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UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE), is a national level examination conducted by UPSC annually to recruit Officers for civil services like IAS, IPS, IFS (Foreign), IAAS, IRS, IDAS, CAPF-AF and others. Nearly 3-5 lakhs candidates appear for the Civil Services Examinations every year.

Any candidate possessing a graduation degree can apply for UPSC/IAS Exam. 

UPSC CSE Prelims Exam tests General knowledge, Mental Aptitude and Personality of the candidates. 

The Exam Pattern consists of three stages viz.

  • Stage 1: Civil Services (Preliminary) Exam – June 05, 2022
  • Stage 2: Civil Services (Mains) Exam – September 16, 2022
  • Stage 3: Interview/ Personality Test

Highlights of IAS Exam

Exam Name

Civil Services Examination

Official Website

Conducting Body

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Exam Level


Exam Periodicity


Exam Mode

Offline (Pen-Paper Mode)

Expected Registration

About 3-5 lakhs

No. of Vacancies


  • The number of vacancies to be filled through the UPSC CSE examination in 2022 is expected to be approximately 861 which include – 34 vacancies reserved for Persons with Benchmark Disability Category, i.e.,
    • 7 vacancies for candidates of (a) blindness and low vision;
    • 11 Vacancies for (b) deaf and hard of hearing;
    • 8 Vacancies for (c) locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy; and
    • 8 Vacancies for (e) multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (c) including deaf-blindness.
  • The final number of vacancies may undergo change after getting firm number of vacancies from Cadre Controlling Authorities. Reservation will be made for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes. Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, the Economically Weaker Sections and Persons with Benchmark Disability in respect of vacancies as may be fixed by the Government. 


The UPSC Civil Service Examination is a three-stage selection process involving Preliminary examination, Main examination and Personality Test (interview). The UPSC CSE Examination is widely acclaimed as one of the toughest competitive examinations in the world and every year thousands of aspirants apply to get selected in these prestigious services to serve the nation.  


  • Preliminary Examination is meant to serve as a screening test mainly; the marks obtained in this exam by the candidates, who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination, are not counted for determining their final order of merit. 
  • The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about 12 to 13 times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year in the various Services and Posts. 
  • Only those candidates who have qualified in the Preliminary Examination will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination.


  • The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers of Objective type (Multiple Choice Questions) and each carries a maximum of 200 marks.  
  • The General Studies (GS) paper (Paper-I) has 100 questions carrying 2-marks each while the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) (Paper-II) has 80 questions carrying 2.5-marks each. There is a penalty of 33% marks out of the allocated marks for every wrong answer. The duration of each exam is Two hours (120 Minutes).
  • The CSAT paper (Paper-2) is evaluated first and GS Paper (Paper-1) is evaluated only of those candidates who have qualified in Paper-2 or got at least 33% marks in CSAT. 
  • The candidates are shortlisted for the Main Exam on the basis of their scores in Paper-1.

Check out the Syllabus of UPSC Prelims Examination.


  • The Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidate's rather than merely the range of their information and memory.
  • According to UPSC notification the nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study but in realty you have to study enormous amount of material. Press information Bureau, ARC (Administrative Reform Commission) reports, Newspapers and magazines have to be read regularly along with books/notes for traditional areas of syllabus.
  • The questions asked in Main Examination test a candidate's general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services.
  • The questions focus on candidate's understanding of all relevant issues and ability to analyse and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.
  • The scope of the syllabus for Optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honour’s degree level i.e., a level higher than the bachelors' degree and lower than the masters' degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors' degree.
  • The written examination consists of qualifying papers and papers to be counted for merit.

Check out the Syllabus of UPSC Mains Examination.


Paper-A: Indian language (300 Marks)

  • One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Paper-B: English language (300 Marks)

  • The aim of the paper is to test the candidate’s ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian Language concerned.
  • The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and Paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
  • Minimum marks needed is 30% for Paper A and 25% for Paper B for ensuring the evaluation of Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject papers. 




250 Marks


General Studies – 1

250 Marks


General Studies – 2

250 Marks


General Studies – 3

250 Marks


General Studies – 4

250 Marks


Optional Subject – Paper 1

250 Marks


Optional Subject – Paper 2

250 Marks


Check out the Syllabus of UPSC Mains Examination.


  • The personality test carries a total of 275 Marks and it lasts generally for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest. 
  • The object 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 judge the mental calibre of a candidate. 
  • In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his/her intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. 
  • Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, 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 which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.



  • The candidate must hold a PASS BACHELOR'S degree from any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University, under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.
  • Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the final examination and are awaiting results are also eligible to apply for the Preliminary Examination.
  • All such candidates who qualify the Prelims examination must produce a proof of Pass Bachelor Degree to appear for the Civil Services Main Examination. This Degree has to be attached with their application for the Main Examinations.
  • The UPSC may in exceptional cases treat a candidate without the foregoing requisite qualification as an eligible candidate if he/she have passed an examination conducted by other institutions, the standard of which justifies his/her admission in the opinion of the Commission. The criteria may apply to candidates having bachelor's degree from any reputed foreign university for example Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard etc.
  • Candidates with professional and technical bachelor's degrees that are recognised by the Government are also eligible to apply, for example, B. Tech, MBBS, BE, etc.
  • Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However, they must submit a certificate from the concerned authority of the University/Institution that they have passed the final professional medical examination along with their Main Examination application. At the Interview stage they must produce a certificate from a competent authority that they have completed (including internship) and all the requirements for the award of the Medical Degree.


  • A candidate belonging to general category must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August of year of examination.

The upper age limit prescribed above is relaxed:

  • Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste (SC) or a Scheduled Tribe (ST).
  • Up to a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC) who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates
  • Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from the 1 January, 1980 to the 31 December, 1989.
  • Up to a maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof.
  • Up to a maximum of five years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1 August, 2017 and have been released.
  • On completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1 August, 2017) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or on invalidment.
  • Up to a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1 August, 2017 and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months' notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.
  • Up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped persons.


  • The UPSC has raised the upper age limit and number of attempts of applicants of the Civil Service Examination with effect from 2015. The upper age limit will be 32 years for the unreserved (general) category with 6 attempts. It will be 35 years for OBC candidates with 9 attempts; and will be 37 years for SC/ST candidates with unlimited number of attempts. For physically handicapped candidates the age limit is 42, 45 and 47 years for General, OBC and SC/ST category respectively while the number of attempts is 9 for General and OBC and unlimited for SC/SC category.

Number of Attempts





Physically Handicapped




09 for General/OBC/Unlimited for SC/ST

Maximum Age-Limits

32 years

37 years

35 years

42, 45 and 47 years for General, OBC and SC/ST category respectively.


UPSC CSE 2022 Exam Pattern is given in the table below:








Face to face - Offline


Bilingual (English and Hindi)

Bilingual (English and Hindi)

Bilingual (English and Hindi)

Number of qualifying papers



Total weightage 

400 Marks (200 each)

1750 Marks

275 Marks

Type of questions


Both Objective and Subjective


Negative marking for each incorrect answer

one-third (0.33)

one-third (only for objective type questions)


Duration of exam

2 Hours per Paper

3 Hours per Paper



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