How Can You Crack The Civil Services Exam? Explore All About It Here!

The civil services exam, commonly called the UPSC exam, is one of the most prestigious exams in India. The test is a stepping stone to a career in the Indian civil services, which include the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Foreign Service (IFS), among others. It is administered by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Brief History About The Civil Services Exam

The civil services exam was introduced in 1853 by the British East India Company to recruit administrative staff for their Indian territories. The exam was later taken over by the British Indian government and continued after India gained independence in 1947. The exam underwent several changes, including the introduction the preliminary exam in 1979.

Today, the civil services exam is considered one of the toughest exams in the world, with a success rate of less than 1%. The exam is in three stages – preliminary, mains, and interview – and tests the candidates’ knowledge, analytical skills, and personality.

The civil services exam 2023 is expected to be held in June, and the notification for the exam is likely to be released in April. Aspirants eligible to take the exam can fill out the application form online on the official website of the UPSC. There is no application cost for male, SC, ST, and PwBD candidates; for general candidates, the price is Rs. 100.

What Is The Eligibility for Civil Services Exam?

To be eligible for the civil services exam, the candidate must be a citizen of India, Nepal, Bhutan, or a Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1962. The candidate must also be between 21 and 32, as of 1st August of the year the exam is held. However, there are relaxations in age limits for specific categories of candidates, such as SC, ST, OBC, and PwBD.

What Is The Required Educational Qualification for Civil Services Exam

The candidate must possess a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university to be eligible for the exam. However, candidates in their final year of graduation can also apply for the exam. The UPSC also allows candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognized by the government to apply for the exam.

  1. Exam Pattern

The civil services exam is a three-stage, consisting of the preliminary, mains, and interview stages. The preliminary exam is an objective-type exam, while the main exam is a descriptive type. The interview stage tests the candidate’s personality and suitability for a career in civil services.

  1. Preliminary Exam

The preliminary exam is the first stage of the civil services exam and is conducted in June every year. The exam consists of two papers – general studies and aptitude test – and both papers are objective type with multiple-choice questions. The total marks for the preliminary exam are 400, and each paper lasts two hours.

  1. Mains Exam

The UPSC mains exam is the second stage of the civil services exam and is held in September every year. The exam consists of nine papers, including an optional one, designed to test the candidate’s knowledge and analytical skills. The total marks for the main exam are 1750, and the duration of each paper varies from three to four hours.

  1. Interview Stage

The interview stage is the final stage of the civil services exam and is conducted in March/April of the following year. The interview is designed to test the candidate’s personality and suitability for a career in civil services. The interview accounts for 275 of the total points.

  1. Required Time

Aspirants must develop a well-planned strategy and determine the hours to execute it effectively. It’s important to note that the preparation for this exam should focus on quality rather than quantity. The goal should be to complete short-term targets, such as studying two subjects per day. Many top-ranking candidates start preparing early, as many questions are based on the curriculum from Class 6 to 12. Therefore, taking notes and devoting 10 to 12 hours daily for one year before the exam is sufficient.

  1. Classifying the Curriculum

Most IAS candidates become demoralized upon seeing the extensive IAS syllabus. The curriculum is comprehensive, but if you break it into digestible sections, you may do things that initially seem impossible.

  1. Keep Patience

It takes time to prepare for the UPSC. But all the unneeded worry and anxiety related to the preparation will disappear when you begin to enjoy it. Aspirants for the civil services exams frequently give up their interests, but doing both will make your preparation more enjoyable.

The Appropriate Moment to Begin UPSC Preparation

Every year, lakhs of students take the Civil Services Test, but only 750 to 900 make the final merit list (depending on the number of openings). The top applicants must qualify according to the selection rate. Thus, it is advised that students begin their exam preparation as soon as feasible. 

The ideal time frame to begin the preparation for the UPSC CSE curriculum is 18 months, not counting the arbitrary Mains preparation. On the Mains Paper, applicants must submit responses to some of the trickiest questions, which include comments on some of the most pressing problems that governments and societies throughout the globe are now grappling with.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, the civil services exam is a highly competitive and prestigious exam in India that offers a gateway to a career in civil services. The exam requires a well-planned strategy and dedicated preparation throughout 10 to 12 months, focusing on quality rather than quantity. 

Aspirants should aim to complete short-term targets, such as studying two subjects daily and taking notes. The test consists of three stages: the preliminary, major, and interview phases, each of which calls for a certain set of abilities and information. Aspirants can achieve their dream of becoming an IAS officer or other civil servant with dedication and hard work.


How difficult is the civil service exam?

Several applicants are denied employment because they do not pass the Civil Service Test. It is one of the most difficult exams, requiring much practice and preparation. We don’t want you to make the same error as most applicants by not taking this test seriously.

What is a good CSAT score?

CSAT scores can vary greatly by industry. However, a 75% or higher score is generally regarded as good across most industry types.

What types of questions are asked on a civil service examination?

Grammar, vocabulary, spelling, word relationships, and reading are all covered in clerical exams. Problem-solving questions like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are likely. You may be shown many words and asked to identify which one is spelled correctly.

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