This Page gives a general introduction about the UPSC Civil Services Examination. The page highlights the scheme of examination, the process of selection of candidates, the nature of exam & basis of merit. The UPSC conducts civil services examination is conducted in three stages:

The preliminary examination is only qualifying in nature and final rankings of successful candidates is calculated on basis of marks obtained in mains examination & personal interview rounds.

Preliminary Examination:

The UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination shall comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each.

IGeneral Studies2003 HoursMarks Accounted
IIAptitude Test2003 HoursQualifying

Note :

  1. Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions) and each will be of two hours duration.
  2. The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. Hence, of all people who qualify in Paper-II ranking will be prepared based on marks obtained in Paper-I and candidates will be selected for mains examination.
  3. The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. 
  4. The purpose of preliminary examination is only to select candidates for mains examination & marks obtained are not counted in final rankings.
  5. The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about 12 to 13 times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination. 

Mains Examination

The UPSC Civil Services written Mains Examination will consist of the following papers:

A. Qualifying Papers

Paper-AOne of the 8th Schedule language, selected by candidate300

B. Papers counted in merit

Paper-IIGeneral Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)250
Paper-IIIGeneral Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)250
Paper-IVGeneral Studies-III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)250
Paper-VGeneral Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)250
Paper-VIOptional Subject – Paper 1250
Paper-VIIOptional Subject – Paper 1250
Sub-Total Mains Examinations1750


  1. Only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 25% marks in ‘Indian Language’ and 25% in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers.
  2. 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.

Interview Test

The candidate 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 is intended to judge the mental caliber 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 judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

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

The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised 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

Marks for Personality Test275

Final Rankings:

Written Examination1750
Personality Test275
Grand Total of Marks for final Merit2025

General Instructions:

Age Limit: A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August of year of examination. (relaxations present).

Number of Attempts: Every candidate appearing at the examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six attempts at the examination. (relaxations present). ) If a candidate appears even in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, he/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination.

Choice of Centers: Allotment of Centres will be on the “first-apply-first allot” basis, and once the capacity of a particular Centre is attained, the same will be frozen.