The examination has three stages i.e.
(1) Civil Services Preliminary Examinations (CSP) - normally conducted during the second half of May.
(3) Those who are selected in the main examination will be eligible to appear before the Interview board.
Preliminary Examination (CSP)
CSP consists of two papers i.e.,
(1) optional subject to be selected from the listed subject for 300 marks.
(2 General studies for 150 marks. Total of 450 marks. Each paper is of two hours duration. The course content of the syllabi for the optional subjects is at the degree level. Normally, there are about 3 lakh applications for the preliminary examination. From this, the UPSC selects 10 to 12 folds of vacancies for the main examinations. This is only for the selection and not to be taken into consideration in the main ranking.
Subjects for Preliminary Examination: The General Studies syllabus is same for all.
Subjects for Paper II (one subject to be selected): Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science,Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology,Indian History, Law, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political,Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology.
(The question papers are in Hindi and English and each paper is of two hours duration. The course content of the syllabi is of degree level. Each paper is of two hours duration. Blind candidates are allowed an extra time of 20 minutes for each paper )
Only those who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year, are eligible for the Main examination of that year, provided they are otherwise eligible for the Main Examination.
Civil Services Main examination has two optional subjects (two papers each carries 300 marks), one General Studies (two papers each carries 300 marks), one essay (carries 200 marks) - total 2000 marks. Other than this, there are two language papers one in Indian language and one in General English at the level of 10th standard. This is to test the ability of the candidate's proficiency in his mother tongue / Indian language and English. Total nine papers. These two papers carry 300 marks each but it will not be considered for the ranking. It is must to clear these two papers. If a candidate fails to clear these papers, his other papers will not be evaluated.
The Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and the depth of understanding of the candidates, rather than merely the range of their information and memory. Sufficient choice of questions is allowed in the question papers.
Optional Subjects for the Main Examination-
Optional subjects: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil, Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political, Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology. Each paper is of 3 hours duration.
Arabic, Assamese, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani,Marathi, Malayalam, Manipuri, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.
The following combinations not allowed are-
Political Science & International Relations and Public Administration,
Commerce and Management,
Anthropology and Sociology,
Maths and Statistics,
Agriculture and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science,
Management and Public Administration,
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science and Medical Science,
Any two branches of engineering,
Combination of two literatures in the above list.
At interview stage, two-fold vacancies are called to appear before the UPSC Board. Interview carries 300 marks. Interview calls are sent on the basis of minimum marks fixed by the UPSC at its discretion. The overall ranking is done based on the Mains performance (i.e., 2000 marks) and interview. Therefore, the total marks involved in the ranking are 2300. Candidates are allotted various services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and preferences given by them in their main application form.
Note: If a person fails in either in mains or interview, he has to appear once again from the preliminary stage.
(1) For the Indian Administrative 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, Srilanka, 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. Provided further that candidates belonging to categories (b), (c) and (d) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service. A candidate, in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him by the Government of India.
(ii) Minimum Educational Qualifications-
The candidate must hold a degree of any of 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.
Note I –
Candidates who have appeared at an examination the passing of which would render them educationally qualified for the Commission's examination but have not been informed of the results as also the candidates who intend to appear at such a qualifying examination will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary Examination. All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite examination with their application for the Main Examination failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination.
Note II –
In exceptional cases the Union Public Service Commission may treat a candidate who has not any of the foregoing qualifications as a qualified candidate provided that he has passed examination conducted by the other Institutions, the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission justifies his admission to the examination.
Note III –
Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications, which are recognized by Government, as equivalent to professional and technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the examination.
Note IV –
Candidates who have passed the final professional M.B.B.S. or any other Medical Examination but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the Examination provided they submit along with their application a copy of certificate from the concerned authority of the University/Institution that they had passed the requisite final professional medical examination. In such cases, the candidates will be required to produce at the time of their interview original Degree or a certificate from the concerned competent authority of the University/Institution that they had completed all requirements (including completion of internship) for the award of the Degree.
(iii) Age limit-
21 years must be completed on 1st August of the year, which a candidate is appearing. Maximum 30 for general category, 33 for OBCs and 35 for SCs/STs. Ex-servicemen will get 5 more years exemption from the prescribed age limit.
(The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognized by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University, which extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University or in the Higher Secondary or an equivalent examination certificate).
(iv) Number of Attempts: Four attempts for open, seven for OBCs and no limit for SCs/STs. If a person appears in the Preliminary Examination or even one paper is counted as an attempt.
(v) Restrictions on applying for the examination-
A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Foreign Service on the results of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service will not be eligible to compete at this examination.
How to Apply –
you can apply for the examination as per the guidelines laid down by UPSC from time to time. They are available on their site.