UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern: Posts and Syllabus

 

UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) is considered one of the most coveted and prestigious professions in India, for which candidates strive very hard and leave no stone unturned to achieve it.

UPSC CSE is conducted in two successive stages, i.e., the Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Objective Type) and Civil Services Main Examination (Written and Interview/Personality Test). In order to apply for the IAS exam, aspirants have to fill in the online application form. Candidates can use the information available on upsc online to know the registration process for the CSE examination.

UPSC CSE Posts

UPSC CSE is popularly known as the ‘IAS exam’; however, the exam is conducted to recruit candidates for various services and posts. The list of posts for which the exam is held is given below.

  • Indian Administrative Service 
  • Indian Foreign Service 
  • Indian Police Service
  • Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Corporate Law Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Information Service, Junior Grade Group ‘A’
  • Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian P&T Accounts and Finance Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Railway Protection Force Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Indirect Taxes) Group ‘A’
  • Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) Group ‘A’
  • Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Grade III)
  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade)
  • Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service (DANICS), Group ‘B’
  • Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service (DANIPS), Group ‘B’
  • Pondicherry Civil Service (PONDICS), Group ‘B’

Before applying for the posts mentioned above, candidates should read the official notification published by UPSC for the Civil Services Examination.

UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern

The exam pattern of the different stages of the Civil Services Exam is given below.

  • Preliminary examination

            It is a screening test that comprises two papers, i.e., GS 1 and GS 2.

  • GS Paper 1 deals with topics related to current affairs, economics, science and technology etc.
  • GS Paper 2 focuses on basic numeracy, English, logical reasoning etc. 

There is a negative marking in both the papers. One-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to the question is deducted for every incorrect answer. GS Paper II (CSAT) is qualifying in nature, and candidates have to score a minimum of 33% in it. 

  1.   Main examination

Candidates who qualify in the Preliminary stage can appear for the Main examination. It is descriptive in nature and comprises various papers like Essay, GS I, GS II, Optional Papers etc. Details of the Preliminary and Main examination patterns/subjects are given in the tables below.

UPSC Preliminary Exam Pattern

Paper No. of Questions Total Marks Duration of the Exam
General Studies Paper I 100 200 2 hours
General Studies Paper II (CSAT)

(Qualifying)

80 200 2 hours

UPSC Main Exam Pattern

Paper Subject Total Marks Duration
Paper A

(Qualifying)

Indian Language 300 3 hours
Paper B

(Qualifying)

English 300 3 hours
Paper I Essay 250 3 hours
Paper II General Studies I 250 3 hours
Paper III General Studies II 250 3 hours
Paper IV General Studies III 250 3 hours
Paper V General Studies IV 250 3 hours
Paper VI Optional I 250 3 hours
Paper VII Optional II 250 3 hours

English and Indian language

The English and Indian language are qualifying papers. Candidates can choose any of the languages given in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution for the Indian language paper. The topics that are asked in both papers are given in the table below.

Topics for Indian Language and English 

Indian Language English 
(i) Comprehension of Given Passages

(ii) Precis Writing

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary

(iv) Short Essays

(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and the Indian language to English

(i) Comprehension of Given Passages

 (ii) Precis Writing

 (iii) Usage and Vocabulary

 (iv) Short Essays

Optional Subject Papers I & II

Candidates have to choose one optional paper for the CSE Main examination. Optional subjects are divided into Paper 1 and Paper 2. Both papers carry 250 marks each. Candidates can select any one optional subject from the list given below. 

 

Agriculture

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

Commerce and Accountancy

Geology

Mechanical Engineering

Botany

Anthropology

Electrical Engineering

History

Psychology

Chemistry

Civil Engineering

Geography

Law

Sociology

Economics

Zoology

Mathematics

Political Science and International Relations

Management

Medical Science

Public Administration

Philosophy Statistics

Physics

The literature of any one of the following languages can be selected by candidates for CSE Main exam:

S.No. Subjects
1

Assamese

2

Bengali

3

Bodo 

4

Dogri

5

Gujarati 

6

Hindi

7

Kannada 

8

Kashmiri 

9

Konkani 

10

Maithili 

11

Malayalam

12

Manipuri

13

Marathi 

14

Nepali 

15

Odia 

16

Punjabi 

17

Sanskrit

18

Santhali 

19

Sindhi 

20

Tamil 

21

Telugu 

22

Urdu

23

English

  1.   UPSC Interview/Personality Test

The UPSC personality test carries 275 marks. Candidates are interviewed by a Board of Members. The main aim of the Personality Test is to find out the suitability of the candidate for the public services.

UPSC Civil Services Exam Syllabus

UPSC Preliminary and Main examination syllabus, in brief, are given in the tables below. To understand the nature of questions asked in the exam, candidates must go through the previous years’ question papers available on the official website of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

UPSC Preliminary Exam Syllabus

General Studies Paper I General Studies Paper II
Current events of national and international importance Comprehension
History of India and the Indian National Movement Interpersonal Skills, Including Communication Skills
Indian and World Geography- Physical, Social, Economic  Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability
Indian Polity and Governance- Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc. Decision Making and Problem-solving
General Issues on Environment, Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change ( these topics do not require subject specialisation) General Mental Ability
Economic and Social Development- Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc. Basic Numeracy ( numbers and their relations, orders of

magnitude, etc. — Class X level) 

General Science Data Interpretation

(charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class X

level)

UPSC Main Exam Syllabus

Important topics that are part of GS papers in the Main exam are given in the table below. For detailed information regarding the UPSC CSE Syllabus, candidates should go through the official notification published by the UPSC.

UPSC Main Exam Syllabus

General Studies Papers Topics
General Studies I Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society
General Studies II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations
General Studies III Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
General Studies IV Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

If you are a UPSC Civil Services aspirant and wish to prepare for the exam, then go through the upsc ias syllabus and previous years’ question papers to know the exam pattern and nature of questions asked in the examination.

In order to crack the UPSC CSE, some candidates may take a year, and others may take more time. Aspirants should remember that the Civil Services Exam process takes time, and they should remain patient during this journey. Candidates should work hard, remain consistent and should not give up easily!

 

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