About Civil Services Exam

The Civil Services Exam (CSE) in India is a nationwide competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Via the Civil Services Examination, the UPSC recruits candidates for various Central and All India Civil Service posts in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS), etc

Eligibility criteria for Civil Services Examination

Anyone who fulfills the following eligibility criteria can appear in the examination-


Slno Service Nationality
1 For the Indian Administrate Service and the Indian police Service A Candidate must be a Citizen of India.
2 For other Service, a candidtae must be either
  1. a citizen of India,or
  2. a subject of nepal,or
  3. a subject of Bhutan,or
  4. a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the Intention of permanentely settling In India,or
  5. a person of India origin who has migrated from pakistan, Burma, Srilanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently setting in India.
    Provided that a candidate belonging to categories(b),(c),(d)and(e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued bt the Government of India.
    Provided further that candidate belonging to categories(b),(c)and(d) above will not be eligible for appoinment to the indian Foreign Service .
    A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.

Age Limit& Number of Attempts

Category Min Age Maximum Age No of Attempt
GEN 21 32 06
OBC 21 35 09
SC 21 37 Till Maximum age limit
PH 21 GEN:42
Gen:09 attempts
OBC:09 attempts
SC/ST:Till upper age limit
J&K Domicile 21 GEN:37 Year
OBC:40 Year
SC/ST:42 Year
PH:47 year
Till upper age limit
Disabled Serviceman 21 GEN:37 Year
OBC:38 Year
SC/ST:40 Year
Till upper age limit
Ex-serviceman (Military Service) 21 GEN:37 Year
OBC:40 Year
SC/ST:42 Year
Till upper age limit

Eduactional Qualification

Candidate should have Graduation degree from any recognied university/institution.
Note: Candidate appearing in final year can also apply for the examination.

Civil services exam pattern?

Broadly, UPSC conducts the Civil Service Examination in three phases namely:

1. Preliminary Examination

2. Main Examination

3. Personality Test (Interview)

Candidates who qualify for all the rounds are recommended for joining the civil services in India. Each round is an elimination round, so you need to qualify each one in order to appear for the next one. Now, let us discuss the UPSC Exam Pattern 2022 along with the marking scheme for each of the papers in different rounds.

How to prepare for UPSC CSE Step by Step Guide

Step Zero: Know the basics of the exam

It is extremely important to know in and out of the exam you’ll be appearing for! Hence, give a weeks’ time to knowing about the exam pattern, exam syllabus, and all the nitty-gritty of the exams. We have covered these areas extensively on our YouTube channel where you can check out experts’ videos on these areas. You can also check out the articles on our UPSC website, it will surely get you started. Another exercise that you must do before starting full-fledged exam preparation is to glance through previous year papers and acquaint yourself with what is asked in the examination!

Step One: Strengthen Your Foundation

Now that you know how the questions are asked, start your preparation! Start with reading NCERTs from Class VI-XII. Every year more than 15 questions are asked directly from the NCERTs, hence, you should not skip them! We also have an NCERT course specially designed for beginners. The course will get you started with the preparation, which otherwise, may seem a daunting task! Nevertheless, at this stage, you should start reading the NCERTs and develop a regular newspaper reading habit!

Step Two: Build On Your Foundation

The second step is to build on the strong foundation that you’ve built! Start reading the standard books for each subject. Always keep in mind that you need to limit your resources to the minimum in order to get sufficient time for revision. Read one book per subject and revise it multiple times. Here is the booklist that you can follow!

Step Three: Revision Is the Key

Revision is actually the key to this examination! The syllabus is extensive, hence, you need to keep revising in order to retain all that you read. Keep your weekends free for revising what you’ve read over the week. Other than that, be consistent with the holistic revision of current affairs and other subjects as well!

Step Four: Answer-Writing Practice

You should begin answer-writing when you’ve completed about 50% syllabus. Completion of the entire syllabus is a myth and you would not be able to do that, no matter what! So, target completion of about 70-75% syllabus and revise it multiple times. Try to write good answers, you can take inspiration from the toppers’ answer key to frame your answers. Always get your answers evaluated from your mentors who could tell you ways to improve!

Step Five: March Towards Prelims

This is the last leg of preparation before Prelims! You can commence prelims-focused preparation about 2 months before the Prelims. Try to give full-length mocks in the simulated environment to prepare yourself for the big day. Since the COVID effect would still be there, use a face shield and face mask even while sitting for the mock tests to acclimatize yourself with the new-normal of giving exams. In this last leg of preparation, adopt a mock-test-based learning approach along with a rigorous revision of content that is purely prelims-centric. Do a round-up of current affairs and all the core subjects along with the mock tests. Do not forget CSAT. Although it is qualifying in nature, it is extremely important to get 66+ marks on that paper to sit for Prelims.

Step Six: Practice Answer-Writing For Mains

The Prelims exam is over! If you think you have made the cut, take a rejuvenation break for a week’s time and get your journey towards Mains started. The UPSC Mains may be conducted in January 2022 much like the last year. Start with revising your optional subject as well as work on your weak areas. Write the answers thoughtfully and get them evaluated from your mentors. It will allow you to assess your writing skills. Simultaneously, start revising your notes as well as standard books. Do not read anything new at this time, just revise whatever you’ve already written notes.

Step Seven: Interview Preparation

For Interview preparation, read your DAF extremely carefully and prepare all the standard questions well in advance. You should be extremely confident about yourself, work on your soft skills, groom your personality, and regularly read newspapers in order to keep yourself vigilant through and through. Check out the topper approved curated interview tips here

Q. How to Choose an Optional Subject for UPSC Civil Services Exam?

There are many important aspects to be kept in mind while choosing an Optional Subject –

Interest and academic background of the aspirant:

Kindly identify your interest in a subject by exploring it through school level NCERT’s (Class 11th and 12th preferably), going through Optional subject syllabus and your comfort level in reading the subject.

For example:

If you are from Commerce background, look for what you have already studied in college and choose accordingly between Commerce, Management or Public Administration.

If you are from Engineering background, check the syllabus and content of optional subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Maths., Engineering optional – Civil, Electrical, Mechanical etc. If you are not comfortable with the science subjects mentioned, check other optional subjects such as Geography, Psychology, Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology, Public Administration, Philosophy etc.

Coaching available in the subject:

Check from your peers, friends, civil servants who have already qualified, for identifying the best coaching classes available. Study material from a good coaching along with the classes conducted will accelerate your preparation manifolds.

Contribution of the Optional Subject towards General Studies syllabus:

Find out on your own from the past question papers and the syllabus regarding the contribution of the optional subject towards General Studies and essay papers of the Main exam.

Performance of the optional subject in the recent past (past 3 years):

A candidate’s individual performance can vary on a large number of parameters compared to his competitors. But there can be Optional Subject(s) that do not fetch the marks desired as compared to the effort put in by candidates. A few Optional Subjects that go through a few years of toughness either in the questions asked or the marks awarded.

Time Management:

Apart from the comprehending ability, a candidate should decide on how much time he/she would be able to spend on studying an Optional Subject. A few candidates might be working while preparing or studying at a university etc, should be able to estimate the amount of time required to study the chosen optional subject along with General Studies.