The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive exam in India conducted by the UPSC for recruitment to various Civil Services, including IAS, IFS, IPS, and IRS among others. The examination is one of the toughest examinations in India with success rate of 0.1%-0.3% with more than 900,000 applicants. It is conducted in two phases – the Preliminary examination, consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies and Aptitude Test), and The Mains 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. Aspirants must complete a three-stage process, with a final success rate of about 0.1% of the total applicants.
Stage I: Preliminary examination – This is qualifying test held in August every year. Notification for this is published in May. Results are published in mid-October.
Stage II: Mains examination – This is the main test, held in December every year. Results are usually published in the second week of March.
Stage III: Personality Test (Interview) – It is the final test and is held in April/May every year. Final results are usually announced in the month of May every year.
IAS/IPS/UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam Pattern 2019-20
The UPSC prelims exam is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the UPSC Mains Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. The number of candidates to be admitted to the UPSC Mains Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year in the various Services and Posts.
The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers with objective questions or generally called as multiple choice questions.
|Paper – I||Paper – II (CSAT)|
|General Studies – Will be counted for qualifying to the Mains exam||Aptitude test – Of qualifying nature, must score at least 33%. Marks not counted for going to mains.|
|200 Marks||200 Marks|
|2 Hours||2 Hours|
Both the papers carry 200 marks each (total 400 marks), this exam is designed to serve as a screening test only. In the CSAT or Paper-II of Preliminary Exam, that is the General Studies-II, the candidate will have to score a minimum 33% of marks for qualifying in Mains (written).
The syllabus for Preliminary Exams Paper-I includes mainly the current affairs for which the candidates have to update themselves with the national and international happenings all over.
A candidate qualified for mains in a particular year will be eligible to appear for main exams of that particular year only.
The Preliminary Examination of Union Public Service Commission for Civil Services Examination is also popularly called CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test. The CSAT paper is actually the second paper of General Studies that was introduced in 2011. The CSAT was implemented to end the use of scaling system for varying subjects in the General Studies paper and was a matter of concern for many Civil Services councillors. With the introduction of the CSAT, the UPSC now intends to choose Civil Servants who not only have the knowledge but also the aptitude for reasoning and analytical brain. However there was much opposition to this move made by the UPSC and the government had to intervene, This year in 2015, the UPSC has made the CSAT of only qualifying nature and one needs to only get 33%. Only marks of Paper 1 will now be considered for ranking in the prelims, based on which candidates will appear for the Mains exam. A very important point to be noted is that there is Negative Marking in the prelims and 1/3rd of marks allotted for every question is reduced from your score if you get it wrong. So do not guess!
There are some changes made in the Civil Services Examination from 2013. It’s for the first time the Indian Forest Service (IFS) aspirants were combined with the Civil Services aspirants and are made to take Preliminary examination. Those Indian Forest Service aspirants who may eventually clear the Preliminary examination have to write separate exams for their Mains Indian Forest Service examination. This was done keeping in mind that the UPSC holds both the exams and most science students give both the exams. This will facilitate aspirants and save time.
Must Read Books For UPSC Prelims