About Civil Services Examination

Civil Services Examination (CSE), conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), is one of the most competitive and highly prestigious examination for the recruitment of candidates to fulfil various posts of Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service and several other Group 'A' and Group 'B' Central Services/ Posts.

Civil Services offer an attractive and challenging career to the ambitious, the aspiring and the talented.The Indian civil services is considered as one of the premier services which paves the way for becoming an IAS, IPS or IFS officer. Civil Services offer an attractive and challenging career to the ambitious, the aspiring and the talented. The wide variety of jobs within the fold of the Civil Services have relatively greater sphere of authority and power than any other services in India.

The services encompass all one can aspire for: prestige, job security, salary package, opportunity of foreign tour, job satisfaction, etc. Civil servants in one way decide the fate of the nation as the implementation of all developmental and other government policy rest with them. If we talk of prestige and respect this is the most prestigious and respectful job of India as it is a job which provides an opportunity to satisfy personal ambition as well as indulge in social welfare. The selection as civil servants is rigorous and only a handful is selected out of hundreds and thousands of aspirants every year. There is diversity of work- a wide variety of work is associated with civil services, like maintenance of law and order, developmental work, disaster management, representing India on international forum, administration, upliftment and empowerment of marginalised sections of society etc.

There is a deep sense of job security as a civil servant cannot be fired easily. Once selected, a civil servant works till the age of 60 and is possible for him to get an extension. As far as salary package is concerned, the 6th pay commission has brought the salaries of the Civil Servants at par with those in the corporate sector. The facilities and amenities provided to an officer are excellent. A remarkable thing about civil services is that it provides opportunity to contribute effectively in the decision making process of country.

The talented ones also get to represent the nation at world forums. A person who wants to participate closely in the process of building society and wants to bring about positive social change should definitely try to crack the IAS examination.

These candidates recruited as officers/ bureaucrats are involved in various responsibilities like framing and implementation of policies, maintaining law and order, handling general administration, development of new projects etc. These officers get a chance to work at authoritative posts like District Magistrate, Divisional Commissioner, Principal Secretaries/Financial Commissioners, Chief Secretary of state or the Central Government.

The aspirants of Civil Services favour the top three services namely- IAS, IPS and IFS as these services hold within their fold the vast scope to use bestowed power to bring about socialtal development. Also, these services are much sought after as they are symbols of great power, social recognition and affluence.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), under Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pension, is the cadre controlling authority.

All appointments to Civil Services are made by the Honourable President of India. Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a single window providing entry for various Group A and Group B services in Government of India.
Civil services not only demand knowledge, which most of the IAS aspirants traditionally think, rather cracking UPSC surpasses all the primitive approaches and seeks for candidates who possess a strong love, dedication, and commitment towards the nation. UPSC is meant for such candidates who yearn of administering rightful traits, meticulous decision-making skills, exhibit right judgment powers along with the ability to handle the difficult situations at all given circumstances.
UPSC examination closely monitors these social traits of each examinee through their well-defined 3 stages namely Prelims, Mains & Interview.Therefore, UPSC exam pattern is crafted in a manner which is case study oriented, while giving importance to current affairs and trending issues in collaboration with past years government schemes and national policies.


  • Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

  • Indian Police Service (IPS)


  • Indian Foreign Service

  • Indian P&T Accounts & Finance Service (IP&TAFS)

  • Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS)

  • Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Customs and Central Excise

  • Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)

  • Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Income Tax

  • Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)

  • Indian Railway Protection Force (RPF) (Assistant Security Commissioner)

  • Indian Postal Service

  • Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)

  • Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)

  • Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)

  • Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)

  • Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)

  • Indian Information Service (IIS) (Junior Grade)

  • Indian Trade Service (ITS)

  • Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)


  • Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service (DANIPS)

  • Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service (DANICS)

  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (AFHQCS) (Section Officer Grade)

  • Pondicherry Police Service

  • Pondicherry Civil Service

Age Limit for appearing in exam:

The candidate should have completed 21 years as on 1st August 2020 (for the UPSC CSE 2020) and not completed 32 years as on 1st August 2020 i.e., he must have been born not earlier than 2nd August, 1988 and not later than 1st August 1999.

Category UPSC Age Limit- Upper Relaxation Number of Attempts
General 32 6
OBC 35 9
SC/ST 37 Unlimited (Up to age limit)
Defence Services Personnel 35 9
Persons with Benchmark Disability EWS (Economically weaker section) 35 9

For latest details on IAS age limit, aspirants should refer the latest UPSC Notification.

Educational Qualification Needed:
The various academic requirements are given below:
• Minimum qualification for UPSC exam: The candidate must hold a degree from Government recognized Universities or possess an equivalent qualification.
• Candidates who are in their final year or awaiting results are also eligible to appear for UPSC preliminary Examination. All such candidates who are eligible to appear for IAS exams must produce proof of having passed the said examination along with the application for the main IAS examination.
• Candidates having professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees.
• Medical students who have passed the final year of MBBS, but are yet to complete their internship also have eligibility for IAS. Although, along with the Main Examination application, a certificate of course completion (including internship) from the concerned authority of the University/Institution has to be submitted.

Nationality Needed:
For IAS and IPS:
• He / she must be a citizen of India All other Services:
• Candidate 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 to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or 5. A person of Indian origin (PIO) who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zaire and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
• The candidates belonging to categories (2), (3), (4) and (5) should furnish a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India. Such candidates may take the exam before getting the said certificate of eligibility, but he/she would get the offer of appointment only after the certificate has been issued by the Government of India.
• Point to Note: A person belonging to categories (2), (3) and (4) are not eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

Brief Summary of Eligibility Criteria:
Candidates must satisfy the following conditions to be eligible for the UPSC IAS Exam: Nationality : Must be a citizen of India, a person of Indian origin or a subject of Nepal, Bhutan or Tibet settled in India before 1st January 1962.
Education Qualification: Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognised University.
Age limit: Candidate must be a minimum of 21 years of age and must not be more than 32 years of age.

Category wise Age limit, relaxation and maximum attempts-
 1. General category & EWS: 32 years; 6 attempts
 2. OBC(with certificate): 32 years + 3 years; 9 attempts
 3. Sc/ST: 32 years + 5 years; unlimited attempts
 4. Physically Disabled: 32 years + 10 years; Gen/OBC/Person with Benchmark Disability(EWS category)- 9 attempts & SC/ST unlimited attempts;
 5. Jammu & Kashmir Domicile: 32 years + 5 years + (3 years, if OBC OR 5 Years, if SC/ST); Number of attempts depends on the reserved category.
 6. Disabled and discharged Defence service personnel: 32 years + 3 years + (3 years, if Gen/OBC OR 5 years, if SC/ST)
 7. Ex-Servicemen Commission Officer: 32 years + 5 years + (3 years, if OBC OR 5 Years, if SC/ST)


PAPER-1 (General Studies) 32 200 2 hr 100 1/3 negative of marks allotted for each question
PAPER-1 (General Studies) 32 200 2 hr 100 1/3 negative of marks allotted for each question
PAPER-1 (General Studies) 32 200 2 hr 100 1/3 negative of marks allotted for each question
PAPER-2 (CSAT) OBJECTIVE 200 2 hr 80 1/3 negative of marks allotted for each question


Paper A One of the Indian languages (listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India) mentioned below to be selected by the candidate (Qualifying) 300
Paper B English (Qualifying) 300
Paper I Essay 250
Paper II General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society) 250
Paper III General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations) 250
Paper IV General Studies III (Technology, economic development, biodiversity, environment, security and disaster management) 250
Paper V General Studies IV(ethics, integrity and aptitude) 250
Paper VI, VII Two papers on subjects to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks for each paper) 500
GRAND TOTAL (Mains + Interview) 2025