Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment to the various Civil Services of the Government of India, including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS),Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS).

Civil Services Examination is conducted in two phases – the Preliminary examination, consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies and Aptitude Test), and the Main examination, consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type followed by the Personality Test (Interview). The entire process from the notification of the Preliminary examination to declaration of the final results takes roughly one year



Eligibility for Civil Services Examination (CSE) is as follows:


  • For IAS (Indian Administrative Service) and IPS(Indian Police Service) a candidate must be citizen of India
  • For IRS (Indian Revenue Service), a candidate must either be citizen of India or migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam for permanently settling in India
  • For other services, a candidate must either be citizen of India, Nepal, Bhutan or migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam for permanently settling in India

Educational Qualifications

A candidate must have any on of the qualifications

  • A degree from a Central, State or Deemed university
  • A degree received through Correspondence Education or Distance Education
  • A degree from an Open University
  • A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to either of the above

Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed their internship are also eligible to apply.


Prescribed age limits are minimum 21 years and maximum of 30 years as on 1 August of the year of Examination. A candidate who turns 21 on 1 August is eligible whereas a candidate who turns 30 is not.

Age relaxation is permissible to candidates as follows:

  • A maximum of three years for OBC candidates [Non Creamy Layer only]
  • A maximum of three years in case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof
  • A maximum of five years for candidates belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe
  • A maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1989
  • A maximum of five years in case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1 August and have been released.
  • A maximum of five years in case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1 August and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment. Visit
  • A maximum of ten years in case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopaedically handicapped persons


Preliminary examination

Preliminary examination is now popularly known as the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). The pattern of the Preliminary examination up to 2010 was based on the recommendations of the Kothari Commission (1979). It included two examinations, one on general studies worth 150 marks, and the second on one of 23 optional subjects worth 300 marks.

  • Paper I tests the candidate’s knowledge on current events, history of India and Indian national movement, Indian and World Geography, Indian Polity and governance, Economic and social development, environmental ecology, biodiversity, climate change and general science.
  • Paper II tests the candidates’ skills in comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making, problem solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability.

Main examination

The Civil Services Mains Examination consists of a written examination and an interview. The written examination consists of nine papers, two qualifying and seven ranking in nature.The range of questions may vary from just one mark to sixty marks, twenty words to 600 words answers. Candidates who pass qualifying papers are ranked according to marks and a selected number of candidates are called for interview or a personality test at the Commission’s discretion

  • Paper I One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the candidate from the 18 languages included in the VIIIth Schedule to the Constitution (Qualifying Paper)
  • Paper II English (Qualifying Paper)
  • Paper III Essay
  • Paper IV, V, VI, VII General Studies with new topics (250 marks for each paper)
  • Papers VIII, IX Any one subject (having 2 papers) to be selected from the prescribed optional subjects (250 marks for each paper)

Download UPSC CSE Main Question Papers yearwise: 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009

Personality Test (Interview)
The main objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a board of competent and unbiased observers. This examination is very thorough and rigorous. The success rate in this stage is very small, i.e. 0.01% of aspirants.

Examination Centers:

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)