What is UPSC Exam About?
UPSC is the India’s premier central recruiting agency. It is responsible for appointments and examinations for All India services and group A & group B of Central services.
UPSC is headed by a chairman and other member of the commission which are in number of 9 to 11. Every member of the commission holds the office for 6 year or at the age of 65 which happens earlier.
UPSC is also a constitutional body which conducts civil service exam every year which starts in the months of June and end up to December of the same year.
There are 24 services which comes under Civil Service Examination in India. IAS, IPS,IFS& IRS are some of the most popular services which comes under civil service exam.
If you are a student looking for the detailed information and guide on IAS & IPS exam, this articles will help you in getting accurate and updated information about civil service exam.
We will also guide how you should proceed towards this exam from the beginning which will lead you towards success.
Before you know more details about upsc exam, let me tell you some of the most interesting facts about this service which attract large number of brilliant mind to join civil services.
Civil services is one of the most prestigious and difficult exam in our country. Students from all academic field test their luck in civil services exam.
Students from Top colleges of India like IIT, IIM and doctors also appear in this exam every year. so the competition level of civil service exam is very high.
Success rate of UPSC civil service exam is very low which stand near .02 percent every year. It slightly vary depends upon the seats available for the various posts under this exam.
The most beautiful facts about civil service exam , it can be cracked by anyone who prepare this exam with right strategy and with right study materials.
Today , you will know the best and proven ways of getting success in this exam, where we tell about the right kind of books & study material which are read by IAS toppers.
Online study techniques , websites and apps to boost your preparation to score maximum in every paper including prelims to mains exam.
You will come to know all the preparation strategies which are secretly disclosed by IAS toppers in Interviews and their success mantras of smart preparation.
If you are an absolute beginner, this article will also help you in clearing all your doubt about civil service exam in FAQ section at the last of this post so read it till end.
What Is Civil Service Exam ?
As we already know civil service exam conducted for 24 various services which includes IAS ( Indian Administrative Service )at the top and IPS ( Indian Police Service ), IFS ( Indian foreign Service ) , IRS ( Indian Revenue Service ) & others.
List of Group (A) Services-
- Indian Administrative Service or IAS
- Indian Foreign Service or IFS
- Indian Police Service or IPS
- Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service
- Indian Audit and Accounts Service
- Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
- Indian Defence Accounts Service
- Indian Revenue Service (I.T.) or IRS
- Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
- Indian Postal Service
- Indian Civil Accounts Service
- Indian Railway Traffic Service
- Indian Railway Accounts Service
- Indian Railway Personnel Service
- Indian Railway Protection Force (Assistant Security Commissioner)
- Indian Defence Estates Service
- Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
- Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Gr. III)
- Indian Corporate Law Service
List Of Group (B) Services-
- Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade)
- Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service
- Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service
- Pondicherry Civil Service
- Pondicherry Police Service
All the above mentioned posts come under civil services exam, so when you are applying for this exam, your marks decides the post which you are going to get at the end.
If your dream is to become an IAS officer as most as most people prepare to get ias , you need to work hard and score in the top 150 students.
IAS post are very limited to 150 maximum depends o the vacancy that particular year. If you are close to top 150, your chances are high that you will get into IAS services. ( Your preference must be that only ).
After that IPS, IFS & IRS posts are filled by students, so if your choice is any one of them , you have to score as per the post hierarchy level.
Civil Service Exam Pattern?
Civil services exam is also known as UPSC exam has three stage exam processes which is Prelims ,Mains & Interview.
To clear civil service and become a civil servant, one has to pass all these stages with good marks so that you can be listed under final merit list.
The civil service exam starts in the months of June and ends till December, there is gap of 3,4 months between two stages.
As we know prelims exam starts in June and Mains exam starts around October then Interview.
Aspirants get enough time to prepare each the stage if they properly mange their time. So there is not shortage of time for each stage if you manage your time properly.
This is the first stage of civil service exam , this stage is also known as qualifying stage because the marks prelims are not counted for the mains merit.
Prelims exam has two papers which are popularly known as General studies paper-01 and CSAT.
Both the papers are objective in nature and negative marking is also applicable for both the papers.
Paper-01 General Studies
This is the first paper which consist of 100 objective questions and all the questions carry equal marks which is one marks or each correct answer.
So the total marks of this paper is 200, you have to score above the cut-off marks of your category.
The time for the this paper is 2 hours only, you have to clear this paper before 2 hours , you will not get single minute after that to solve it.
Suppose,the cut-off for general category is 107 then you must score 107 or more marks to clear prelim exam.
Note- The prelims merit is based on the prelims paper one only, paper 2 marks will be not be counted for the prelims qualifying merit.
The syllabus of prelims is little lengthy, it covers almost all the topics under the sun. Though UPSC specify the syllabus for all the exam , but questions comes from all possible way.
Recent or previous years question papers shows that most of the questions are coming from current affairs and specified subjects only.
If you stick to the syllabus mentioned by the UPSC, you can clear this paper in your first attempt.
- UPSC exam pattern details-Latest updated.
- Download Complete UPSC syllabus for Civil service exam(PDF).
CSAT is the second paper of prelims exam which has subject like reasoning , Math’s, English Language, etc
This paper is made to test the basic mathematical and reasoning ability of the students. The questions in this paper are based on 10th or 12th level.
So if you are a science back-ground student, you can easily score qualifying marks in this paper.
This paper has 80 questions and all the questions are objective in nature, negative marking is also applicable.
The total time duration for this paper is also 2 hours only, you just need to score 33% marks to qualify this paper.
Marks obtained in this paper are also not counted for prelims merit till now, you need to qualify this paper only.
Note–If you fail in this paper, even if you have score very high in the prelims paper 01, you will not be counted as qualify for the mains exam.
To qualify for the mains exam, you have to score above cut-off in prelims paper -01 and qualify the CSAT paper separately.
UPSC also specify the syllabus for this paper , you can read complete syllabus for cast paper from her-CSAT SYLLABUS.
Civil Service Mains Exam Pattern-
Civil service mains exam is the second stage of upsc where total of 9 question papers need to be answered by aspirants.
Mains papers are subjective in nature and there is not negative marking for mains papers.
All the papers in mains exam has given word limit for answers, you should follow that limit to score good marks in the exam.
In depth knowledge of topic is required in mains exam, facts and figure, latest data, diagrams and mind maps can fetch some extra marks for you.
These 9 papers details is given below , so lets check out here-
|General Studies-01||250||3 Hours|
|General Studies-02||250||3 Hours|
|General Studies-03||250||3 Hours|
|General Studies-04||250||3 Hours|
|Optional Paper-01||250||3 Hours|
|Optional Paper-02||250||3 Hours|
|Language Paper-01||300||3 Hours|
|Language Paper-02||300||3 Hours|
- UPSC mains exam is the crucial for selection because the marks of these papers make you the IAS topper.
- Except the language paper-01 and 02, all 7 papers marks are counted for final merit.
- Language papers are qualifying in nature, you have to score minimum 33% marks in these two papers.
- If you fail to clear these language papers, your rest paper marks will not be counted for merit list.
- Final merit include the marks of mains and interview which happens after mains exam.
- If you score the above cut-off n your category, you will be assigned a post out of 24 services, based on your marks and choice of service and medical , physical suitability.
Civil Service Syllabus for Mains Exam-
UPSC announce the notification before the prelims exam where it provides complete details of the syllabus for all the question papers of prelims and mains exam.
While filling the application , you can download the syllabus details in PDF format from here itself.
The syllabus for all the papers is almost same as previous years , you can refer NCERT books and other core syllabus books to complete coverage of the syllabus.
This is the 3rd and last stage of the civil service exam , once you clear mains exam and score above cut-off for interview, you are called for interview.
This is a good sign that you are just one step before of success in this prestigious exam.
Usually three time students of the vacancy are called for interview, and successful candidates are selected for the these vacant seats.
Civil service interview carry 275 marks which are very crucial to boost your ranking, this is the stage where student can score very good marks and fix their seat.
Once you clear interview , you main marks and interview marks are added to check your final ranking , then your are assigned a post based on the total marks obtained and your choice of service.
Syllabus for Interview-
There is no specified syllabus mentioned for interview, as it is a personality test, they can ask question form anywhere to test your knowledge.
There is no specifically any book to refer for interview, the best suggestion is to be updated with the current events of national and international importance,
Read regular newspaper, magazines, course books, pat attention to the government schemes, popular events of last one year, international organization related updated etc.
Civil Service Exam Eligibility.
When we talk about the eligibility of any exam , we include educational , physical, medical and other required eligibility of the candidate.
In civil service exam , upsc also test you in all these parameter before you are selected for any post out of 24 services.
Before you apply for this exam, you must be sure of your eligibility, so that you start preparing for the right kind of exam.
The minimum educational qualification for civil service exam is graduation degree from any recognized university.
There is no criteria for the minimum marks in graduation, you only need to be a graduate. If you are just above the passing marks, you are also eligible for civil service exam.
|Category||Mini-UPSC Age Limit||Max-UPSC Age Limit||No. of Attempt||Qualification|
|Genaral||21 years||32 years||06||Degree From University.|
|SC/ST||21 years||32+5 years||No limit.||Degree From University.|
|OBC||21 years||32+3 years||06+3 =9||Degree From University.|
|ex-service man with 5 years minimum service.||21 years||G-37,OBC-40,SC/ST-42.||Based on Category (mentioned above)||Degree From University.|
|Handicaps, Blind etc.||21 years||32+10 Years||Gen & OBC ( 9 attempts )||Degree From University.|
|j&K resident.||21 years||G-37, OBC-40.ST/SC-42, PH-50 years||Till the age limit.||Degree From University.|
|Dis-abled service man.||21 years||G-37,ST/SC-40. OBC-38 years,||Based on the category ( mentioned above )||Degree From University.|
Note-Check here the complete details-Civil service exam eligibility.
Note-Check here for UPSC exam attempts & other eligibility-UPSC Eligibility
Books For Civil Services-
Books are the crucial for any exam to clear , it is very important in civil service exam. Books cover more than 80% of civil service syllabus so you can not ignore the selection of right books.
Many aspirants fail in the exam just because they do not have right kind of study material, they read those books which are either outdated or irrelevant to the current syllabus of the exam.
Many ias toppers suggest that reading right kind of books in right number is the key of success in the civil service exam.
Today, study material consists of variety of sources which includes basic books (NCERTS), syllabus books( Core books), Magazines, Newspapers, online websites, apps etc.
If you miss any one of the above source, it means that you are losing some information where other has access to it.
To avoid this problem, we have made a comprehensive list of UPSC books ( Based on upsc syllabus), suggest websites, coaching websites, news papers, android apps etc.
If you read these above mentioned books , magazines, newspapers and follow current affairs regularly, you will automatically cover most of the civil service syllabus.
Here is list of complete UPSC Civil Service Exam books with full details and reviews. You can buy these book online directly from here itself.
The book list cover more than 2 books for each subject and topic , there are ample number of books available , you can choose the best set of books based on your need. –Civil Service Exam Books List
Here is the list of top 50 website and apps which are very helpful in civil service exam. IAS Preparation Website & Apps
- How to select books for civil service exam to score maximum marks.
- List of top 5 Indian Polity books for civil service exam.
How To Apply For Civil Service Exam?
Once you are eligible for civil service exam your next step is how to apply for this exam. UPSC release notification for civil service every year in the month of march or April.
The notification can be found at UPSC official website. www.upsc.gov.in and you can read and download the complete notification.
In notification , UPSC also announce any change made in the exam pattern, eligibility criteria,syllabus so it is very important to read the notification before you fill-up the application form.
Once you are sure about everything related to the exam, you have to go at www.upsconline.nic.in which is a separate URL for application fill-up for various exams.
The civil service exam application form is filled in two step, in first step, you have to fill-up the basic details of you and payment( if you are not getting concession ).
Once you done with payment , you have to fill-up part II where you have to upload your photo and signature and write some other details.
This is the information , civil service exam application form required while applying for it.
- Your name and other details.
- Your previous attempts.
- Your choice of language for mains exam.
- Your photo and signature.
- Your choice of examination center.
- Payment fee if you do not get concession.
- Your academic details.
After filling the application form, you will get a number which is useful in getting your admit card for prelims exam. With that registration no, you can easily get download your admit card.
So keep that number in mind or write down somewhere you can remember otherwise , you may be in trouble at the last time.
How To Prepare Civil Service Exam-
If you are a beginner, this guide will help you to start civil service exam preparation in much better way. You just need to read this article till end and will come to know the right kind of preparation techniques.
Just reading books whole day will not fetch you good marks in the exam specially in the upsc civil service exam.
In UPSC, you must know how to study books for this exam and what are the things which must be avoided while IAS exam preparation.
You need not to read 100 books to clear this exam, you just need to read small number of books which are based on the civil service syllabus.
Aspirants buy 200 books and get confused which book to read first, this is one of the biggest road block in the civil service exam preparation.
Now a days , information is available in huge amount and you need to read everything which comes in front of you.
You must know what to read and what not to , If you have this idea, you will never confuse and prepare syllabus in time.
IAS toppers says that one should read less book and revise them more. If you follow this techniques, you will easily cover your syllabus in time.
It is strongly suggested that one should not read more than 2 books on one topics, it will be suffice to understand the concept.
The syllabus is so huge , you can not read 10 different books for one subject in one year. It will only waste your time and delay the success.
If you have very mush time and want to appear in next 4 year then you can read any number of books .
but if you are looking to appear in next year and do not have more than 1 year. You must follow above mentioned technique to complete syllabus.
Importance of Magazine-
Magazine are becoming more popular with time in civil service examination. Magazines provide in depth knowledge on any topics, they also helps students in writing good essay.
Yojna and Kurukshetra are two important magazine which are read by IAS topper every years.
Yojna magazine is theme basis magazine which is publish monthly by government, it consists 10,12 articles on any burning issue of national and international interest.
The artciles in the magazine are written by Civil Servants, ministers and other experts of that field , so the authenticity of the information is very high.
Yojna magazine is also helpful for mains exam preparation, you can also make note out of it.
If you want improve your writing skill, you should read this magazine and start writing practice.
You can download yojna monthly magazine directly from her-Download
Kurukshetra is another important magazine which is also published by government on monthly basis.
This magazine is also talk about core issues of the society and other burning issue. This magazine publish articles more on rural area issue, agriculture etc.
This magazine is also useful for mains exam where students can put facts from here directly in the exam, because the facts and figure are very authentic.
Download monthly Kurukshetra magazine from her-Download.
Importance of Current affairs-
Current affairs is one of the most important element of upsc exam . Since last 3-4 years , upsc has changed its question base base of prelim exam, more than 50% of questions are directly asked from current affairs.
So the importance of current affairs is huge in prelim as well as mains exam. If you prepare this section very well, you can solve most of the prelims questions easily.
Current affairs include topics of daily events , social issues, events of national and international importance, topics related environment are common in the prelims exam.
How To Prepare Current Affairs-
Preparing current affairs is little different than other subjects, current affairs need regular preparation. In UPSC exam they ask question from last one year current affairs.
So you have to prepare current affairs from last one year. The best way to prepare current affairs is reading Newspaper daily, reading magazine regularly, follow some useful ias preparation website for latest current affairs.
Do not fully depend on coaching material booklets because current need to be updated on regular basis.
Online Study Material-
Gone are the days when civil services can be cleared by mugging-up some books but now its not possible to clear ias exam just by reading books.
Now technology has changed the way of upsc exam preparation and books play 50-60 % of syllabus only rest of the upsc syllabus can be prepared with the help of online study material.
Online study material includes Daily current affairs,National and international events , ebooks , Apps & other useful websites.
As we know current affairs carry large portion of upsc prelims and mains syllabus so you have to study it from online resources only.
Books on current affairs are good option because they can not be updated on daily basis so online websites, app are useful here.
Importance Of Notes In Civil Service Exam-
This is one of the most debated topic where many are in favor of note making and some are against of it.
First let me clear one thing about the notes, Notes are the keywords or brief summary of any long topic which helps us to memorize things in better way and also save our time .
Note making is very essential in UPSC exam due to following reasons, these reasons are logical and no one can ignore them directly.
- UPSC has very large syllabus so memorizing complete syllabus is almost impossible. Note can help you to reduce the length of the syllabus and help you in memorizing it.
- Notes making helps in improving your hand-writing, as when you will make note by hand, you will actually practicing the writing .
- It will help you in revision , because revision of the complete syllabus in very short time is very difficult so if you make note in time, you can easily revise your complete syllabus.
- Note making rules need to be follow before you go for note making practice, there is rule of 1/10 . it means , if your paragraph is of 100 words, your note must be complete in 10 words or less.
- If you make short note in bullet points then only it will help you in upsc exam, if you are just copying the original content,it only waste your time.
- Use colorful pens in note making, as colorful notes in bullet point are easy to remember.
- If you think, you have shortage of time, you can go for digital notes , or both types of note can be made regularly.
- In digital notes , we use some apps to store information for later use. There are some of the best app for digital note are Pocket, Evernote etc.
Here is the complete article on how you should make note for upsc civil service exam smartly.
Importance of Previous Year Question Paper-
If you are new to this exam and want to give this year or next, It is highly suggested that you must practice previous year question paper before you actually attempt the prelims exam.
Previous year question papers helps you to get complete overview of the upsc exam, how the question comes in the prelims and mains, what are the areas where upsc ask more question of it.
Previous year question papers also helps you in time management , as we know time is key factor in the whole exam process.
If you solve these papers well before exam, you get an idea how much time it actually taking and what are the areas where you need more attention.
So that when you go to the examination hall, you do not waste your time in thinking which question do first and what to leave for last time.
Solving these question paper also gives you an idea of the difficulty level of upsc exam, topics which are usually asked in the exam.
Though questions do not repeat in the exam but many questions are similar to the last year questions ,so you can easily predict some of the question in prelims as well as in mains exam.
Solving previous year question paper will some how help you in getting your prelims and mains score to new high, those who miss, have to suffer loss of some marks at the end of exam.
It highly recommended to solve at least last 10 years question paper before you go to the examination hall.
Here are the list of previous year question papers which you can download in PDF format in your PC or smartphone for revisin.
Things To Avoid During Civil Service Preparation.
Preparing for civil service exam is not just reading books hundreds of books but also you need to know what are the things to avoid while reading books.
There is a small list of things which should be avoided while preparing for civil service exam which includes, reading habits, lifestyle, time management etc.
Market is of full of beautiful books and thousands of books available on single topics, so selection of right books is like crucial for success in the exam.
- While preparing for civil service exam, you should avoid Big and Fatty Books which are more than 1000 pages. These books are noble type books which takes several months to complete.
- So revision of these books seems impossible in a year, As you know revision is must in upsc exam because the syllabus is so huge ,if you do not revise in time, you may forget most of what you read in a month.
- Even UPSC wants the basic understanding of the subject and ability to clearly express your view on that topic. So no need to read noble type books when you have limited time for the exam.
- IAS topper suggest that reading less ( Complete syllabus ) and revising more is more beneficial than reading so many books but not able to revise them in time.
- Do not by more than 2 books for one topics, it will only cut your time from other subjects. Reading multiple books on one topics may sometime crease confusion of opinion so limit up to maximum 2 book for one subject.
- Read books which are read by previous toppers or well known experts of their field. Just do not buy any book simply said by your friends.
- Keep best books with you always which can cover most of the upsc syllabus. No use of reading a beautiful books which does not cover upsc syllabus.( our aim it to clear civil service exam).
- Here is the book list which are read by millions of civil service aspirants and toppers of previous years.
Lifestyle / Time Management-
Type of lifestyle play crucial role in civil service exam preparation, it also affect positively and negatively your performance in the exam. Here are some of the common tips which can help you in your preparation directly or indirectly.
- Before preparing for the exam, make sure that you have correct set of books, latest UPSC syllabus , other study material (online, offline) , magazine etc.
- Once you get hold of all of these, you should make a well planned time table for study. If you study randomly when in mood of reading, then this habit need to be changed now.
- UPSC syllabus demands at least 6-8 hours daily study for one year of preparation, if your academic background is good. Less than this will make it difficult to complete syllabus in time and revision.
- Do not skip Newspaper reading, as newspaper cover most of the daily current affairs. Current affair has to be prepared on daily or weekly basis.
- Try to make small-small target of weeks or monthly and complete it, it will not only boost your confidence but also improve your continuity in the civil service exam preparation.
- Read motivational article in between or watch IAS toppers videos which actually boost confidence.
- Avoid thinking too much about the result and success rate of the exam, you need only one seat out of 1000 (approx) and you can get it alone.