and the total marks for written examination is 1750.This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.

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