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Subjects /UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION / UPSC-CSE / Civil Services Examination

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23 Jul 2020

The Civil Services Examination comprises of two successive stages:

  1. Preliminary Examination: It consists of objective type questions for the selection of candidates for Mains Examination.
  2. Main Examination: It consists of Written examination and Interview for the selection of the candidates for the various services and posts.


Preliminary Examination


  • The examination shall comprise two compulsory papers of 200 marks each.
  • Both the question papers will be objective type i.e. multiple-choice questions.
  • The preliminary papers are set in both Hindi and English language.
  • This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only. The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.
  • There is also negative marking for every wrong answer.
  • The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year in the various services and posts. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year are eligible for writing the Main Examination of that year.
  • A candidate is required to appear for both Paper 1 and Paper 2 to get his papers evaluated. Therefore, a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in either of them.

Main Examination

  • The candidates who have cleared the Preliminary Examination can appear for the main examination. This exam consists of total nine papers.
  • This examination tests the thorough knowledge of a candidate about its surroundings. Nowadays, the questions are generally based on the current events. However, the questions are not straightforward and require comprehensive and coherent approach while answering the questions.

Did You Know

Preliminary Examination Syllabus

Syllabus of Paper I (200 marks)

Duration: Two Hours

  • General knowledge and Current Events
  • History of India and Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, Economic Geography of the 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 specialisation.
  • General Science.

Syllabus for Paper II (200 marks)

Duration - Two 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, Order of Magnitude, etc
  • Data Interpretation
    • Charts, Graphs, Tables, Data Sufficiency etc

Mains Examination Syllabus

Qualifying Papers

Paper A: (Marks - 300) One of the Indian languages to be selected by the candidate from the languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution

Paper B: (Marks-300): The paper will be based on the English language of Matriculation or equivalent standard.

Both these papers are of the qualifying nature and marks obtained will not be counted for the ranking.

Merit Papers

Paper I: (Marks-250): Essay

Paper II: (Marks-250:): General Studies-I

  • Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

Paper III: (Marks-250): General Studies-II

  • Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

Paper IV: (Marks-250): General Studies-III

  • Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Paper V: (Marks-250): General Studies-IV

  • Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

Paper VI: (Marks-250): Optional Paper-1

Paper VII: (Marks-250): Optional Paper-2

Sub Total -- Written Test --1750 Marks

Personality Test -- 275 Marks

Grand Total -- 2025 Marks

List of Optional Subjects for Main Examination

1.    Agriculture

2.    Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

3.    Anthropology

4.    Botany

5.    Civil Engineering

6.    Commerce and Accountancy

7.    Economics

8.    Electrical Engineering

9.    Geography

10. Geology

11. History

12. Law

13. Management

14. Mathematics

15. Mechanical Engineering

16. Medical Science

17. Philosophy

18. Physics

19. Political Science and International Relations

20. Psychology

21. Public Administration

22. Sociology

23. Statistics

24. Zoology

25. Literature of any one of the following

  • Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telegu, Urdu and English.