All India Civil Services Competitive Examinations and their Syllabi

Plan for the examination

Government of India as an employer

The Government of India is the biggest and the most important employer in the country. Barring a few lower categories of jobs, the other middle and high-level positions under the Central Government are filled by recruitment through an independent agency called the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Constitution of India advises the Commission to select qualified people to fill these positions. This part deals with the recruitment done by the Commission annually through the Civil Services Competitive Examinations.

The Civil Services Competitive Examination

According to the current plan, the Civil Services Competitive Examination consists of two successive levels.

  • Civil Services Preliminary Examination ( Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination
  • Civil Services Main Examination (descriptive type and Interview) for the selection of candidates for various services and posts.

Applications are first invited for the Preliminary Examination only. Candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified for admission to the main Examination will have to apply again in the detailed application form which will be supplied to them.

Services/Posts to which recruitment is made through this Examination are:

  • Indian Administrative Service
  • Indian Foreign Service
  • Indian Police Service
  • Indian P & T Accounts and Finance Service, Group–A
  • Indian Audit and Accounts
  • Indian Customs and Central Excise Service, Group-A
  • Indian Defense Accounts Service, Group-A
  • Indian Revenue Service, Group-A
  • Indian Ordnance Factories Service
  • Indian Postal Service, Group-A
  • Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group-A
  • Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group-A
  • Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group-A
  • Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group-A
  • Posts of Assistant Security Officer, Group-A
  • Indian Defense Estates Service, Group-A
  • Indian Information Service (Junior Grade) Group-A
  • Indian Trade Service Group-A
  • Posts of Assistant Commandant, Group-A Central Industrial Security Force
  • Posts of Deputy Superintend of Police in Central Bureau of in Investigation, Group -A
  • Central Secretariat Service, Group-B (Section Officers Grade)
  • Railway Board Secretariat Service, Group-B (Section Officers’ Grade)
  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group-B
  • Customs Appraisers’ Service, Group-B
  • Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service Group-B
  • Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service Group-B
  • Pondicherry Civil Service Group-B

Advertisement inviting applications for the preliminary examination is usually published in all leading newspapers during May. The time lag between the advertisement date and the last date for submitting the application usually is about four weeks. The number of vacancies to be filled based on the results of the Civil Services Competitive Examinations is also indicated in the advertisement. The preliminary examination is usually held in August and the main examination in December.

ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS

A. NATIONALITY

Must be a citizen of Indian for the Indian Administrative service and the Indian Police Service. For other Services, he must either be:

  • A Citizen of India or
  • A Subject of Nepal or
  • A Subject of Bhutan or
  • A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India or
  • A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the united Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

A candidate belonging to the letter category ( b, c, d, or e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

B. AGE LIMIT

The candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years as on 1st August of the year of the Civil Services Competitive Examinations. The upper age limit prescribed above will be relaxable

  • up to a maximum of five years, if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste of a Scheduled Tribe or Ex-Servicemen, ECO/SSCO.
  • up to a maximum of three years, if a candidate belongs to “Other Backward Classes” or disabled Defense Services Personnel.

C. EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

Minimum educational requirement is a University degrees or its equivalent qualification.

NOTE:

  • Candidates who have appeared at Civil Services Competitive Examinations the passing of which would render them educationally qualified for the Commission’s examinations but have not been informed of the results as also the candidates who intend to appear at such a qualifying examination will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary Examination.
  • All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite Civil Services Competitive Examinations with the application for the Main Examination, failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination

PERMISSIBLE NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS

In all, six attempts are permitted and in case of physically handicapped persons of general category, nine attempts are permitted if they are otherwise eligible. Appearance at the Preliminary Examination itself will be reckoned as an attempt. Appearing for one paper in the Civil Services Competitive Examinations will also be counted as an attempt.

This restriction on the number of attempts will not apply in the case of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe candidates.

The number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to “other backward classes” be Nine.

PLAN OF EXAMINATION

The Civil Services Competitive Examinations comprises two successive stages:

  • Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination.
  • Civil Service (Main) Examination (written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.

The preliminary examination shall comprise two compulsory papers of 200 Marks each.

  • Both the question papers will be of the objective type (Multiple choise questions)
  • The general studies Paper-II if the Civil services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

NOTE:

  • The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the total qualifying marks as may be determined by the Commission, of the two papers put together.
  • The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. However, questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of class X level will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
  • Details of the syllabi are indicated in Part-A of Section III. (iv) Each paper will be of two hours duration. Blind candidates will, however, be allowed and extra time of twenty minutes for each paper.

Main Examination

The written examination will consist of the following papers

Qualifying Papers

Paper – A 300 Marks
(One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution).
Paper – B 300 Marks
English

Papers to be counted for merit

Paper – I 250 Marks
Easy
Paper – II 250 Marks
General Studies – 1 (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Paper – III 250 Marks
General Studies -2
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Paper – IV 250 Marks
General Studies -3
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Paper – V 250 Marks
General Studies -4
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Paper – VI 250 Marks
Optional Subject-Paper- 1
Paper – VII 250 Marks
Optional Subject-Paper -2
Sub Total (written Test) 1750 Marks
Personality Test 275 Marks
Grand Total 2025 Marks

Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects from amongst the list of subjects given in Para 2 below:

NOTE:
  • The papers on Indian Languages and English (Paper-A and Paper-B) will be of Matriculation of equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
  • Evaluation of the papers, namely, Essay, General studies and Optional Subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on ‘Indian Languages’ and ‘English’ but the papers on Essay General Studies and Optional Subject of only such minimum standard as may be fixed by commission at their discretion for the qualifying papers on Indian Language and English.
  • The paper-A on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for candidates hailing from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim.
  • Marks obtained by the candidates for the paper I-VIII only will be counted for merit ranking. However, the commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all of these papers.
  • For the Language medium /literature of languages, the scripts to be used by the candidates will be as under:-
Language Script
Assamese Assamese
Bengali Bengali
Gujarati Gujarati
Hindi Devanagari
Language Script
Kannada Kannada
Kashmiri Persian
Konkani Devanagari
Malayalam Malayalam
Manipuri Bengali
Marathi Devanagari
Nepali Devanagari
Oriya Oriya
Punjabi Gurumukhi
Sanskrit Devanagari
Sindhi Devanagari or Arabic
Tamil Tamil
Telugu Telugu
Urdu Persian
Bodo Devanagari
Dogri Devanagari
Maithili Devanagari
Santali Devanagari or Olchiki

NOTE:For Santali language, question paper will be printed in Devanagari script; but candidates will be free to answer either in Devanagari script or in Olchiki.

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
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

Literature of any one of the following languages:
Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, and English.

Interview for personality test:

Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Civil Services Competitive Examinations as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion are summoned by them for an Interview for a Personality Test. The candidates will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his career. He will be asked questions on matters of general interest. 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. The test intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest and moral integrity.

The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, direct and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate. The interview is not intended to be a test either of the specialised of 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 special subjects of academic study 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.

Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as P.T.) will determine their final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to the various services keeping in view their ranks in the Civil Services Competitive Examinations and the preferences expressed by them for various Services and Posts.