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UPSC Exam: Civil Services, Syllabus and Exam Pattern

UPSC Exam: Civil Services, Syllabus and Exam Pattern

UPSC or the Civil Services exam held by the Union Public Service Commission is one exam that demands knowledge of everything under the sun. UPSC is one of the toughest and most popular competitive exams in India. UPSC is held to hire officers for All India Services, Central Services, and State Services and the selection procedure involves three stages – Prelims, Mains and Interview. In this article, we will go through the 20 civil services in India and also look at the UPSC syllabus and exam pattern.

 

UPSC Civil Services, Syllabus & Exam Pattern

 

The UPSC exam is the pathway for being recruited to different central government positions including the IAS (Indian Administrative Service), the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), the Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS).

 

Aspirants are expected to begin with clearing the Civil Services Aptitude Test (SCAT) which is always followed by the main exam. This is again followed by a PI or personal interview. That is not all; candidates are often made to wait for one long year after they wrote their CSAT to be intimated about the personal interview – if they are selected in round one!

 

Considered the toughest of all Indian exams, only India’s best minds get enrolled as officers by taking this test. Apparently, more than 9,00,00,0 aspirants appear for the test every year while the success rate is only 0.1 -0.3 %.

 

20 UPSC Civil Services in India

 

  1. IAS Indian Administrative Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21-32 years

No. of Attempts Allowed: 4 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. IFS-Foreign Indian Foreign Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21 – 32 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 4 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. IPS Indian Police Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21 – 32 years

No. of Attempts Allowed: 4 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. IFS-Forest Indian Forest Service

 

Qualification: Graduate in Qualifying Subject

Age Limit: 21 – 30 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 6 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. IP & TAFS Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21 – 32 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 6 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. IAAS Indian Audit and Accounts Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21 – 32 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 4 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. IRS Indian Revenue Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21-32 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 6 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. IDAS Indian Defence Accounts Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21 – 32 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 6 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. CMSE Combined Medical Services

 

Qualification: MBBS

Age Limit: 21-32 Years

 

  1. IRTS Indian Railway Traffic Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21-32 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 6 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. IRAS Indian Railway Accounts Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21-32 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 6 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. IRPS Indian Railway Personnel Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21 – 32 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 6 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. ITS Indian Trade Service

 

Qualification: Any Graduate

Age Limit: 21 – 32 years

No of Attempts Allowed: 6 – 9 Attempts

 

  1. CAPF – AC Central Armed Police Forces (Assistant Commandants)

 

Qualification: Bachelor’s Degree

Age Limit: 20-25 Years

 

  1. CGGE Combined Geo-Scientist and Geologist

 

Qualification: Master’s Degree in qualifying subject

Age Limit: For Geologist and Geophysicist and Chemist (Group ‘A’) in the Geological Survey of India is 21-32 years; for Jr. Hydrogeologist (Scientist B) (Group A) in Central Ground water Board, Ministry of Water Resources is 21-35 years.

 

  1. IES/ISS Indian Economic Service and Indian Statistical Service

 

Qualification: For Indian Economic Service – Master’s Degree in qualifying subject; for Indian Statistical Service – bachelors or master degree in qualifying subject

Age Limit: 21-30 Years

 

  1. NDA & NA (I) and (II) National Defence Academy & Naval Academy (I) and (II)

 

Qualification: 10+2 Pass

Age Limit: 16-20 Years

 

  1. CISF – AC (Exe) LDCE Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) – Assistant Commandants (Executive) LDCE

 

Qualification: Bachelor’s Degree

Age Limit: Less than 35 years

No. of Attempts Allowed: 3 Attempts

 

  1. IES Indian Engineering Services

 

Qualification: B.E. or B.Tech from a recognized university

Age Limit: 21-30 Years

 

  1. CDS (I) and (II) Combined Defence Services (I) and (II)

 

Minimum qualification for IMA And Officers, Air Force Academy: bachelor’s degree In qualifying subject

Minimum qualification for Indian Naval Academy: engineering from a recognized university

Age Limit: 19-25 Years

 

UPSC Syllabus and Exam Pattern

 

UPSC Preliminary Exam

 

The prelims consist of two compulsory papers – General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II; each having 200 marks. The paper will have MCQs and will be objective type. The marks attained in this exam will not matter in the final ranking; however, it is critical for qualifying for the next level.

 

In order to be selected for writing the Civil Service (Main) Examination, one has to score a minimum qualifying mark of 33% in General Studies Paper II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and also score the qualifying marks in General Studies Paper-I of exam as may be decided by the Commission.

 

UPSC syllabus for paper I – (200 marks; duration: two hours) counted for the merit rank in the prelims:

 

  • 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
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization
  • General Science
  • Economic and Social Development Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc

 

UPSC syllabus for paper II – (200 marks, two hours duration) – not counted for the merit rank in prelims but a qualifying paper; just needs 33% marks:

 

  • Comprehension
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • General mental ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability

 

UPSC Mains Exam

 

An aspirant’s rank in the Civil Service Exam in India solely depends on the mark attained in Main and Interview levels. There are 1750 marks in the main exam has and 275 marks are kept for the interview. The main exam is a written one and has nine papers, of which 7 will be counted for final merit ranking. As per the remaining two, the aspirant has to attain the minimum marks prescribed by UPSC each year.

 

Papers to be counted for merit ranking

 

Paper‐I  – Essay – 250 Marks.

 

Paper‐II General Studies – I – 250Marks. (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)

 

Paper‐III General Studies –II – 250 Marks. (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

 

Paper‐IV General Studies –III – 250 Marks. (Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

 

Paper‐V General Studies –IV – 250 Marks. (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

 

Paper‐VI Optional Subject – Paper 1 – 250 Marks.

 

Paper‐VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 – 250 Marks.

 

Qualifying papers – not counted for final ranking:

 

Paper A

 

Indian Language – Any one of the Indian Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution has to be selected by the candidate. This paper is not compulsory for aspirants hailing from the Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim. Total marks -300

 

Paper B

 

English Language –Total marks -300

 

Optional subjects one can choose from

 

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • History
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Management
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Physics
  • Public Administration
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology
  • Literature of any one of the following languages –
  • Assamese
  • Bengali
  • Bodo
  • Dogri
  • English
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi
  • Kannada
  • Kashmiri
  • Konkani
  • Maithili
  • Malayalam
  • Manipuri
  • Marathi
  • Nepali
  • Oriya
  • Punjabi
  • Sanskrit
  • Santhali
  • Sindhi
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Urdu

 

According to the new pattern of UPSC CSE, one optional subject is enough, however, each optional contains two papers. Each paper is of 250 marks and the total mark is 500.

 

Personal Interview (PI)

 

A Board of competent and unbiased observers will take the interview in order to gauge the personal fitness of the aspirant for a career in public service.

 

The interviewers will have the records of the candidate’s academic performance and will ask questions on general topics. Other than intellectual prowess the social traits and interest in current affairs are also assessed during the interview. Merits that are weighed up include mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, a balance of judgment, variety, and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

 

There is no strict technique for the interview with brain wrecking cross-examination. The approach is more of a natural discourse which is smartly directed and purposeful intending to disclose the psychological merits of the aspirant. Deep interest and comprehensive understanding of the socio-economic and political issues of not only the country but across the world is what is expected from the candidates.

Author: Baishali Mukherjee

Profile- An independent writer and journalist for last nine years; presently working with Education World, Entrepreneur India, Scrabbl.com and Stoodnt.com. Worked as the content head for four books and have articles and features published in leading print and digital media spaces.

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