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Course Information


i) Academic Eligibility

- The candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree from any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University, under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.
- Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the final examination and are awaiting results are also eligible to apply for the Preliminary Examination.
- All such candidates who qualify the Prelims examination must produce a proof of Pass Bachelor Degree to appear for the Civil Services Main Examination. This Degree has to be attached with their application for the Main Examinations.
- The UPSC may in exceptional cases treat a candidate without the foregoing requisite qualification as an eligible candidate if he / she have passed an examination conducted by other institutions, the standard of which justifies his / her admission in the opinion of the Commission. The criteria may apply to candidates having bachelor's degree from any reputed foreign university for example Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard etc.
- Candidates with professional and technical bachelor's degrees that are recognised by the Government are also eligible to apply example MBBS, BE etc.
- Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However, they must submit a certificate from the concerned authority of the University / Institution that they have passed the final professional medical examination along with their Main Examination application. At the Interview stage they must produce a certificate from a competent authority that they have completed (including internship) and all the requirements for the award of the Medical Degree.

ii) 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 of examination.

The Upper Age Limit Prescribed Above is Relaxed:

- Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste (SC) or a Scheduled Tribe (ST).

- Up to a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC) who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates

- Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from the 1st January, 1980 to the 31st December, 1989

- Up to a maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof.

- Up to a maximum of five years 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, 2018 and have been released.

- On completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1st August 2018) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or on invalid.

- Up to a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1st August, 2018 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

- Up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped persons.



The Civil Services Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) annually. The examination is conducted by the UPSC to select officers for the Central and All India services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS), etc.


Preliminary Examination

The Preliminary examination consists of two papers:

  • Paper I – is a paper on General Studies – 200 marks
  • Paper II – is a paper on Aptitude Test- 200 marks

This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year in the various Services and Posts.

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 provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.


The Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies Papers (Papers II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study.

The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyse, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

The Main (written) Examination will consist of the following papers:

Qualifying Papers (Non-Ranking)

Paper A

One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from5the languages included in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution.

 300 Marks

Paper B


 300 Marks

Papers to be Counted for Merit (Ranking)

Paper I


 250 Marks

Paper II

General Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History1 and Geography of the World and Society)

 250 Marks

Paper III

General Studies II (1Governance, 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

Optional Subject- Paper 11

 250 Marks

Paper VII

Optional Subject- Paper 2

 250 Marks

For the optional papers in the Main Examination, UPSC has a list of about twenty-six subjects out of which any one subject has to be selected by the candidate.

Subtotal (Written Test)

1750 Marks

Personality Test (Interview)

275 Marks

Grand Total

2025 Marks



The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks). Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. (Ranking is based on score out of 2025 Marks). Candidates will be allotted to the various services keeping in view their ranks in the Examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various services and posts.

The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled.

The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his career. He will be asked questions on matters of general interest.

The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental caliber of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs.

Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.

The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialized or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own State or Country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.

List Of Services

(i) Indian Administrative Service.

(ii) Indian Foreign Service.

(iii) Indian Police Service.

(iv) Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’.

(v) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.

(vi) Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’.

(vii) Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.

(viii) Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’.

(ix) Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration).

(x) Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’.

(xi) Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.

(xii) Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’.

(xiii) Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group 'A'.

(xiv) Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’.

(xv) Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’

(xvi) Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’.

(xvii) Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’.

(xviii) Indian Trade Service, Group 'A'.

(xix) Indian Corporate Law Service, Group "A".

(xx) Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade).

(xxi) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group 'B'.

(xxii) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group 'B'.

(xxiii) Pondicherry Civil Service, Group 'B'.

(xxiv) Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’.



Prelims Syllabus

General Studies-Paper I Syllabus:

  • - 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 donot require subject specialization
  • - General science

Aptitude Syllabus:

  • - 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)
  • - English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)
  • - Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level. (will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation)


Mains Syllabus

PAPER -1: 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 – 2 : General Studies- 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 – 3 : General Studies- 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 – 4 : General Studies-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 – 5 : General Studies- IV:

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude (250 marks)

  • - 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 behaviour; 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.

{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: Assamese/Bengali/Bodo/Dogri/ Gujarati/Hindi/Kannada/Kashmiri/ Konkani/Maithili/Malayalam/Manipuri/M arathi/Nepali/Oriya/Punjabi/Sanskrit/San thali/Sindhi /Tamil/Telugu/Urdu/English}

Question Papers
Question Paper Pattern Year Link
General Studies Paper - I set A qus & key Prelims 2018
General Studies Paper - I Mains 2017
General Studies Paper - II Mains 2017
General Studies Paper - III Mains 2017
General Studies Paper - IV Mains 2017
General Studies Paper - I Prelims 2017
General Studies Paper - II Prelims 2017
General Studies Paper - I Mains 2016
General Studies Paper - II Mains 2016
General Studies Paper - III Mains 2016
General Studies Paper - IV Mains 2016
General Studies Paper - I Prelims 2016
General Studies Paper - II Prelims 2016
General Studies Paper - I Mains 2015
General Studies Paper - II Mains 2015
General Studies Paper - III Mains 2015
General Studies Paper - IV Mains 2015
General Studies Paper - I Prelims 2015
General Studies Paper - II Prelims 2015
General Studies Paper - I Mains 2014
General Studies Paper - II Mains 2014
General Studies Paper - III Mains 2014
General Studies Paper - IV Mains 2014
General Studies Paper - I Prelims 2014
General Studies Paper - II Prelims 2014