Civil Services Examination – FAQ – Groups, Stages, Services, Syllabus, Eligibility & Mock tests

What is Civil Service Exam (CSE)?

Each year Civil Services Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India. Officers are selected for the following services.

All India Services

  • Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • Indian Police Service(IPS)
  • Indian Forest Service (IFS)

Group "A" Services

  • Indian Foreign Services
  • Indian P&T Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS)
  • Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS)
  • Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)
  • Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)
  • Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
  • Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
  • Indian Information Service (IIS)
  • Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)
  • Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
  • Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
  • Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
  • Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
  • Indian Revenue Service (IRS-IT)
  • Indian Revenue Service (IRS-C&CE)
  • Indian Trade Service (ITrS)
  • Railway Protection Force (RPF)

Group "B" Services

  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (AFHCS)
  • Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS)
  • Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS)
  • Pondicherry Civil Service
  • Pondicherry Police Service

What are the stages in Civil Service Examination?

1) Civil Services Preliminary Examination – It consists of two objective-type papers
General Studies Paper I
General Studies Paper II also known as Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT

2) Main Examination consisting of nine papers of essay type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven paper are counted.
a. Qualifying Papers are Language Papers – Paper A is English and Paper B is an Indian Language of candidate's choice.

3) Interview

Civil Services Preliminary Exam Syllabus for General Studies Paper 1

  • 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 specialization.
  • General Science.

Civil Services Preliminary Exam Syllabus for General Studies Paper 2 (Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT)

  • 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

Exam Pattern for Civil Services Preliminary Examination

Particulars General Studies Paper 1 General Studies Paper 2
(Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT)
Number of questions 100 80
Marks per Question 2 2.5
Total Marks 200 200
Duration 2 hours 2 hours
Pattern Multiple choice objective type Multiple choice objective type

General Studies Paper 2 is qualifying in nature and the marks obtained in this paper is not counted for merit. However, it is mandatory for the candidate to score minimum 33% (66 marks) in this paper to qualify the Prelims exam.

It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

Eligibility Criteria

Particulars General category OBC SC or ST Physically Handicap
Minimum Age 21 21 21 21
Maximum Age 32 35 37 42
No of attempts 6 9 Unlimited General & OBC – 9
SC / ST - Unlimited
Education Graduate Graduate Graduate Graduate
Fees Rs 100/- Rs 100/- Nil Nil

IAS Exam Dates

Where can I take practice exams for Civil Services Exam?

Free Mock test for IAS exam