How to Prepare for UPSC/IAS Exams

Civil Services Aptitude Test-

New Recruitment Process of Civil Services Exam conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) is called the CSAT or the Civil Services Aptitude Test with effect from 2011. No changes are being introduced at this stage in the Civil Services (Main) Examination and Personality Test in the scheme of Civil Services Examination (CSE).

Scheme of Civil Services Examination

The Civil Services Examination consists of two stages -

(i) Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination; and

(ii) Civil Services Main Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and posts noted above.

The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks. There are two compulsory papers of 200 marks each. The question papers are set both in Hindi and English. However, questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills are tested through passages from English Language only without providing Hindi translation. Each paper is of two hours duration. Blind candidates are allowed extra time of twenty minutes for each paper.

Scheme of CS (Preliminary) Examination

This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination. Thus in short -

The successive stages of examination are:

(1) Preliminary Examination for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination

(2) Main Examination (Written) for the selection of candidates for interview for a Personality Test.

(3) Interview (Personality Test)

How to apply?

Candidates are required to apply only through online mode no other mode for submission of applications is allowed. Detailed instructions for filling up online applications are available on the UPSC official website.

The e-Admission Certhficate will be made available in the UPSC website for downloading by candidates. No Admission Certificate will be sent by post.

Academic Eligibility for IAS Exams

(1) A degree of any of recognized University or possess an equivalent qualification

(2) Candidates who are awaiting results of qualifying exams are also eligible to appear for the Preliminary Examination. All such candidates who qualify to appear for the Civil Services Main Examination must produce proof of having passed the said examination along with their application for the Main Examination.

(3) Candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees.

(4) Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However they must submit along with their Main Examination application, a certificate from the concerned authority of the University / Institution that they have passed the final professional medical examination. At the Interview stage they must then produce a certificate from a competent authority that they have completed (including internship) all the requirements for the award of the Medical Degree.

Other Eligibility Conditions for IAS Exams:

(i) Nationality - For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.

For other services, a candidate must be either -

a citizen of India or

b. subject of Nepal or

c. subject of Bhutan or

d. Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, 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 favor 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/her by the Government of India.

(ii) Age Limits:

(a) Minimum 21 years and maximum 30 years.

(b) The upper age limit prescribed above will be relaxable.

(i) up to a maximum of five years for SC/ST

(ii) up to a maximum of three years for OBC.

(iii) up to a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from the 1st January, 1980 to the 31st day of December, 1989.

(iv) up to a maximum of three years in the case of Defense Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof.

(v) up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf - mute and orthopaedically handicapped persons.

No. of Attempts for IAS

A maximum of 4 attempts is permitted to every candidate and 7 to those belonging to Other Backward Classes. 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. A physically handicapped person will get as many attempts as any other non-handicapped candidate of his/her community, but if they are from the general category they will get 7 attempts.


(i) An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be deemed to be an attempt at the Examination.

(ii) If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, he/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination.

(iii) Notwithstanding the disqualification/ cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.

Below is the list and descriptions of the list of services available through the civil service exams.

All India Services are as under -

Indian Administrative Service

India Foreign Service

Indian Police Service

Group A Services are as under -

Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service

Indian Audit and Accounts Service

Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)

Indian Defense Accounts Service

Indian Revenue Service (I.T.)

Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)

Indian Postal Service

Indian Civil Accounts Service

Indian Railway Traffic Service

Indian Railway Accounts Service

Indian Railway Personnel Service

Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force

Indian Defense Estates Service

Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)

Indian Trade Service, Group 'A' (Gr. III)

Indian Corporate Law Service

Group - B Services

Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer's Grade)

Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service

Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service

Pondicherry Civil Service

Pondicherry Police Service

It is wiser to be mentally ready for several attempts as cracking the Civil Services Exams is a tough nut to crack the first time around; and if you do qualify you may want to attempt again to improve your ranking and therefore your service allotment.

Article Source: Suresh C Dindorkar

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the information, aiming for ias exams and as a working professional i always look to online for my preparatory needs. And that's why I got enrolled in IAS general studies and CSAT preparation online course at Still was looking for some more information about books and strategies and your post helped me. Thanks again