See JATF in Action

UPSC : A Brief Introduction

The union public commission has been established under Article 315 of Constitution of India. The Commission consists of a Chairman and 10 members. The terms and conditions of service of chairman and members of the commission are governed by the Union Public Service Commission (members) Regulations 1969. The commission is served by a secretary with two additional secretaries, deputy secretaries and other supporting staff.

The union public service commission has been entrusted with the following duties :- 

  • Recruitment to services & posts under the union through conduct of competitive examination
  • Recruitment to services & posts under the central government by selection through interviews
  • Advising on the suitability of officer for appointment on promotion as well as transfer on deputation
  • Advising the government on all matters related to methods of recruitment for various services and posts
  • Disciplinary cases relating to different civil services
  • Miscellaneous matters relating to extra ordinary pensions, reimbursement of legal expenses etc.

About Civil Services

Civil services examinations are conducted by UPSC every year to recruit public servants for all India services and civil services.  Examinations are conducted for recruitment of government job. There are no formal classes or training prescribed by UPSC. The candidates have to appear and perform at the examinations on their own to be successful.


1. Indian Administrative Services 2. Indian Foreign Services 3. Indian Police Services 4. Indian P&T Accounts & Finance Services, Group A 5. Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group A 6. Indian Customs and Central Excise Services, Group A 7. Indian Defense Accounts Service, Group A 8. Indian Revenue Service, Group A 9. Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group A (Assistant Works manager, non-technical) 10. Indian Postal Service, Group A 11. Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group A 12. Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group A 13. Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group A 14. Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group A 15. Posts of Assistant Security Officer, Group A in Railway protection force (RPF) 16. Indian Deference Estates Service, Group A 17. Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group A 18. Railway Board Secretarial Service (Section Officer’s Grade), Group B 19. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade), Group B 20. Customs Appraisers’ Service, Group B 21. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, lakshadweep, Daman-Diu and Dadra-nagar haveli Civil Service and police Service, Group B 22. Pondicherry Civil Service, Group B The Application procedure for the Civil Services Examination is pretty simple. Electronically scannable application forms along with the Information Brochure is obtained from the designated Head Post Offices throughout the country. The duly filled application Form with the acknowledgement card should be sent to “Secretary, Union Public Service Commission, Dholapur House, New Delhi – 110011. For more details regarding Syllabus, Examination Centers and other clauses, candidates are advised to check UPSC’s Notification issued during December in “EMPLOYMENT NEWS” and all major newspapers


The Commission has recently undertaken a project called SAMPERA (screening and mechanized processing of examination and recruitment application). A simplified single sheet common application form for all the examinations has been devised which will be scanned by using OMR/ICR technology. The implementation of this project will mainly help in high speed scanning of data from eliminating manual entry. Other benefits will be accurate and faster – generation of admit cards, attendance lists with photo replica and signature facsimile of each candidate, and error-free list of doubtful cases. The main aim of this project is to cope with the increasing volume of applications through innovations and mechanized handling so as to reduce the processing time and send communications faster to minimize errors. The case of impersonation/malpractice will also be eliminated and wasteful expenditure will be reduced.

Schemes of Examination

1. Preliminary examination for the selection of the main examination 2. Main examination (written) for the selection of candidates for interview. 3. Interview (personality test)  

Eligibility Conditions for Civil Services Examinations

  1. Nationality
    • Only Indian Nationals are eligible for IAS and IPS
    • For other services, a candidate can be either of the following :-
      1. Citizen of India
      2. A Subject of Nepal
      3. A Subject of Bhutan
      4. A Tibetan refugee who are over to India before January 1, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
      5. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Burma Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vietnam, Zaire or Zambia with the intention of permanently settling in India

      Candidates belonging to either categories of 2, 3, 4, or 5, must produce an Eligibility certificate issued by the Government of India. Those who belong to either of 2, 3 or 4, Categories are not eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.

  2. Age Limit
    • A candidate must have attained 21 years and not to be over 32 years on August 1 of the year of Examination
    • The upper age limit is relaxed in specific cases as mentioned below :
      1. Upto a maximum of 5 years if the candidate belong to SC/ST
      2. Upto a maximum of 3 years if the candidate belongs to other Backward Classes.
      3. Upto a maximum of 5 years if the candidate had been domiciled in Jammu & Kashmir during the period between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1989.
      4. Upto a maximum of 3 years in the case of Defense Services personnel disabled during hostilities with foreign countries or in a disturbed area and consequently released.
      5. Upto a maximum of 5 years in the case of ex-servicemen including commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years military services as on August 1 of the year of examination and have been released
      6. Upto a maximum of 5 years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment (5 years Military Service) as on the August 1 of the year of examination and whose assignment    has been extended beyond 5 years. Such candidate have to provide a certificate from the ministry of Defense stating that they can apply for civil employment and they will be released on a notice of 3 months, upon selection, from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.
      7. Upto a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped candidates.

Number of Attempts

A maximum of 6 attempts is permitted to every candidate and 9-OBC belonging other backwad classes (OBC). There is no restriction on the number of attempts in the case of SC/ST candidates. All this provided you are still under the age limit. Also it is wiser to be mentally ready for several attempts as cracking for Civil Services Exams is a tough nut to crack in the first time; and if you do qualify you may want to attempt again to improve your ranking and therefore your service allotment.

Civil Service (Preliminary)

Tentative Schedule : Notification : November / December of Previous Year The preliminary examination is meant to serve as a screening test. This examination is conducted according to the following pattern.

Paper – I : Language -300 Marks (Candidate can take any Modern Indian language but this paper is of qualifying nature)
Paper – II : English -300 Marks.(This paper is of qualifying nature)
Paper – III : Essay – 250 Marks.(Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice)
Paper-IV : General Studies-I 250 Marks. (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Paper-V : General Studies -II: 250 Marks (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Paper-VI : General Studies -III 250 Marks.(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Paper-VII : General Studies -IV 250 Marks.(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) Marks carried by General Studies was 4X 250=1000
Paper-VIII : Optional Subject – Paper 1 -250 Marks
Paper-IX : Optional Subject – Paper II -250 MarksCandidate is allowed to take up literature as an optional subject without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that language’s literature.
Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks. Marks of English and Language will not be counted so total marks for Written exam will be 1750 Marks Only
Interview/Personality Test – 275 marksCandidate can give preference of the language in which they may like to be interviewed. UPSC will make arrangement for the translators.
Grand Total 2025 Marks

*Languages are

Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Marathi, Malayalam, Manipuri, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

** Optional Subjects for the Main Examination

Agriculture, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce & Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical, Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science & International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology Literature of one of the following languages: Arabic, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Marathi, Malayalam, Manipuri, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Persian, punjabi, Russian, Sanaskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telgu, Urdu. Total Optional Subject: 51

UPSC : Interview

Civil Services (Interview): 275 Marks

Even though the interview carries 275 marks with no minimum qualifying marks, it is the deciding factor at many times of your being within the services or out of it and in the least matters in which service you get. However since the interview is so personal and variable it is most desirable to do very well in the written mains. But an interview can make or break you. Take your personality development seriously and make sure to attend some mock interviews at leading institutes.

UPSC Interview Questions

UPSC Interview questions range from questions about your choice of subject to why you want to join the civil services. It is good to answer honestly but at the same time avoid clichés like wanting to do service to the nation etc. Questions on your hobbies are imperative, so prepare well as they expect some in-depth knowledge on that. Questions relating to your name, your college or school names are also a big possibility. If someone well-know shares one of these names please also prepare on that. Also learn up about important events in the year or date of your birth. As you can see, UPSC interview questions are mainly from what you have filed in your form including your subject knowledge. In the UPSC interview many questions are situational like what will you do if a Tsunami strikes your district and you are the DM/Collector/SP. Also prepare yourself on questions related to your choice of service preference. Current affairs analysis is also important.

Tips to improve your performance at the UPSC interview

  1. There are generally 5 members at the board with the chairperson seated at the center. Enter confidently and greet the chairperson, who will probably welcome you, and pleasantly nod at other members. Wait till you are asked to sit.
  2. Intelligent listing is the Mantra, and for this maintaining eye contact is very important. You should not glare but at the same time appear attentive and do not glance at other members, it can be very distracting for the interviewer. However if some other member asks you anything, look at that member and answer the turn back to the first – this is what we do in normal attentive listening.
  3. Do not fidget or throw your hands around, or shake your head. Less amount of movement does not mean you should sit unnaturally stiff. Your posture should be attentive and relaxed at the same time. Do not crouch/bend forward or place your hands on the table.
  4. Cut your answer to the required patience shown by the member talking to you. They usually like to talk more, so listen carefully and think for a few seconds before you start answering the question. This will show that you are organizing your thoughts in mind before starting to speak.
  5. Leave some room for difference in opinion. Do take a stand, but do not look adamant or unwilling to appreciate the board’s opinion.
  6. Use couple of words from the question while still in the interview. It shows you have listened to the question carefully. But at the same time limit the use of technical jargon. Listen very carefully. Come to the central issue of the inquiry immediately.
  7. Do not start evaluating your performance while still in the interview. Even if you have committed mistake in the beginning, do not think that you have already lost the game. They are looking for warm, sensitive, respectful and attentive youngsters. They know you are good.
  8. Talk humbly about your achievements and hobbies. You may have mentioned some hobbies in the form; it would be useful to have some basic info on the hobby.
  9. Say less to convey more. Less is more these days as per the minimalist creed. Argue logically and generalize correctly. Do not try to read too much between the lines.
  10. Remember, while answering any question, what is easy to see is easy to miss. We often tend to miss the obvious and go for some non-crucial aspect of the subject.
  11. Get up to leave only when the chairperson asks you to, not because you think everyone has asked a question. Similarly, even if someone has not asked a question and the chairperson ask you to leave then please. Some members do not ask questions at all.
  12. Before leaving politely thank the chairperson and nod at the others politely. Avoid saying “Have a good day sir”. “Thank you Sir/Madam” is enough.


Q.1. What is the restriction on number of attempts in Commission’s Examination? Ans. Number of attempts :

  • Civil Service Examination: General-6,OBC-9, SC/ST – No restriction
  • IFS Examination: General-6,OBC-9, SC/ST – No restriction

There is no restriction on number of attempts in any other Examination conducted by the Commission.   Q.2. Is there relaxation in number of attempts for physically handicapped? Ans. No. However physically handicapped Candidates belongings to SC, ST and OBC categories will be eligible for relaxation in number of attempts provided to such categories.   Q.3. Can a candidate who has completed his education from an open school / University apply for Commission’s Examination? Ans. Yes, provided it is recognized University and he possess the educational qualifications prescribed for the exam and are otherwise eligible.   Q.4. Can a candidate choose an optional subject, which he has not studied at graduate/ PG Level? Ans. Yes.   Q.5. Is it necessary for a candidate to take the same optional subject in the Main Exam, which he had taken in the prelims Examination? Ans. No.   Q.6. If a candidate has applied for the CS (P) Examination but has not appeared at any paper in the CS (P) Examination will it be counted as on attempt ? Ans. No. An attempt is counted only if a candidate has appeared in at least one paper in CS (P) Examination.   Q.7. Is a candidate who has done his graduation without passing class X and XII eligible for Civil Service Examination? Ans. Yes.   Q.8. Can a candidate write different papers of Civil Service (Main) Examination in different languages? Ans. No. Candidates have the option to write their answers either in English or in any one of the 8 schedule languages.   Q.9. Can a Candidate write the Civil Service (Main) Examination in English and take the interview in Hindi or any other Indian language? Ans. If a candidate opts an eight schedule language for the CS (Main), he will have the option to take the interview in same language or in English.

UPSC : Exam Tips


We see many people around us who spend their time in frenzy activities but achieve very little because they are not concentrating on the right things. They are perpetually busy but it does not necessarily mean that they make optimum utilization of their time. So there is a great need for effective Time Management in our lives today.   We keep hearing the word “Busy” a lot. There are two kinds of busy, chaotic disorganized busy and calm effective busy. It goes without saying that being the latter helps to pack in more productivity in your work. Improving our “Effectiveness Quotient” calls for mastery of basic time management skills.   We constantly hear the refrain that we do not know where the time goes. Whether you are an executive, a student or a homemaker, you need to achieve more in every minute of the day and to enjoy each task that you take up. We will be well on our way to the top if we know how to squeeze the most out of even a minute.   The first thing to bear in mind is to question whether you have a personal sense of time or a time log. This helps you to keep track of how you spend each hour. There is a way to do this. Divide each day for a period of two weeks into one hour intervals and jot down what you do in them. You can sub divide the activities under such headings as business meetings, writing, making phone calls, reading, time spent with the family etc. At the end of the week, examine your time log.   What you may find is that very little time goes into top priority activities and more into activities such as phone calls, coffee breaks, chatting with friends etc. Now is the time to analyze what activities is a waste of time and what need more time. Try to cut down time spent on useless activities or stop doing them altogether. Once you have prioritized your time, you will find your efficiency level rising and the end result is that you will be an achiever!


With the number of vacancies dwindling each year and the competition getting tougher, with the number of aspirants increasing each year, one must consider all the pros and cons before jumping into the fray. One should preferably have an alternative job, which gives one the confidence and makes a wholehearted effort possible.

Selection of Subject:

The first and foremost thing to decide while aspiring for Civil Services is the judicious choice of subjects for the Preliminary and the Mains examinations. The selection of subjects should be done most carefully, if it goes wrong, everything will go wrong.   Normally students have the advantage of selecting one of the optional subject, which they are familiar with, or have at least studied till graduate level. If you are not comfortable with the subject, you should not select the subject as an optional. Example: One who studied Medicine in his/her graduation may have to refer many books for one topic. On such occasions it is better to take a subject of one’s interest.   The aspirants should opt for a subject of their interest – technical subjects like engineering, medicine, veterinary sciences. Students from science background may find it difficult to understanding economics and vice-versa. Agriculture or Veterinary Sciences will be opted by the students who have studied it at their college level. Hence, the competition is among the people who have opted for the same subject. One should top in his/her subject to succeed in the examination.   One should analyze the syllabus and question papers of the previous years. The comfort levels with the subject opted for and the past trends should be analyzed. While going through the questions of previous years, one can judge himself/herself about the knowledge base and comfort level with the subject. After a detailed analysis one should decide the subject for the first optional. One can get some feedback/advice from seniors and fellow students who are well versed in the subject. To avoid confusion at advanced stages of the examination, one should have some consultation with experienced/senior colleagues. They can guide you better than any coaching class.


Preparation for General studies can be done hand in hand, along with the preparation for optional papers. Good mix of study hours for General Studies and the Optional makes studies enjoyable and it becomes easy to sustain the momentum for longer hours, without boredom setting in and without losing interest and enthusiasm. The most important aspect for the preparation for GS (Prelims) is to identify the loopholes and plug them urgently. And in total it carries 200 marks. More importantly, input-output ratio in optional is much better than that in General Studies.   Always go in for a planned and systematic study. Work out your own study schedules in a manner suited to your style and stick to it.   One should read a leading daily regularly and also a magazine that will give an insight into the writing skills and observe how facts are presented clearly and succinctly. Also watch news & current affairs programmes on a good TV channel. The latest trend has been a shift towards the current issues; hence a thorough awareness of recent happenings is mandatory. In-depth knowledge of such events is most important, as the questions will test the knowledge of details of any given event/happening.   First one should cover the entire syllabus and then one month preceding the Mains, practice with the help of question papers of previous years. Sometimes students may end up studying topics, which are connected to the syllabus, but are practically irrelevant from your preparation point of view. For this, one should always keep a copy of the syllabus handy and keep referring to it time and again to reassess the direction of the preparation. One should also keep question papers of the previous years. Compare them and see what types of questions are repeated every year.   Try to attempt question papers of previous years and General studies papers. This will expose your weaknesses and give you an idea about the extent of your preparation, your knowledge base, your speed and accuracy.   General preparation can be broadly classified as long-term or short-term depending on the available time for preparation. Preparation for Mains examination should begin soon after the Prelims are over, without waiting for the result, as it involves wastage of time.   The generally accepted strategy for CSE is that one must have studied the entire syllabus for the Mains before the Prelims or at least before the result is out. After the Prelims results are announced, all three subjects – two optional and General Studies should be divided equally in three quarters to revise the subjects. If the subject is not revised, it is as good as not read because preparation is a continuous process. One might have covered the syllabus long back, but memory deteriorates with time   One should read/study daily 10-12 hours per day. Some people say that used to read 18-20 hours. However, don’t go by the claims of other persons who say that have studied for more than 18 hours a day. It is humanly impossible. Each person knows one’s own capacity, so one should prepare the timetable accordingly and follow the same for the whole period of preparation. The execution of the timetable is of crucial importance.   One should be dedicated and have faith in one’s own capabilities and in the Almighty. Do not get depressed if you are unable to achieve the targets. Remember, it is your preparation; you are the one who will appear in the examination. You know yourself better than anyone else. Quality of hours put in is more important than quantity of hours. Your time and energies should be used in an efficient and effective manner.   During the entire period of the examination, take a light diet. One should maintain good health during the preparation and also maintain a hobby, which relaxes you during your preparation. Take adequate amount of sleep, as both – body and mind require it. It is always better to study when the body and mind are fresh. This helps in easy grasping of things as well as in retaining them.   To save time during revision, aspirants may mark/highlight important points during their first or second reading. The aim of the first reading is to reduce the study material to half by eliminating unnecessary points. The second reading is to make it more concise, so that you can revise the entire syllabus within two days before the examination.   Information from any source of relevance to your goal should be welcomed, as long as it is from a standard source. Discuss with your friends, talk to them and listen to their views. This will expand your knowledge base and also expose you to different views. (But while discussing be careful and don’t waste time on unnecessary details). You should have a guided discussion. It is important to peak at the time of the examination. So, channelize your preparations in such a manner that you don’t burn yourself out before the examination commences.   Those who still have two-three years of time left for becoming eligible to appear for Civil Services must begin the preparation for the examination in the right earnest – right now.   Once you decide that you wish to be a civil servant, as your career has to follow certain steps to be abreast with the latest trends and be ready in the first attempt itself.

If you are schooling:

  1. Read your school textbooks thoroughly. This is the building block of your general knowledge base.
  2. Read one national newspaper regularly.
  3. Watch one TV news regularly.
  4. Follow discussions/debates on one TV channel regularly.
  5. Read one national news magazine.
  6. If possible, read one competitive examination magazine also.
  7. Discuss news items with family members and friends that will confidence and different points of view.
  8. Be alert to learn new things.
  9. Keep an open mind to learn what is happening around you.


At college stage:

  1. If you decide to make civil services a career at college stage, try to follow these things:
  2. Learn your subject thoroughly.
  3. Read NCERT books very carefully as they are little encyclopedias and also comprehend them carefully.
  4. Study India yearbook published by Publication Division, Ministry of I & B. This will give you the base and a bird’s eye view about India.
  5. Read one national newspaper and a magazine thoroughly.
  6. Watch TV news (one prime time bulletin which covers major national and international news every day). TV channels give an overall news/views scenario on their prime time slots.
  7. Listening to morning news bulletins/analysis of All India Radio is a must. They provide invaluable background information and a balanced opinion on major issues. Evening news bulletins of AIR give an overview of the prominent news stories of the day.
  8. Follow one competitive examination magazine regularly. That will give you the latest trends about civil services and other competitive examinations and also give you important information in capsule form.
  9. Discussions on current affairs on standard TV channel should be followed by a student to learn “how the arguments take place and how arguments are built up”.
  10. Discuss things/news items with your friends and family members that will give confidence of taking a stand against any issue.
  11. Once you enter 3rd year of your preparation, you can go through the question papers of the previous years of CSE. Students in the first year also can go through these papers, but it would be difficult for a person to understand all the questions because he/she might have not studied the entire syllabus.
  12. Normally four questions from the syllabus are asked which are of PG level if the subject is from the Arts or Science stream. So one should go through the syllabus first, then decide about taking the questions for the test.
  13. In the first step itself, if you take the question paper and if you don’t know most of the questions, it will  deject you. There is nothing to get dejected at this stage.
  14. If you complete your one optional at the college level itself, it will be easy for you to crack the Civil Services in the first attempt itself. If you clear the exam before the age of 23 that will make you eligible to become Secretary to Government of India/ Chief Secretary of a State – and even go up to the rank of Cabinet Secretary.



  1. The choice of optional should be done with due care and caution. While knowledge in the subject is of crucial importance, interest in the subject is also an important consideration. The reason being that the interest in the subject should be enough to last a few years of preparation.
  2. The aptitude and proficiency of a particular candidate in a given subject plays an important role in arriving at a decision to select an optional subject.
  3. Since some subjects are more scoring than others, candidates opt for such subjects. But one thing should be kept in mind is one’s aptitude and interest towards subject.
  4. Don’t choose an entirely new subject in which you will have to work very hard.
  5. If the subject selected for preliminary is opted for, in the Mains examination also, it will be very useful and solves a lot of labour and time. The preparations done for the Preliminaries would assist the candidates in getting a good grasp over the subject; otherwise the effort put in would go waste after the Prelims.
  6. Books for Preliminary examination are available in plenty in common for popular subjects, but in case of specialized optional like Agriculture, Engineering, Mathematics etc one has to look carefully for good              books which cover all parts of the syllabus.
  7. Questions asked in the Preliminary examination for previous 10 years are available in the market. As a first step, one should sort out the questions of the optional, according to the syllabus topics. This will give     an insight into the nature of questions, important areas, and twists in the questions etc. Once the basic strategy is formed, it will be easier to study the subjects according to the nature of questions asked in UPSC.
  8. The optional subject should be studied extensively (Optional: General Studies= 75:25).
  9. A four-month exclusive preparation for Preliminary examination is a must.
  10. For the optional subject, the whole syllabus should be thoroughly studied and should be revised and mastered. (Remember no topic in optional should be left as optional) :One question carries 2.5 marks.
  11. One should aim at scoring 95-110/120 (optional subject), 95-105/150 (General Studies). (Score varies per subject & per category).
  12. Optional subjects carry more marks (total of 300) as compared to General Studies (150). The area/syllabus of the optional subject is also limited. Though there is a prescribed syllabus, there is no limit. It is vast.
  13. As the question paper is objective in nature, it would not be advisable to confine the studies only to the multiple choice objective type questions. Practice with question banks available in the market.
  14. One should read the entire syllabus by covering each and every aspect. This provides a candidate with loads of self-confidence and knowledge to answer the questions correctly.
  15. This practice would perfect the art of answering the questions correctly and rapidly. This will also help the candidates to properly understand the questions asked in various forms.
  16. A candidate doing well in the optional paper is expected to fare well in the examination.
  17. Practice of correctly marking the answer sheets by using minimum possible time will go a long way in helping you succeed. It helps to assess one’s progress in that particular subject.
  18. As the questions in the Preliminary examination are objective in nature, intelligent guesswork may be used to answer questions when you don’t know the precise answer. While solving the paper you may take three rounds. In the first round solve the easy questions. In the second round may be taken up statement and reason. The third round can have the tough questions where the intelligent guesswork may be applied. If you don’t even know some questions, you should answer the same code to all. Mark “A” or “B” or “C” or “D” to all blank where you don’t have any clue at all.
  19. Importance of General Studies also cannot be undermined.



  1. Read newspapers and magazines carefully, which will expand your knowledge base and give good command and writing skill.
  2. Preparation for General studies should be done hand in hand while preparing for optional papers.
  3. NCERT books should be studied carefully and newspapers like The Hindu and magazines such as Frontline.
  4. Trend nowadays has shifted more towards current issues, hence a thorough awareness of recent events/happenings is mandatory.
  5. In the Prelims, though the General Studies carries only 150 marks, all the candidates are required to solve the same questions, hence, this paper assumes enormous importance, as anyone spoiling this paper cannot have any chance of qualifying for the Mains stage of the examination.
  6. Other than the syllabus given, questions on planning, budgeting, developmental programmes, latest issues of political and constitutional importance, Panchayati Raj, electoral reforms, natural resources, culture, growth of nationalism, committees, commissions etc can be expected almost every year.
  7. Emphasis is normally placed on the general aspects of the subjects, which every educated person aspiring to join the civil services is expected to know.
  8. The General Studies paper needs special and thorough preparations and does not need to be over-emphasized.
  9. In General Studies, other than current affairs, each and every aspect is covered in our school syllabi. Whatever one has studied up to Class XII is only asked in General Studies. The only thing which is different is that it has an application but the basic is from our school textbook only. A good, bright student who understood the basic concepts during his/her school studies will definitely be strong in General Studies too.
  10. Those who would like to appear for Civil Services should have a strong base, which will make them easy to follow the subjects.
  11. Exhaustive study of each subject and every aspect of the General Studies is essential.
  12. An important point is efficient time management and proper planning. The time available with the candidates for preparations is limited and hence has to be intelligently utilized.
UPSC : Preparation Tips


  1. One is required to write an essay for three hours duration. This length of duration is enough. There is no standard word limit for writing an essay.
  2. Remember to divide an essay into three parts (i) Introduction (ii) Main body and (iii) Conclusion.
  3. The choice of topic on which the essay is to be written after careful thought. While selecting a topic, the knowledge base of the topic i.e how much you know about the subject is of crucial importance. If you have data or statistics at your fingertips to back some statements, all the more better.
  4. The introduction is of crucial importance. Remember well begun is half done. This applies to an essay all the more. One could begin with a saying or a quotation. Quotations make the essay interesting to read.
  5. If you cannot mentally arrange the points to be covered in the essay, jot down the points on a rough sheet of paper. Try to expand one point in its entirety in one paragraph and then move on to the next point. Do not keep returning back to one point after you have started another point. It makes the essay repetitive and boring to read. If possible, try to maintain a link between the points by a connecting sentence at the end of the paragraph covering a given point.
  6. Keep your sentences short. Longer sentences not only lead to complex sentences, but also point to complexity in thought process. Use minimum number of conjunctions. Finish off a sentence as quickly as possible and start a new sentence.
  7. In an essay, try to point out the problem areas and also suggest solutions to solve them.
  8. Conclusion is as important as an introduction. It gives an insight into your analyzing powers. Try to give a brief overview in the form of a gist of the essay in the conclusion.




  1. The interview is nowadays known as a Personality Test. The reason being that it is not a test of knowledge, but of the overall personality of the candidate/aspirant.
  2. Interview is more of a psychological test that is just content-based. Along with good communicative skills and self-confidence, good knowledge base no doubt gives you an upper hand. However, it has to be borne in mind that nearly all the aspirants/candidates in the Personality Test start more or less as equals in the sphere of knowledge base.
  3. The most important thing to know about an interview is that it is not always a question-answer session and that the Board members are looking for different aspects of one’s personality.
  4. One is not expected to know everything under the sun. If you do not know the answer to a particular question, do not hesitate to say I don’t know, Sir/Ma’m. However, even I don’t know Sir/Ma’m should be said confidently and with a reasonable amount of cheerfulness. Remember your knowledge levels have been thoroughly checked during the earlier stages of the CSE viz Prelims and Mains.
  5. Always remember that the interview is not a cross examination, but a natural, purposeful conversation.
  6. Personality is a life-long asset and a thing, which evolves and changes every day.
  7. Keep a photocopy of the form filled for the Mains examination handy. Most of the initial questions viz the meaning of your name, educational background, professional experience, hobbies etc will be based on this form only. Try to prepare on your bio-data; roughly 70% questions are based on bio-data, 20% questions are based on your subject and 10% are based on current affairs.
  8. Aspirants to CSE should take an intelligent interest not only in areas of their specialization, but also in what is happening around them both within and outside the country.
  9. Be well informed about your interests and hobbies as there will be a few questions probing your levels of knowledge as regards your hobbies and interests.
  10. Prepare thoroughly about your hometown & home state. If you hail from a place of historical importance or tourist interest, prepare well on it.
  11. Know yourself. Prepare brief answers to choice of your subjects, family background, meaning of your name. You should try to take the lead by answering questions based on your bio-data.
  12. One of the secrets of success is to prepare for the Personality Test along with the written test.
  13. If a person gives the impression of being a bookworm, the chances of his/her selection are reduced. The candidate must exhibit an all-round personality, which indicates that the aspirant possesses a complete personality. MOCK /PRACTICE.
  14. One should form a group of 4-5 people, as the preparation for Personality Test cannot be done in isolation. Try holding as many mock interviews as possible.
  15. No training institute can develop/transform your personality in a few days. However, some of the tips may help in ironing out some weaknesses/grey areas and can provide an avenue for a well-planned preparation and group discussions.
  16. Take mock interviews. In the mock interview, ask your friends to grill you so that you can face pressure from the Board easily.
  17. Discuss a lot with your friends. This not only helps in you assimilating different points of view, but also enhances knowledge levels.
  18. If a person gives the impression of being a bookworm, the chances of his/her selection are reduced. The candidate must exhibit an all-round personality, which indicates that the aspirant possesses a complete personality. MOCK /PRACTICE.

Dressing up:

  1. Dress sense is of crucial importance. The choice of dress should be according to the weather conditions. Try not to wear newly stitched clothes, as they might make you uneasy. Light colours should be preferred. White colour is a good choice.
  2. Wear comfortable clothes. Men need to wear light coloured shirt and a dark trouser with a tie (if weather permits). Women appear best in a saree or salwar/kameez.
  3. Pay attention to the details, ironed dress, polished shoes, hair accessories, trimmed nails etc. Polish your footwear meticulously. Use convenient footwear like black or brown leather shoes.
  4. Women candidates should take care to avoid the hair falling over the face as it could annoy both you and the interviewer.
  5. Do not wear anything that connects you with a religious or political group.
  6. Do not use heavy perfume/deodorants.
  7. In case you have a running nose or have caught a cold, carry a handkerchief, or sufficient stock of tissue paper. Tissue paper is preferable.
  8. Some candidates take medicine to relax on the previous night of the interview; this should be avoided as the effect of medicine may decrease your alertness during the interview.
  9. What and how you eat is also important. Have a light meal on the day of the Personality Test. Do not go for the interview on an empty stomach. However, also avoid over-eating, or having a heavy meal.
  10. First impression is often the best impression. So create a positive, good impression within the first few minutes of the interview.


  1. Arrive 20-30 minutes early. Prepare a route map and arrive well in time. This will give you enough time to relax
  2. While waiting for your turn in the waiting area, read a newspaper or a magazine and try to remain focused without thinking too much of what will happen in the interview. Try not to presuppose situations.
  3. Do not get nervous when you are waiting for your turn for the Personality Test. When waiting for your turn, try relaxing with closed eyes and practice deep breathing. It really relaxes you. Do not try to pre-suppose situations in the Personality Test.
  4. Take a final, deep breath before entering the boardroom.
  5. Do not forget to knock at the door before entering, as it indicates basic courtesy.
  6. On entering the room, greet all the members cordially and do not sit down on the seat without being asked to.
  7. If there is a lady member in the interview board, greet her first.
  8. Be conscious of your body language when you are seated.
  9. Men should keep the feet flat on the floor during the interview, knees at waist level, and hands on your thighs and place your elbows on the armchair. Avoid locking hands.
  10. Women, cross your ankles or legs, but keep the bottom leg straight down and do not swing it over the top leg and keep your elbows positioned on the arms of the chair.
  11. When the Board members thank you at the end of the Personality test, do not forget to thank the members one last time and keep your body posture straight at the time of leaving the room.
  12. Remember that interview is a two-way process.
  13. Be cool. Be yourself during the Interview.
  14. Your aim should be to make the board members feel comfortable in your presence.
  15. Be truthful, transparent and Predictable.
  16. The object of the interview is to assess the suitability of the aspirant/candidate for a career in public service.
  17. Most of the questions posed in the Personality Test are opinion-based.
  18. Don’t expect any expression on the faces of board members, even if your answer is very good. During Interview
  19. In a personality test, what is of importance is how you say what you say. It is the style of presentation that matters.
  20. Your personality is, on an average, assessed in 25-30 minutes, it is your responsibility to bring out your very best in front of the board.
  21. Be attentive and listen to each question carefully. Try not to jump into an answer before the complete question has been posed as you will end up wasting time on answering a question that you were not actually asked. If you are not sure of what was asked, you can always politely seek a clarification.
  22. Do not try to answer the question as soon as it is posed. Think over the question, take your time and organize the broad outline of the answer before airing it. Pause a while before answering, even if you know the answer.
  23. At times, you will be given situations wherein you will be required to take a decision. In such situations, the board is testing your ability to comprehend issues and use reason and good judgment logically, precisely and arrive at a balanced decision.
  24. Maintain a gentle smile off and on during the Personality Test without overdoing it. It displays a sense of ease and confidence. Wherever possible use your sense of humour judiciously.


General Do’s and Don’ts for the personality test:

  1. The board members are usually very senior and learned people, so give utmost respect to the board.
  2. Don’t go by any stories/rumors spread by others. Avoid unnecessary details.
  3. Don’t ask the previous candidate about his/her interview.
  4. The board has no biases towards anyone.
  5. Never make any sweeping statements/generalized descriptions.
  6. Accept your mistakes boldly.
  7. Speak honestly, truthfully and modestly.
  8. Do not give a hasty reply.
  9. Answer in an orderly and logical fashion and always maintain eye contact with the Board members while answering.
  10. Be polite and courteous.
  11. Don’t try to be too argumentative.
  12. Be consistent in your views. Don’t change your views just because the Board differs in its opinion from your opinion.
  13. Never make an attempt to present a made-up appearance or politically correct answers.
  14. If you are taking an extreme view, you should also be able to justify the same.
  15. Take tea or coffee, if any member offers the same to you. This will show you are relaxed and it will also help in lightening and relaxing further proceedings and give them an informal touch.
  16. Avoid chewing gums and other munching items as it gives a negative and a careless image.
  17. Try holding mock interviews in front of a mirror. Look out for unwarranted actions/emotions and try to rectify any shortcomings. If possible record your own answers and play them again for finding out errors.
  18. Don’t criticize any government policies or even individuals.
  19. Take a good night sleep. A good, sound sleep will keep you refreshed, cheerful and relaxed. Otherwise you will have a fuzzy head and you will betray a confused personality. You will neither be able to grasp questions correctly, nor be able to think clearly.
  20. Do not speak rapidly. Speak slowly and clearly so that the Board members grasp what you are saying and do not have to interrupt you or ask you to repeat your views.
  21. The Board will check you for certain traits such as honest and integrity, logical exposition, balance of opinion, leadership skills, mental alertness, variety and depth of interest, social cohesion, moral integrity, acumen, your response to a peculiar situation, your views on varied topics.
  22. At times, the Board members might pile pressure upon you. Do not panic it is a strategy aimed at gauging the point till which you can maintain your cool under pressure and can think originally even in pressure cooker situations. Try to resemble tea leaves show your true colours when in hot waters.
  23. Form your views on subjects in a logical and rational manner supported by data whenever necessary.
  24. To be in touch with the latest happenings/events nationally and internationally, candidates should read magazines and newspapers (at least two for interview), watch current affairs-based television programmes.
  25. Assume that all questions are asked with a good reason and answer them accordingly.
  26. Keep a file/folder to keep your certificates and documents in an organized manner. They are verified before you enter the interview room. (You don’t have to carry file/folder inside board room)
UPSC : Exam Syllabus - Prelims

Paper – I

  1. Current events of national and international importance
  2. History of India and Indian National Movement
  3. Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic geography of India and the World.
  4. Indian Politics and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  5. Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  6. General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization
  7. General Science

The questions will be of multiple choices, objective type.  

Paper – II

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  4. Decision making and problem solving
  5. General mental ability
  6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc. – Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
  7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
  8. Questions related to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus of Paper-II) will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.

The questions will be of multiple choices, objective type

UPSC : Exam Syllabus - Mains

General Studies Paper I

  1. Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.
  2. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  3. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
  4. The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
  5. Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  6. History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
  7. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  8. Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  9. Effects of globalization on Indian society
  10. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  11. Salient features of world’s physical geography.
  12. Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
  13. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.


General Studies Paper II

  1. Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
  2. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  3. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  4. Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  5. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  6. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  7. Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  8. Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  9. Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  10. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  11. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  12. Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  13. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  14. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  15. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  16. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  17. Role of civil services in a democracy.
  18. India and its neighborhood- relations.
  19. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  20. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.
  21. Important International institutions, agencies, their structure, mandate.


General Studies Paper III

  1. Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
  2. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  3. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  4. Government Budgeting.
  5. Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  6. Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
  7. Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  8. Land reforms in India.
  9. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  10. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
  11. Investment models.
  12. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  13. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  14. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  15. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  16. Disaster and disaster management.
  17. Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  18. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  19. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention
  20. Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  21. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate


General Studies Paper IV

  1. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
  2. This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
  3. Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  4. Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  5. Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
  6. Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  7. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  8. Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  9. Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  10. Case Studies on above issues.

Optional Subject Paper I & II

Candidates may choose any optional subject from amongst the list of subjects given below. This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.

Agriculture Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
Anthropology Botany
Chemistry Civil Engineering
Commerce & Accountancy Economics
Electrical Engineering Geography
Geology History
Law Management
Management Mathematics
Mechanical Engineering Medical Science
Philosophy Physics
Political Science and International Relations Psychology
Public Administration Sociology
Statistics Zoology

Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.