Scheme of the Examination
Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi issues the notification for Civil Services Examination (CSE) in the month February every year giving schedule of the examination and number of vacancies. The CSE consists of three stages – Preliminary, Main & Interview. Many candidates apply but about three lakh students appear for the preliminary examination every year.
For Preliminary examination, candidates have to appear for two compulsory papers. These are:
(I) General Studies
(II) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
Each paper consists of 200 marks and the questions asked are of objective type. In CSAT paper, a candidate has to score more than 33.3% to qualify the paper. Selection in Preliminary examination is solely depends upon the marks obtained in General Studies paper. In both the papers there is a negative mark of one third for every wrong answer. The purpose of preliminary exam is to weed out non-serious candidates and to allow only serious candidates to write the main examination.
Of the candidates who appear in the Preliminary examination, candidates numbering about 12 to 13 times the number of vacancies are declared by the UPSC as qualified for the Mains.
Second Stage is the Main examination. This stage is descriptive. The candidates have to answer subjective questions. All the questions are to be answered within the prescribed word limit or as per instructions provided in the question paper.
At Mains stage, there are two language papers. Paper 1- One Regional language mentioned in 8th Schedule. Paper 2 – English. The papers on Indian language and English will be of matriculation (10th Standard) and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for final ranking.
Apart from the above 2 papers, the Main examination consists of seven papers. These are-
1. General Essay
2. General Studies-I [Indian Heritage and Culture, History , World & Indian Geography, and Indian Society]
3. General Studies-II [Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and Inter-national relations]
4. General Studies-IIII [Technology, Economic development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management]
5. General Studies -IV [Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude]
6. Optional Subject Paper I
7. Optional Subject Paper II
Each paper is of 250 marks. Aggregate of marks of Main examination is 1750. Marks obtained by the candidates for all papers (paper 1 to 7) will be counted for determining the final merit. However, the commission will have the discretion to fix minimum qualifying marks in any or all papers of the examination.
The aspirants can take this test in English, Hindi or any other language mentioned in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India. Papers however will be set only in two languages, English and Hindi.
After the Main examination, candidates numbering about 2-3 times of the total vacancies are declared as qualified for the Interview/ Personality test by the UPSC.
The Interview consists of 275 marks. The candidate will be interviewed by a Board of independent and unbiased members, who will have before them the Detailed Application Form (DAF) of each candidate. The candidate will be asked questions on matters of general interest, hobbies, academic background and the optional subject chosen.
The objective of the Interview is to assess the personality of the candidate and his/her suitability for a career in Public Service.
After the Interview is over, UPSC declares the final list of successful candidates on the basis of their performance in the Main examination and Interview. Allocation of Services depends on the rank in the merit list and preference given by the candidate.