The all India civil services are the most prestigious services of union and the state governments. These services offer the highest positions and attractive pay-scales. In addition to security, they provide status and power and above all tremendous opportunities to serve the people. The examinations held by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) are highly competitive, and they require sustained efforts and systematic preparation. The results of the past examinations show that intelligent and hardworking candidates have a good chance to succeed, though the performance in previous examinations have no co-relation as such with the success or failure in civil services examinations. Thousands of candidates appear for these examinations from all over India, and it is, therefore, absol utel y necessar y to face them wi th thorough preparedness. One must strike for excellent results and its groundwork should begin right at the college level. The nature of civil services examinations is quite different from university examinations. The questions asked in the past examinations are not generally repeated. Naturally, selective studies of certain topics or casual approach to subjects do not help in such examination. The objective type of examination requires pin-pointed and exact / accurate knowledge and correct understanding.
The system of examination
A combined examination for civil services ( for recruitment to IAS, IPS, IFS and other group services) is held once a year in two par ts : Preliminary and Main Examinations. In Maharashtra it is held at Mumbai, Nagpur and Aurangabad. Interview is part of the Main Examination. Preliminary, Main Examination and Personality Test (Interview) are the three stages of the entire examination process. The notification for Prelims is published on the UPSC website (www.upsc.gov.in), generally in the month of January / February. Forms are to be filled online.
Structure of the examination
here are two papers GS and CSAT of multiple choice type. In the CSAT paper there are multiple choice type questions and your method of thinking such as your comprehension skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, logical and analytical reasoning, data interpretation, problem solving and decision making, mental ability, English language skills (for some of these questions there is no Hindi translation provides). For General Studies all inclusive and a broad base of studies is required.
- Age : An open category students must have completed at least 21 years of age before August 1 of the year in which he/she is to appear for the examination. But he/she must be below 32 years of age. Detailed chart is on the previous pages.
- Educational Qualification : The candidate must hold a degree from any Indian university or a deemed university or possess an equivalent qualification. (Candidate’s marks at degree level or the course duration are not considered.)
- A candidate who is in the final year of his degree course can apply and appear for the Preliminary Examination. However, she/he should submit proof of her/his degree qualification while applying in August for the Main Examination, if selected in Prelims
- Number of Attempts :
- Open Category – 4 Attempts,
- Backward Classes (SC/ST ) – Any number of times,
- Other backward classes (OBC) – 7
The first part of the examination is called Preliminary Examination (Prelims) which is an elimination test. Usually General Studies is a test of your information. The syllabi for each subcomponent subjects will be of degree level and all the papers require exhaustive studies. A detail chart of age limit has been given by UPSC. (Refer to next page.) The Optional Subject has been removed from the preliminary exams since 2011 and has been replaced by Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT ).
- Prelims Paper 2 (ie Civil Services Aptitude Test Paper) is a qualifying paper. Students must get a minimum score of 66 1/2 out of 200 to qualify.
- Total Marks obtained in this paper are not counted while preparing Mains invitation list.
- If a student scores less than the minimum required marks then he/she doesn’t qualify for the Main Examination.
UPSC has now introduced negative marking system in the Prelims exam (which is a multiple choice type exam.) Negative marking system means deducting marks for wrong answers. Accordingly, for every wrong answer 1/3 of the total marks alloted to that question are deducted. In case of a student marking more than one option and one of these being right, that answer will not be considered valid and will be considered for Negative Marking, i.e. marks will be deducted for such answers. But, if a students has not marked any option as the answer i.e. he has left all the circles blank, marks will not be deducted.
The second part of the central civil services examination is known as the Main Examination. It consists of written exami nati on and personal i ty test (general l y cal l ed Interview). It is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates and not merely to test their range of information and memory. Written examination is test of your knowledge as well as your character as per the changes introduced in 2013. I nter vi ew i s test of your wi sdom. General l y Mai n Examination is held in November every year. The written examination will consist of 9 papers of the conventional essay type questions, in the subjects prescribed by the UPSC. According to the changes in 2013 now there are 4 papers of General Studies of 250 marks each, 1 paper of Essay having 250 marks and 2 papers of 1 Optional Subject, again carrying 250 marks each. Student has to select 1 Optional Subject from the list given by the UPSC. Only those candidates who are declared by the UPSC to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year are eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year. Those who have hope to get qualified in the Prelims should start preparing immediately.
- Candidates have to choose 1 optional subject. The list of Optional Subjects is given next page.
- The questions for the examination will be of conventional essay type, with two compulsory questions, having a word limit.
- Each paper will be of 3 hours duration.
- Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers except the language papers, in any one of the languages included in the Schedule VIII of the Constitution or in English. The candidates may, if they so desire, give English version (within brackets) of the technical terms, if any, in addition to the version in language (medium) opted by them.
- Candidates should, however note that if they use the wrong translation of technical terms, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to them and, in extreme cases their scripts will not be evaluated for being in an unauthorised medium.
- 5) The question papers other than language papers will be set both in Hindi and English. The objective of the first two papers is to judge the students linguistic knowledge, style of presenting a subject, span of reading.
The candidates coming out successfully in the written examination will be interviewed by a panel of interviewers. The interviewers will have before them a record of the career of the candidate (Biodata). Questions on matters of general interest will be asked. The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of a candidate for a career in public service, by competent and unbiased observers. The interview, in broad terms, is an assessment of intellectual qualities as well as social trait and his interest in current affairs. An attempt is made to judge some important qualities as : mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balanced judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
The technique of interview is such that interviewers try to assess a person’s knowledge by striking a dialogue with her / him.
The interview is not intended to test a candidate’s general knowledge or his subject knowledge. Apart from the academic study, an interviewee is expected to keep himself abreast of all the current events – taking place in national and international areas, as well as of new research developments and current schools of thought.
The number of candidates called for the interview is usually twice the number of vacancies in that particular year. Marks allotted for the interview are 275, as per the changes made in 2013.
Chanakya Mandal Pariwar organises sessions for interview preparation every year. Two rounds of mock interviews are conducted. More information is on naxt page (the Interview Batch).
The Final Selection
All results of UPSC civil services examinations are a v a i l a b l e o n t h e i r w e b s i t e ( w e b s i t e a d d r e s s : www.upsc.gov.in). The students are ranked according to the total marks obtained out of 2025 – sum of total marks in the main examination i.e. written and interview. These ranks decide their final selection for various services.