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Everything you need to know about the UPSC Examination

By Mabel Tony Published on: January 11, 2021
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What is UPSC?

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a National-level Competitive Examination conducted in India by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the recruitment for careers under various civil services.

UPSC Civil Services Eligibility

Education Qualification: The candidate must have a degree or equivalent  qualification from a recognized university.

Age Limit: A candidate must be at least 21 years of age and must not have reached 32 years of age by 1st August 2020, i.e. a candidate must have been born after 1st August 1988 and before 1st August 1999. For the reserved category, upper age relaxation exists.

Civil Services Selection Procedure

The Civil Services selection procedure consists of two stages.

(i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, and

(ii) Civil Services (Main) Examination and Interview. The civil services Prelims exam is objective type and qualifies the candidates for the Main Examination. The CSE main examination is Written type.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern is as follows:

When appearing for the IAS Examination, the following points should be remembered:
In order to qualify for the Mains, it is mandatory for all applicants to appear for both the General Studies and CSAT exams.
The score obtained in the Prelims will not be added to the final score. UPSC CSE Prelims 2020 will be just for screening purposes.
The Prelims Question Paper is bilingual. Questions will be written in both Hindi and English.

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern is as follows:

The IAS Mains Exam consists of two types of papers viz qualifying and merit-ranking. Paper A and Paper B namely Language paper and English paper will be qualifying in nature.  The marks obtained in these papers will not be added to marks that may determine your rank. All the other papers will be evaluated for merit purposes.

When preparing for UPSC CSE Mains, the following points should be considered.

Score in all the other papers will determine your rank except for language papers, Paper A and Paper B.
Hence, your score will be out of a total of 1750 marks.
For each paper to be evaluated during the final selection, it is mandatory to score at least 25 percent.
In the answer sheets provided by the UPSC, candidates will be required to write the answers. There will be no extra sheets provided.

List of Optional Subjects for UPSC Mains

Here's the list of optional subjects that can be opted for UPSC Mains:

For literature subjects, the options are:

IAS Interview Process

The interview process is the last and the final stage of the selection process. The interview is of 275 marks which makes the grand total of maximum marks 2025. Some of the qualities that the board assess in a candidate are:

Mental acuity
Critical thinking
Analytical thinking
Risk assessment skills
Crisis management skills
Ability to become a leader
Intellectual and moral integrity

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

The Union Public Service Commission's Preliminary Examination for Civil Services is also commonly referred to as the CSAT or the Civil Services Aptitude Test.The UPSC preliminary exam is for screening purposes only. The marks obtained in the UPSC Prelims Examination amount to a qualification for the UPSC Main Examination and will not be counted to determine the final order of merit of the candidate.

Syllabus of Paper I (200 Marks) Duration : 2 hours
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

 

Syllabus of Paper II (200 Marks) Duration : 2 hours
Comprehension
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.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. - Class X level)

 

Note:-

The CSAT aptitude test or Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) examination will be a qualifying paper only with a minimum of 33% to be secured to sit for the Civil Services (Mains) exam.
The questions will be of multiple choice in both Paper-I (current affairs) and Paper-II (aptitude test), for 200 marks each and the time allotted for each paper is two hours.
For the purposes of the evaluation, it is compulsory for the candidate to appear in both the Civil Services (Prelim) papers. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he or she does not appear in both the papers of the (Prelims) exam.

UPSC Mains Syllabus

The UPSC Main Examination is designed to test the academic expertise of a candidate and the capacity to present his/her knowledge in a consistent manner. The UPSC Mains Exam is intended to evaluate the candidates' overall intellectual characteristics and understanding of the concept.The Civil Services Main Examination is intended to test the aspirant's academic talent, as well as his/her ability to clearly and coherently present his/her knowledge.

Paper I - Modern Indian Language -300 Marks
Qualifying nature: Marks not counted, Passing mandatory
Comprehension of given passages
Precis Writing
Usage and Vocabulary
Short Essay
Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa

 

Paper II - English -300 Marks
Qualifying nature: Marks not counted, Passing mandatory
Comprehension of given passages
Precis Writing
Usage and Vocabulary
Short Essay

 

The aim of the paper is to test the ability of the candidates to read and understand serious discursive prose in the English and Indian languages concerned, and to express their ideas clearly and correctly.

Paper III - Essay - 250 Marks
To be written in the medium or language of the candidate's choice
Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic
The choice of subjects will be given
They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely
Credit will be given for effective and exact expression

 

Paper IV - General studies -300 Marks
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country
Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the countryHistory of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society
Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

 

Important geophysical phenomena, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, cyclones, etc., geographical features and their location, and the effects of these changes on critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice caps) and flora and fauna.

Paper V - General Studies II - 250 Marks
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
Salient features of the Representation of People's Act
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and
Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
Role of civil services in a democracy
India and its neighborhood- relations
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate

 

Paper VI - General Studies III - 250 Marks
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Government Budgeting.
Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions;economics of animal-rearing.
Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
Land reforms in India.
Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Investment models.
Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology;indigenization of technology and developing new technology
Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Disaster and disaster management.
Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention
Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

 

Paper VII - General Studies IV - 250 Marks
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
This paper will include questions to test the candidates' attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen's
Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption
Case Studies on above issues.

 

Paper VIII - Optional Subject - Paper I - 250 Marks
Candidates may choose any ONE optional subject from amongst the list of subjects given below.

 

Paper IX - Optional Subject - Paper II - 250 Marks
Candidates may choose any ONE optional subject from amongst the list of subjects given below.

 

Interview/Personality Test - 275 Marks
Candidate can give preference of the language in which they may like to be interviewed. UPSC will make arrangement for the translators.

 

Note:- For the merit ranking, marks obtained by the candidates for all papers EXCEPT PAPER A & B will be counted. However, in any or all of the examination papers, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks Aspirants may log on to the official UPSC website (www.upsc.gov.in) for detailed notifications.

UPSC Vacancy : Year Wise Details

How to Apply for UPSC CSE?

Interested and eligible applicants are required to apply online via the UPSC Official website. Before registration, candidates are advised to read the full notification released by the UPSC and understand the different aspects of examination.

The allocation of test centers  will be on a “first-apply-first allot” basis. Applicants should apply early in order to get a centre of their choice.

UPSC CSE Registration Fee

Candidates are required to pay Rs. 100 (one hundred only) for the UPSC Civil Services Prelims examination by sending the money to any branch of the State Bank of India or by using the Visa/Master/RuPay Credit/Debit Card or SBI Internet Banking. Female SC /ST /Persons with Benchmark disability applicants are exempt from the examination fee payment.

UPSC CSE Admit Card

The admit card is the essential document needed to enter the examination hall. The admit card will be released by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) at least four weeks before the exam date. Registered applicants can only download an admit card from the official website.The Main Exam and Preliminary Exams Admit Card for Civil Services is available on the official website, i.e www.upsc.gov.in.

Candidates who have successfully submitted the online application along with a fee can download the UPSC admit card from the above website.

How To Download UPSC CSE-Admit Card 2020?

Visit the official website of UPSC – https://upsconline.nic.in
Go to the ''Admit Card'' section.  
Click on ''E-Admit Cards for various Examinations of UPSC''
Find the UPSC Civil Services 2020 Main Exam e-Admit Card link  
Click on the link to land on the admit card page.  
Enter the login details such as roll number.
Submit the details to download the admit card.  
Take a printout of admit card and carry the same to the examination centre.

UPSC Exam Centres

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts a Civil Services Examination for various positions, such as IAS, IPS, IFS, IFoS, and others. Here’s the list of the UPSC Exam centres for civil services prelims and mains to help the applicants to select  their examination center before filling in the UPSC Online Application Form.

UPSC CENTRES for Civil Services (Preliminary) EXAMINATION

A H P
AGARTALA HYDERABAD PANAJI (GOA)
AGRA I PATNA
AJMER IMPHAL PORT BLAIR
AHMEDABAD INDORE PUDUCHERRY
AIZAWL ITANAGAR PUNE
ALIGARH J R
ALLAHABAD JABALPUR RAIPUR
ANANTPUR (ANDHRA PRADESH) JAIPUR RAJKOT
AURANGABAD JAMMU RANCHI
B JODHPUR S
BANGALORE JORHAT SAMBALPUR
BAREILLY K SHILLONG
BHOPAL KOCHI SHIMLA
BILASPUR KOHIMA SILIGUDI
C KOLKATA SRINAGAR
CHANDIGARH  KOZHIKODE(CALICUT) T
CHENNAI L THANE
COIMBATORE LUCKNOW THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
CUTTACK LUDHIANA TIRUCHIRAPALLI
D M TIRUPATI
DEHRADUN MADURAI U
DELHI MUMBAI UDAIPUR
DHARWAD MYSORE V
DISPUR N VARANASI
F NAGPUR VELLORE
FARIDABAD NAVI MUMBAI VIJAYAVADA
G   VISHAKHAPATNAM
GANGTOK W
GAYA WARANGAL
GHAZIABAD  
GORAKHPUR
GURGAON
GWALIOR
GAUTAM BUDDH NAGAR

 

UPSC CENTRES for Civil Services (Mains) EXAMINATION

A D M
AHMEDABAD DEHRADUN MUMBAI
AIZAWL DELHI P
ALLAHABAD DISPUR (GUWAHATI) PATNA
B H R
BENGALURU HYDERABAD RAIPUR
BHOPAL J RANCHI
C JAIPUR S
CHANDIGARH JAMMU SHILLONG
CHENNAI K SHIMLA
CUTTACK KOLKATA T
  L THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

LUCKNOW

V
VIJAYAWADA

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