UPSC Civil Service Examination Tips and Tricks



UPSC Civil Service Examination Tips and Tricks:

UPSC-Civil Service Examination Tips and Tricks
(Syllabus, Time of Exam, Books, etc.,)

Introduction
What is UPSC? 
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts various exams such as exam for Civil Services, IFS, NDA, CDS, SCRA etc. Civil services examination is popularly known as IAS exam and includes almost 24 services like IFS, IPS, IRS, IRPS and so on. 
Civil Services exam is one the most reputed and tough to crack exams in India. The number of test takers is almost 3 to 4 lakhs and now a days number of vacancies is almost 1100. It clearly shows that only few hard working students can get success in this exam and this all can be done not only by hard work but by a planned hard work. Generally the number of vacancies varies every year. 
Civil Service Examination     
The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a countrywide competitive exam in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to recruit candidates for different civil services post of the Government of India that includes the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS), among others. 
Eligibility Criteria 
Educational Qualification:

  1. Candidates should have at least one of the following educational qualifications:
  2. A degree from a Central, State or Deemed university
  3. A degree attained through correspondence or distance education
  4. A degree from an open university
  5. A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to one of the above Candidates who meet the below criteria are also eligible to take the exams, however one should submit the proof of eligibility from a proficient authority of their university/institution during the UPSC Mains Examination, failing which the candidate may not be allowed to take the exam.
  6. Candidates who have appeared in an examination and waiting for the results and after success in the exam, if they meet one of the above educational criteria
  7. Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed an internship
  8. Candidates who have passed the final exam of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), ICSI and ICWAI
  9. A degree from a private university
  10. A degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities

Age  Limit:
Minimum: 21 Years
Maximum: 32 Years
A candidate should have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on August 1 of the year of the examination. However, the age limit criteria vary for candidates who belong to different categories of caste. The suggested age limit varies with respect to caste reservation like for candidates who belong to Other Backward Castes (OBC) the upper age limit is 35 years, while the upper age limit for general category candidates is 32 years whereas for candidates belonging to SC/ST category the age limit is 37 years.
Furthermore, the upper age limit is relaxed for certain candidates who are physically challenged (handicapped), candidates from J&K Domicile and others.
Nationality

  1. A candidate must be a citizen of India for the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Police Service.
  2. A candidate must be one of the following to get into the Indian Revenue Service:
  3. A citizen of India
  4. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with an intention of permanently settling in India
  5. A candidate must be one of the following to get into other services:
  6. A citizen of India
  7. A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan
  8. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with an intention of permanently settling in India

Exam Pattern:
The Civil Services Examination is considered to be one of the toughest competitive examinations in the country. Every year, approximately around 900,000 - 1,000,000 candidates apply, while the number of candidates who appear in the preliminary examination is roughly 450,000.  The examination is conducted in the following three stages:

  1. Preliminary examination that consists of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper-I and CSAT Paper-II)
  2. Mains examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type
  3. Finally, the personality test or interview round

 

Preliminary Exam
The civil services preliminary examination pattern was based on the recommendations of the Kothari Commission (1979) till 2010, and the exam had two papers General Studies as paper 1 for 150 marks and paper 2 any one of the optional subjects among 23 subjects for 300 marks.
Once in every 10 to 15 years, the prelims exam pattern saw only minor changes, until in 2011 when it was overhauled by replacing the paper 2 (which any one of optional subjects) with CSAT paper 2, which officially known as General Studies paper 2. The CSAT paper (GS Paper 2) aims to assess the analytical abilities and understanding of a candidate rather than their ability to memorize. At present, the new prelims paper includes two papers for two hours duration with 200 marks for each paper. Both the papers are multiple choice questions type.
The two papers of prelims are defined as below:

  1. General Studies Paper
  2. CSAT Paper

 Main Examination
The Civil Services Mains Examination is a written examination and consists of nine papers in which two are qualifying in nature and seven are ranking in nature.
The questions in the mains exam may vary from just one mark to sixty marks and may require answering in the range of 20 words to 600 words.
According to the suggestion of the Prof Arun S Nigavekar Committee, the new marks allocation for civil service examination was introduced in 2013. Anyhow, after few controversies, the qualifying papers for Indian Languages and English were retained in the civil services examination.


S.No

Papers

Subject

Marks

  1.  

Paper A

One of the Indian languages (listed in the Eighth Schedule to the  Constitution of India) mentioned below to be selected by the candidate  (Qualifying)

300

  1.  

Paper B

English (Qualifying)

300

  1.  

Paper I

Essay

250

  1.  

Paper II

General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society)

250

  1.  

Paper III

General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations)

250

  1.  

Paper IV

General Studies III (Technology, economic development, bio-diversity, environment, security and disaster management)

250

  1.  

Paper V

General Studies IV(ethics, integrity and aptitude)

250

  1.  

Papers
VI, VII

Two papers on subjects to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks for each paper)

250

Sub Total (Written Test)

1750

Personality Test (Interview)

275

Total Marks

2025

Interview
The interview round is officially called as the "Personality Test", the main aim of the interview is to evaluate the personality i.e., the personal aptness of the candidate for a career in public service by a board of proficient and rational observers. The test is intended to evaluate the intellectual competence of a candidate. Broadly, the test is not only to assess candidates’ intellectual qualities but also their social traits and awareness in current affairs. Some of the qualities assessed are rational awareness, assimilation to critical influences, clear and coherent interpretation, balanced decision, diverse and profound alertness, capability for social interrelation and leadership, as well as intellectual and ethical righteousness.
The method of the interview is not of interrogation but of a regular yet engaged and purposive discussion that is aimed to expose the rational traits of the candidates.
After the declaration of the final results of civil services exam in May of the following year, the training program for the selected candidates generally begins in September.
Preparation Tips:
Respect your culture, society and language to learn about your country and equip yourself before aspiring for civil service jobs, UPSC Chairman DP Agrawal said.

  1. He was very critical about aspirants who have the habit of reading only one newspaper. "Read more newspapers, including regional language dailies, to get a more balanced approach towards issues and to get more informed," he advised.
  2. Avoid coaching centers was his advice. "Students, who have to be part of the universities, quit the universities for attending coaching centres but the coaching centres turn them into machines for mugging up things. One should study a subject in its depth," he said.
  3. He stressed on in depth knowledge saying, 70 per cent of science and engineering graduates who aspire for civil services prefer humanities as an optional subject. In that case, one has to go beyond peripheral knowledge to score high. One has to study in-depth about his or her village, district, state and country before accumulating knowledge about the world. You should first be interested in knowing more about the society you live," he said.
  4. He refuted the charge that the Commission was differentiating between languages. He said, 'maximum freedom is given to choose languages. The Commission supports all languages in the 8th Schedule. We are committed to respecting languages. The conclusion that we are against a particular language is not true,' the UPSC chairman said.
  5. Agrawal pointed out that irrespective of the language chosen for the main exam, there is an option to select any language for the interview. "There will be interpreters to translate. We take expert interpreters from Parliament. But one has to give clear answers. In case of interpreters making mistakes we will blacklist them," he said.
  6. Commenting further on interview, the chairman said, "it is not the judgment of one's expertise on a subject; however, if you don't know or remember what you have studied a few years back, it cannot be taken lightly." In the interview, normally, questions are simple. One has to speak from the heart with all honesty. However, candidates have a tendency to speak lies about even hobbies which will not do them any good. "So be yourself, face the exam and interview honestly. Only innate qualities will help you," he advised the civil service aspirants.
  7. Speaking about the newly introduced paper of Ethics, the UPSC Chairman admitted that the paper was a little tough this year. However, all the questions were about Indian ethos. "If you don't know the country, the development scenario, you cannot mug up,"

1. Know the Exam Pattern:
The first step towards Civil Services is to familiarize yourself with the pattern of the examination.
The Civil Services Exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) each year. It is conducted in 3 stages:
Stage 1: Preliminary Examination (Popularly known as CSAT)
There are two papers in Prelims exams – namely Paper I and Paper II.
Paper I tests you on General Studies and Paper II tests you on Aptitude. Qualifying Paper I lets you appear for the Mains examination. Paper II is only to analyze you i.e it is only of qualifying nature.The marks scored in Paper II are NOT added for the overall merit of the Civil Services Preliminary Examination.
Stage 2: Main Examination (Also known as Mains)
The Main Examination will consist of written examination. The written examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type i.e descriptive in nature.
Stage 3: Personal Interview
Candidates who obtain minimum qualifying marks in the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an interview for a Personality Test.
2. Know the Exam Syllabus:
IAS Prelims Syllabus is provided below. Check out clearly IAS Prelims Syllabus from below:
Paper I Syllabus (General Studies)

  1. Current Affairs
  2. General Science

Paper II Syllabus

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  4. Decision making and problem solving
  5. General mental ability
  6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) (Class X level), Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
  7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
  8. Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level. (will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation)

3. Preparation of General Studies:
IAS Exam General Studies comprises a vast ocean of subjects and this paper needs to be mastered in order to reach the Mains examination. Since the official syllabus does not give much detail of the topics to be studied under each subject it is expected to gain knowledge of them that should be slightly below the graduation level but definitely above the high school level.
There are 100 questions to be answered in two hours, each question carries two marks. It means there will be around 80 seconds to answer each question. So speed and accuracy is essential to tackle this examination. While the correct answer will fetch 2 marks, a wrong answer means a loss of 0.66 marks.
The 100 questions can be broadly divided into three categories:

  1. Multiple Choice Questions – single response correct
  2. Multiple Choice Questions – multiple response correct
  3. Multiple Choice Questions – Matching type

4. Go Through Previous Year Papers:
Going through the last five year papers (at least 5 years) will familiarize you with the kind of questions asked in the examination. One thing you have to understand here is that UPSC will NEVER repeat a question. So don’t mug up questions. It’ll be of no use. What will be of use is the fact that the ‘type’ of question might get repeated.
Going through past year’s papers will will make you understand the scope of the questions being asked. So when you study different subjects, you will keep that in mind. IAS Exam is not just about hard work. It’s a combination of both hard work and smart work.
5. Subject Wise Preparation Strategy:
History/Indian Culture

  1. A considerable share of the total questions asked in General Studies for IAS, comes from Indian History.
  2. The syllabus for history can be divided in 3 parts – Ancient Indian History, Medieval Indian History and Modern Indian History.
  3. Most of the History questions asked in IAS Preliminary Test usually come from Modern India & Art and Culture. It has been seen that Medieval Indian History & Ancient Indian History don’t constitute a major part in terms of the number of questions asked.
  4. So if one has to prioritize the topics for Indian History, Modern India (especially the Struggle for Independence) & Art & Culture should be given preference vis-a-vis Medieval Indian History & Ancient Indian History. Having said that never leave out the low priority topics altogether. Remember, UPSC loves to give it’s aspirants surprises.
  5. One common mistake that most IAS aspirants make while preparing history is that in search of relevant books & study materials, they end up with a multitude of resources. Having too many books & study resources for one particular subject can do more harm than good when it comes to quick revision later.

Geography

    1. Geography is divided into two parts – Indian Geography and World Geography
    2. It has been seen that Indian Geography is given more weightage in the Preliminary Examination. The following are the broad topics that you MUST cover before the exam.
  1. Indian Geography
  2. Physiography of India
  3. River Systems of India
  4. Climate
  5. Mineral Wealth of India
  6. Soil & Soil Types in India
  7. Agriculture
  8. Forests
  9. Wildlife & Conservation
  10. Human Geography
    1. While you prepare for Geography of India, keep in mind that mere cramming up information would be no use. Before you take up Physical Geography of India, have a clear understanding of fundamentals of Geography first. After you are thorough with the concepts involving Geography, you are fit to proceed towards Geography of India. Here, understand each section, sub-section in great details.
    2. For example, if you have to understand Physiography of India, look for critical pieces of information around the same. This would include Characteristics of each region, the process behind their formation, its mineral wealth, the climate of that region and why that is the way it is, Vegetation in that region and its direct/indirect relation to Climate & Human activities etc.

World Geography

    1. The following are the broad topics that you MUST cover before the exam:
    2. The Earth & the Universe
    3. Land forms and their formation
    4. Atmosphere
    5. Wind System
    6. Clouds & Precipitation
    7. Hydrosphere
    8. Different Types of Climate & Climatic Regions of the World
    9. Numerous concepts and phenomena related to Physical Geography are a part of World Geography. It is extremely important to highlight here that your understanding of World Geography would make Indian Physical Geography and a few other topics like Environment very easy for you.

Polity

  1. There is a significant number of questions that are asked from polity and over the years they have been found to be direct and ranging from Easy to Moderate on the difficulty scale.
  2. For polity, start with topics that are of keen interest to you. One does not necessarily have to begin in the same sequence as the Table of Contents. For instance, you may start with the chapter on Fundamental Rights & Duties much before you read the Process of the making of Indian Constitution. However, as you progress you would see that there are some chapters which are best read in the form of sets.
  3. For example, it should only be natural to read up State Government and its Functioning after you read Union Government & its functioning.
  4. The questions asked from the polity section are both static and dynamic in nature. Both these type of questions can be related to events and issues that passed by or are being debated. Current events related to new Bills, Acts, Policies and related provisions should be persistently followed and related topics looked up in your reference books.
  5. For example, if there is a landmark judgement passed by the Supreme Court around Freedom of Speech, it should automatically ring a bell in your head that you need to look at relevant chapters around Fundamental Rights and Judiciary in your course book.

Economy
A lot of aspirants get scared on hearing the name of economics. But there is nothing to worry. Let me clarify right in the beginning that you do not need to have prior knowledge of economics to crack the questions based on it. You will understand concepts as you keep reading. In fact economics might become your favourite section from the syllabus.Good thing about Indian Economy is that it is one section of Civil Services Exam where you can avoid a lot of cramming.
To understand Indian Economy better, you need to have the right resources. There are no better books than NCERTs that would build your fundamental understanding of the subject.
Read the following right at the onset of your preparation:

    1. Principles of Macroeconomics – Std XII
    2. Principles of Microeconomics – Std XII
    3. Indian Economic Development – Std XI
    4. March of the indian economy by I.C dhingra- heed publications
    5. Having an understanding of certain important concepts of Microeconomics, e.g. Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility, Elasticity of Demands etc would certainly go a long way towards building your basics. Now you may take up any book that takes up the case of Indian Economy in detail.

6. Never Forget The Budget & Economic Survey of India:

  1. Collect the Economic Times or Business Standard, that gets published the very next day when the Budget is discussed in the Parliament. Jot down all important policy decisions of the Government of India. The Economic Survey of India is the finest and the most comprehensive document about the state of Indian Economy. It gives you the rationale behind every policy decision, comparative analyses, Important Welfare Schemes and the road map for the future of Indian Economy.
  2. There are mostly analytical questions that show up in this section. For scoring well in Science and Technology section, you would first need to analyse the kind of questions that UPSC asks. Mostly, all of the questions from Science and Technology section are analytical/conceptual in nature. A lot of them hold relevance because of the events going on around us. So, current affairs across the world goes in-sync with your conceptual knowledge. All you need here is the right approach.

7. Strengthen your basics first:

  1. Start reading from ICSE Books(Classes 7-10) and go through them. Focus on the science behind various natural phenomenon. This would make your learning more fun as well.
  2. Go through previously asked questions from the Science & Technology section and understand which topics are more relevant and frequently asked.
  3. While you are preparing, make sure you stick to the basics only. If you don’t understand concepts well enough from ICSE books, browse the internet.
  4. But do not spend too much time understanding the concepts in great details. Remember, you don’t need to hold a doctorate before writing the exam. You have various other sections to cover as well. So, do NOT waste your time.
  5. If you analyse previous years’ question papers thoroughly, you will realize that most questions were asked simply because they were in news in the last 10-12 months before the exam. Focus on what is happening in India that is relevant to the field of Science and Technology. Follow ISRO, DRDO, Ministry of Science & Technology and what they do. The best way to do that is to religiously follow Science & Technology section of The Hindu.

Environment:
Ecology, Environment, Biodiversity & Climate Change is the most unsettling part for civil services aspirants. There are many reasons behind this. The first & foremost being that there is no study material which can be thought of as concrete or complete in itself. Ever since, the preliminary examination for Indian Forest Services (IFS) has been clubbed with Civil Services Prelims, the weightage allocated to this section has considerably increased. Naturally, it calls for greater attention. IAS exam general studies preparing aspirants can no longer afford to overlook this section.

  1. Here are some of the best sources to study the Environment Section:
  2. NCERT Geography – Std VI to Std XI
  3. NCERT Science – Std VII to Std X
  4. NCERT Economy – Std XI
  5. NCERT Biology – Std XII
  6. NCERT Chemistry – Std XII
  7. Shankar IAS – Environment
  8. Notes from NIOS
  9. ICSE Books- Std X & XI
  10. India Year Book
  11. Orient Blackswan School Atlas
  12. Hindu Official website
  13. Environmental Studies For Undergraduate Courses by Erach Bharucha
  14. Ecology and environment by P. D. Sharma.
  15. Down to Earth Magazine
  16. Science Reporter
  17. Economic Survey of India
  18. Official Website of Environment Ministry: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Government of India

Current Affairs:

  1. While you prepare yourself for the preliminary exam, never lose track of current events. UPSC asks questions from various sections relating them to current affairs. For example, if a money bill was in news, UPSC will frame a question on it that will be a part of both polity and current affairs. Something like El Nino can be asked because it was in news. It’ll be apart of current affairs, environment as well as geography. So, try reading current affairs relating them to your syllabus.
  2. Always follow the business & economy section of a leading daily for economics current affairs.. The Hindu, Indian Express & Business Standard are the most reliable resources. Pick any one of these and follow it religiously. You may also follow leading economists/analysts e.g. CRL Narasimhan (The Hindu) and their opinions in these dailies. Always make sure you look at any event with a balanced perspective.
  3. The Hindu is a MUST READ newspaper when it comes to cracking the IAS exam general studies preparation. So, be sure to read it daily. Don’t just read it, jot down important.
  4. The first thing is to know the IAS Prelims Syllabus and then cover the important topics first.

For Main Examination:

  1. Go through the syllabus and the previous question papers: It is the most important part of your strategy to invest your time to go through the Mains syllabus thoroughly and also the previous years question papers. A thorough insight of the past question papers will solve two purposes. One it will appraise you about the portions of the syllabus from where the questions are regularly being asked and second you may also understand the nature of the question being asked. This two factors will constantly guide you throughout your preparation of the Mains exam. So go through the question papers and identify the pattern and select the topics which are asked very frequently. Identify those topics which are particularly being asked for conventional essay type questions that require analatical abitlites and those questions which requires facts and figures. Once you have clearly demarcated the topics, the rest of the preparation will be an easy task.
  2. Resourcing Reading Material: It is advised not to go through a lot of books, instead rely on one standard book on each topic which deals with the basic concepts. Standard books not only save your time but also enrich you with right knowledge. So always rely on one quality book and not on many books. Also it is advisable to collect various books on different topics in advance to save time and the last minute blues.
  3. Make your own notes: It is always advisable to make notes of the related topics as you go through the books and other study material. A well drafted note solves two purposes. One it takes you through the entire syllabus and second your own notes will be of immense help for the revision of the syllabus. Prepare short notes of important topics with relevant points and always rely on your self-prepared notes. Go through your short notes rigorously.Rely on your prior preparation that alone will help you.
  4. Mind your Handwriting: Since Mains examination is all abbout handwriting, so try to practice writing as much as you can. you must practice how to write answers in the limited space given in the answer sheet, which will be provided to you during the Mains exams. This is something you must develop as a habit from now onwards and always stick to the word count that would be given to you to write answers. You must see to it that your answer should not exceed the word count or spill over the box given as you may be penalized for any such lapses. While practicing this activity, you must be careful about other facets of handwriting as well. You try to develop writing legibly that can be read by the examiner without any difficulty. In the same vein, you must pay attention to the spelling and grammar too. You see to it that your answers are free from such mistakes and your handwriting appeals to the examiner.

Numbers of attempts
The number of times a candidate may attempt the exam is limited and again it is based on the category and is as follows:


S.No

Category

Number of Attempts

  1.  

General 

6

  1.  

OBC

7

  1.  

SC/ST

Unlimited attempts till 37 years of age

If a candidate appears for one of the papers in the preliminary examination then it is considered as an attempt, which also includes ineligibility or withdrawal of the application. But, if a candidate applies to take the exam but fails to attend the exam then it is not considered as an attempt.
Selection:
Normally, the number of vacancies differs every year. The number of candidates who clear the preliminary examination and qualify for the mains exam is generally 11 or 12 times the number of vacancies while the number of candidates selected for the final interview is twice the number of vacancies or posts to be filled.
According to the prevalent norms, reservation in vacancies for SC, ST and OBC category is applicable at every level of the selection process.
Reference Books:

  1. History Of Modern India – Bipan Chandra. (History)
  2. India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra. (History)
  3. India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma. (History)
  4. History Of Medieval India – Satish Chandra. (History)
  5. The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Bhasham. (Culture)
  6. Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania. (Culture)
  7. Geography of India – Majid Husain. (Geography)
  8. Oxford School Atlas – Oxford. (Geography)
  9. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong. (Geography)
  10. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth. (Polity)
  11. Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh. (Economy)
  12. Economic Survey. (Economy)
  13. Science and Technology in India – TMH. (Science and Technology)
  14. Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure – Rajagopalan. (Environment)
  15. Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains – Khuller. (Environment)
  16. India Year Book (Current Affairs)
  17. Manorama Yearbook. (Current Affairs)
  18. CSAT Paper – 2 Manual by TMH or CSAT-II – Arihant (CSAT – Paper 2)
  19. Analytical Reasoning – M. K. Pandey (CSAT – Paper 2: Analytical Reasoning)
  20. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R. S.Aggarwal (CSAT Paper 2: Reasoning)

Syllabus:
The IAS Preliminary exam (objective / multiple choice questions type) has two papers: 

  1. Paper - I (General Studies: duration - 2 hours; Marks - 200)
  2. Paper - II (CSAT duration - 2 hours; Marks - 200)

Paper I - (200 marks) Duration: Two hours

  1. Current events of national and international importance. 
  2. History of India and Indian national movement. 
  3. Indian and world geography- Physical, social, economic geography of India and the world. 
  4. Indian polity and governance- constitution, political system, Panchayati raj, public policy, rights issues, etc.
  5. Economic and Social Development- sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives, etc.
  6. General issues of environmental ecology, biodiversity and climate change - that does not require subject specialisation.
  7. General Science.

Paper II-(200 marks) Duration: Two hours

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal skills, including communication skills:
  3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability: 
  4. Decision-making and problem-solving: 
  5. General mental ability: 
  6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, Tables, Data sufficiency, etc.)

Note:

  1. The minimum qualifying marks for Paper II is 33 percent.
  2. In both Paper I and Paper II for each wrong answer there is a negative marking of 1/3rd of the allotted marks of that question.

The second stage of the civil services is IAS Mains Exam (subjective or descriptive type) and it consists a total of 9 papers which is divided as given below: 
Preliminary Exam:
The civil services preliminary examination pattern was based on the recommendations of the Kothari Commission (1979) till 2010, and the exam had two papers General Studies as paper 1 for 150 marks and paper 2 any one of the optional subjects among 23 subjects for 300 marks.
Once in every 10 to 15 years, the prelims exam pattern saw only minor changes, until in 2011 when it was overhauled by replacing the paper 2 (which any one of optional subjects) with CSAT paper 2, which officially known as General Studies paper 2. The CSAT paper (GS Paper 2) aims to assess the analytical abilities and understanding of a candidate rather than their ability to memorize. At present, the new prelims paper includes two papers for two hours duration with 200 marks for each paper. Both the papers are multiple choice questions type.
The two papers of prelims are defined as below:

exam-pattern
In August 2014, the centre stated that English marks in CSAT Paper II will not be considered for gradation or merit and candidates who appeared for 2011 exam may get a second chance to appear in the exam of next year.
In May 2015, the Government of India declared that CSAT Paper II of the civil services prelims exam will of qualifying in nature however, candidates should score at least 33% in order to move to next stage of the examination i.e., mains.
Note: In both General Studies Paper I and CSAT Paper II for each wrong answer there will be a negative marking of 1/3rd of allotted marks of that question.

Main Examination:
The Civil Services Mains Examination is a written examination and consists of nine papers in which two are qualifying in nature and seven are ranking in nature.
The questions in the mains exam may vary from just one mark to sixty marks and may require answering in the range of 20 words to 600 words.
According to the suggestion of the Prof Arun S Nigavekar Committee, the new marks allocation for civil service examination was introduced in 2013. Anyhow, after few controversies, the qualifying papers for Indian Languages and English were retained in the civil services examination.


S.No

Papers

Subject

Marks

  1.  

Paper A

One of the Indian languages (listed in the Eighth Schedule to the  Constitution of India) mentioned below to be selected by the candidate  (Qualifying)

300

  1.  

Paper B

English (Qualifying)

300

  1.  

Paper I

Essay

250

  1.  

Paper II

General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society)

250

  1.  

Paper III

General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations)

250

  1.  

Paper IV

General Studies III (Technology, economic development, bio-diversity, environment, security and disaster management)

250

  1.  

Paper V

General Studies IV(ethics, integrity and aptitude)

250

  1.  

Papers
VI, VII

Two papers on subjects to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks for each paper)

250

Sub Total (Written Test)

1750

Personality Test (Interview)

275

Total Marks

2025

List of Languages:
The examination can be taken in the following languages and the script is mentioned in the brackets:


Assamese (Assamese)

Kashmiri (Persian)

Punjabi (Gurumukhi)

Bengali (Bengali)

Konkani (Devanagari)

Sanskrit (Devanagari)

Bodo (Devanagari)

Maithili (Devanagari)

Santhali (Devanagri or Ol Chiki)

Dogri (Devanagari)

Malayalam (Malayalam)

Sindhi (Devanagari or Arabic)

English (English)

Manipuri (Bengali)

Tamil (Tamil)

Gujarati (Gujarati)

Marathi (Devanagari)

Telugu (Telugu)

Hindi (Devanagari)

Nepali (Devanagari)

Urdu (Persian)

Kannada (Kannada)

Oriya (Oriya)

 

 

Optional subjects:
There are 26 optional subjects available for Papers VI and VII among which candidates can choose any subjects.
It is also to be noted that Public administration is one of the most sought after optional subjects in UPSC Mains examination as it has correlating topics with other subjects like Current Affairs, History, and Polity.
The standards of optional papers are of Post Graduate level. While optional Paper I is of theoretical, Paper II is mostly subjugated with Current Affairs based questions.


Agriculture

Literature of any one of the non-English languages listed above

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

Management

Anthropology

Mathematics

Botany

Mechanical Engineering

Chemistry

Medical Science

Civil Engineering

Philosophy

Commerce and Accountancy

Physics

Economics

Political Science and International Relations

Electrical Engineering

Psychology

Geography

Public Administration

Geology

Sociology

History

Statistics

Law

Zoology

Candidates who pass in the qualifying papers are ranked according to the marks scored in other papers and are selected and called for interview or a personality test at the discretion of the commission.
Interview:
The interview round is officially called as the "Personality Test", the main aim of the interview is to evaluate the personality i.e., the personal aptness of the candidate for a career in public service by a board of proficient and rational observers. The test is intended to evaluate the intellectual competence of a candidate. Broadly, the test is not only to assess candidates’ intellectual qualities but also their social traits and awareness in current affairs. Some of the qualities assessed are rational awareness, assimilation to critical influences, clear and coherent interpretation, balanced decision, diverse and profound alertness, capability for social interrelation and leadership, as well as intellectual and ethical righteousness.
The method of the interview is not of interrogation but of a regular yet engaged and purposive discussion that is aimed to expose the rational traits of the candidates.
After the declaration of the final results of civil services exam in May of the following year, the training program for the selected candidates generally begins in September


To view previous year Question Papers: Click Here

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