UPSC Preliminary Examination
The Preliminary Examination of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is also popularly called CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test.
The UPSC Preliminary Examination for civil services are conducted in the month of May every year. The actual date of exam is announced around November / December every year.
UPSC Preliminary Examination Pattern
=> The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers (General Studies & CSAT) of objective type (multiple choice questions). Each paper of the preliminary examination is of two hours duration. Blind candidates will however be allowed an extra time of twenty minutes at each paper.
=> The first paper is General studies which carries 200 marks.
=> The second paper is Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT) which carries another 200 marks.
=> The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.
From 2015 on-wards, the CSAT paper has been made as a qualifying paper with 33% minimum marks. In short the marks obtained in prelims will not be counted in the final ranking list. It is used to select candidates for the main examination.
Qualification for the Main Examination
=> Those candidates who have scored more than the cut-off mark will be selected for the main examination.
=> The cut-off mark is usually around 55-60% of the total marks.
From 2015 on-wards, the cut-off marks may come down.
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.
It means, those who have passed in the previous years are not eligible and candidates have to take the examination again to qualify for the main examination.