UPSC Civil Services Examination

UPSC conducts Civil Services Examination in 3 stages – Prelims, Mains, & Interviews. The Preliminary Exam is an objective type examination for the shortlisting of candidates, and the Mains Examination is a subjective type examination comprising of 9 descriptive exams. The candidates who qualify the Prelims examination become eligible for Mains exams. Candidates qualifying the Mains exam are called for Interview which is the final selection round. During this round the candidates are evaluated for their observation skills, intelligence, alertness, balance of judgment and human qualities like honesty, morality and administration.

There is a high competition in UPSC examination and so many education institutes are available, as a result aspirants got confused. Aspirants should join the best UPSC CSE Optional Subject coaching institute for General Studies and Optional subject also while preparing for this examination. UPSC Optional subject is very important for all the aspirants, in other words, they should choose the best coaching institute for IAS optional subject also.

Best UPSC CSE Optional Subjects
Discrete IAS is a leading institute which provides best IAS optional subject coaching for different UPSC optional subjects of UPSC CSE.

UPSC Exam Pattern

UPSC examination is conducted in three stages:

  1. Preliminary Examination – Preliminary exam consists of two papers – General Studies and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). Both the question papers will be objective type (multiple choice questions). Exam duration will be 2 hours for each paper. Most importantly, wrong answers negative marking.
  2. Mains Examination – Mains exam consists of nine papers – Two language papers, General Studies – I, II, II & IV and two Optional Papers. All the question papers will be of the descriptive type. Exam duration will be 3 hours for each paper. No negative marking will be there.
  3. Interview or Proficiency Test – Interview process is the last and final stage of the selection process of the UPSC Exam Pattern. After that final result will be declared. The interview consists of 275 marks.

Preliminary Examination:

  1. The exam is conducted in Multiple Choice Question (CQ) format.
  2. This exam has two papers of General Studies:
  3. GS Paper-I and GS Paper-II which is commonly known as CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test).
  4. CSAT paper is qualifying in nature in which an aspirant has to score only 33 % marks in this and these marks are not counted towards merit of Prelims exam.
  5. Qualified candidates in Prelims come in the merit list and eligible to appear in next stage i.e. Mains Exam.
Name of the PaperNo. of QuestionsTotal MarksDurationNature of ExamType of Paper
Paper I: General Studies (Objective-type)1002002 hoursThe score will be considered for Cut-offObjective
Paper-II: General Studies-II (CSAT) (Objective-Type)802002 hoursQualifying Nature- Candidates will have to score 33% to qualify CSAT.Objective

Mains Examination:

  1. This exam is Subjective/ Descriptive in format.
  2. This exam has nine papers – Two language papers, Essay Paper, GS Paper I, GS Paper II, GS Paper III, GS Paper IV and Two Papers of the Optional Subject.
  3. Both the Language Papers A & B (English language paper is mandatory) are qualifying in nature and remaining seven papers are counted towards merit.
PaperSubjectDurationTotal marksNature of paperType of Paper
Paper ACompulsory Indian language3 hours300QualifyingDescriptive
Paper BEnglish3 hours300QualifyingDescriptive
Paper IEssay3 hours250MeritDescriptive
Paper-IIGeneral Studies I3 hours250MeritDescriptive
Paper IIIGeneral Studies II3 hours250MeritDescriptive
Paper IVGeneral Studies III3 hours250MeritDescriptive
Paper VGeneral Studies IV3 hours250MeritDescriptive
Paper VIOptional I3 hours250MeritDescriptive
Paper VIIOptional II3 hours250MeritDescriptive

Personality Test:

  1. Those who qualify the Mains examination are finally Interviewed by UPSC to arrive at the final merit list.
  2. The final merit is drawn with combined marks of Mains Examination and Personality Test.

UPSC Eligibility

There are different eligibility criteria for UPSC CSE examination. According to the UPSC Civil Services Examination Age Limit, the candidate should be between 21 and 32 years, as on 1st August 2021 for General category.

IAS Eligibility- Educational Qualification

The different academic requirements as per the IAS Eligibility Criteria are given below:

  • The candidate must have a degree from Government recognized Universities or have an equivalent qualified degree.
  • Candidates who are pursuing their final year or awaiting results are also eligible to appear for UPSC Examination. In conclusion, they must be graduated before Interview.
CategoryMinimum Age LimitUpper Age Limit for UPSCMaximum Number of Attempts
General21 years326
EWS Economically Weaker Section 21 years 326
OBS 21 years 359
SC/ ST 21 years 37Unlimited (Up to age limit)
Defence Services Personnel 21 years 359
Persons with Benchmark Disability 21 years359

IAS Eligibility- Nationality

For IAS and IPS:

  • Candidate must be an Indian citizen.

There is different criteria for all other Services Nationality, please read UPSC notification for the details:
UPSC Civil Service Examination age limit, relaxation and maximum attempts as per categories:-

  1. General Category & EWS: 32 years; 6 attempts.
  2. OBC (with certificate): 32 years + 3 years; having 9 attempts.
  3. SC/ST: 32 years + 5 years; no limit for attempts.
  4. Physically Disabled: 32 years + 10 years; Gen/OBC/Person with Benchmark Disability(EWS category) – 9 attempts & SC/ST no limit for attempts.
  5. Jammu & Kashmir Domicile: 32 years + 5 years + (3 years, if OBC OR 5 Years, if SC/ST); Number of attempts will be depending on the reserved category.
  6. Disabled Defence service personnel: 32 years + 3 years + (3 more years, if Gen/OBC OR 5 more years, if SC/ST)
  7. Ex-Servicemen Commission Officer: 32 years + 5 years + (3 years, if OBC OR 5 Years, if SC/ST)

Refer ATTACHED PDF for full details about UPSC.