Frequently Asked Questions
1.What is the 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 of 0.33%) 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 1750 marks) consists of 7 papers which are usually held from early October for around 21 days. The current pattern of Main examination is as follows:-
Paper I » 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper II » 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper III » 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper IV » 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 1 » 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 2 » 250 marks (3 hours)
Essay :- 250 marks (3 hours)
Language Papers marks (qualifying paper; marks not included in Main Exam)
English Language:- 300
Modern Indian Language:- 300
Usually Paper 1 is held from 9 am to 12 pm and Paper 2 is held from 2 pm to 5 pm.
4.What is the Interview or Personality Test?
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 (1750) and Personality Test or Interview (275). 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 (1750) and Interview (275) and on the preferences given by the candidates at the time of filling up of the Main Examination application form.
6.Eligibility to appear for the Exam ?
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.
7.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 32 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 35 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 37 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 37 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
8.What is the number of maximum attempts for different categories?
General category and OBC (creamy layer) category have a maximum of 6 attempts.
OBC (non creamy layer) have a maximum of 9 attempts.
For Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe category candidates there is no limit on the number of attempts till they attain the age of 37 years.
Students belonging to OBC/SC/ST can give the first 6 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.
9.What is the number of vacancies by UPSC every year?
10.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 » November
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)
11.Can a candidate choose an optional subject, which he has not studied at graduate/PG level?
12.If a candidate has applied for the CS (P) Examination but has not appeared at any paper in the CS (P) Examination will it be counted as an attempt?
No, An attempt is counted only if a candidate has appeared in at least one paper in CS (P) Examination.
13.Can a candidate write different papers of Civil Service (Main) Examination in different languages?
No, Candidates have the option to write their answers either in English or in any one of the Eighth schedule languages.
14.Can a candidate write the Civil Service (Main) Examination in English and take the interview in Hindi or any other Indian language?
If a candidate opts an Eighth schedule language for the CS (Main) Examination he will have the option to take the interview in same language or in English.