What is UPSC ?
Union Public Service Commission, which is famous for its short form UPSC conducts civil services exam every year popularly known among all Indians as IAS exam.
Civil services exam is conducted by government of India for recruiting officers on the position of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS) and Indian Audit and Accounts Services (IAAS) etc.
These exams and other related exams are mainly for Group A and Group B level officers which are among the highest ranks officers posts.
Indian Service officers are mainly given state cadres after the selection process. Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances, Government of India, is responsible for controlling the cadre authority among all states of India.
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India controls the IPS cadre among the states of India. Administration of cities, districts and states are controlled and maintained by IAS officers which plays a role of District Collector.
UPSC Exam 2019 – Important Dates
|Issue of Notification||19th February 2019|
|Application form availability||19th February 2019|
|Last date for Application Submission (online)||18th March 2019|
|Prelims Admit card||Last week of May 2019|
|Preliminary Exam date||2nd June 2019 (1 Day)|
|Prelims Exam Result||August 2019|
|Main Exam Admit Card
|Main Exam Date
||Last week of September 2019 (5 Days)|
|Declaration of Final Result
UPSC Exam 2019 – Eligibility Criteria
- For the IAS, IFS, IPS and other group A services, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
- For group B services, a candidate must be one of the following:
- A citizen of India or;
- A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with an intention of settling permanently in India.
To be eligible for UPSC exam, a candidate must possess one of the following educational qualifications
- A degree from a Central, State or Deemed university
- A degree received through correspondence or distance education
- A degree from an open university
- A qualification recognised by the Government of India as being equivalent to one of the above
The age limit as set by the UPSC panel is minimum of 21 years and the candidate should not have attained the age of 32 years as on August 1 of the year of examination. For OBC candidates the upper age limit is 35 years and for SC/ST, its is 37 years.
Numbers of attempts for UPSC Exam
|General Category candidates||6|
|OBC Category candidates||9|
Read more about Union Public Service Commission Exam Eligibility 2019 Criteria
UPSC Online Registration 2019
The aspirants for civil services examinations need to fill the application form online. The form will be available in February over the official website www.upsconline.nic.in. Please note that there is no other mode to apply. Before applying the candidate must qualify the eligibility criteria and must also read the instructions very carefully.
The aspirants will have to fill all their personal as well as academic information in the application form. The applicants will have to upload their scanned photograph and digital signature after filling all other details.
Read more about UPSC Online Application Form Filling
UPSC Admit Card
The admit card will be available for download on the official website of UPSC. The admit card will be downloaded in PDF format. All the candidates appearing for UPSC examination will be allotted a unique admit card with a roll number.
The candidates need to take the printout of the same and should be taken along during the examination. No entry will be made in case a candidate is not able to produce the admit card.
The application fee for General Category and Others is Rs 100. There is no fee charged for SC/ST/PH candidates. The candidates can either pay via internet banking or credit/Debit cards. The candidate can also deposit the fee in cash mode in any SBI branch.
There are basically three stages of exam but for the final selection, marks secured in Mains and the Interview will be considered. The complete selection procedure is split in three stages. These are:
- Stage-1: Preliminary Exam : 2 papers (Multiple Choice Questions -200 + 200 Marks)
- Stage-2: Main Exam (Subjective Type): 9 papers
- Stage-3: Personal Interview (275 Marks)
UPSC Exam Pattern
Stage-1: Preliminary Exam
Preliminary exam, commonly known as prelims, is also called CSAT i.e. Civil Services Aptitude Test. In the prelims examination there will be two papers each of 200 marks and to be completed in 2 hours duration for each.
The first paper, known as the GS or General Science paper will check the applicant’s knowledge over current affairs, Indian national movements, Indian history , Indian & world geography, Indian economy, Indian polity, social development, biodiversity , environmental ecology etc.
The second paper is designed to check applicant’s reasoning and logic building aspects. Here questions are also asked to check the depth of understanding in comprehension skills, communication and interpersonal skills, decision making abilities, problem solving techniques, English language and data interpretation etc.
The exam will conducted offline. There includes negative marking as well. Each wrong answer will deduct 1/3 mark as penalty.
|Papers||Details of the question papers||Total Marks||Total Time|
|I||General Studies – this paper contains questions related to everything you have studied in class 6 to 10 along with current affairs. This is the qualifying paper for the mains.||200||2 hrs|
|II||Aptitude test (CSAT) – A candidate needs to score at least 33% in this exam though the marks are not counted for qualifying in mains.||200||2 hrs|
Stage 2: Mains Exam
The main exam comprises of total nine papers. Out of them two papers need to be just qualified and the rest nine decide your rank. After the examination, all the qualified candidates will be called for a personal interview round.
|Paper A (language)||One of the Indian languages from the list selected by the applicants (qualifying)||300|
|Paper B (language)||English (qualifying)||300|
|Paper II||General studies I||250|
|Paper III||General studies II||250|
|Paper IV||General studies III||250|
|Paper V||General studies IV||250|
|Paper VI, VII||There will be two papers of 250 marks each based on the subject which the candidate has selected at the time of application filing||500|
Stage 3: Personal Interview
Personal Interview is conducted to basically asses the personal suitability of the candidate for a particular civil service. A panel of interviewers in comprising of various dignitaries who will be judging applicants on their mental abilities, social traits, intellectual skills and knowledge about current affairs.
The nature of the interview is to aim for a natural tone interview rather than grilling one such as those happening in corporate sectors.
There are certain expectations from the applicants that they should show interest in the things happening around them across the globe. They will also be judging the applicant over their optional subject as well.
Read more about some Important facts on Civil Service Examination
A cut off list will be declared by UPSC after the examination and interview. The cut off list or the candidates will be shortlisted as per the vacancies available in that field.
UPSC Result – 2019
The results for both preliminary examination and the mains will be declared separately. The result for the prelims will be made available by August 2019 followed by mains examination in September and its result in January 2020.
The results will be declared online and the students can check their results by punching their roll numbers over the official website of UPSC.
Important Note regarding UPSC Syllabus & Marks
- The aspirants should be very clear about the syllabus to be covered from the day 1. Prelims exam consists of two papers of 200 marks each making a total of 400 marks. The duration for each paper is 2 hours.
- The two papers are GS and CSAT. CSAT is the general aptitude test and is just a qualifying paper. You just need to score 33% parks in the paper. The GS paper is the rank decider. The cut of here will decide whether you will be qualifying for mains or not.
- Coming over to the mains exam, there will be total of nine papers. Paper A and B will be one from your preferred chose language and other is English respectively. Both these exams are qualifying exams. The marks obtained here will not be considered for ranking.
- The next papers such as GS, Essay and optional subject will only be checked if the candidate passes the Language papers.
- It is compulsory to be present and give both the prelims exam GS and CAST. Absence in one of the papers will make you disqualified and will waste your one precious attempt.
UPSC Syllabus for Interview test
The aspirants who have qualified and are above the cut off for the mains exam, will become eligible for the Personal Interview round. The interview is basically conducted not to judge your general knowledge or the subject. All have already been tested in the written exam. The interview is taken to check your interpersonal skills and social traits as well.
The questions are asked as per your interest levels. You need to carry proper set of documents which are asked. The interview panel members will be having your bio-data already in hand. The main objective of the interview is to test your suitability for the role in public services. Your mental calibre will be judged here and how hard you can tackle pressure.
Some other qualities which will be judged are your IQ, moral integrity, leadership, critical powers of assimilation, social cohesion, love for country, clear and logical exposition, your interest in current affairs and mental alertness.
The technique followed in interview is to keep the conversation as natural as it can be else the purpose will be defeated. This is definitely not a strict cross-examination.
The aspirant is expected to have an interest not only in the special subjects of the academic study but also in the current affairs which are happening around the international borders and across the globe. He is also expected to show curiosity towards the new discoveries happening in the world.
You can start your preparation for UPSC when you enter your first year of graduation. It is always recommended to take the subject which interests you and which you will be studying or have studied in your graduation.
Having a proper understanding of the syllabus will defiantly help you estimating your preparation time. But if you are planning your first attempt, I would suggest that to start preparing at least an year before the exam date.
So, suppose you plan to give an exam in 2020, then you should begin your preparation at least by June 2019.
Read more : Ultimate tips to start your IAS Exam Preparation
Approach to be followed
There are two approaches- prelims cum mains approach and prelims approach.
- Prelims cum Mains Approach
UPSC aspirants having more than one year (such as those targeting for 2020 UPSC exam) , can follow the prelims cum mains approach. The aspirants need to prepare their mains exam alongside prelims preparations.
The aspirants need to give at least three months for preparing for their optional subject and then start preparing for GS paper for both mains as well as prelims.
Keep the last five months only for your revision and mock tests. Make sure that you are reading the newspapers daily so as to be in contact with the current affairs. Newspapers play a pivotal role in essay writing as well.
Revision and test series will help aspirants to understand their mistake and work hard to overcome them. This will also help in sharpening their skills.
- Prelims approach
This approach is followed by the students which have limited frame of time. Suppose you are targeting UPSE 2019, time is running and you have already wasted 4 months. You need to gear up and start studying immediately. Kick off your preparation by grabbing a newspaper and start making notes for current affairs.
After prelims start preparing for mains exam. A mix blend of hard work and smart work will put you on the success ladder. Prelims is the most hardest level to cross. Once you have cracked that, you will automatically feel that your confidence level is boosted significantly.
How to start IAS preparation?
Kick off your IAS preparation by downloading all the authorised books such as NCERT and their solutions. If you are preparing in Hindi medium, NCERT books in Hindi are also available for download.
You need to download the NCERT books for classes 6 to 12 as your first step towards IAS preparation. You simply cannot ignore NCERT books as they are the holy grail for IAS.
- Newspaper reading
Reading the newspaper on a regular basis so as to correlate current affairs with each subject should be inculcated. Always remember that UPSC will ask logical questions or the application based ones and not direct ones. If you are good in English, then you can read “The Hindu” but other English newspapers such as “The times of India” or “The Tribune” are equally good.
- Magazine reading
You can also read magazines such as Yojana and The Front-line etc to improve your essay writing skills.
- Writing Practice
Practice more and more question from previous year’s papers to improve your writing skills. Assess yourself by attempting the question in a stipulated time frame. Read the editorial sections of the newspaper, this will help in essay writing and opinion building.
- Question paper analysis
Analyse the previous year’s papers, this will help you to get an insight on the pattern which is followed. The pattern will be changing every year but this will give you an idea that how questions are framed and how you will be deducing answers.
- Mock tests and interpretation
Joining a test series or mock test series will help you know your strengths and weaknesses. Only attempting the tests won’t suffice, you need to analyse your mistakes as well. Make sure that you work over them and they are not repeated.
- Optional paper
Don’t take the optional paper over the trend or popularity. Choose the subject in which you are comfortable. Suppose you are good at maths but you hate other subjects. So there is no point in taking other subject no matter how scoring it may be. If you are not satisfied, then just leave that and choose a subject of your interest.
- Studying GS
GS or General Science is one such subject which is common for both prelims and mains exam. Study them alongside. This will save your energy as well as time.
Optimisation of Optional and GS Marks
It’s very common that students generally follow the last year’s popular optional subject trend. But make sure that you don’t take an overlapping option with GS, in case you are weak in it. There is every possible chance that the subject may turn up counterproductive.
Also, don’t opt for such a subject which requires exhaustive and extensive preparation. As you have a limited time frame i.e. four months. So choose a subject which can be completed in this time frame.
If you have a solid grip over the concepts of that subject and you have ample time left, then you can opt for it. Study in such a way that your GS prelims paper is not compromised over your heavy optional.
Students should take proper sleep. A sleep of 6-7 hours is very essential for refreshing the brain. A lethargic brain will not retain anything and will go blank when it is needed the most. Also, confidence is the key to success. Don’t panic and be confident. Best of Luck!!
Types of posts allotted (24)
1. INDIAN ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE (IAS)
The dream of every UPSC aspirant is to crack the exam for the post of IAS. As per the previous year analysis, your rank must be up to 90 in the exam if you are a general candidate.
IAS officers have the responsibilities to serve both the State and Central governments. Almost all the departments which are maintained by state or central governments are headed by an IAS officer or a team of officers.
They are the highest valued officers moreover they are close to the ministers and they have higher authorities in the private sector too. They also serve as people’s representatives among the governments.
Some services or designations are like.
- District Commissioner
- Secretary to Government of India
- Ministry of XYZ (Oil, Transportation, Textile, Telecommunication)
- Health Commissioner,
- Managing Director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation,
- Secretary, National AIDS Control Organisation, etc.
Law and Order is maintained by responsible persons which is the main function of IPS officers. It is a uniformed service having decorations. Complex nature of fraud these days has created multiple domains among police services. These are:
- Cyber Crime
- Financial Analysis
- International Trafficking
- Juvenile Crime etc.
These variations help officers to enhance their skill sets which helps them a lot in cracking cases and mysteries. IPS team also heads the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). These forces are having responsibilities from protecting local law and order to protecting prime minister and president of India.
They also protecting the Indian borders, they are the commanding officers and they are having lot of power due to the nature of their service. They are responsible in cracking international cases which requires great mind, skill-sets and man force.
3. INDIAN FOREIGN SERVICE (IFS)
These are the soul of our country as they represent the India in other countries. They justify the dignity and power of India. Consulates and embassies have been set up among multiple countries for contacting in case of any occasion or emergency.
They represent our country in all International bodies like IMF, UN, UNESCO, UNICEF etc. Their main motive is to sustain friendly relations with other countries and protecting the rights of Indians which are living away from India.
Ministry of External Affairs comes under IFS officers; head office is situated in South Block of Delhi, India where most of the international decisions are taken care.
When they are posted abroad, they get a proper compensation to maintain their purchasing power in a particular country. They are responsible for maintaining
- cultural relations,
- trade relations
- academic relations
- Military relations etc.
They are also in touch of IAS and other cadres in order to maintain better relations. They have the chance to learn foreign languages. Their safety is done by the local police as well as the army people of India. For maintaining good relations, they have to attend multiple high society parties and functions.
4. INDIAN REVENUE SERVICE (IRS-IT)
These officers make rules and regulations in order to generate and maintain revenue from multiple sources for the Government of India. Money is generated mainly through income Tax.
Every year every citizen has to pay tax on their income depending on the income slab. Tax money has to be collected every year in order to meet the expenditure of the Government. Lot of technology has been evolved, designed with full strength to control the fraud and applying for the taxes.
Tax slabs are made by the team based on the income and sources of income. Income generated either at personal level or corporate levels are to be assessed by the department. They are also responsible in evaluating the expenditures done during large events like elections, republic day celebrations at Red Fort etc.
5. INDIAN REVENUE SERVICE (CBEC) (IRS-Customs)
Department of Revenue has a branch which is known as Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). This department directly comes under Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Customs and Excise duties include tax applied on the materials or purchasing done in abroad and they are taken back in India.
Department controls service tax, preventing smuggling and administration of matters related to Customs, central excise as well as narcotics.
The team designs multiple patterns in order to wipe out minute issues coming in Customs. Laboratory has been set up to maintain the rules and regulations which helps the officers to determine the irregularities coming on board.
6. INDIAN AUDIT AND ACCOUNT SERVICE (IAAS)
Department of Indian Audit and Accounts controls the authority under the supervision of Government of India which is called CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General). IAA Service officers are designated as the top management in audit department. Checking inconsistencies and mysterious things is called Audit.
Officers work free from political pressure unlike other departments which comes under government of India. But this independence is under the controlled environment of CAG. Auditing department of Union or State government are closely work with IAAS officers for better and efficient audit.
7. INDIAN INFORMATION SERVICE (IIS)
These officers are responsible in managing the government’s press, print and electronic media. Mainly government of India’s print media is known as Print Trust of India (PTI). They are the controller of official media of India.
They also manage the work and revenue of Doordarshan and All India radio. These officers directly report to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
8. INDIAN CIVIL ACCOUNT SERVICES (ICAS)
Services are created keeping is separately from audit. These officers closely look at the accounts of every citizen and mainly fraud and large transactional accounts.
Public Financial Management is done by an ICAS officer. They make rules and regulations to manage the payment of government employees, pensions, financial and accounting reporting along with the internal audit inside the civil ministries
9. INDIAN CORPORATE LAW SERVICE (ICLS)
Corporate sector is maintained by these officers across the country. They are held for the Companies Act and Limited Liability Partnership Act. Officers monitor the working of a company which comes under either public sector or private sector or in public private partnership.
10. INDIAN TRADE SERVICE (ITS)
This service handles the international trade and commerce of India. They also maintain the policies of Foreign Trade. They are responsible for the negotiations involved in international trade at multiple forums like World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund (IMF). Quality checks, export promotions are some work done by these officers.
11. INDIAN DEFENCE ESTATE SERVICE (IDES)
Importance of Ministry of Defense is of utmost importance among all other departments. It is biggest land holder among all other departments. Officers allocated under this department have a crucial role to look after the civil affairs, export import of materials. They are also appointed as the CEOs or CFOs of Cantonment Boards.
12. INDIAN DEFENCE ACCOUNT SERVICE (IDAS)
These officers are responsible for providing the advice related to financial structure, payments to different accounts and functions of internal audit in respect to the Navy, Army, Air force, Ordinance Factories, DRDO, BRO, Canteen Stores, Department of defence and allied organisations
13. INDIAN ORDINANCE FACTORIES SERVICE (IOFS)
Factories which manufactures defense equipment comes under Ordinance Factories. More than 1.5 lacs of employees are working in such factories. Administration of these factories is done by IOFS officers
14. INDIAN POSTAL SERVICE
The officers posted here are responsible for managing and monitoring the postal services of our country. The post offices are available in every part of the country. So, sometimes the government may use these post offices to provide some other needy services as well.
15. INDIAN POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATION ACCOUNTS AND FINANCE SERVICE
As the post offices are available across the country in every district and town, officers are required for maintain the accounts and finance of the postal department.
16. INDIAN RAILWAY ACCOUNT SERVICE (IRAS)
Officers appointed in IRAS maintain the accounts of the railways. Indian railways are one of the largest employer in government sector.
17. INDIAN RAILWAY PERSONNEL SERVICE (IRPS)
Officers appointed in IRPS are just like the human resources department of railways.
18. INDIAN RAILWAY TRAFFIC SERVICE (IRTS)
Management of passengers and regulation the cargo traffic are the key responsibilities of the officers appointed in IRTF.
19. RAILWAY PROTECTION FORCE (RPF)
The officers appointed here are known as security commissioners in the railway Protection Force.
20. ARMED FORCES HEADQUARTERS CIVIL SERVICE (AFHQ)
The officers appointed in AFHQ contribute in proper function of Armed Forces Headquarters/Inter Service Organisations except for those which are related to technical and combat. The joinee is appointed as a section officer. So group B is lower in hierarchy than group A.
21. DELHI, ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLAND CIVIL SERVICE (DANICS)
All the administrative aspects of Delhi (national capital) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Union Territory) are taken care by the officers of DANICS.
22. DELHI, ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLAND POLICE SERVICE (DANIPS)
Just like DANICS, the officers of DANIPS take care of law and order aspects of these territories.
23. PONDICHERRY CIVIL SERVICE
The officers take care of the administrative aspects of Pondicherry.
24. PONDICHERRY POLICE SERVICE
The officers take care of the law and order aspects of Pondicherry.
Success Rate of UPSC 2018
UPSC is undoubtedly one of the toughest and most prestigious examinations in India. The success rate is just 0.1%. Civil Service exam is conducted to recruit officers for three types of services which are State Services, All India Services and Central Services.