the Preliminary Examination (objective type), which is a qualifying examination, and a Main Examination consisting of written examination and interview. The marks obtained in the Preliminary Exam are not counted in the Main Exam and it is only a screening exam. The Preliminary Exam is an objective type test. One can appear in the Main Examination only after passing the Preliminary Exam. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) holds the Preliminary Examination in May/June and the Main Examination is held in October/November. The notification for the Preliminary Examination is published in December every year.
The candidate must be between 21 and 30 years of age as on August 1 every year for the exam. Relaxations to the age limit are available for 3 years for OBC and 5 years for candidates belonging to the SC/ST.
The candidate must hold a degree of any of the Universities incorporated by an act of legislature in India.
A candidate is permitted 4 attempts at the examination. There is no restriction on the number of attempts for scheduled caste candidates but Other Backward Classes have seven attempts.
Paper I :
Paper II : 200 marks (Duration 2 hours)
The Main Exam consists of a written exam and an interview test. The written exam has 9 papers of conventional essay type. Marks obtained in the Main Exam will determine whether a candidate is called for the interview. The interview carries 300 marks and the number of candidates called is about twice the number of vacancies. Interview calls are sent on the basis of minimum marks fixed by the UPSC at its discretion. Marks obtained in the Main Exam plus interview determines the final ranking. Candidates are allotted various services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and preferences expressed by them. The written examination consists of the following papers:
|Paper I||One of the languages to be selected from the Eighth||300 marks|
|Schedule of the Constitution|
|Paper II||English||300 marks|
|Paper III||Essay||200 marks|
|Paper IV V||General Studies||300 marks each|
|Paper VI-IX||Any two subjects from list of optional subjects.||300 marks|
|Each subject has two papers.|
Optional subjects: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, 20Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology. Each paper is of 3 hours duration. The following combinations not allowed are:
Arabic, Assamese, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Marathi, Malayalam, Manipuri, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telegu, Urdu.
The object of the interview is to assess the suitability of the candidate for a career in public service. It is an assessment of not only the intellectual qualities but also social traits and interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities judged are: mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, social cohesion, leadership and above all, intellectual and moral integrity.
Before initiating the preparations, a few things must be noted by the candidates. The choice of optional subject for Paper-II has to be done very carefully. The candidates must plan ahead of time with eyes on the main examination and choose the optional which he/she intends taking up in the Mains. Preparations for Paper-II also need specific planning. It would be wrong to confine the studies only to the multiple choice objective type questions. Unless a detailed study of the subject is carried out, it would be difficult to answer the questions on the subject properly. The aim, must, therefore, be to clearly understand the basics of the subject by covering each and every aspect of the syllabus. This provides a candidate with adequate self-confidence and knowledge to answer the questions correctly. It is not difficult to find out a candidate who had, during the past couple of years, appeared in the prelims with the same subject. It is always better to discuss the subject, its intricacies, pattern of questions and the books to be studied. In addition, it is also not difficult to identify the candidate offering the same optional subject for Paper-II within the same town/city. It is always fruitful to have detailed discussions on various parts of the syllabus, books to be consulted for the basics, multiple choice question books or question banks and other related issues. Finally, the practice of correctly marking the answer sheet by using minimum possible time will go a long way in helping you succeed. General Studies.
While the Optional (Paper-I) subject is very important, the candidates also need to do well in Paper-I. This paper has a maximum of 150 marks but in a competition like this where even a single mark matters a lot, these marks play a decisive role. Most candidates do well in Paper II since the subject chosen is of their interest and knowledge. General Studies paper consists of questions on Indian Polity and Economy, History of India including Indian National Movement, Indian and World Geography, Current Affairs of National and International Importance, General and day-to-day Science, Mental Ability and Basics of Statistics etc. Questions on planning, budgeting, developmental programmed, latest issues of political and constitutional importance, panchayati raj, electoral reforms, natural resources, culture, growth of nationalism, Committees, Commission etc can be expected almost every year.. The fact that this paper needs special and thorough preparations need not be over-emphasized. The aspiring candidates are expected to have keen interest in the General Studies and are supposed to have a good amount of interest in current affairs. All the preparation starting from a scratch cannot be completed in the short period of 4 to 5 months and the candidates must begin preparations early. Regular and detailed reading of a good national newspaper, a standard competition magazine and a basic book on general knowledge is the essential per-requisite. Those readers who still have two to three years of time left for becoming eligible to go in for Civil Services Examination must begin preparations now. The candidates who do not have enough background in20the General Studies may have to put in harder effort to catch up with the others.
To conclude, proper selection of optional subject, availability and selection of proper books and magazines, meticulous time management, proper planning, hard work and will to succeed are some of the attributes which play vital role in making a candidate successful. One thing good about this examination is that the preparations made do not go waste and are properly utilized for the main examination. Hard work invariably is rewarded with the sweet taste of success.
Preparations for the Civil Services Mains Exam should start along with those of Preliminary exam. This is because there is much common ground for study, and there is little time for the mains exam if one waits for the results of the Preliminaries. It is a long haul and preparations should be done with persistence, over nine months to an year.
One of the first questions that has to be answered is the choice of subjects. Here the choice should not only be with regard to your interests but also with regard to the study material available.
The next step is to make a time-bound study plan, which would include not only studying the subject but improvement of writing expression. This is done by writing down the answers to the questions asked in previous years’ papers.
The following topics need coverage for General Studies:
While studying for the optional subjects, keep in mind that there is no scope for selective studies in the Civil Services Examination. The whole syllabus must be completely and thoroughly covered. Invariably, some candidates organize their studies in a manner that they study one subject thoroughly, with reduced emphasis on their second subject. It is imperative that equal stress be given to both the subjects you have chosen.
It is also important to remember that the level of questions asked is of the Masters level examination. The questions have an added spin in order to bring out the grasp of the candidate with regard to the basic concepts of the subject. Hence, if you choose subjects in which you do not have a basic grounding, it would be advisable to start from simple books. After getting the grasp of the basic concepts, start with higher level study material. Here again, reflections on basic concepts and their application in real life is important. For best preparation and a success plan, it is suggested that the candidate make a habit of beginning his study by writing answers to three questions each day, one each from General Studies and two from optional subjects. Questions should be chosen from previous years’ papers and the answer writing should be preceded by study on the subject.
|Paper I||General Studies||150 marks|
|Paper II||CSAT||150 Marks|
Paper –I General Studies
The Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Important Events namely The American Revolution 1776; The French Revolution 1789; The Russian Revolution 1917; World Wars I & II.
Paper –II Civil Services Aptitude Test
|Subject Code||Optional Subject|
|37||Commerce and Accountancy|
|50||Political Science & International Relations|
|32||Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science|
|56||Literature of one of the following: Hindi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Urdu or English|
|Duration: 3 hours in each paper|
Candidates shall not be allowed to offer the following combinations of subjects:
|III||Punjabi (in Gurmukhi Script)||100|
|IV V||General Studies (Two papers of 100 marks each)||200|
|VI to IX||Any two subjects to be selected from the list of the optional subjects.||400|