UPSC Civil Services Exam 2020

Dates | Eligibility | Exam Pattern | Syllabus | Services List

UPSC Civil Service Exam is considered among the top competitive exams of India. Hence, it is very important that the UPSC Civil Service Exam pattern is well known to all its aspirants. Commonly known as IAS exam, UPSC Civil Service Exam syllabus is a must known thing if you really consider yourself as an aspirant.

The UPSC Civil Services Examination (UPSC CSE) is a nationwide competitive conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) among many others.

Important Dates for UPSC Civil Services Exam 2019-20

  • Date of Notification (Preliminary Exam): 12 Feb. 2020
  • Last Date for Receipt of Applications (Preliminary Exam): 03 March 2020
  • Date of Commencement of Preliminary Examination: 31 May 2020
  • Date of Commencement of Main Examination: 18 Sept. 2019

UPSC Civil Service Exam Eligibility Criteria:


(1) For the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Police Service,
a candidate must be a citizen of India.

(2) For other services, a candidate must be either:—
(a) a citizen of India, or
(b) a subject of Nepal, or
(c) a subject of Bhutan, or
(d) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of
permanently settling in India, or
(e) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African
countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and
Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose
favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

Educational Qualification

Candidate applying for civil service exams is required to fulfill the following criteria:

  • He/she must hold a Bachelor’s Degree from any of the recognized universities
  • Candidates who have appeared for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results or those who are yet to appear for the qualifying examination are also eligible for the Preliminary Examination.
  • Candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government or its equivalent are also eligible to apply.

Age Limit

The age of a candidate should be minimum 21 years and maximum of 32 years (upper limit relaxation for certain categories).

Number of Attempts

The Authority has put restrictions on the maximum number of attempts by a candidate which is generally 6 (some categories have relaxations).

UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern

The Civil Services Examination is considered to be the most difficult competitive examination in India. On average, 900,000 to 1,000,000 candidates apply every year and the number of candidates appearing to sit the preliminary examination is approximately 500,000. The Civil Service Examination pattern can be segregated into three stages:

  • Stage I: A Preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II also popularly known as Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT)
  • Stage II: After that, Mains examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type
  • Stage III: And a personality test (interview).

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UPSC Civil Services Exam Syllabus

Preliminary Examination (CSAT)

From 2011 onwards, the preliminary examination, now popularly known as the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) (officially it is still called General Studies Paper-1 and Paper-2), intends to focus on analytical abilities and understanding rather than the ability to memorize. The new pattern includes two papers of two hours duration and 200 marks each. Both papers have multiple choice objective type questions only. They are as under:

  • Paper I tests the candidate’s knowledge on current affairs, history of India and Indian national movement, Indian and world geography, Indian polity (Panchayati Raj system and governance), economic and social development, environmental ecology, biodiversity, climate change, general science and Art and culture.
  • Paper II tests the candidates’ skills in comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making, problem-solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability.

In August 2014, the Centre announced that English marks in CSAT-II will not be included for gradation or merit. In May 2015, the Government of India announced that Paper II of the preliminary examination will be qualifying in nature i.e. it wouldn’t be graded for eligibility in Mains Examination but a candidate needs to secure at least 33% marks in order to be eligible for graded on basis of marks of Paper I of Preliminary Examination.

UPSC CSE Mains Examination

The written examination consists of nine papers, two qualifyings and seven rankings in nature. The range of questions may vary from just one mark to sixty marks, twenty words to 600 words answers. Candidates who pass qualifying papers are ranked according to marks and a selected number of candidates are called for interview or a personality test at the Commission’s discretion.

Qualifying Papers (Non-Ranking)

Paper A: One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the languages included in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution. (300 Marks)
Paper B: English (300 Marks)

Papers to be Counted for Merit (Ranking)

Paper I: Essay (250 Marks)
Paper II: General Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) (250 Marks)
Paper III: General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) (250 Marks)
Paper IV: General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) (250 Marks)
Paper V: General Studies IV ( Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) (250 Marks)
Paper VI: Optional Subject- Paper 1 (250 Marks)
Paper VII: Optional Subject- Paper 2 (250 Marks)

Optional Subjects

The subjects available for Papers VI and VII are: Public administration is one of the most sought after optional subjects in Mains examination as it has overlapping content with other subjects like Current Affairs, History, Polity. The standards of Optional papers is of Post Graduate level. Paper I is theoretical but Paper II is often dominated by Current Affairs and Application based questions.

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce and Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • History
  • Law
  • Literature of any one of the non-English languages listed above
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

Personality Test (Interview)

Total marks allotted: 275 Marks

Officially called the “Personality Test“, the objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to evaluate the mental calibre of a candidate.

In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only a candidate’s intellectual qualities but also social traits and interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, the ability for social cohesion, LEADERSHIP, and intellectual and moral integrity.

The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination, but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation that is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate. The interview is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidate, which has been already tested through written papers.

List of Services under UPSC CSE

All India Services (Group A)

  • Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • Indian Forest Service (IFS)

Central Services (Group A)

  • Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS)
  • Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)
  • Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)
  • Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
  • Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
  • Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  • Indian Information Service (IIS)
  • Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)
  • Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS)
  • Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
  • Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
  • Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
  • Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
  • Indian Revenue Service (IRS-IT)
  • Indian Revenue Service (IRS-C&CE)
  • Indian Trade Service (ITrS)
  • Railway Protection Force (RPF)

Group B Services

  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (AFHCS)
  • Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS)
  • Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS)
  • Pondicherry Civil Service (PCS)
  • Pondicherry Police Service (PPS)

Click Here To Visit Offical UPSC Website

2 thoughts on “UPSC Civil Services Exam 2020”

  1. IAS coaching has become a necessity for most IAS aspirants as competition is very high. Quality of teaching and material is very important for any civil service examinations. You are providing good information for such students who preparing for the competitive exam. Thanks for sharing the valuable information.


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