All about Civil services Exam

The UPSC conducts the civil services exam every year to recruit officers to the civil services. The civil services exam, commonly called the IAS exam. The IAS Selection process is set by the Union Public Service Commission There are both objective and subjective exams which are followed by a Personality Test.

(1) Preliminary Exam (Objective Test)

(2) Main Exam (Written Test)

(3) Personality Test (Interview).

Stage 1: UPSC Prelims exam

This stage consists of two objective type-papers namely, the General Studies Paper I and the General Studies Paper II.

You can clear this stage and move on to the next stage only if you secure the minimum required marks for both the papers.

Minimum required score for GS Paper II (CSAT): 33%, In the CSAT paper, you only have to clear it by scoring the minimum required marks; the marks obtained do not count for the rank list for the mains qualifier.

Minimum required score for GS Paper I: The cut-off prescribed by the UPSC for that particular year.

The prelims results are announced generally within two months of the exam. The UPSC releases a list of candidates who have cleared the prelims and qualified to take the UPSC Mains exam, which is the second stage of the IAS exam.

Stage 2: UPSC Mains exam

In this stage, you have to take nine papers all of which are descriptive in nature. The list of papers is given below:


       1.     Essay paper – 250 marks

       2.    Compulsory Indian language – 300 marks

       3.    Compulsory English language – 300 marks

       4.    General studies paper 1 – 250 marks

       5.   General studies paper 2 – 250 marks

       6.   General studies paper 3 – 250 marks

       7.   General studies paper 4 – 250 marks

       8.   Optional paper 1 – 250 marks

       9.   Optional paper 2 – 250 marks

           In order to clear the mains exam, you will have to score the required cut-off marks in total. (The cut-off marks prescribed for both the prelims and the mains will be revealed only after the entire process of the UPSC CSE is over, i.e., after the final results are out).

If you clear the mains exam and score the required cut-off, you will be summoned for the UPSC Personality test which is the final stage of the civil services exam.

Stage 3 Personality Test (Interview )

In this stage, candidates will be subject to a panel interview by the UPSC board. In this round, candidates will be assessed on various parameters like the overall personality, presence of mind, mental toughness, ability to stay calm under pressure, etc. Basically, they evaluate whether a person is ‘civil servant material’ or not.

As such, there is no prescribed syllabus for this round. Candidates will have to go prepared on various aspects like current affairs, their subjects of interest, general awareness, social issues and so on.

The final result of the UPSC exam is generally announced a few days after the final day of the personality test.

The candidates, when they apply for the mains exam, have to give their preference of cadre and service. The cadre indicates the places where you would work. Based on the vacancies in each cadre for all the categories, and your rank obtained, you will be allocated a cadre and a service after the final result.



        Must be a graduate.

        Undergraduate in last year or last semester can apply. Provided they're getting final year/ semester marks sheet            before filling the Mains application form (DAF).

        American and foreign degrees are also valid but have to get equivalent certificate from Association of Indian                  Universities (

        Distance education degree valid form recognized by UGC/AICTE/any Law

        MBBS must have completed internship before UPSC Interview-stage comes.

Minimum age and attempts limit

     Age is counted on the 1st August of the given year. Minimum Age for any category is 21 years. Maximum age varies                 depending on category:

     GENERAL & CREAMY OBC            32 years /6 attempts

     NON-CREAMY OBC                         35 years/ 9 attempts 

     SC / ST                                              37 yearsunlimited attempts

     PH                                                  42 years


      UPSC civil service exam doesn't provide relaxation in age, attempt or fees for the EWS.

      physical handicap category: (GENERAL | OBC) = 9 attempts while PH (SC | ST) = Unlimited Attempts, till upper age.

    J&K Domicile OR Ex-serviceman get additional +5 years' age relaxation. Although their attempt depends on category. 

    E.g.  J&K domicile non-creamy layer OBC will get only 9 attempts but his upper age limit will be 35+5= 40 years.