Scheme of IAS CSE UPSC Examination

The Civil Services Examination is organised by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) every year.

The examination has three stages i.e..

  1. Civil Services Preliminary Examinations (CSP) -normally organised meanwhile the second half of May.

  2. Civil Services (Main) Examinations organised meanwhile the month of October or November. Here, those who are selected in the preliminary examination only are liable to appear.

  3. Those who are selected in the main examination will be liable to appear before the Interview Board at New Delhi.

Preliminary Examination (CSP)

CSP consists of two papers i.e.. (1), Aptitude. Each paper is of two hours duration. The course content of the syllabi for the 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.

(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 time duration. Blind candidates are allowed an extra time of 20 minutes for each paper.)


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. Hence, the total marks involved in the ranking are 2300. Candidates are allotted different services keeping in mind their ranks in the examination and preferences given by them in their main application form.

Important note: If a person fails in either in mains or interview, he has to appear again from the preliminary stage.

Main Examination

Final IAS Mains 2013 changes and official notification are now available here.

Only those who are notified by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year are liable for the Main examination of that year, they are otherwise liable 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 or 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 judged.

The Main Examination is intended to get the whole intellectual characteristics and the depth of understanding of the candidates, instead of just the range of their information and memory. Desired 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. The duration for each paper will be 3 hours.


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.