What is IAS/UPSC Exam?

About Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s premier central recruiting agency. It is responsible for appointments to and examinations of All India services and group A & group B Central services. Whereas Department of Personnel and Training is the central personnel agency in India. It is concerned with the personnel matters like classification of services, pay & service conditions, cadre management, training & so on.

UPSC conducts the exam and selects candidates based on the prescribed criteria. The civil services include services like the IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS etc. that forms part of India’s civil services – the Steal Frame of the country’s administration.

About Civil Services

Civil Services Examination (CSE) is considered to be mother of all exams. It prepares a candidate for many other competitive examinations. It is every year conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Civil Service is considered as one of the prestigious jobs in the country. Therefore, it attracts a vast number of candidates for this job. The CSE is conducted in three stages – Preliminary, Mains and Personality test (interview).

There is a common UPSC syllabus for services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service to name a few. However, there is separate syllabus for prelims and mains. The UPSC Prelims syllabus focuses on general and societal awareness which is tested by objective-type (MCQ-Multiple Choice Questions) questions. The UPSC Mains syllabus is much more comprehensive as this stage comprises nine descriptive papers.

The three phases of Civil services Examination

The Civil Services Exam is conducted in three phases:

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

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

Phase 3: Interview (Personality Test)

Phase 1: CSE Prelims Exam

The Preliminary Examination is composed of two components:



Total Marks



General Studies


2 hours (9.30 to 11. 30 am)




2 hours (2.30 to 4.30 pm)


Pattern for CSE Prelims:

The Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II). The questions will be of multiple choices, objective type. The General Studies paper I consist of 100 question and General studies paper II (CSAT) consists of 80 questions. It also carries negative marking, 1/3rd of marks will be deducted for every wrong answer. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for the main exam. It’s a single day exam with two sessions which is in offline mode, where one get to mark ones answers on the OMR sheet.

Phase 2: CSE Main

Main exam calls for analytical approach with speed, consistency and clarity of thought which can be acquired through consistent writing practice. UPSC CSE Main Exam consists of 1750 marks.

Meticulous and organised writing skill helps in getting final ranking as mains marks play a very crucial role in final selection. It has been observed that besides having exceptional knowledge and command over the subject, candidates could not crack the examination owing to poor writing skills. Good writing skills not only help in Mains, but also help the candidate to formulate opinions on various issues which would help him during the personality test as well.

Candidates are not required to acquire exceptional linguistic skill or vast vocabulary for this exam. All that is required is the candidate should be able to put their ideas in a clear and coherent manner – marks are allotted to answers which are clear, straight forward and simple.

Pattern for main examination:

Paper-A: One Indian Language from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Total Marks 300

Paper-B: English Language:  Total Marks 300.

Paper-I    Essay (It Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice) 250 Marks

Paper-II     General Studies-I (Culture and Indian Heritage, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250 marks

Paper- III    General Studies –II (Constitution| Governance| Social Justice| Polity| and International relations) 250 marks

Paper-IV    General Studies –III (Economic Development| Technology| Environment| Biodiversity| Disaster Management and Security) 250 Marks

Paper-V    General Studies –IV (Aptitude| Integrity| and Ethics) 250

Paper-VI    Optional Subject – Paper 1    250 Marks

Paper-VII    Optional Subject – Paper 2    250 Marks

Phase 3: Interview (Personality Test)

The Civil Services interview, also known as Personality Test is the final stage. Here, the candidate will be asked some questions face-to-face to determine whether he or she is fit for the Civil Services career. The questions will be asked by the board which consists of competent and unbiased observers who have a record of the candidates’ career. The maximum marks allotted for the Personality Test are 275 marks.

A candidate’s mental and social traits will be assessed by the board. Some of the qualities that the board looks for are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, a balance of judgment, variety, and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

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