Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. What is the current pattern of the Civil Services Examination?
Civil Services Examination is a 3-stage examination held every year.
Stage 1 – Preliminary Test
Stage 2 – Main Exam
Stage 3 – Personality Test / Interview
- 2. What is the Preliminary Test?
Stage 1 – Preliminary Test – consists of objective questions with penalty (negative marking) for wrong answers. (This is generally held on 2nd or 3rd Sunday in the month of May)
Paper 1 – General Studies (200 marks) 2 hours
Paper 2 – CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) (200 marks) 2 hours
There is a cut-off in the Preliminary Test which varies every year and is decided by the UPSC.
- 3. What is the Main Examination?
The Main Exam (Subjective papers of 2000 marks) consists of 9 papers which are usually held from early October for around 21 days. The current pattern of Main examination is as follows:-
Qualifying Paper :
Paper A - Indian Language (300 marks)
Paper B - English (300 marks)
Papers to be counted for merit :
Paper 1 - Essay (250 marks)
Paper 2 - General Studies - I (250 marks)
Paper 3 - General Studies - II (250 marks)
Paper 4 - General Studies - III (250 marks)
Paper 5 - General Studies - IV (250 marks)
Paper 6 - Optional Subject - I (250 marks)
Paper 7 - Optional Subject - II (250 marks)
- 4. What is the Interview or Personality Test stage?
Students who qualify for Interview are called by the UPSC in March or April. The Interviews usually start 2 weeks after the Main Exam results are announced. The duration of Interviews is around 40 days.
- 5. When is the Final result declared?
This is computed on the basis of the total marks scored by candidates in Main Examination (2000) and Personality Test or Interview (300). The final result is declared around 10 days prior to the next year’s Preliminary Test.
Final Ranking and Service allocation is based on the combined marks scored in Main Examination (2000) and Interview (300) and on the preferences given by the candidates at the time of filling up of the Main Examination application form.
- 6. When does the UPSC advertise about the Examination?
UPSC publishes the advertisement for holding the Civil Services Examination every year in the month of February for the Preliminary Test to be held in May, of that year.
Applications are invited by UPSC till March of that year.
- 7. What is the eligibility to appear for this Examination?
Students must be degree holders or graduates (degree recognized by University Grants Commission) to appear for this Examination. Indian students holding a foreign degree need to ensure that their degree is accredited or recognized by UGC.
- 8. What is the minimum and maximum age required to appear in the exam?
Candidates belonging to General category and OBC (creamy layer) must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 30 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
Candidates belonging to OBC (non creamy layer) category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 33 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
Candidates belonging to SC category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 35 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
Candidates belonging to ST category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 35 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
- 9. What is the number of maximum attempts for different categories?
General category and OBC (creamy layer) category have a maximum of 4 attempts.
OBC (non creamy layer) have a maximum of 7 attempts.
For Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe category candidates there is no limit on the number of attempts till they attain the age of 35 years.
Students belonging to OBC/SC/ST can give the first 4 attempts as General category candidates (if they so desire) and thereafter they can avail the relaxation in the number of attempts by availing the category benefits.
- 10. What is the number of vacancies in Civil Services for which the examination is conducted every year by UPSC?
The number of vacancies reported by Union Public Service Commission varies every year.
The number of vacancies per year in the last 4 years had varied between 700 and 1000.
- 11. What is the competition level in UPSC Civil Services Examination?
Every year, in the month of May the 1st stage (Preliminary Test) of the Civil Services Examination is held. The number of students aspiring for the UPSC Civil Services has gone up to more than 600,000 who fill the form and the number of people appearing in the preliminary exam is almost 400,000. Out of the 4 lakh candidates appearing in the Preliminary Examination, the number of candidates qualifying is dependent on the number of vacancies in the Civil Services advertised that year. To give an example, if the advertisement is for 1000 vacancies, then about 12,000 candidates would be called (qualified) by the UPSC to appear in the Main exam & the number of candidates who will qualify the Main examination to appear in the Interview would be about 2500.
- 12. What is the schedule of the Civil Services exam?
The exact schedule of Main exam varies every year and is usually notified by UPSC on its website www.upsc.gov.in.
To give an idea following is the usual schedule of the Examination:
Notification and Form filling for Preliminary Test – January
Date of Preliminary Test – 2nd or 3rd week of May
Result of Preliminary Test – late-July or early August
Main Examination commencement – October (duration – 21 days)
Declaration of Main Examination results – February or March (next year)
Personality Test or Interview – March and April (next year)
Declaration of Final merit list – Early May (next year)
- 13. What are the optional subjects which students can choose?
Students have to choose any two optional subjects from a list of the following optional subjects. Students can also opt for one literature subject as an optional, if they so desire. Optional subjects (26) offered by UPSC
Agriculture, Animal H & Vet Sc, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engg, Commerce & Acc, Economics, Electrical Engg, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engg, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Pol Sc & IR, Psychology, Public Admin, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology.
Literature of any one of the following languages (30) is also offered as an optional subject:- Arabic, Assamese, Bodo, Bengali, Chinese, Dogri, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu
- 14. What is the combination of Optional subjects which is not allowed?
Combinations not allowed are:
• Any two literature subjects
• Political Science & International Relations + Public Administration
• Commerce & Accountancy + Management
• Anthropology + Sociology
• Mathematics + Statistics
• Agriculture + Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
• Management + Public Administration
• Any two engineering subjects
• Medical Science + Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
- 15. How does Career Planet help me in preparing for the Examination?
Ideally the Main Examination preparation needs to be done before the preparation of Preliminary Examination.
The primary reason being lack of time between Preliminary Exam and Main Exam (which is around 4 months before Main exam and only around 2 and half months before declaration of Preliminary Examination result). This time of (4 months or 2 and half months) is insufficient for any preparation from ground-up for both the Optional subjects. The available time is only sufficient for revision of GS and both the Optional subjects and appearing in mock tests in GS and the Optional subjects. At most the available time is just enough to prepare one Optional subject if the GS (Main) and the remaining Optional subject had already been prepared in advance by the candidate.
Hence, students are advised to join the optional subjects’ batches in May/June session and the GS (Preliminary + Main) and Aptitude Test batch in May/June session.