Scheme of Civil Services Examination


There are 24 services offered through Civil Services exam. The IAS (Indian Administrative Service) is considered one ofthe most prestigious jobs in the country.

Union Public Service Commission is a body under the Constitution of India, which conducts the exams for the Civil Services. Almost 10 lakh aspirants enrol each year while almost 5 lakh candidates appear for the exam.


The Exam is divided into three stages – Preliminary Exam, Mains Exam & Personality Test

Stage 1 - Preliminary Exam

Preliminary Exam is an objective based exam consisting of two papers where each question has four alternatives. Paper 1 comprises of General Studies and Paper 2 Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

Preliminary Exam Scheme
Compulsory Topic/Subjects No. of Questions Duration of the Test Maximum Marks
General Studies I Geography, Polity, Economy, History, Environmental Ecology, General Science and Current Affairs 100 2 Hrs 200
General Studies II (CSAT) Comprehension, Logical Reasoning and General Mental Ability 80 2 Hrs 200

The marks in Prelims is not counted in the final ranking but used as a qualification criterion for the Main Exam. CSAT Paper is of qualifying nature. Marks of Paper-l are the sole criteria for clearing Preliminary Exam.

Stage 2 - Main

Main is a subjective conventional (Essay Type) exam consisting of 9 papers followed by an Interview:

Each paper is of 250 mar.ks except Paper 8 & 9 which is of 300 marks each. The marks for Paper 8 & 9 are not counted in the final score. For the optional subject UPSC has a list of 26 subjects to choose from. Candidates will have to choose one subject and it will 2 papers (i.e, Paper 6 and Paper 7)

Main Examination SCHEME
S.No. Papers Subject Duration of the Test Maximum Marks
Paper - I Essay Essay Writing 3 Hrs 250
Paper - II General Studies I Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society 3 Hrs 250
Paper - III General Studies II Governance, Constutution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations 3 Hrs 250
Paper - IV General Studies III Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security & Disaster Management 3 Hrs 250
Paper - V General Studies IV Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude 3 Hrs 250
Paper - VI Optional Subject Paper - I - 3 Hrs 250
Paper - VII Optional Subject Paper - II - 3 Hrs 250
Paper - VIII English Qualifying 3 Hrs 300*
Paper - IX Scheduled Language Qualifying 3 Hrs 300*

Stage 3 – Personality Test/ Interview

The candidate will be interviewed by a Board at UPSC Campus in Delhi. The total marks allotted for Personality Test is 275.

The candidate will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The objective 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 is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

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 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.

The technique of the Personality Test is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and in the form of a purposive conversation intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate with the Board consisting of five members of 25 to 30 minutes.


MERIT List is prepared based on the total marks obtained in the Seven Papers of Main Exam and the Marks of the Personality Test. (i.e. 1750 Marks from Seven Papers + 275 Marks for Personality Test = 2025 Total Marks)

Important Dates:

Important Tentative Dates:
Notification For Civil Services Exam : January/February Application for Prelim Exam : February/March
Date of Prelim Exam - May/June Declaration of Main Exam Results - January/February
Result of Prelim Exam - August/September Personality Test - March/April
Commencement of Main Exam - October Declaration of Final Merit List - May/June

List of Services recommended through civil services examination :

  • (i) Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • (ii) Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  • (iii) Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • (iv) Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group 'A'
  • (v) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group 'A'
  • (vi) Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group 'A'
  • (vii) Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group 'A'
  • (viii) Indian Revenue Service (LT.), Group 'A'
  • (ix) Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group 'A' (Assistant Works Manaqer; Administration)
  • (x) Indian Postal Service, Group 'A'
  • (xi) Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group 'A'
  • (xii) Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group 'A'
  • (xiii) Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group 'A'
  • (xiv) Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group 'A'
  • (xv) Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group 'N
  • (xvi) Indian Defence Estates Service, Group 'A'
  • (xvii) Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group 'A'
  • (xviii) Indian Trade Service, Group 'A' (Gr. Ill)
  • (xix) Indian Corporate Law Service, Group "A"
  • (xx) Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group 'B' (Section Officer's Grade)
  • (xxi) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group 'B'
  • (xxii) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group 'B'
  • (xxiii) Pondicherry Civil Service, Group 'B'
  • (xxiv) Pondicherry Police Service, Group 'B'