UPSC (CSE) basic information -

Popularly known as IAS is the short form of Indian Administrative Service. It is one of the prestigious services among the 24 services like IPS, IFS etc for the which the UPSC conduct Civil Services Examination (CSE) for selecting the candidates.

Age/attempt limit in UPSC ( CSE)

GENERAL & CREAMY OBC 32 years 06 attempts
NON- CREAMY OBC 35 years 09 attempts
SC/ST 37 YEARS Till upper age limit
PH Gen- 42 years
OBC-45 years
SC/ST- 47 years
Gen- 0 9 attempts
OBC- 09 attempts
SC/ST- till upper age limit
J&K Domicile Gen- 37 years
OBC- 40 years
SC/ST- 42 years
PH – 47 years

Till upper age limit
Disabled servicemen Gen - 37 years
OBC - 38 years
SC/ST - 40 years
Till upper age limit
  • Age is counted on the 1st August of the given year.
  • *PH (GEN | OBC) = 9 attempts while PH (SC | ST) = Unlimited Attempts, till upper age.
  • J&K Domicile OR Ex-serviceman: addl. +5 years| Attempt depend on category

Academic Qualifications

  • Must be a graduate. No minimum %, grade or CGPA required in college.
  • They only need final graduation certificate/marksheet.
  • Undergraduate in last year, last semester can apply.
  • Foreign degree valid but have to get equivalent cert. from AIU
  • Distance education degree valid- IF recognized by UGC/AICTE/any Law
  • MBBS must have completed internship before UPSC Interview-stage comes

Application Process

  • Mode: online
  • Imp Dates: You can apply for the UPSC CSE'18 examination from 2nd Feb'18 to 6th march 2018.
  • You've to mention your optional subject in online Prelim application form. You can’t change it afterwards during Mains detailed application form (DAF).
  • Marksheet ,caste certificate not required at this stage.

UPSC Civil Services Examination pattern


  • Multiple choice Question (MCQ) Test consists of 2 papers

General studies (Paper-1)

  • 100 MCQs x 2 marks = 200 Marks
  • -0.66 Marks penalty for wrong answers
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Marks Counted for Mains selection, but not in final selection.


  • 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 , General Science

Aptitude/CSAT (Paper-2)

  • 80 MCQs x 2.5 marks = 200 Marks
  • -0.83 Marks penalty for wrong answers
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Marks not counted in Mains -Selection. Only 33% passing marks have to be scored.


  • 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

STEP- 2 (MAIN Examination) - starting 1st of 0ctober 2018

  • After clearing the prelims next step is to fill up a new online form generally known as DAF "Detailed Application form" (DAF).
  • In online DAF-form, Your optional subject will be pre-selected from prelim form, so you can't change it.
  • Along with DAF-you'll have to give proof of graduation, caste, PH.

Main examination Pattern (1750 marks)

  • 9 papers
  • Two qualifying papers. Compulsory English & Language Paper- 300 Marks Each
  • 1 optional subject (with 2 papers) - 250 Marks each
  • 4 General studies papers- 250 Marks each with a total of 1000 marks.
  • Essay paper - 250 marks.
III Essay 250

Syllabi of the papers of Civil Services (Main) Examination :-

PAPER A - Qualifying Nature : Any Indian Language in 8th Schedule
PAPER B - Qualifying Nature : English

  • The UPSC mains exam consists of 9 papers, in which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each -
  • These two papers just need to qualify which is compulsory and marks obtained will not be considered or counted.
  • And the rest of seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned as in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or in English.

PAPER -I: Essay (250 marks)

  • Candidates will be required to write multiple essays on specific topics. The choice of subjects will be given. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

PAPER - II : General Studies- I ( GS-I) : Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society (250 marks)

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues. The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country. Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • Role of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Salient features of world's physical geography.
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

PAPER - III : General Studies- II (GS-II) : Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations (250 marks)

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People's Act.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of civil services in a democracy.
  • India and its neighborhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian Diaspora.
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

PAPER - IV : General Studies-III (GS III) : Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management (250 marks)

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • Land reforms in India.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
  • Investment models.
  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Disaster and disaster management.
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

PAPER - V - : General Studies- IV ( GS - IV) : Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude (250 marks)

This paper will include questions to test the candidates' attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections.
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen's Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  • Case Studies on above issues.

PAPER- 6 & PAPER 7 - Optional Subject Papers I & II (250 marks each; 500 marks in total)

  • Candidates may choose any optional subject from amongst the list of subjects provided by UPSC. The paper selected can be from Science, Humanities or Literature stream.

STEP - 3 Personality Test/Interview ( 275 marks) - announcement of date after the mains result ( may-june)

  • Can be given in any language. But advisable to give in Hindi/English otherwise
  • 1) Leaves Poor impression.
    2) Translator eats up time/ reduces impact of your answer.
  • The marks obtained in the personality test are added to the Main examination score.