UPSC Civil Service Examination

Jan 05, 2023, 16:45 IST

The UPSC conducts UPSC CSE, also known as the “Civil Service Examination,” to recruit candidates for all 24“A” grade services, including IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IPS (Indian Police Service), IFOS (Indian Forest Service) under the government of India.

The UPSC examination is conducted mainly in three phases:

  1. Preliminary Examination or UPSC Prelims
  2. Mains Examination
  3. Interview

The UPSC Prelims primarily consist of two sections (objective type) General Studies I and General Studies II. It is also called CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test).

The UPSC CSE Syllabus is much more extensive, and it requires rigorous preparation. Aspirants who are preparing for UPSC CSE should create a proper roadmap to crack the examination with flying colors.


The UPSC CSE exam date has been announced, and it will be conducted on 28 May 2023. The commission has released the examination date, and it is important for every aspirant to be known with crucial details listed in the notification.

UPSC CSE 2023- An Overview

Take a closer look at the below-given table for the UPSC examination

Examination Name UPSC CSE (Civil Services Exam) (UPSC Civils)
Conducting Authority UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)
Exam Level All India
Exam mode Offline / Pen and paper mode
Every year’s vacancies 861
Eligibility Criteria Candidate must hold graduation degree from any recognized university. The Civil Services Age Limit for Indian Citizens is between 21 – 32 years.
Number of attempts six attempts are allowed for General Category aspirants in UPSC Civil Services
UPSC Civil Service Exam 2022 Dates UPSC CSE Prelims – June 5, 2022 UPSC CSE Mains – September 16, 2022, onward
UPSC Civil Service Exam 2023 UPSC CSE Prelims- May 28, 2023

For latest updates regarding the examination, check UPSC CSE 2023 exam date.

Jobs Under UPSC CSE- Rank in Civil Service

As discussed in the maiden paragraph, the Civil services Examination is conducted by UPSC to fill the 24, including “A” and “B” grade posts under the government of India. The selected candidates will be subjected to the posts based on their ranking in the examination.

The top three services IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IPS (Indian Police Service), and IFOS (Indian Forest Service) require higher ranks in the examination.

Below we have listed all 24 services in the UPSC CSE. Group “A” Services
1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
2. Indian Police Service (IPS)
3. Indian Forest Service (IFOS)
4. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
5. Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service
6. Indian Audit and Accounts Service
7. Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
8. Indian Defence Accounts Service
9. Indian Revenue Service (I.T.)
10. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
11. Indian Postal Service
12. Indian Civil Accounts Service
13. Indian Railway Traffic Service
14. Indian Railway Accounts Service
15. Indian Railway Personnel Service
16. Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force
17. Indian Defence Estates Service
18. Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
19. Indian Trade Service
20. Indian Corporate Law Service
21. Indian Revenue Service (CBEC) Group “B” Service
1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade)
2. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service
3. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service
4. Pondicherry Civil Service
5. Pondicherry Police Service

UPSC CSE Exam Pattern

Aspirants preparing for UPSC CSE should be well familiar with the examination pattern. The UPSC CSE exam pattern help candidates to know the nature of the examination. What should study and what should not? It is very important.

The UPSC Civil Service Examination(CSE), also known as UPSC IAS or UPSC civils, is held in three phases. Exam Type
1. Civil Services Exam (Preliminary) Objective Type
2. Civil Services Exam (Main) Descriptive Type
3. Personality Test / Interview

UPSC CSE Prelims Exam Pattern

The UPSC CSE procedure begins with the prelims exam, also known as UPSC preliminary examination. It serves as a screening test to identify candidates for the further selection process. It is an objective-type paper consisting of 200 marks each which is also called CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test).

The prelims examination consists of two papers

  1. General Studies I
  2. General Studies II(CSAT)

Only those who achieve a score higher than the cut-off established by the UPSC for that specific year will be called to sit for the subsequent stage of testing. However, while determining the final merit list, the Preliminary Examination scores will not be taken into account.

Paper Type No. of questions Total Marks Duration Negative marks
General Studies I Objective 100 200 2 hours Yes
General Studies II (CSAT) Objective 80 200 2 hours Yes
Total UPSC marks for Prelims 400 (where GS Paper II is qualifying in nature with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%)

UPSC CSE Mains Exam Pattern

The UPSC CSE Mains examination is followed by the Prelims. It is descriptive in nature and includes nine papers within the period of 5-7days. Only those applicants who achieve at least the specified cutoff in General Studies I and 33% in General Studies II in the preliminary round will be permitted to sit for the main exam.

According to the UPSC Mains exam format, descriptive answer questions are present in every paper. It is a demanding step, and your ultimate scores will directly depend on how well you perform in the UPSC mains. The mains phase UPSC test marks are, therefore, very important because they play a crucial role in the determination of merit. Below is the UPSC CSE Mains information with scores:

Paper Subject Duration Total marks
Paper A Compulsory Indian language 3 hours 300
Paper B English 3 hours 300
Paper I Essay 3 hours 250
Paper II General Studies I 3 hours 250
Paper III General Studies II 3 hours 250
Paper IV General Studies III 3 hours 250
Paper V General Studies IV 3 hours 250
Paper VI Optional I 3 hours 250
Paper VII Optional II 3 hours 250
Interview Personality test   275
Total     2025

UPSC CSE Eligibility Criteria

The UPSC CSE 2023 notification is out and candidates must carefully go through the updated eligibility criteria for the examination carefully because

Candidates who skipped their final opportunity to sit for the civil services exams in 2020 would have another chance in UPSC 2021, according to news reports. The Central government has received permission from the Supreme Court to take a "lenient view" of this appeal, according to the Supreme Court. The court refuted issuing the central government with any such directives, nevertheless. "We are not expressing any position regarding resolution," the Court stated.

Candidates can check here the latest UPSC CSE eligibility criteria.

General Eligibility for the UPSC CSE

Age Limit 21 to 32 years
Age relaxation As per category (mentioned below)
Number of Attempts 06 (General and EWS) ; 09 (OBC); SC/ST (Upto age limit)
Educational qualification Graduation from any recognized university
Nationality Indian (For IAS and IPS);

UPSC Age Limits

Category Upper Age Limit for UPSC Maximum Number of Attempts
General 32 6
Economically Weaker Section (EWS) 32 6
OBC 35 9
SC/ST 37 Unlimited (Up to age limit)
Defence Services Personnel 35 9
Persons with Benchmark Disability 35 9

UPSC CSE Syllabus

The UPSC CSE syllabus is very vast. This examination demands not only hard work but smart work too. Deciding the proper weightage for the subjects is brainstorming. The syllabus for the UPSC CSE helps you to figure out the importance of chapters for the examination.

In this section we will discuss the UPSC CSE prelims syllabus.

UPSC CSE Syllabus for Prelims


  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, and 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, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science

Paper-2 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)

It is crucial to understand the IAS Prelims syllabus because it is the preliminary exam that determines who advances to the next round, the Mains. Before beginning their preparation, all candidates for the UPSC Exam must become familiar with the exam format and IAS Exam curriculum. Candidates can check the UPSC CSE syllabus to know the Mains syllabus.

How to Crack UPSC Exam on The First Attempt?

Follow the steps to crack the UPSC examination on the first attempt.

  • Go through the syllabus.
  • Understand the pattern of the examination with the help of previous years' papers.
  • Jot down the important topics based on the PYQ analysis.
  • Make properly structured notes for the examination.
  • Avoid making lengthy notes instead of it prefer using mind maps for the examination.
  • Pick the right subject for the Mains examination.
  • Make a proper timetable and follows it rigorously.
  • Use flexible learning hours to make your study more engaging.
  • Read newspapers regularly.
  • Spend time on quality subject discussion.
  • Attempt mock tests as many as possible.
  • Practice answer writing for the Mains examination.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle for yourself.
  • Revision is the key.

Interview Tips for UPSC

  1. Start your preparation early. Don’t wait for your success in the mains examination.
  2. Know about yourself.
  3. Inculcate a positive attitude.
  4. Never lie in the interview.
  5. Work on your communication skills.
  6. Speak confidently.
  7. Give answers straightly and to the point.
  8. Read newspapers regularly. It will enhance your thinking.
  9. Revise your optional subjects regularly.
  10. Maintain your calmness and body language.
  11. Dress appropriately and neatly.
  12. Attempt UPSC Mock interviews to know the interview pattern.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is UPSC Civil Services Examination very tough?

Ans. Yes UPSC Civil Services Examination is tough but not a hard nut to crack. Under the right guidance and with appropriate study material, one can surely crack the examination.

Q2. What is the full form of IAS?

Ans. The full form of IAS is Indian Administrative Services.

Q3. Who can apply for UPSC CSE 2023?

Ans. Candidates who have graduated in 2022 can apply for the UPSC CSE examination.

Q4. Can I crack UPSC CSE without coaching?

Ans. Yes, with relevant study material and hard work, one can surely ace the UPSC CSE examination without coaching.

Q5. What are the total marks for the UPSC CSE Mains?

Ans. The total mark for the UPSC CSE Mains is 1750. The preliminary exam is qualifying in nature, and the merit list is prepared on the basis of the mains and interview.

Q6. What are the seven papers in UPSC Mains?

Ans- The seven papers in UPSC Mains are

  1. Essay
  2. General Studies I
  3. General Studies II
  4. General Studies III
  5. General Studies IV
  6. Optional I
  7. Optional II

Q7. What is the educational qualification required for UPSC CSE?

Ans. To be eligible for the UPSC CSE, candidates must have graduation degree from a recognized college or university.

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