The Civil Service Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS) among others.It is conducted in two phases - the Preliminary examination, consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies and Aptitude Test), and the Main examination, consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type followed by the Personality Test (Interview).The entire process from the notification of the Preliminary examination to declaration of the final results takes roughly one year.The Civil Services Examination of India is considered to be one of the prestigious and competitive examinations in India. However, the challenging aspect of this exam is that aspirants must complete a three-stage process, requiring in depth knowledge, rational thinking, drafting skills, creativity, language competency, and a can do and empathetic personality.

  • Stage I: Preliminary examination - This is qualifying test held in June every year. Notification for this is published in Feb. Results are published within August.
  • Stage II: Main examination - This is the main test, held in September every year. Results are usually published in December.
  • Stage III: Personality Test (Interview) - It is the final test and is held in January / Febuary every year. Final results are usually announced in the month of May every year

The training program for the selected candidates usually commences on first Monday of September every year.

Course Offered

Preliminary Examination

  • General Studies
  • CSAT

Main Examination

  • General Studies
  • Geography
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Tamil Literature

  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Age
  • Numbers of attempts
  • Vacancies and Selection
  • List of services
  • Preliminary
  • Mains
  • Syllabus

The eligibility norms for the examination are as follows:


  • For the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
  • For the Indian Revenue Service, a candidate must be one of the following:
    • A citizen of India
    • 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
  • For other services, a candidate must be one of the following:
    • A citizen of India
    • A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan
    • 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


All candidates must have a minimum of any of the following educational qualifications:

  • A degree from a Central, State or Deemed university
  • A degree received through Correspondence Education or Distance
  • A degree from an Open University
  • A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to either of the above.The following candidates are also eligible, but have to 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 any of the above points
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed their internship
  • Candidates who have passed the Final exam of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India(ICAI), ICSI and ICWAI
  • A degree from a private university
  • A degree from any foreign university recognized by Association of Indian Universities (AIU) .....

Age limit

General 21 to 32 6
OBC 21 to 35 9
SC/ST 21 to 37 Unlimited

Upper age limit relaxation is provided to certain candidates who are backward with respect to other factors and physically handicapped people.

Numbers of attempts

However these candidates are requested to bear in mind:

  • An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be considered to be an attempt at the Examination.
  • If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, he/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination.
  • Not withstanding the disqualification/cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.
  • Candidates just applied but not appeared at the exam is not an attempt.

The number of attempts a candidate can give the exam is limited as follows:

  • General Category Candidates and OBC Category Candidates under the Creamy layer = 6 attempts
  • OBC Category Candidates = 9 attempts
  • SC/ST Candidates = no attempt counts


Generally the number of vacancies varies every year.


  • In the preliminary examination, the number of candidate selected for the mains is 11 or 12 times the number of vacancies and in case of the main examination, the number of candidates selected for the interview is twice the number of vacancies.
  • As per existing policies, reservation for SC/ST/OBC is applied to each level of the selection process.

List of services

  • Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  • Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’
  • Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’
  • Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
  • Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’
  • Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Grp ‘A’
  • Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’
  • Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Gr. III)
  • Indian Corporate Law Service, Group “A”
  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade)
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’
  • Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’
  • Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’
  • (Reservation will be made for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes. Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Physically Disabled Categories in respect of vacancies as may be fixed by the Government.)


The Preliminary examination, now popularly known as the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

  • It consist of two papers General Studies Paper-1 and Paper-2
  • Intends to focus on analytical abilities and understanding rather than the ability to memorize.
  • The new pattern includes two papers of two hours duration and 200 marks each. Both papers have multiple choice objective type questions only.
  • They are as under: Paper I tests the candidate's knowledge on
    • Current events
    • History of India and Indian national movement,
    • Indian and World Geography,
    • Indian Policy and governance,
    • Economic and social development,
    • Environmental ecology,biodiversity, climate change and general science.
  • Paper II tests the candidates' skills in comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making, problem solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability. To qualify minimum marks should be 70.

In May 2015, the Government of India announced that Paper II of Preliminary Examination(CSAT) will be of qualifying in nature i.e. it wouldn't be graded for eligibility in Mains Examination & a candidate needs to secure at least 33% marks in order to be eligible for graded on basis of Marks of Paper I of Preliminary Examination.
Note: These papers are qualifying in nature and are not used for ranking. Hence their marks are not added to the total. Candidates who fail these papers as per the Commission's standards are not eligible for the mains.


Written Examination

The written examination consists of nine papers, two qualifying and seven ranking in nature. Candidates who cleared mains are ranked according to marks and a selected number of candidates are called for interview or a personality test.

  Civil Services Mains Format




Paper A

(One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution)


Paper B



Paper I



Paper II

General Studies I ((Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)


Paper III

General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)


Paper IV

General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)


Paper V

General Studies IV(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)


Papers VI, VII

Any one subject (having 2 papers) to be selected from the prescribed optional subjects (250 marks for each paper)


Sub Total (Written Test)


Personality Test (Interview)


Total Marks


Optional Subjects
List of optional subjects for Main Examination:




Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science


Political Science and International Relations






Public Administration




Civil Engineering



Commerce and Accountancy

Mechanical Engineering



Medical Science

Literature of any one of the following languages

Electrical Engineering



Assamese Bengali Bodo Dogri Gujarati Hindi Kannada Kashmiri
Konkani Marathi Nepali Oriya Punjabi Sanskrit Santhali Sindhi
Maithili Malayalam Manipuri Tamil Telugu Urdu English


Syllabus (Preliminary Examination)
Paper - I
Paper I - (200 marks) Duration : Two 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialisation
  • General Science.

Paper - II
Paper II - (200 marks) Duration : Two 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)
  • English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).

Note 1:Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus of Paper- II) will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
Note 2 : The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.
Note 3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/ she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

Syllabus (Main Examination)

GENERAL STUDIES (Paper 1 - 4) Download
HISTORY Download
TAMIL Download

The Academy has been constantly working to adopt the most creative ways to address the challenges of the nation and imparting them to the citizens who believe in themselves as leaders and can be the source of changes.


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