Things You Must Know about Indian Civil Services Exam

Indian Civil Service Exam

Things you must know about Indian Civil Services Exam

Things every aspirant should know about the Indian Civil Services Exam/Indian civil service exam

The Indian Civil Services Exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission is considered one of the most competitive, toughest and prestigious exams in the country. If you are planning to take the UPSC 2019 Civil Services Exam then here are the most important things about the Indian Civil Services Exam which every aspirant should know.

The Civil Services Exam is conducted every year by the UPSC to recruit candidates for various Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ services that include posts like Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) among the others.

If you are gearing up to appear for the UPSC 2019 Civil Services Examination then here are a few things one must be acquainted with:


Important Exam dates of Indian Civil Services Exam

The UPSC releases the exam dates in their online notification a year prior and the dates may be changed later at the commission’s discretion, hence it is a must that the candidates should always keep a watchful eye on the exam dates.

Any changes in the dates of the civil services examination will also be updated on our UPSC Online Notification Page, which candidates can view anytime.

 Gauge Your Dedication Quotient

Before starting your IAS Exam Preparation, every aspirant should test their dedication quotient and check how much clearer mindset they have throughout the preparation. Know the civil services examination process very well and the civil services post you want to get into (IAS, IPS, IFS, IFoS, and etc.), decide this before starting your preparation as this decision will fuel your dream and make you keep going throughout your preparation process. If you are stern with your decision then nothing on your way will break your dream and stop you.

 The subdivisions of Civil Services Exam

The civil services exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year and the exam is divided into three stages, which are:

  • First – Preliminary Examination
  • Second – Main Examination
  • Third – Personality Test/Interview

The important UPSC Exam Dates every aspirant should be aware of are

  • UPSC Exam Notification Date
  • UPSC Online Application Filling Date and Last Date
  • UPSC Exam Date
  • IAS Exam Admit Card issue date
  • UPSC Answer Key Release Date
  • UPSC Exam Result Date
  • UPSC Civil Services Exam Cutoff Marks


Various posts under Indian Civil Services Exam

As it is advised to the candidates to be clear on which civil services post they want to get into it is also important that they should have some ideas about the number of civil services post recruited through the civil services exam. The civil services of India are classified into Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ services and the total number of civil services combining both the services are 25 and they are as given below:



1.      The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) 


1.      Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service


2.      The Indian Police Service (IPS) 


2.      Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service


3.      The Indian Foreign Service (IFS) 


3.      Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service


4.      The Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS) 


4.      Pondicherry Civil Service


5.      The Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) 


5.      Pondicherry Police Service


6.      The Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS) 



7.      The Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS) 


8.      The Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES) 


9.      The Indian Information Service (IIS) 


10.  The Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) 


11.  The Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS) / The Indian Communication Finance Services (ICFS)


12.  The Indian Postal Service (IPoS)


13.  The Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)


14.  The Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)


15.  The Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)


16.  The Indian Revenue Service (IRS)


17.  The Indian Trade Service (ITS)


18.  The Railway Protection Force (RPF)


The first two civil services under Group ‘A’ i.e. the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) also called the All India Services along with the Indian Forest Service (IFoS). 


The Indian Civil Services Exam Pattern

The civil services exam conducted by the UPSC is held in three stages and they are:

First Stage: Preliminary Examination – Objective type questions (MCQ)

Second Stage: Main Examination – Written – Descriptive type

Third/Final Stage: Personality Test/Interview – Face to face discussion with the Board

Below given is the civil services exam pattern of prelims and main exam.


UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam Pattern

General Studies Paper – I

Will be considered qualifying for the Mains exam

200 Marks

2 Hours

CSAT Paper- II

Qualifying in nature, candidates should score a minimum of 33%. Marks not considered for final score

200 Marks

2 Hours


The CSAT (GS Paper II) is qualifying in nature and candidates should score a minimum of 33 percent to move to appear in the civil services mains exam.

Candidates should appear in both the papers of civil services prelims exam for the purpose of evaluation.

A candidate who does not appear in both the papers of the IAS prelims exam will be disqualified, however, it won’t be considered as an attempt.


UPSC Civil Services Main Exam Pattern

Candidates who qualify for the civil services main exam should write 9 papers and the main exam pattern is as given below.

Sl. No.

Name of the Paper

Nature of the Paper

Duration of the Exam



Paper – A


3 Hours

300 Marks


Paper – B

3 Hours

300 Marks


Paper – I





3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – II

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – III

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – IV

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – V

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – VI

3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – VII

3 Hours

250 Marks




1750 Marks


275 Marks


2025 Marks


UPSC Civil Services Personality Test/Interview Pattern

The Personality Test/Interview round will be on the aspects of logical and reasoning than the subject knowledge. This round is kind of a discussion round to assess the personality traits of a candidate and questions will be asked the candidates on his/her hobbies, the Current Affairs, General Knowledge, Politics, Economics, Situation Questions, and etc.


The UPSC Syllabus for Indian Civil Services Exam

The UPSC Syllabus is defined by the commission (except the Current Affairs part), which is regarded as vast. The commission releases the UPSC Syllabus and Civil Services Examination Scheme every year in their notification. Mostly, there aren’t many changes in the syllabus.

Most the IAS experts, mentors and faculty frequently advise the aspirants to memorise the syllabus and understand the topics, subtopics of each subject given in the syllabus as it covers 20% of the IAS Exam Preparation.


Syllabus for Civil Services Prelims Exam

Below given is the UPSC Syllabus for Civil Services (IAS) Prelims Exam:

UPSC Syllabus for Civil Services (IAS) Prelims Exam

Prelims General Studies (GS) Paper – I

Prelims General Studies (GS)/CSAT Paper – II

Current events of national and international importance


History of India and Indian National Movement

Interpersonal skills including communication skills;

Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.


Logical reasoning and analytical ability

Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.


Decision-making and problem-solving

Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.


General mental ability

General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation General Science.



Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)


UPSC Syllabus for Civil Services (IAS) Mains Exam


Indian Language



General Studies



Studies Paper-II

General Studies Paper-III

General Studies

Optional Paper – I

Optional Paper – II

Comprehension of given passages

Precis Writing

Usage and Vocabulary

Short Essay

Translation from English to the Indian language and vice‐versa

English Syllabus

Two Essay


Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

Optional Paper I Syllabus

Optional Paper II Syllabus


UPSC Board Interview for Civil Services Exam (IAS, IPS, IFS and others)

Important points to remember for UPSC Board Interview

Dress appropriately

Maintain personal hygiene

Read Newspaper on the Day of your Interview

Be Polite, chivalrous and courteous

Know your bio-data and the choice you have made

Speak politely, noticeably and audibly

 Be attentive and look attentive

Avoid arguments

Be smart and wise, not over smart

Act with confidence and wear your attitude

Be ready for the next attempt

Smile and be cheerful

First time for you not for the Board Members. Trust The Board, The Board is Unbiased!


Now, you know all about the Civil Services Exam, here are few tips on how to prepare for Civil Services IAS Exam. 


Preparation Tactics for Indian Civil Services IAS Exam

Prepare yourself how much you can contribute yourself in the preparation for IAS; it’s not only for preparing but also how much you can contribute to the service once you get into the service. Preparing for the exam with this attitude and thought will not only add upon to your preparation but also an edge over the other candidates. 

It is a myth that IAS exam is one of the toughest exams in the country but if candidates understand and break this myth the road to IAS becomes clear with strategic preparation plan and time management.

Hence, don’t compare your study hours with others or the conventional study time as everything depends on the way you approach it. If you approach anything in a planned and right way then nothing can stop you. 


Time Management

It differs from candidates to candidates that how many hours they spend in the preparing for the IAS Examination, but always remember that it’s not the number of hours you spend on studying but it is the quality amount of time you study that counts finally. 


Know the syllabus and craft your preparation

If you understand the syllabus then your preparation process will be a piece of cake. It is recommended to IAS aspirants to divide their preparation process into three stages and they are Initial Stage, Middle Stage and Final Stage and start their preparation a year prior.

          Initial Stage

  • Start your preparation with NCERT Books
  • Newspaper reading (daily news analysis) and notes making for UPSC Current Affairs
  • Prepare for CSAT 2-3 months before the IAS prelims exam
  • Revision


          Middle Stage

  • This is the stage where candidates should also start preparing for UPSC Mains Exam along with the prelims
  • Importance to current affairs (PIB, Yojana, Editorial Articles, government schemes and bills & acts


Final Stage

  • The final stage is assessing yourself
  • Find your strengths and weaknesses


In all the stages of the IAS Exam Preparation don’t forget to follow the important mantra which is must for any exam, if you had guessed it and if your guess is ‘revision’ then yes, you got it, ‘revise, recall, and revise’ what you have studied! 


Last and the best rule: Enjoy your preparation

As they say a day without a smile is a waste of 24hrs in your life. Similarly, anything you do in life, you should enjoy it or else whatever you do would be a waste, the same follows in the IAS exam preparation as well. If you study with boredom and without any interest then definitely you are not enjoying your preparation and moreover, it is like burdening yourself with stress and anxiety. If you don’t feel like then quit your study for few hours do what makes you happy and come back to your preparation process with the same energy and enthusiasm because the moment you start enjoying your preparation you are waving your hands at all the hitches and difficulties.

Undeniably, UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation is an overlong process but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up your hobbies. Remember “all work no play makes Jack a dull boy”, so keep your hobbies abreast your preparation as it will help you during your personality test/interview with the UPSC Board.

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