The Civil Services Examination, also known as the IAS exam, is one of India’s toughest competitive tests. It is managed by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which is the main organization in charge of hiring All India Administrative Civil Service officers. The UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination every year.
UPSC IAS Exam Pattern
The IAS Exam consists of three stages:
1. Preliminary Examination (UPSC IAS Prelims):
- Two papers: General Studies I and CSAT (General Studies Paper II).
- CSAT is a qualifying exam, and your performance in General Studies determines your eligibility for UPSC Mains.
2. Mains Examination (UPSC IAS Mains):
- Two types of papers: qualifying and merit-ranking.
- Language paper (Paper A) and English paper (Paper B) are qualifying in nature.
- Essay Paper
- GS 1, GS 2, GS 3, GS 4
- Optional Paper 1 & Optional Paper 2
3. UPSC Personality Test (UPSC IAS Interview):
- Candidates who clear all rounds are recommended for the Indian civil service.
- Qualifying in each round is necessary to proceed to the next one, as they are elimination rounds.
UPSC IAS Preliminary Exam Pattern & Syllabus
|Exam Stage||Civil Services Preliminary Exam|
|Purpose||Screening test for Main Examination|
|Consideration of Preliminary Exam Marks||Not considered for final merit|
Preliminary Exam Details:
|Number of Papers||2 compulsory papers|
|Type of Questions||Objective (MCQ) type|
|Total Maximum Marks||400 (200 marks for each paper)|
|Duration of Exam||2 hours each (additional 20 minutes per hour for blind candidates & candidates with Locomotor Disability & Cerebral Palsy [minimum 40% impairment])|
|Negative Marking||1/3rd of the marks assigned to a question|
|Medium of Exam||Bilingual (Hindi & English)|
General Studies Paper-I Syllabus
The exam comprises 100 questions, covering various topics. You need to solve them within 2 hours, and the maximum score is 200 marks.
Here are the broad topics:
1. Current events of National & International importance.
2. History of India & Indian National Movement.
3. Indian & World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India & the World.
4. Indian Polity & Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
5. Economic & Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
6. General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity & climate change – that do not require subject specialization.
7. General Science.
General Studies Paper-II Syllabus
The exam consists of 80 questions covering various topics, and you have 2 hours to solve them. The maximum score is 200 marks.
Here are the topics:
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
- Logical reasoning & analytical ability.
- Decision making & problem solving.
- General mental ability.
- Basic numeracy (numbers & their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)
The General Studies Paper-II is a qualifying paper in the IAS Exam, with a minimum passing score of 33%. Candidates must appear in both Papers of the IAS Prelim Exam for evaluation.
UPSC IAS Main Exam Pattern & Syllabus
The Civil Services Main Examination has two parts: a written examination and an interview (personality test)
|300||Paper-A||One of the Indian Languages (Eighth Schedule)|
Papers Counted for Merit:
|250||Paper-II||General Studies-I (Indian Heritage, Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)|
|250||Paper-III||General Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations)|
|250||Paper-IV||General Studies-III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management)|
|250||Paper-V||General Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)|
|250||Paper-VI||Optional Subject – Paper 1|
|250||Paper-VII||Optional Subject – Paper 2|
Sub Total (Written Test): 1750 Marks
Personality Test: 275 Marks
Grand Total: 2025 Marks
1. Papers A and B in Indian languages and English are for qualification purposes only, and their marks won’t contribute to ranking.
2. These language papers are set at a Matriculation or equivalent standard.
3. For the Essay, General Studies, and Optional Subject papers, only candidates scoring a minimum of 25% in both Indian Language and English will be considered.
4. Merit ranking is based on marks obtained in Paper I to VII.
5. Main exam question papers are of conventional (essay) type, each lasting 3 hours.
6. Candidates can answer in any language from the Eighth Schedule or English, excluding the Qualifying Language Papers, A, and B.
7. Question papers (except language literature) are in Hindi and English.
8. Blind candidates and those with locomotor disability or cerebral palsy (minimum 40% impairment) get an additional twenty minutes per hour in both Preliminary and Main Examinations.
UPSC IAS Exam – Interview
The last and most important part of the UPSC Exam is the interview. It’s worth 275 points, making the total possible score 2025. The panel checks for qualities like:
- Sharp thinking
- Logical and critical thinking
- Analytical skills
- Ability to evaluate risks
- Handling crises effectively
- Leadership qualities
- Intellectual and moral integrity
UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, or Indian Police Service, the applicant must be an Indian citizen. Individuals from Bhutan or Nepal can also apply. Tibetan refugees who came to India before January 1, 1962, and people of Indian origin who migrated from specific countries to permanently settle in India are also eligible.
2. Educational Qualification:
Candidates need a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution. Those awaiting results or who haven’t taken their qualifying exams can apply for the preliminary exam but must provide proof of passing. Technical and professional qualifications accepted by the government are also valid. Candidates in the final year of MBBS can apply for the Main Examination, provided they show proof of passing the last professional medical examination.
3. Age Limit:
As of August 1, 2022, candidates must be between 21 and 32 years old. Age relaxations are applicable: 5 years for SC/ST, 3 years for OBC, 3 years for defense personnel, 5 years for ex-servicemen, and 10 years for people with disabilities. Additional relaxation for ECOs/SSCOs in the defense services is also considered.
4. Number of Attempts:
The maximum number of attempts is limited: 6 for general candidates (up to 32 years), unlimited for SC/ST, and 9 for OBC (up to 35 years). Physically challenged candidates have 9 attempts for general and OBC, and no restrictions for SC/ST.
UPSC IAS Exam – Roles And Responsibilities
IAS officials have an important and respected role that comes with a lot of responsibility. A police officer, in particular, needs to be physically and mentally fit to handle the pressures of the job. Here are some of the tasks and responsibilities of an IAS officer:
1. Governmental Concerns:
They deal with government matters, helping create and enforce policies alongside the relevant Minister.
2. Policy Implementation:
They put policies into action by observing and visiting locations where the policies will be applied. This includes managing funds under their control.
IAS officers are responsible to the State Legislatures and Parliament for any rules broken while performing their duties.
4. Career Progression:
As they progress in their careers, their duties and responsibilities change.
5. Starting at the Sub-Divisional Level:
Initially, they join the state government at the sub-divisional level, working as sub-divisional magistrates. They handle law and order, general administration, and development work in their assigned area.
6. District Officer Role:
They later hold the important position of the district officer, known as district magistrate, district collector, or deputy commissioner. Here, they manage district issues and oversee educational initiatives.
7. Other Assignments:
IAS officers can be assigned to roles in public sector organizations, the State Secretariat, or as department heads. They may have various jobs at the State, the Center, or both through deputation.
8. Central Responsibilities:
Those at the Centre play a crucial role in designing and executing policies related to specific fields like finance or commerce. Officers at different levels provide important inputs in policy formulation and decision-making.
9. Policy Definition:
Depending on the seriousness of the issue, the policy is defined either by the minister or the cabinet.
UPSC IAS Exam – How to Apply?
- Go to the official UPSC website: https://www.upsc.gov.in/.
- Choose UPSC IAS Application Form on the homepage.
- Fill in the necessary details in the form that appears to register.
- You’ll receive a registration ID and password through email and phone.
- Log in with the provided ID and password.
- Complete the remaining form with accurate information.
- Upload the required scanned documents as mentioned in the form.
- Complete the application form payment.
- Double-check all the details before submitting your application.
Documents needed for online IAS Exam application:
- A valid email address and phone number.
- Scanned photograph and signature.
- Details of a valid photo ID card.
- Additional documents if applicable.
- Personal and academic information.
- Payment details like debit/credit card, etc.
UPSC IAS Exam – Vacancies
In the UPSC Civil Services Exam notice for 2022, they announced 816 job openings for positions like IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS, and more. Specifically, there were 712 positions for UPSC IAS recruitment in 2022. Here’s a quick look at the vacancies in the past few years:
Frequently Asked Questions UPSC IAS Exam
1. What is the age limit for UPSC IAS Exam?
As of August 1, 2022, candidates must be at least 21 years old and no older than 32. However, specific age relaxations apply based on the category of the candidate. For example, there is a relaxation of 5 years for SC/ST, 3 years for OBC, and additional relaxations for defense personnel, ex-servicemen, and persons with disabilities.
2. What is the educational qualification for UPSC IAS Exam?
Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution. Those awaiting results or in the final year of their bachelor’s program can also apply for the preliminary exam, provided they provide proof of passing the relevant exam. Technical and professional qualifications accepted by the government are also considered.
3. What is the UPSC IAS preliminary exam pattern?
The Preliminary Examination (UPSC IAS Prelims) consists of two papers: General Studies I and CSAT (General Studies Paper II). While CSAT is a qualifying exam, the candidate’s performance in the General Studies test determines their eligibility for the UPSC Mains examination. The Prelims serve as an initial screening, testing the candidate’s knowledge and aptitude.
4. How many optional subjects can the candidate select in UPSC IAS Exam?
Candidates can choose one optional subject for the UPSC IAS Mains examination. The optional subject is selected from a list provided by the UPSC IAS, and it should align with the candidate’s educational background or interests. The optional subject carries 500 marks in the Mains examination.
5. Does height matter for an UPSC IAS interview?
No, height is not a factor considered during the IAS interview. The UPSC interview, also known as the Personality Test, focuses on assessing the candidate’s mental acuity, critical thinking, analytical skills, leadership qualities, and other attributes. Physical appearance, including height, is not a criterion for evaluating a candidate’s suitability for the Indian Administrative Service.
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