All About Civil Services: Your Comprehensive Guide

Civil Services Examination

The Union Public Service Commission holds the Civil Services Examination (CSE), for Central Government job vacancies. There are about 24 services that come under the Civil Services Exam. These services include IAS, IFS, IPS etc.

The Civil Services Examination consist of two successive stages:
Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination; and

Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and posts.

First Stage Details: 

  • The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination comprises of two papers of 200 marks each i.e. General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II.
  • GS Paper-II(also known as CSAT i.e. Civil Service Aptitude Test) is qualifying in nature and in which a candidate has to secure 33% marks only.
  • Objective type (Multiple Choice Questions) is asked in this stage. Marks obtained in this stage are counted only to decide merit in preliminary examination, not for final selection. Clearing the Prelims makes one eligible for the next stage of the exam.

Second Stage Details:

  • Civil Services (Main) Examination is the ‘written stage’ of the examination. It consists of nine papers of which, marks of only seven papers are counted in deciding the final merit list. In the remaining two papers, a candidate has to secure the minimum qualifying marks decided by UPSC each year. The question papers for the Mains examination are of conventional (essay) type.
  • The Civil Services Personality Test consists of a board of members for assessing the candidate’s personality. A candidate is asked questions on matters of general interest. The object 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. The test is intended to judge the mental caliber of a candidate.

Note: The final rank of a candidate in the merit list depends upon the marks scored in the second stage only i.e. written and Interview.

UPSC Civil Service Exam Posts:

The civil services exam posts are categorized into two categories: Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’.

Group ‘A’ services include three All India Services (the IAS, IPS, and the IFS) and 18 other services as indicated in the table below.

(i)Indian Administrative Services (IAS)
(ii)Indian Forest Services (IFoS)
(iii)Indian Police Services (IPS)
(i)Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
(ii)Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service
(iii)Indian Audit and Accounts Service
(iv)Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
(v)Indian Defence Accounts Service
(vi)Indian Revenue Service (I.T.)
(vii)Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
(viii)Indian Postal Service
(ix)Indian Civil Accounts Service
(x)Indian Railway Traffic Service
(xi)Indian Railway Accounts Service
(xii)Indian Railway Personnel Service
(xiii)Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in the Railway Protection Force
(xiv)Indian Defence Estates Service
(xv)Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
(xvi)Indian Trade Service
(xvii)Indian Corporate Law Service
(xviii)Indian Revenue Service (CBEC)

Group ‘B’ has five services under it.

(i)Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade)
(ii)Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service
(iii)Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service
(iv)Pondicherry Civil Service
(v)Pondicherry Police Service

IAS Eligibility- Educational Qualification

The various academic requirements as per the IAS Eligibility Criteria are given below:

  • Minimum qualification for the UPSC exam: The candidate must hold a degree from government-recognized Universities or possess an equivalent qualification.
  • Candidates who are in their final year or awaiting results are also eligible to appear for the UPSC preliminary Examination. All such candidates who are likely to appear for IAS exams must produce proof of having passed the said examination along with the application for the main IAS examination.
  • Candidates having professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees.
  • Medical students who have passed the final year of MBBS, but are yet to complete their internship also have eligibility for IAS. However, along with the Main Examination application, a certificate of course completion (including internship) from the concerned authority of the University/Institution has to be submitted.

UPSC Eligibility Criteria for IAS Exam

Given below is a summary of IAS eligibility criteria mentioning the UPSC maximum age limit, count of attempts, relaxations, and more. Candidates must satisfy the following conditions to be eligible for the UPSC IAS Exam:

Nationality for IAS exam: Must be a citizen of India, a person of Indian origin, or a subject of Nepal, Bhutan, or Tibet settled in India before 1st January 1962.

Education Qualification for the IAS exam: The candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognized University.

UPSC Civil Services Exam Age Limit: The candidate must be a minimum of 21 years of age and must not be more than 32 years of age. 

Category-wise UPSC CSE age limit, relaxation, and maximum attempts-

  1. General Category & EWS: 32 years; 6 attempts.
  2. OBC (with certificate): 32 years + 3 years; 9 attempts.
  3. SC/ST: 32 years + 5 years; unlimited attempts.
  4. Physically Disabled: 32 years + 10 years; Gen/OBC/Person with Benchmark Disability(EWS category)- 9 attempts & SC/ST unlimited attempts.
  5. Jammu & Kashmir Domicile: 32 years + 5 years + (3 years, if OBC OR 5 Years, if SC/ST); Number of attempts depends on the reserved category.
  6. Disabled and discharged Defence service personnel: 32 years + 3 years + (3 years, if Gen/OBC OR 5 years, if SC/ST)
  7. Ex-Servicemen Commission Officer: 32 years + 5 years + (3 years, if OBC OR 5 Years, if SC/ST)