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5 Things to Know about UPSC Civil Services Exam

Exams are what many students fear as it is the toughest moment for them. Pass or fail in exams is what determines their future. The tougher the exam, the greater is the pressure on the students and more anxiety issues. The UPSC Civil Services exam top the list of being the toughest exam of India. Due to the toughness popularity among the students, not many dare to attempt the exam.

Looking at the success rate, one can understand why it is considered one of the toughest exams in India. Every year, lakhs of individuals sit for the UPSC exam. Out of this, only about 25% qualify prelims and move onto the mains. After the mains exam, around 15% make it to the interview stage and the success rate for the interview round is 50%. Thus we can figure out that the pass percentage in the UPSC exam is less than 1%.

What is the UPSC Civil Services Examination?

The Civil Services Examination is a national level competitive exam in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission that is responsible to recruit government officials like IAS, IPS, IFS, etc. It is conducted in three stages – a preliminary examination, the main examination, and an interview round.



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  • -For services like IAS, IPS, IFS candidate must be a citizen of India.
  • -For other services,
    • -The candidate must be a citizen of India
    • -Or a citizen of Nepal or of Bhutan
    • -Or a Tibetan refugee who settled in India before Jan 1, 1962
    • -Or a person of Indian origin who has migrated with an intention to settle in India permanently.


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  • -Candidate must have attained the age of 21years.
  • -For the General category and EWS aspirants, age should not exceed 32 years. The upper limit for OBC candidates is 35 years, SC/ST is 37 years, PWD candidates is 37 years.
  • – For visually challenged, hearing impaired, physically challenged candidates is 42 years.

Educational Qualification

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  • -The candidate must have a graduation degree from a recognized university.
  • -Candidates who are in the last year of their graduation and have written the final exams but are awaiting for results are eligible to apply for the prelims exam but are required to provide proof of passing before mains.
  • -MBBS candidates who have passed their final exams but yet not done internships are also eligible.
  • -Candidates who have passed final exams of ICAI, ICSI, and ICWAI are also eligible.

Number of attempts

There is a certain limit of attempts one can apply for-

  • -General category candidates – 6 attempts
  • -OBC candidates – 9 attempts
  • -SC/ST candidates- can apply until 37 years of age.
  • -Physically Handicapped (General and OBC) – 9 attempts
  • -Physically Handicapped (SC/ST) – until 37 years of age.

UPSC Civil Service Exam Posts

Group A (All India Services and Central Services)

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  • -Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • -Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • -Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  • -Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS)
  • -Indian Civil Account Service (ICAS)
  • -Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)
  • -Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
  • -Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
  • -Indian Information Service (IIS)
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  • -Indian Ordnance Factory Service (IOFS)
  • -Indian Postal Service (IPOS)
  • -Indian P&T Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS)
  • -Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
  • -Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
  • -Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
  • -Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPFS)
  • -Indian Revenue Service (IRS IT)
  • -Indian Revenue Service ( IRS C&CE)
  • -Indian Trade Service (ITRS)

Group B

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

Exam Pattern

The UPSC exam is conducted in three stages – the Preliminary exam, the mains, and the interview round.

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Preliminary Exam:- It is a screening test for the students to be selected for the further process. It comprises of two paper objective type of 200 marks each and focuses on the analytical abilities of a student. Paper 1 comprises of questions from topics like Indian history, Current affairs, economic and social development, biodiversity art and culture, etc. Paper 2 comprises of questions pertaining to logic reasoning, interpersonal skills, data interpretation, problem-solving, etc. Students who manage to score above the cut off marks declared by UPSC are eligible for the mains.

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Mains Exam:- It is the second level in the process of selection. Mains exam comprises of 9 descriptive papers out of which 2 papers are elected by the subject according to the options. Mainly there is 1 paper that is essay related, 4 papers are related to general studies and 2 are optional papers. In order to qualify for the interview round the candidate has to score at least 25% marks in each paper.

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Interview Round:- The last step in the selection process is a personality test i.e. interview round. Those who qualify mains are eligible for the interview round. After the interview, candidates are shortlisted according to the performance. In this round skills like communication and leadership are tested by the officials taking the interview.

How to prepare for the UPSC exam?

In the initial stage, aspirants are quite confused and are unable to figure out how to start with the preparations. Many are not sure of whether to take coachings or not. But remember always whatever sort of guidance you seek is worthless until you do self-studies. Just going to the coachings will not prepare you rather not help you in any way. UPSC exam is tough but if you follow some strategy and prepare then you can surely succeed. Below mentioned are few strategies one can go for-

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  • -Make a time-table
  • -While learning or reading highlight what is important so that while revising it catches your eyes
  • Practice writing essays and answers
  • -Read a newspaper and watch headlines, remain aware of what is happening in the world
  • -Always give mock test.
  • -Sleep well and be physically active.

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