FAQ’s


Civil Services Examination is a 2 stage examination held every year.
Stage 1 – Preliminary Test
Stage 2 – Main Examination (Written & Personality Test/Interview)

Stage 1 – Preliminary Test – consists of objective questions with penalty (negative marking) for wrong answers. (This is generally held in the month of August)
Paper 1 – General Studies (200 marks) 2 hours
Paper 2 – CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) (200 marks) 2 hours (This will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%)
There is a cut-off in the Preliminary Test which varies every year and is decided by the UPSC.

The Main Exam (Subjective papers of 1750 marks) consists of 9 papers which are usually held from early December for around 5-7 days. The current pattern of Main examination is as follows:-

Essay – 250 marks (3 hours)

General Studies
Paper 1 – 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 2 – 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 3 – 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 4 – 250 marks (3 hours)
Optional Subject 
Paper 1 – 250 marks (3 hours)
Paper 2 – 250 marks (3 hours)

English Language – 300 marks (qualifying paper; marks not included in Main Exam)
Indian Language – 300 marks (qualifying paper; marks not included in Main Exam)

Usually Paper 1 is held from 9 am to 12 pm and Paper 2 is held from 2 pm to 5 pm. Both the papers of either General Studies or Optional subject are held on the same day.

Students who qualify the Written Examination are called by the UPSC for Interview in March or April. The Interviews usually start 2 weeks after the Main (Written) Exam results are announced.

UPSC publishes the advertisement for holding the Civil Services Examination every year in the month of May for the Preliminary Test to be held in August, of that year. Applications are invited by UPSC until the stipulated date of that year more specifically mentioned in the year’s advertisement.

Students must be degree holders or graduates (degree recognized by University Grants Commission) to appear for this Examination. Indian students holding a foreign degree need to ensure that their degree is accredited or recognized by UGC.

Candidates belonging to General category and OBC (creamy layer) must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 30 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
Candidates belonging to OBC (Non-Creamy Layer) category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 33 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
Candidates belonging to SC category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 35 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.
Candidates belonging to ST category must have attained the age of 21 on 1st August of the year of the Exam but must not have attained the age of 35 on 1st August of the year of the Exam.

General category and OBC (Creamy Layer) category have a maximum of 4+2* attempts.
OBC (Non-Creamy Layer) have a maximum of 7+2* attempts.
For Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe category candidates there is no limit on the number of attempts till they attain the age of 35+2* years.
Students belonging to OBC/SC/ST can give the first 4 attempts as General category candidates (if they so desire) and thereafter they can avail the relaxation in the number of attempts by availing the category benefits. * Currently Extended untill futher notification.

The number of vacancies reported by Union Public Service Commission varies every year. The number of vacancies per year in the last 4 years had varied between 700 and 1000.

Every year, in the month of Aug the 1st stage (Preliminary Test) of the Civil Services Examination is held. The number of students aspiring for the UPSC Civil Services has gone up to more than 600,000 who fill the form and the number of people appearing in the preliminary exam is almost 400,000. Out of the 4 lakh candidates appearing in the Preliminary Examination, the number of candidates qualifying is dependent on the number of vacancies in the Civil Services advertised that year. To give an example, if the advertisement is for 1000 vacancies, then about 12,000 candidates would be called (qualified) by the UPSC to appear in the Main exam & the number of candidates who will qualify the Main examination to appear in the Interview would be about 2500.

The final result is declared around May or Early June. This is computed on the basis of the total marks scored by candidates in Main (Written) Examination (1750) and Personality Test or Interview (275).
Final Ranking and Service allocation is based on the combined marks scored in Main Examination (1750) and Interview (275) and on the preferences given by the candidates at the time of filling up of the Main Examination application form.

The exact schedule of Main exam varies every year and is usually notified by UPSC on its website http://www.upsc.gov.in
To give an idea following is the usual schedule of the Examination:
Notification and Form filling for Preliminary Test – April or May
Date of Preliminary Test – 3rd week of August
Result of Preliminary Test – late-September or early October
Main Examination commencement – December (duration – 5-7 days)
Declaration of Main Examination results – February or March (next year)
Personality Test or Interview – March and April (next year)
Declaration of Final merit list – Early May (next year)

Students have to choose any one optional subject from a list of the following optional subjects. Students can also opt for literature subject as an optional, if they so desire.
Optional subjects (26) offered by UPSC
Agriculture
Animal H & Vet Sc
Anthropology
Botany
Chemistry
Civil Engg
Commerce & Accountancy
Economics
Electrical Engg
Geography
Geology
History
Law
Management
Mathematics
Mechanical Engg
Medical Science
Philosophy
Physics
Pol Sci & IR
Psychology
Public Admin
Sociology
Statistics
Zoology
Literature of any one of the following languages (30) is also offered as an optional subject:-
Arabic
Assamese
Bodo
Bengali
Chinese
Dogri
English
French
German
Gujarati
Hindi
Kannada
Kashmiri
Konkani
Maithili
Malayalam
Manipuri
Marathi
Nepali
Oriya
Pali
Persian
Punjabi
Russian
Sanskrit
Santali
Sindhi
Tamil
Telugu
Urdu

Optional Subjects offered at SmartMinds are:

-Public Administration

-Geography

-Anthropology and

-Telugu Literature

Ideally the Main Examination preparation needs to be done before the preparation of Preliminary Examination.
The primary reason being lack of time between Preliminary Exam and Main Exam (which is around 4 months before Main exam and only around 2 and half months before declaration of Preliminary Examination result). This time of (4 months or 2 and half months) is insufficient for any preparation from ground-up for both the GS as well as Optional subject. The available time is only sufficient for revision of GS and Optional subject and appearing in mock tests in GS and the Optional subject.
Hence, students are advised to join the GS (Preliminary+ Main) and Aptitude Test batches.