Nermai IAS Academy



Aspirants of Civil Services Examination are at the right place to get the details of the UPSC examination process.


                  Civil services, which is the backbone of Indian governance. The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to higher Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative ServiceIndian Foreign Service, and Indian Police Service. Also simply referred to as the UPSC examination

                  The Civil Services Examination is the most difficult competitive examination in India. A single attempt takes two complete years of preparation – one year before the prelims and one year from prelims to interview. On average, 900,000 to 1,000,000 candidates apply every year and the number of candidates sitting in the preliminary examination is approximately 550,000.




Any Degree recognized by UGC/AICTE)




For the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Police Service:-  

Ø  A candidate must be a citizen of India.

For other services, a candidate must be either

Ø  a citizen of India, or a subject of Nepal, or a subject of Bhutan, or a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 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 African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.





Minimum Age



Maximum Age




No of attempts


























No restriction


  • The date of birth, accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognized by an Indian University. 


The Civil Services Examination will consist of two successive stages

  1. Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination; and
  2. Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination; and

 ➢ The Candidates who have qualified for admission to the Civil Services Main Examination will have to apply online again and submit on-line Detailed Application Form-I [DAF-I] along with scanned documents/certificates in support of date of birth, category {viz. SC/ST/ OBC (without OBC Annexure) /EWS [Economically Weaker Sections] (without EWS Annexure) /PwBD / Ex-Serviceman} and educational qualification with required Examination Fee.

 ➢ The candidates who are declared to have qualified Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to mandatorily indicate order of preferences, for which he is interested to be allocated to, in the on-line Detailed Application Form-II [DAF-II], before the commencement of Personality Tests (Interview) of the examination. Further, the candidates who wish to indicate IAS/IPS as their Service preference are advised to indicate all the Zones and Cadres in the order of preference in their on-line DAF-II as per the extant Cadre Allocation Policy applicable for the Civil Services Examination, 2021. With this DAF-II, a candidate will also be required to upload documents/certificates for higher education, achievements in different fields, service experience, OBC Annexure (for OBC category only), EWS Annexure [for EWS Category only], etc.


The Preliminary Examination which is common for both Civil services and Forest services. It consists of two papers – one is held in the forenoon and the other in the afternoon of the same day and both papers consist of a set of multiple choice questions.

                                                                                                 Two Compulsory Papers – Total Number of Marks – 400
GS Paper-I

General Studies Paper-I 

100 – Questions

200 Marks

Correct Answer –

2 Marks

Incorrect Answer

-0.66 Marks deducted

Time Allotted – 2 Hours (9:30 AM -11:30 AM)
CSAT Paper- II

(CSAT) Paper-II  

80 – Questions

200 Marks

Correct Answer 

2.5 Marks

Incorrect Answer

-0.83 Marks deducted

Time Allotted – 2 Hours (2:30 PM – 4:30 PM)
Negative Marking ⅓ of the total marks allotted to the question will be deducted for every wrong answer
  • Paper I marks is used for the selection of candidates to the main examination
  • Paper II marks is qualifying paper with a minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33% (i.e 66 marks).

    • The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam.
    • The marks obtained in the Prelims will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list.
    • For Prelims Medium of Question paper is either English/Hindi.


       I.In General Studies Paper I questions related to Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and associated Current affairs are asked.

      II.Paper II (also called CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test), tests the candidate’s skills in comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making, problem solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability. It is qualifying in nature and the marks obtained in this paper are not counted for merit. However, it is mandatory for the candidate to score a minimum of 33 per cent in this paper to qualify the Prelims exam

The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempt from negative marks.


The Civil Services Main written examination consists of 9 papers, 2 qualifying and 7 ranking in nature. The range of questions may vary from just 1 mark to 60 marks, 20 to 600 words answers. Candidates who pass qualifying papers are ranked according to marks and a selected number of candidates are called for interview or a personality test at the Commission’s discretion.

 ➢The Mains examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

 ➢The Mains Exam is conducted across 5-7 days. Only those candidates who have qualified prelims are allowed to write UPSC Mains Examination. A separate hall ticket is issued to the qualified candidates.

➢The UPSC CSE Mains is of descriptive nature and candidates are required to write the answers in the answer sheets provided by the UPSC.

Sl no







(One of the Indian languages, to be selected by the candidate (from the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India


3 hours






3 hours





3 hours




General Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)*

3 hours




General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)*

3 hours




General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)*

3 hours




General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)*

3 hours




Optional Subject – Paper I*

3 hours




Optional Subject – Paper II*

3 hours


 can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice

  • Candidates who got minimum 25% marks in PAPER-A and PAPER-B (Language Papers) their papers are only considered for evaluation on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject. In case a candidate does not qualify in these language papers, then the marks obtained by such candidates will not be considered or counted.
  • Total marks for the written examination is 1750 

    ( i.e from Paper- I to VII –   250 marks per paper *7 papers =1750  marks)



➢  Known as Personality Test, UPSC Interview is the last stage of the examination.

➢ There is no defined UPSC syllabus for the interview.

➢ Questions are asked from wide-ranging issues.

➢  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 evaluate the mental caliber of a candidate.

➢ In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only a candidate’s intellectual qualities, but also social traits and 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, ability for social cohesion and leadership, and intellectual and moral integrity.

➢  The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination, but of a natural, though directed and purposeful conversation that is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.

➢ The interview is not intended to test either of the specialized or general knowledge of the candidate, which has been already tested through 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 all well-educated youth. The interview standards are very high and require thorough preparation as well as commitment.

➢ Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’.

➢  These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.

➢The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.

➢ The interview is more of a purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.

➢The Interview test will be 275 marks and the total marks for the written examination is 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks, based on which the final merit list will be prepared.

➢ Interview for Personality test will be conducted in Delhi for candidates who clear the Mains examination.


The examination is available in the following languages, with the name of the script in parenthesis: 

  1. Assamese (Assamese)
  2. Bengali (Bengali)
  3. Bodo (Devanagari)
  4. Dogri (Devanagari)
  5. English (English)
  6. Gujarati (Gujarati)
  7. Hindi (Devanagari)
  8. Kannada (Kannada)
  1. Kashmiri (Persian)
  2. Konkani (Devanagari)
  3. Maithili (Devanagari)
  4. Malayalam (Malayalam)
  5. Manipuri (Bengali)
  6. Marathi (Devanagari)
  7. Nepali (Devanagari)
  1. Odia (Odia)
  2. Punjabi (Gurumukhi)
  3. Sanskrit (Devanagari)
  4. Santhali 
  5. Sindhi 
  6. Tamil (Tamil)
  7. Telugu (Telugu)
  8. Urdu (Persian)


Union Public Service Commission’s Website:

For syllabus, click here


Preliminary Examination

Paper I ‐ (200 marks)

Duration: 2 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 – that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science.

Paper II ‐ (200 marks)

Duration: 2 hours

  • 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 10 level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class 10 level);

Note 1: Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

Note 2: The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.

Note 3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

Main Examination

The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.
The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.
The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honours degree 1evel i.e. a level higher than the bachelors’ degree and lower than the masters’ degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.
Syllabi of the papers included in the scheme of Civil Services (Main) Examination are given as follows:—


The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned.

The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows:

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precis Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essays.

Indian Languages:—

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precis Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essays.

(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).


Essay: Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

General Studies‐I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
  • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society.
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Salient features of world’s physical geography.
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

General Studies‐ II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

  • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of civil services in a democracy.
  • India and its neighborhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

General Studies‐III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, - different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • Land reforms in India.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
  • Investment models.
  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
  • Disaster and disaster management.
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas - linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

General Studies‐ IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

  • This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered :
  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics - in private and public relationships. Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and
  • Non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  • Case Studies on above issues.

Candidate may choose any optional subject from amongst the List of Optional Subjects in the notification.

➢Previous Papers (OLD UPSC Prelims QPs) (Downloadable) *attached in drive


The Union Public Service Commission commonly abbreviated as UPSC, is India‘s premier central recruiting agency for central government public servants

It is responsible for appointments to and examinations for Group A and Group B posts under civil services cadre and defence services cadre of the union government.  While Department of Personnel and Training is the central personnel agency in India.

Established on 1 October 1926 as Public Service Commission, it was later reconstituted as Federal Public Service Commission by the Government of India Act 1935; only to be renamed as today’s Union Public Service Commission after the independence.

For the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Police Service and the Indian Foreign Service the candidate must be a citizen of India.

For other services, the candidate must be one of the following:

  1. A citizen of India.
  2. A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan.
  3. Tibetan refugee who settled permanently in India before 1 January 1962.
  4. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from PakistanMyanmarSri LankaKenyaUgandaTanzaniaZambiaMalawiZaireEthiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

All candidates must have as a minimum one of the following educational qualifications 

  • A degree from a Central, State or a Deemed university
  • A degree received through correspondence or distance education
  • A degree from an open university
  • A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to one of the above

The following candidates are also eligible, but must submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority at their institute/university at the time of the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam. 

  • Candidates who have appeared in an examination the passing of which would render them educationally qualified enough to satisfy one of the above points. 
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed an internship.
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of ICAI, ICSI and ICWAI.
  • A degree from a private university.
  • A degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities.

The candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years (for the General category candidate) on  the year of examination. Prescribed age limits vary with respect to caste reservations. 

  • General category candidates – 6
  • OBC category candidates – 9
  • SC/ST candidates – unlimited attempts till 37 years of age.

Appearing to attempt one of the papers in the preliminary examination is counted as an attempt, including disqualification/ cancellation of candidature. However, applying to sit the exam but failing to attend is not counted as an attempt

(i) Indian Administrative Service 

(ii) Indian Foreign Service 

(iii) Indian Police Service 

(iv) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’ 

(v) Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’ 

(vi) Indian Corporate Law Service, Group ‘A’

 (vii) Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’ 

(viii) Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’ 

(ix) Indian Information Service, Junior Grade Group ‘A’

 (x) Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’ 

(xi) Indian P&T Accounts and Finance Service, Group ‘A’ 

(xii) Indian Railway Protection Force Service, Group ‘A’ 

(xiii) Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Indirect Taxes) Group ‘A’ 

(xiv) Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) Group ‘A’ 

(xv) Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Grade III) 

(xvi) Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade) 

(xvii) Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service (DANICS), Group ‘B’

 (xviii) Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service (DANIPS), Group ‘B’ 

(xix) Pondicherry Civil Service (PONDICS), Group ‘B’

Preliminary Examination

Main Examination

Personality Test(Interview)

Paper I (General Studies)

 100 Question- 200 Marks,  each question carry 2 marks

Paper II (CSAT)

80 Questions- 200 Marks, each question carry 2.5 marks





Paper A

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


Paper B

English (Qualifying)


Paper I



Paper II

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


Paper III

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


Paper IV

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


Paper V

General Studies IV (ethics, integrity and aptitude)


Papers VI, VII

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


Sub Total (Written Test)


Personality Test (Interview)


Total Marks


No. Only marks scored in Mains and Personality test will be counted at the final ranking stage.



List of Books


  1. Modern Indian History – Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir
  2. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  3. Indian Art and Culture NCERT- Introduction to fine ART Part I & II
  4. NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
  5. NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)


  1. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
  2. NCERT VI to  X (Old Syllabus)
  3. NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
  4. World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)

Indian Polity

  1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth


  1. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  2. Indian Key concepts(basic Book)- Shankar Ganesh
  3. Economic Development & Policies in India 


      1. Our Environment NCERT Book

       2. NIOS Environment Notes


  1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  2. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal