Civil Services Exam
The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) among others. Also simply referred as UPSC examination. It is conducted in three phases - a preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II also popularly known as Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT), and a main examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven paper are counted followed by a personality test (interview).
Preliminary Examination Pattern
Every year UPSC examination are organized in which millions of candidate appears.
A candidate would not be able to appear in mains exam, if he does not clear prelims exams. Prelim exams are only for screening of a candidate and marks he scored in prelims will not be counted in final merit.
Generally there are two papers in prelim exam. They are:
General Studies 1 (200 marks)
General Studies 2 (200 marks)
The question will of multiple choices, objective type. The Preliminary Examination evaluation is based on negative marking Pattern from 2007 onwards. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
Actually, the purpose of the Preliminary Examination is only to adjudge the aptness of the candidate; in the Final Selection its marks are not taken into account. While applying for preliminary examination, the candidate has to indicate his optional subjects (these can be changed while filling the mains detailed application form).
Syllabus of GS I (Prelims)
Paper I – (200 marks) Duration : 2 Hours
- 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 specialization.
- General Science.
Syllabus of GS II - CSAT (Qualifying in Nature)
Paper II – (200 marks) Duration : 2 Hours
- 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).
Mains Examination Pattern
In this examination subjects included are—General Studies (Question Paper I, II, III and IV), Optional Subject-1 (Question Paper I & II), Optional, Essay & Compulsory English and Compulsory Indian Language.
This is phase 2 which tests candidate academic dept and his ability how he/she face matters practically. This exam not merely tests the memory/range of a candidate but also test the intelligence quotient.
To clear mains exams aspirant are advised to have long term strategy. A passionate and focus mind for learning and reading s a basic trait of all successful candidates. The level of syllabus is quite tuff. It might be broader than bachelor degree.
(A) Syllabus of GS
General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) of 250 marks which may include following topics:
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.
General Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) of 250 marks which may include following topics:
Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States
Iissues 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.
General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) of 250 marks which may include following topics:
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
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.
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
General Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) of 250 marks which may include following topics:
This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
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 weakersections.
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
(B) COMPULSORY SUBJECTS ENGLISH AND INDIAN LANGUAGES
1: The aim of the paper is to test the candidate’s ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly in English/Indian language concerned.
2: The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :
Comprehension of given passages.
Usage and Vocabulary
Comprehension of given passages.
Usage and Vocabulary.
Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.
Note 1: The Papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved)
Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. 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.
(D) OPTIONAL SUBJECT
List of optional subjects for Main Examination:
Agriculture; Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science; Anthropology; Botany; Chemistry; Civil Engineering; Commerce and Accountancy; Economics; Electrical Engineering; Geography; Geology; History; Law; Management; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; Medical Science; Philosophy; Physics; Political Science and International Relations; Psychology; Public Administration; Sociology; Statistics; Zoology; Assamese; Bengali; Bodo; Dogri; Gujarati; Hindi; Kannada; Kashmiri; Konkani; Maithili; Malayalam; Manipuri; Marathi; Nepali; Oriya; Punjabi; Sanskrit; Santhali; Sindhi; Tamil; Telugu; Urdu; and English.
Civil Services Interview
The personality test or the interview in civil services examination is the final hurdle to cross and then there is smile for rest of the lives. The personality test carries 275 marks out of the total 2025 mark scheme of the Civil Services Examination based on which the final selection list is prepared. Like the Essay (that carries 250 marks), the success and rank of an aspirant is determined significantly by this small but important segment.
The nature of personality test for the Civil Services Examination is different than those of the other services interviews. The candidates aspiring for Civil Services are going to be interviewed by a Board, already aware of their personal as well professional track record. They will be asked questions on matters of general interest, related to national and international importance. 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 who themselves having excellent career profile as a bureaucrat under different capacities with years of experience in public services. 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 abilities but also social traits and his curiosity in day to day happenings of national and global importance. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical analysis and assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgments, variety and depth of interests, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity etc.
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 interpersonal skills 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 academic subjects 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.