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The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the central recruiting agency in India. The major role played by the UPCS is to select person to man the various central Civil Services and Post and the Service common to the Union and States (viz. All India Services). Under the Constitution one of the functions of the UPCS is to conduct examinations for appointment to Civil Services of the Union. The commission usually conducts over a dozen examination every year on an all India basic. These include Examinations for recruitment to services in various fields, such as Civil Services, Forest Service, Engineering, and Medical etc.

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) offers the widest range of jobs in our country and is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). There are about twenty-four (24) services offered through this single examination. Some of the top services offered are the two All India Services, viz., the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) along with the other central services, viz., Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS), Indian Customs & Central Excise Services, etc.

Stage 1: Preliminary Test

It consists of objective questions with penalty (negative marking) for wrong answers. (In year 2015 it is being held on the 23rd of August.)

The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers
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. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year.

Stage 2: Main Exam

(conventional essay type papers of 1750 marks)It consists of 9 papers which are usually held from early December for around 7 days.

The current pattern of Main examination is as follows:-

General Studies:
Paper 1 : 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 2 : 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 3 : 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 4 : 250 marks (3 hours)


Optional Subject
Paper 1 : 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 2 : 250 marks (3 hours)


Essay
250 marks (3 hours)


English Language
300 marks (qualifying paper; marks not included in Main Exam)


Indian Language
300 marks (qualifying paper; marks not included in Main Exam)

General Studies papers (two papers every day) and Optional Subject papers are held in two time slots (9am and 2pm). English and Essay are held on the same day. Indian Language is held on a separate day.
Candidates, who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the mains examination as may be fixed by the UPCS at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an Interview or a Personality Test.

Stage 3: Interview

Interview or Personality Test (275 marks) : 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. Marks, thus obtained by the candidates in the Mains Examination and interview would determine their final ranking. (with no minimum qualifying marks)

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.

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All India Service Central Civil Services : Group A Central Civil Services : Group B
Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Indian Post and Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP and TAFS)
Union Territories Administrative Service
Indian Police Service (IPS) Indian Revenue Service (IRS)- Customs and Central Excise Union Territories Police Service
  Indian Audits and Accounts Services (IA and AS) Central Secretariat Service
  Indian Revenue Service (IRS)- Income Tax  
  Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF)  
  Indian Defense Accounts Service (IDAS)  
  Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)  
  Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS)  
  Indian Defense Estate Services (IDES)  
  Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)  
  Railways Protection Force (RPF)  
  Indian Information Service (IIS)  
  Indian Foreign Service (IFS)  


Academic Qualification

A candidate must hold a degree of any the Universities incorporate by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of amendment or declared to deemed as a University under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 or possess an equivalent qualification.

Nationality

(i) Only Indian nationals are eligible for IAS and IPS.
(ii) For other services, a candidate must be either :-
(a) A Citizen of India, or
(b) A Subject of Nepal,
(c) A subject of Bhutan, or
(d) A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India. or
(e) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Srilanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India. Provided further that candidates belonging to categories (b), (c) and (d) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.

Age Limit

A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on 1st August of the year in which he/she is appearing for the Preliminary Examination. The upper age limit prescribed above will be relaxable :

Category

Age Relaxation

i) For candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe Upto a maximum of 5 years
ii) For candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates Upto a maximum of 3 years
iii) For candidates domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from the 1st January, 1980 to the 31st day of December, 1989 Upto a maximum of 5 years
v) In the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/ SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st August (of the year in which s/he is appearing for the Preliminary Examination) and have been released (i) on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1st August of the year in which he/she is appearing for the Preliminary Examination) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or (ii) on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or (iii) on invalidment. Upto a maximum of 3 years
vi) In the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1st August of the year in which s/he is appearing for the Preliminary Examination and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment. Upto a maximum of 5 years
vii) For blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped candidates Upto a maximum of 10 years

The preliminary exam is the first stage of the whole examination process. The very nature of the exam is to screen to select the next level of exam that is mains. It is seen over the approximately four lakh candidates appear for the Prelims but only less than fifteen thousand made it to the Mains. The introduction of the Preliminary Examination was introduced to weed out non-serious candidates and select those who deserve.

Preliminary Examination is objective type (four alternatives for every question) exercises meant to serve as a screening test/qualifying paper only. The exam is usually held in the month of August every year and it comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each and of two hours duration each. Preliminary Exam is meant to serve as the screening stage/qualifying round only. The marks obtained in the preliminary examination by candidates, who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination, will not be counted for determining their place in the final order of merit. The exam is held in the month of May every year and it consists of two objective type papers which carry a maximum of 400 marks in the following manner :

Paper No. of Questions Marks Duration
General Studies 100 200 2 hours
CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) 80 200 2 hours

Total

180

400


Except for Decision making and problem solving questions in the CSAT Paper, all the questions both papers had negative marking. For each wrong answer, 1/3 marks were deducted from the total score of the candidate. Trend nowadays has shifted more towards current issues, hence a thorough awareness of recent events/happenings is mandatory.

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The mains exam consists of 9 Papers (conventional essay type papers of 1750 marks). The first two are language tests : First is the Language Test in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the second is the English Test. Each test is worth 300 marks. These Test are at the high school level. The candidates are expected to only qualify, the score from these tests is not included in the aggregate. The third test is an Essay Test, worth 250 Marks. The candidate can write the essay in English or in any other language included in the Eight Schedule of the constitution. The next four tests, each worth 250 marks, are on General studies. The syllabus for each test is different. These tests aim to judge your awareness and well as your understanding and analysis of contemporary events. The remaining two tests, each worth 250 marks, are on one of the optional subjects chosen by the candidate.

Thus, the Main examination comprises a total of nine 9 papers of two types:
A 2 paper of non ranking types only qualifying in nature
B 7 papers of ranking type

Qualifying Paper :

Two papers of non-ranking type include :

Paper Subject Maximum marks
Paper A One of the Indian Language to be Selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution 300 marks
Paper B English, which is a compulsory. 300 marks



Both the papers will be 3 hours duration each. Both these papers are very simple in nature (10th standard) and, in a way, mentally prepare the candidate for writing the subsequence exams.

Papers to be counted for Merit

Paper Subject Maximum marks
Paper I Essay 250 marks
Paper II General Studies : I
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
250 marks
Paper III General Studies : II
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations)
250 marks
Paper IV General Studies : III
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-Diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
250 marks
Paper V General Studies : IV
(Ethics, integrity and Aptitude)
250 marks
Paper VI & VII Two papers in any one optional subject (candidates may choose any one optional subject from amongst the UPCS’s list of optional subjects in the Mains Examination) 250 marks
Total 1750 marks


All the 7 paper of will be 3 hours duration each. Blind candidates will, however be allowed an extra time of 30 minutes at each paper.
Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the qualifying Language papers, Paper : A & B, in any of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English. The question papers other than language papers will be set both in Hindi and English.

List of Optional subjects for Mains Examinations :

Students have to choose one optional subject 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 Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce & Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science & International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, 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

Personality Test or Interview Test is the last level of the Civil Services selection process. It carries 275 marks, though it doesn’t carry much marks but it plays decisive role for the final ranking. One can get more marks than the other candidates, here it makes difference. Aspirants cannot afford it lightly. The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled. The interview test is sometimes called and also known as the personality test because of its nature of the exam.
The Interviews usually start 2 weeks after the Main Exam results are announced. The duration of interviews is around 40 days.
Final Result is computed on the bass of the total marks scored by candidates in Main Examination (1750) and Personality Test or Interview (275). The final result is declared around 10-20 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 preference given by the candidates at the time of filling up of the Main Examination application for.

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