Civil Services Exam (CSE) is a nationwide competitive exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Each year lakhs of candidates appear for the exam to apply for the recruitment of various Civil Services of Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and Indian Police Service (IPS).
Every year Civil Services Exam is conducted in 3 phases – Preliminary, Mains and Interview. Each phase has a separate cutoff, wherein candidates have to secure minimum eligibility marks to qualify for the next stage.
UPSC Civil Services Exam Key Highlights
|Exam||Civil Services Exam (CSE)|
|Exam Level||National Level (India)|
|Conducting Body||Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)|
|Exam Type||Pen and paper-based exam (Offline)|
|Number of Services||26 Services|
|Phases||3 Phases – Prelims, Mains, Interview|
|Number of Attempts||Maximum 6 attempts for General Category candidates|
|Vacancies||Not Yet Declared (Generally up to 900)|
|Admit Card||E-Admit Card (Online)|
|Civil Services Exam 2020 Date||CSE Prelims – October 4th, 2020 & CSE Mains – January 1st, 2021 (New Dates)|
Civil Service Exam Categories
The Civil Services Exam is divided into 2 categories: Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ services.
Group ‘A’ category services includes 3 All India Services (i.e IAS, IFS, IPS) and 18 other services. Group ‘B’ categories has 5 services under it.
Group ‘A’ Category:
1) All India Services
|1.||Indian Administrative Services (IAS)|
|2.||Indian Forest Services (IFoS)|
|3.||Indian Police Services (IPS)|
2) Other Group ‘A’ Services
|1.||Indian Foreign Service (IFS)|
|2.||Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service (IP&TAFS)|
|3.||Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS)|
|4.||Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) (IRS-C&CE)|
|5.||Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)|
|6.||Indian Revenue Service (I.T.) (IRS-IT)|
|7.||Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration) (IOFS)|
|8.||Indian Postal Service (IPoS)|
|9.||Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)|
|10.||Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)|
|11.||Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)|
|12.||Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)|
|13.||Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPFS)|
|14.||Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)|
|15.||Indian Information Service (Junior Grade) (IIS)|
|16.||Indian Trade Service (ITrS)|
|17.||Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)|
|18.||Indian Revenue Service (CBEC) (IRS-C&CE)|
Group ‘B’ Category:
Group ‘B’ Services
|1.||Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade) (AFHCS)|
|2.||Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service (DANICS)|
|3.||Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service (DANIPS)|
|4.||Pondicherry Civil Service (PCS)|
|5.||Pondicherry Police Service (PPS)|
Civil Service Exam Phases
1) Phase-I: Preliminary
Civil Services (Prelims) phase consists of two objective type papers of 200 marks each. CSE (Prelims) is a qualifying exam. Candidates have to secure a minimum of 33% to be qualified for the Mains.
The two objective papers are – General Ability Test (GAT) and the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). Both papers will check the comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making, problem-solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability skills of the candidates.
CSE Prelims Key Highlights
|Exam Mode||Pen and Paper Based Mode (Offline)|
|Number of Papers||2 – General Ability Test (GAT) and Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)|
|Per Question Marks||GAT – 2 Marks Each and CSAT – 2.5 Marks Each|
|Marks||Total Marks – 400 (GAT – 200 Marks and CSAT – 200 Marks)|
|Cut-off||Minimum 33% to Qualify for Mains|
|Number of Questions||GAT – 100 and CSAT – 80|
|Negative Marking||Yes (GAT – 1/3rd marks deducted for every incorrect i.e. -0.66 marks and CSAT – 1/3rd marks deducted for every incorrect i.e. -0.83 marks)|
|Duration||2hrs each for both papers + 20 minutes for blind students|
|Exam Language||English and Hindi|
|Prelims 2020 Exam Date||04.10.2020|
Previous Year Prelims Cutoff (Out of 200):
|General||Not Declared (Expected – 95)||98||105.34|
|OBC||Not Declared (Expected – 93)||96.66||102.66|
|SC||Not Declared (Expected – 81)||84||88.66|
|ST||Not Declared (Expected – 79)||83.34||88.66|
|OH*||Not Declared (Expected – 68)||73.34||88.88|
|VI**||Not Declared (Expected – 59)||53.34||61.34|
|HI***||Not Declared (Expected – 40)||40||40|
OH* = Orthopedically Handicapped
VI** = Visually Impaired
HI*** = Hearing Impaired
2) Phase-II: Mains
Civil Services (Mains) is also a offline pen and paper based exam. The CSE (Mains) comprises of total 9 papers, in which, 2 papers are qualifying and other 7 papers are ranking in nature.
The range of questions may vary from just 1 mark to 60 marks, 20 words to 600 words answers. Qualifying papers carry 300 marks each and the rest 7 papers carry 250 marks each. The candidate will be tested on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of the subject.
|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)||300|
|Paper B||English (Qualifying)||300|
|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, bio-diversity, environment, security and disaster management)||250|
|Paper-V||General Studies IV (ethics, integrity and aptitude)||250|
|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)||500|
|Sub Total (Written Test)||1750|
|Personality Test (Interview)||275|
List of Optional Subjects:
|Geography||History||Political Science & International Relations|
|Commerce & Accountancy||Economics||Management|
|Public Administration||Sociology||Electrical Engineering|
|Animal Husbandry& Veterinary Science||Botany||Civil Engineering|
CSE (Mains) Cutoff (Out of 1750):
|General||Not Declared (Expected – 775)||774||809|
|OBC||Not Declared (Expected – 735)||732||770|
|SC||Not Declared (Expected – 725)||719||756|
|ST||Not Declared (Expected – 724)||719||749|
|OH*||Not Declared (Expected – 715)||711||734|
|VI**||Not Declared (Expected – 690)||696||745|
|HI***||Not Declared (Expected – 523)||520||578|
3) Phase-III: Personality Test (Interview)
Candidates qualifying for Civil Services (Mains) will be eligible for the last phase, the Personality Test. Only a handful of candidates qualify to this stage.
This phase includes Psychometric Test, Assessment Test as well as the Personal Interview. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of the candidates.
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.
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, and intellectual and moral integrity.
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.
CSE Personality Test Key Highlights:
|Exam Mode||Face to Face Assessment|
|Tests Included||Psychometric Test, Assessment Test and Personal Interview.|
|Total Marks||275 marks|
|Language||Language of your choice|
|Objective||Assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers.|
CSE (Personality Tests) Cutoff (Out of 2025):
The marks scored in the personality test will be added to the marks scored by the him/her in mains exam. The total marks will be added to the final merit list and also the future of that candidate.
Also Read | Free IES / GATE Notes [PDF]
The eligibility of the candidates is as follow:
- For IAS and IPS, the candidate must be a Citizen of India.
- For other services, the candidate must one of the following:
- A citizen of India
- A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan
- A Tibetan refugee who settled permanently in India before 1 January 1962.
- A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
Candidates applying of the exam must have one of the following educational qualification:
- 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.
Age is calculated from 1st August of the year of examination.
|Category||Age Limit||Relaxation||No. of Attempts Allowed|
|General||32 Years||No Relaxation||06 Attempts|
|Other Backward Classes (OBC)||35 Years||03 Years||09 Attempts|
|Economically Weaker Sections||32 Years||No Relaxation||06 Attempts|
|Scheduled Caste (SC)||37 Years||05 Years||Till Age Limit|
|Scheduled Tribes (ST)||37 Years||05 Years||Till Age Limit|
|Physically Disabled Candidates (Blind, Deaf-Mute, Orthopedic)||42 Years||10 Years||For General / OBC Candidates – 09 Attempts|
For SC / ST Candidates – Till Age Limit
Candidates getting disqualified / cancellation of candidature is considered as one attempt of the papers in the preliminary examination. However, applying for the examination but failing to attend is not counted as an attempt.
CSE Exam Syllabus
CSE (Prelims) Syllabus:
General Studies (GAT) Prelims – Paper I
- 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, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation.
- General Science
General Studies (CSAT) Prelims – Paper II
- 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.), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc.)