UPSC Civil Service Exam Pattern and Syllabus

All About IAS Exam (UPSC) – Preparation Strategy, Syllabus, Eligibility, Optional Subjects, Previous Year Paper, Books, Schedule, Cut off, Resources.

UPSC Civil Service Examination
UPSC Civil Service Examination

Every year Union Public Service Commission conducts Civil Services Exams across India. There are around 10 lakhs forms received by UPSC from aspirants of the IAS Exam. Out of which on an average 60% appears in PT.
This article will help you to understand all about the UPSC civil service exam.
10 times of total vacancy is called for mains written test and 3 times of total vacancy is called for interview. i.e. if total vacancies is 1,000 then 10,000 aspirants called for mains written test.

Eligibility Criteria to apply the Civil service Exam:

To apply for this examination, you should must eligible in certain criteria, as we know that eligibility is an entry point in any examination.

  • The candidate must be a citizen of India.
  • The candidate should have a minimum bachelor’s degree from Central, State or Deemed University. Degree from Correspondence Education or distance education, the open university is also accepted.
  • The candidate age must be 21 years old and not must be greater than 32 years old. For Open category is restricted to 32 years, for OBC category is restrict to 35 years and for SC/ST it is restricted to 37 years old.
  • Number of attempts is limited, for Open category it is limited to 6 attempts, for OBC category it is limited to 9 attempts and for SC/ST candidate there is no limitation (Any number of attempts)

Selection Process

There are three stages of the selection process –

  1. Preliminary Test
  2. Mains Written Exam
  3. Interview

Numbers of vacancies are notified by UPSC which remains around 700-1000 for civil services. But only the top 70-100 candidates are allotted Indian Administrative Service. Indian Police Service is the second most opted choice among services, third is Indian Foreign Service, Fourth is Indian Revenue Services and then other civil services follow.

Preliminary Test

PT is conducted in the month of June for which form and notification released by the Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi in the month of February.
PT exam has Two papers of 100 questions and 80 questions to be finished in two hours each.
These papers are named as

  • General Studies Paper I
  • General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)

These are the optional type of paper with a 1/3rd negative marking.
General Studies Paper-II is a qualifying paper only with the cut-off score as 33%, the merit list is created solely based on the score of GS Paper I.

Syllabus of IAS Exam Paper I (PT) – (200 marks)

Paper I is having Social Studies, Indian Economy, General Science, Current Affairs, Environment, etc. The duration of the exam remains two hours generally scheduled in the first half of the day (9 am – 11 am). The following is the syllabus provided by UPSC for this paper.

  • 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 – that do not require subject specialisation
  • General Science.

Syllabus for Paper II – (200 marks)

Paper II has Comprehension and Aptitude. Its duration is also of two hours, scheduled in second half of the day. Syllabus provided by UPSC:-

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problemsolving
  • 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)

Cut off marks for Selection in Civil Services Preliminary Exam Exam

Paper I – Generally cut off marks for selection in PT remain between 50-55 percent. However, we suggest you aim at scoring 65 percent to play safe.
Paper-II – It is a qualifying paper candidates need to score a minimum of 33% marks in this paper to qualify.
To read previous year Preliminary Exam General Studies Paper

UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam

After qualifying the Preliminary Examination candidates are allowed to go for mains exam which consists of two parts –

  • The written exam of nine papers
  • Personality test (also known as interview)

It consists of nine paper and followed by a personality test (Total marks is 1750)

Paper AOne of the Indian language should be selected300
Paper BEnglish300
Paper IEssay writing250
Paper-IIIndian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World250
Paper IIIGovernance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations250
Paper IVTechnology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment250
Paper VEthics, Integrity and Aptitude250
Paper VI, VIIOne subject is selected from the prescribed optional subjects500 (250 x 2)

Some of the Indian languages that will be useful while selecting are Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, Telugu, Urdu, etc.
The candidate is allowed to take up literature as an optional subject “without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that language’s literature.
The optional subjects are Geography, Agriculture, Chemistry, Economics, Law, Psychology etc.

Click here for UPSC Mains Syllabus

Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks
Marks of English and Language will not be counted so total marks for Written exam will be 1750 Marks Only

Interview/Personality Test – 275 marks

Candidate can give preference of the language in which they may like to be interviewed. UPSC will make arrangement for the translators.
Grand Total 2025 Marks
A candidate is allowed to use any one language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the examination.

How to start IAS preparation?

One this you will find common in all aspirants about IAS preparation that they start it with reading NCERT books. Any beginner can start his UPSC preparation by reading NCERT books. Soon after this aspirants need to go through one textbook of each subject and keep revising as well as practicing for answer writing. Along with it a newspaper preferably The Hindu should be read by IAS Aspirants.

Civil Services Examination Time Table 2020

Event Schedule
UPSC CSE Notification 12.02.2020
Online Application Start from 12.02.2020
Last Date for Online Application 03.03.2020
Admit Card for Prelims May 2020
Prelims Exam Date 31.05.2020
Mains Exam Date 18.09.2020

Do not wait for another day to start preparation. Start it right now. All the best.
Do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

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