Civil Services Exam

Civil Services Exam | UPSC Civil Service Syllabus

The Civil Services Exam(I.A.S) was earlier known as the Imperial Civil Services Exam. It is considered one of the toughest competitive exams in India. This is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to recruit officers for All India  Administrative Civil service.


A citizen of India, Nepal or a subject of Bhutan, Tibetan Refugee who migrated to India before 1st January 1962 and settled permanently in India and person of Indian Origin who has migrated to India from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zaire for permanent settlement in India are eligible to apply.

Candidates who are graduates in any discipline, candidates who have cleared their MBBS exam but have not completed an internship, candidates who have cleared the Chartered Accountancy exam, candidates having a degree from a private university and candidates having a degree from a foreign university recognized by the Association Of Indian Universities are eligible to sit for the exam. The age should be between 21-32 years.


The UPSC CSE is a three-stage examination. They are…



The preliminary exam notification comes in February and is held in May-August. The result is declared in  August/ September same year.


The notification comes in  August/ September and the Mains exam is held in October-December. The result is declared in January-February of the following year.


The notification comes in February/March after the declaration of the Mains result. The interview is held in March/April of the following year and the result is declared in April-June.


It is an offline national-level exam having two papers with objective-type questions. It carries 400 marks and the scores are not added to the total IAS score. It is only a qualifier round for the aspirants.

Paper1- General Studies- Merit ranking nature-100Q- 200marks- 2hrs
Paper2-CSAT- Qualifying nature-80Q- 200marks- 2hrs

The exam is available both in English and Hindi. There is a negative marking for every incorrect answer. To clear the Prelims need to clear Paper2 with 33% marks.

Paper1-consists of questions from Current Affairs, History, Geography, Indian and World Economy etc

Paper2-is (CSAT) or Civil Services Aptitude Test.T consists of Reading Comprehension, Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Ability and Graphical Representation Questions.


This is a subjective and essay-based paper. This is to test a candidate’s in-depth knowledge of that subject. The exam is of 3hr duration. A candidate has to appear in a total of 9 papers. Out of which 7 are compulsory papers consisting of—

  • 4 papers of General Studies
  • 1 Essay paper
  • 1paper on any Regional Language chosen by the candidate
  • 1paper in English

2 papers from Optional Subjects were chosen by a candidate from a list of 25 subjects and 23 languages.

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science and International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology


Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

The total marks are 2025


Those candidates who clear the mains with the required cut-off are called for the final stage of the exam, which is the interview. They have a face-to-face discussion with the board members who assess them by quizzing them on general topics and seeing their personality traits.


Understanding the pattern and syllabus of the exam

A candidate should formulate a strategy to prepare for the exam as one little head cannot carry so much to crack the exam. One can use the amount of knowledge gained in a proper fashion.

Buying good books to prepare for the exam

  1. NCERT books,
  2. History Of Modern India – Bipan Chandra. (History)
  3. India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra. (History)
  4. India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma. (History)
  5. History Of Medieval India – Satish Chandra. (History)
  6. The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Bhasham. (Culture)
  7. Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania. (Culture)
  8. Geography of India – Majid Husain. (Geography)
  9. Oxford School Atlas – Oxford. (Geography)
  10. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong. (Geography)
  11. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth. (Polity)

Along with books, candidates should acquire the habit of reading newspapers to be abreast with current affairs.

Get the right guidance

Websites like can help to guide aspirants for all three stages, aspirants can join good coaching institutes and take inspiration and guidance from toppers’ interviews and methods used for preparation.

Practice mock test series

Take mock test series and keep practising, so that one can be through with one’s revision

Stop worrying

Don’t worry as only knowledge is not essential to crack the exam. One needs the presence of mind and the ability to analyze things in a proper fashion. So a proper roadmap, devoid of tension can help an aspirant to crack the exam.

Focus on the basics

Being thorough with the fundamentals is the key to success. NCERT books are the best to brush up on the fundamentals.

 Preparation time

One year of preparation is required before sitting for the Prelims.

TimeTimetable Discussions

Aspirants need to stick to a timetable to do a thorough study and along with that have discussions and debates on trending topics with friends and family

Previous Years Papers

Practising previous years’ papers can help a candidate get a proper insight into the format.


Aspirants should remain focused on their goal and they would achieve success by keeping all the above pointers in mind.

List of best Coaching institutes for Civil Services (UPSC / State) PreparationCheck Here
List Of Entrance Exam In IndiaClick Here



Preeti TALWAR is a doctorate in science, who has worked as a Research Associate under a U.G.C fellowship, worked as a Proofreader with Thakur Publishers, Worked as a Content Writer for Planet Spark, India Go Social, Planet writer, Story Mirror, Student Star, Odds spaces. Well published on national and international media. Published for the Chicken Soup Series. Author on different forums like YourStory, Bonobology, Thrive Global, Women's Web, The Country esquire, Newsnviews, Sheroes, Different Truths. Writing is adrenaline for Preeti's soul.