Civil Services: A Dream for too many Part-2

Civil Services
  • Niharika Mishra

In our earlier blog we narrated about the UPSC, Services offered through this exam.  This post is about the process, exam nature and eligibility criteria which is the first phase to sail through this exam. Below is the nitty-gritty of this exam:







All candidates must have as a minimum one of the following educational qualifications:

  • A degree from a Central, State or a Deemed University
  • A degree received through correspondence or distance education
  • A degree from an open university
  • A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to one of the above

The following candidates are also eligible but must submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority at their institute/university at the time of the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam.

  • Candidates who have appeared in an examination, the passing of which would render them educationally qualified enough to satisfy one of the above points
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam for the MBBS degree but have not yet completed an internship.
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of ICAI, ICSI and ICWAI.
  • A degree from a private university.
  • A degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities.



The candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years (for the General category candidate) on August 1 of the year of examination. Prescribed age limits vary with respect to caste reservations.

  • For Other Backward Castes (OBC) the upper age limit is 35
  • For Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), the limit is 37 years.
  • The upper age limit is relaxed for certain candidates who are backward with respect to other factors and differently abled.

Numbers of attempts

The number of times a candidate may attempt the exam is limited as follows:

  • General category candidates = 6.
  • OBC category candidates = 9.
  • SC/ST candidates = unlimited attempts till 37 years of age.


Nature of the Civil Services Exam:  


This exam is conducted in two phases – a preliminary examination of two objective papers and the Main examination followed by an Interview.


Preliminary Examination:


Paper I: General Studies:  This paper tests the knowledge of the candidate on current events, history of India and Indian national movement, Indian and world geography, Indian polity, economic and social development, environment, general science, Art and culture


Paper II: Civil services Aptitude Test aka CSAT– This paper tests the analytical skills and is of qualifying nature only. But a candidate requires scoring 33 % in this paper. 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 & 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.


Main Examination:


After a candidate clears the Preliminary examination, he proceeds to next stage which is Mains examination. This phase consists of Nine papers out of which Two papers are of qualifying nature and Seven papers are of deciding the candidate’s fate.


Interview / Personality Test:

This is the final phase of the examination; he is called for an interview if the candidate is able to sail through the Main examination.


Civil Services: A Dream for too many Part-1


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