IAS Exam Pattern and Syllabus

UPSC: CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION PATTERN & SYLLABUS

An eligible aspirant can attempt the civil services exams six times.

  • The Civil Services Examination is conducted in 3 stages. The entire process takes almost a year:
  • Stage I – Preliminary Examination (usually conducted in May/June, results by August).
  • Stage II – Main Examination (usually conducted around November, results by February/March).
  • Stage III – Interview (usually conducted over March/April, final results announced a few days before the next preliminary exam.

CIVIL SERVICES – PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION – EXAM PATTERN

The Preliminary Examination basically serves as a screening test to shortlist candidates for the next stage, the Main examination.

  • The Preliminary Exam consists of two objective type papers (multiple-choice questions) for a total of 400 marks. Each paper has 200 marks each and two hours allotted. However, blind candidates would be provided an extra 20 minutes for each paper.
  • Since this is a qualifying exam, the marks obtained in this test are not counted for determining the final order of merit of a candidate if he qualifies for the main exam as well.
  • There will be negative marking (of one-third marks for that answer) for wrong answers marked by a candidate in the objective type question papers. Only a black ballpoint pen may be used for both writing and marking answers in the OMR sheet (answer sheet). Pens of any other colour, pencils or ink pens are prohibited.
  • The medium of the question paper is both English and Hindi.

Since 2011, the syllabi covered in these papers underwent a major change, with the focus shifting to test a candidate’s analytical abilities and comprehension skills rather than the ability to simply memorize. Now the civil services preliminary examination is popularly known as the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), though officially the papers are still referred to as General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II.

CIVIL SERVICES – PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION – SYLLABUS

PAPER I – (200 MARKS) DURATION: TWO 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 – subject specialization not required.
  • General Science

PAPER II – (200 MARKS) DURATION: TWO HOURS

Note :-This is a qualifying paper, candidates should score minimum 33% to qualify

  • Comprehension
  • 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)

CIVIL SERVICES – MAIN EXAMINATION – EXAM PATTERN

A) WRITTEN EXAM

From 2013 onwards, certain changes have been introduced to the pattern and scheme of the Civil Services Main Examination as well.

The new and changed scheme of the Main Exam aims to evaluate the overall intellectual capability and level of understanding of candidates, rather than just the range of their information and memory.

The main examination will have the 2 qualifying papers and 7 papers to be counted for merit. All the 9 papers will have essay-type questions.

Qualifying papers

Paper A (300 marks) – One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the languages included in the 8th Schedule to the Constitution

Paper B (300 marks) – English

The papers on Indian Languages and English (Paper A and Paper B) will be of matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

However, paper A on Indian Language will not be compulsory for candidates hailing from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.

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