TABLE OF CONTENTS
- IAS EXAM PATTERN
- IAS PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION
- IAS MAINS (WRITTEN) EXAMINATION
- INTERVIEW TEST
- GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS
- MINIMUM EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
- AGE LIMITS
- HOW TO APPLY
- OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IAS EXAM PATTERN
The Civil Services or IAS Examination is held by the UPSC in three successive stages:
Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination – (Objective Type Paper) for screening the candidates for the Main Examination.
Civil Services (Main) Examination – (Written Essay Type Paper)
Interview Test- After Stage 2, the candidates who qualify the Written Examination are called for the Interview for the Personality Test.
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.
NOTE: THE UPSC ONLY VERIFIES THE CANDIDATURE (DOCUMENTS etc.) OF A CANDIDATE AFTER HE/SHE HAS CLEARED THE PRELIMINARY AND THE MAIN EXAMINATIONS.
The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination is usually about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of job vacancies to be filled by the Govt. Of India in the year through this examination.
The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination are not counted when determining the final order of merit. Only the marks obtained in the Main (written) Examination and the Interview Test are counted.
Q. LIST the 24 Services for which the candidates are selected through the Civil Services Examination.
A. The 24 Services for which the candidates are selected through the Civil Services Examination are:
Group – A Services
(i) Indian Administrative Service.
(ii) Indian Foreign Service.
(iii) Indian Police Service.
(iv) Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’.
(v) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
(vi) Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’.
(vii) Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
(viii) Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’.
(ix) Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration).
(x) Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’.
(xi) Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
(xii) Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’.
(xiii) Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
(xiv) Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’.
(xv) Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’
(xvi) Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’.
(xvii) Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’.
(xviii) Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’.
(xix) Indian Corporate Law Service, Group “A”.
Group – B Services
(xx) Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade).
(xxi) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
(xxii) Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’.
(xxiii) Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
(xxiv) Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’.
ias exam: PRELimS
The Preliminary stage of the IAS Examination consists of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) of 200 marks each and together both papers carry a maximum of 400 marks.
PAPER 1: GENERAL STUDIES (Objective Type Multiple Choice Questions) – 200 MARKS
PAPER 2: APTITUDE TEST (Objective Type Multiple Choice Questions) – 200 MARKS
(i) Both the question papers are of the objective type (multiple-choice questions), carrying 200 Marks each for a total of 400 Marks.
(ii) The question papers are set both in Hindi and English.
(iii) Each paper is of two hours duration.
IAS EXAM: PRELIMS – PAPER 1 (GENERAL STUDIES)
Q. how many questions have to BE answerED in paper 1 of the preliminary examination and how much time is allotted to do the same?
A. ‘100 questions have to be answered in 120 minutes’. That means a candidate will get a little more than 1 minute to answer each question of Paper I. This is a very tight schedule. Therefore, time management becomes extremely important. Candidates cannot waste too much time thinking about the answers. Candidates will be able to answer 100 questions in 120 minutes only if they have carried out extensive practice by solving mock papers and are completely familiar with the topics on which the questions are likely to be asked. Therefore, candidates should try to solve as many mock question papers as is possible. The more they practice before the Examination, the easier it will be for them at the time of the actual examination.
Q. is it be possible for candidates to find time to revise their answers for Paper I?
A. Candidates have to answer 100 questions in 120 minutes. Therefore, time will be of the essence. Candidates must remember that they are not likely to find the time to revise their answers. Indeed, candidates may also not find time to answer a question that they may have left out initially as they may not have been sure of its answer. Therefore, candidates should try to answer each question as it appears, in the sequence in which it has been set out in the question paper, so that they do not leave out any questions whose answers they know, due to paucity of time.
Q. Is there something that the candidates should keep in mind while they are preparing for Paper I of the Preliminary Examination for the Civil Services for getting into the IAS?
A. Candidates should keep in mind the following points when they are preparing for Paper I of the Preliminary Examination for the Civil Services for getting into the IAS:
i The duration of Paper I is two hours or 120 minutes.
ii 100 questions have to be answered in 120 minutes.
iii 2 marks are assigned for each question.
iv To discourage candidates from trying to guess the answers, incorrect answers are awarded negative marks. Each incorrect answer is awarded -0.33 marks. This means that if a candidate gives 1 incorrect answer, then he/she will lose 1/3 or 0.33 marks out of the marks assigned to that question. So, three incorrect answers will result in the candidate losing 2 marks out of the total marks secured by him/her for the correct answers.
Negative marking is done for incorrect answers (as shown below) for all questions except some of the questions where the negative marking will be inbuilt in the form of different marks being awarded to the most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.
(i) For each question for which a wrong answer is given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
(ii) If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer (even if one of the given answers happens to be correct) and the marks will be deducted.
(iii) If a question is left blank i.e. no answer is given by the candidate, there will be no penalty for that question.
Candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified for admission to the Civil Services (Main) Examination have to apply online again, in the Detailed Application Form, which is made available to them.
Q. How damaging is it for a candidate if he/she does not know the answer to some questions?
A. It is very likely that candidates may not know the answers to all the questions. Indeed, it is rare for a candidate to know the answers to all the questions. Usually, the best-case scenario is that candidates know the answers to about 60% – 70% of the questions. This should not unduly worry them. Please remember, it is a competition. If you do not know the answer to some questions, others may not know the answers to many more questions. Candidates should remember that if they can get even 60% of the answers correct, and can successfully resist the temptation to guess the answers to the questions that they do not know, there is no reason why their name should not figure in the list of candidates who are permitted by the UPSC to appear in the Main Examination.
Q. How much damage can negative marking do to a candidate’s score in Paper I?
A. Negative marking can have a devastating effect. It can drastically bring down the total marks secured by a candidate. Let me illustrate this. Suppose you answer 60 questions correctly. Then you will be awarded 120 marks. But, suppose you answer the remaining 40 questions incorrectly, then 26 marks will be deducted and you will end up scoring only 94 (120 – 26) marks. The cut-off marks for a General Category candidate are usually around 110-115. In our example given here, the candidate will not clear the cut-off marks only because of the negative marks that were awarded to wrong answers. So, negative marking can even lead to a candidate not clearing the Preliminary Examination. This obviously means that you cannot write answers on the basis of guess work as it may lead to a severe penalty in the form of a candidate not clearing the Preliminary Examination.
HERE IS A LIST OF TOPICS THAT ARE INCLUDED IN THE GENERAL STUDIES (PAPER – I) of the preliminary EXAMINATION:
- Current events of national and international importance.
- History of India and the Indian National Movement
- Indian and World Geography: Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World
- Indian Polity and Governance: Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues etc.
- Economic and Social Development: Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives etc.
- General issues on Environmental ecology. Bio-diversity and Climate Change
- General Science.
Q. How should a candidate prepare for Paper I, General Studies, of the Preliminary Examination for getting into the IAS?
A. A careful look at the syllabus of Paper I, General Studies, will reveal that there are seven topics in this paper. Candidates will have to prepare each topic systematically.
Q. What is the first topic of general studies about?
A. The first topic of General Studies Paper 1 is about Current events of national and international importance.
Q. How can a candidate prepare this topic? It is so vast.
A. In order to prepare this topic in a meaningful manner the candidate will have to read at least one national newspaper from cover to cover every day.
Q. Which newspaper should be read from cover to cover everyday?
A. If a candidate intends to read an English newspaper, then he/she should read ‘The Hindu’. If it is not possible to get hold of ‘The Hindu’ newspaper, then the ‘Indian Express’ newspaper could be read. If a candidate wishes to read a Hindi newspaper, then the ‘Dainik Jagaran’ or the ‘Dainik Bhaskar’ or the Amar ‘Ujala’ could be read.
Q. How should the newspaper be read by the candidate?
A. The newspaper should be read from cover to cover. It must be read very carefully. Candidates must especially focus on news reports connected with Polity, Constitution, International Relations, Economy, Security, Science and Technology, Environment, Social issues, Culture, Legal matters and Sports. Since a candidate does not know which news item may figure as a question in the examination, no news report which is connected to the subjects mentioned above, howsoever insignificant it may appear, can be ignored.
Q. How should candidates read the newspaper when they start preparing for the Preliminary Examination for the Civil Services for getting into the IAS?
A. When candidates start studying to prepare the topic on the current events for the Preliminary Examination, they should approach each subject as if they are reading about it for the first time. Extensive notes about the news report should be taken down. As the candidates start making the notes, they will realize that each subject has many nuances, which a person usually ignores when the news item is read cursorily.
Q. Sometimes, while making a point, the news reports refer to related subjects without explaining the related subject adequately. What should candidates do in such cases?
A. Whenever a news report refers to a related subject to make a point, the candidate must immediately search for that subject on the Internet, read it carefully and add the information to their notes. This will help them in understanding the news report in its proper perspective.
Q. How does this kind of research help?
A. Please remember, whenever candidates research a topic, the information that is collected gets stored in the mind and stays there. It can be retrieved at a moment’s notice. This will prove very useful at the time of answering the questions during the examination.
Q. After a candidate has read the newspaper of the day what else should he do?
A. After the candidate has read the newspaper of the day, and taken down notes of the important events, he/she must re-read the notes that have been made. This will help in the retention in the memory of what has been learnt during the day.
Q. How much time will have to be devoted by a candidate to read the newspaper in this manner?
A. A candidate will need to spend about four to five hours on the newspaper everyday if he/she wishes to read it in this manner.
Q. If a candidate spends so much time on reading the newspaper, how will he/she find time for studying other topics?
A. The time spent on reading the newspaper in this manner is not a waste of time. If candidates persist with studying the newspaper in this manner, then after some time they will notice that their knowledge of the various topics has not only improved dramatically, but has also become more precise. Gradually, they will also realize that they do not have to rush to the Internet to find out about different subjects as often as they had to do in the past, because the range of their knowledge would have increased substantially. This will help to raise their confidence level and assist them in their preparation for the Preliminary Examination.
Q. Will the candidates need to spend four to five hours on the newspaper everyday till they appear for the Preliminary Examination?
A. After the lapse of some time candidates will notice that they no longer have to spend as much time on studying the newspaper as they had to do in the initial stages, because as their knowledge about various subjects and topics increases and becomes more broad based, they will be able to understand the news reports in their proper perspective far more easily than in the past. So, the time they will spend on reading the newspaper will start coming down.
Q. What else should candidates read, apart from the newspaper, while preparing for the examination?
A. There are two magazines called KURUKSHETRA and YOJANA. The Government of India publishes them. They contain a lot of useful information. If candidates do not have the time to read both the magazines, then they must read at least one of these magazines regularly and make notes of the important reports contained in them. These should be added to their notes on Current events of national and international importance.
Q. Is there any other book that candidates should read while preparing their notes on current events?
A. The candidates should also read the ‘India Year Book’. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) publishes it every year. This will help them not only in preparing for the current events but also for many other topics contained in Paper I.
Q. Please list out the other websites on the Internet that candidates should read regularly?
A. The other websites on the Internet that should be read regularly are:
Press Information Bureau (PIB) carries daily updates of the work done by various Ministries.
PRS India brings out updates on legal matters.
Candidates should also listen to the All India Radio and the talk shows on the Lok Sabha TV and the Rajya Sabha TV.
Special issues of the magazine, India Today, should also be read.
Q. Are there any other websites too that the candidates should go to?
A. Numerous websites on the Internet claim that for some financial consideration they can help candidates to prepare for the Civil Services Examination. These websites also say that they will provide a summary of the news carried by the newspapers everyday. It is the candidates’ choice whether they wish to accept what is on offer or not. The sites that have been recommended here are those sites where candidates do not have to pay any money, but they will get quality information.
Q. If a candidate prepares along the lines that have been recommended here, how likely is it that they will do well in the Preliminary Examination for getting into the IAS?
A. If candidates prepare along the lines that have been given above, which means they read one national newspaper everyday, study either KURUKSHETRA or YOJANA carefully, study THE INDIA YEARBOOK, listen to the All India Radio, listen to the talk shows on Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV, read the Special Issues of the magazine, India Today, and look at the websites mentioned above, they are likely to do very well in the topic on current affairs and international events in the Preliminary Examination.
Q. Please name the second topic in General Studies Paper 1?
A. The second topic under General Studies-Paper 1 is History of India and the Indian National Movement.
Q. Which are the recommended books for this topic?
A. The NCERT books for CBSE scholls on Indian History are the best books with which to commence your preparation.
Q. Why are these books being recommended?
A. These books provide very useful information. They are prescribed for the various classes, starting from Class 6 and going up to Class 12. As the level of the class rises, so does the quantum and range of information provided in the book. The History books prescribed for Classes IX, X, XI and XII are especially useful.
Q. Some books are recommended at the end of each chapter of the NCERT books if you wish to read more on the subject. Is it a good strategy to read these books to increase your knowledge?
A. Since the time available at the disposal of the candidates is limited and the preparation that has to be done is very vast, it will not be a good strategy to spend too much time to read all these books.
Q. Then what should candidates do to increase their knowledge of the topic?
A. Candidates should select one book for each period of Indian History for advanced study. This means they should select one book for Ancient India, one book for Medieval India and one book for Modern Indian History. Candidates should also select one book each for advanced study of the ‘Indian National Movement’ and the period known as ‘India Since Independence’.
Q. Which books should be selected for these periods?
A. Candidates can select these books after consulting their friends and teachers. They should then study them thoroughly.
Candidates generally select:
i) NCERT Books for History from Class 6 to Class 12,
ii) Ancient India by RS Sharma,
iii) A History of India by Romilla Thapar,
iv) Medieval India by Satish Chandra,
v a) Modern India by Bipan Chandra,
b) Indian National Movement by Bipan Chandra and
c) India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra,
vi) India After Gandhi by Ram Chandra Guha,
vii) From Plassey to Partition by Shekhar Bandopadhyay, and
viii) Modern India by Spectrum Publications.
Q. Is there any book on Indian Art that a candidate should read?
A. AN INTRODUCTION TO INDIAN ART is a book on Art and Culture prescribed for Class XI by the NCERT. It is a ‘must read’ for everyone.
Nitin Singhania’s book on Indian Art and Culture is also a good book.
Q. What is the standard of the questions that are asked at the Preliminary Examination?
A. The standard of questions that are asked at the Preliminary Examination General Studies Paper I is of the B.A. (Graduate) level. Candidates have to attempt multiple-choice answers to questions in the Preliminary Examination. They are not required to write long, essay type answers. Therefore, very detailed study of every aspect of the subject is not needed.
Q. What is the title of the next topic in Paper 1 of General Studies?
A. The title of the next topic in Paper 1 of General Studies is Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
Q. Which books should candidates use to commence their preparations for this topic?
A. Candidates should use the books prepared by the NCERT for Geography for school students from Class 6 to Class 12. These are the best books to commence their preparation with. Geography must be studied with an Atlas and maps as they help to clarify many things.
Q. Which Atlas should be used?
A. There are two good Atlases – the Oxford Atlas and the Blackswan Atlas. Candidates can use either one of them for their preparation.
Q. Which other books should be consulted while preparing for this topic?
A. Candidates can select a couple of books on Indian Geography and World Geography out of the books written by Goh Cheng Leong, Simon Adams, Robert D Kaplan, Majid Hussain, Savinder Singh, DR Khullar etc.
Q. How thoroughly should candidates read the books that they select?
A. Candidates must read the books that they select very thoroughly. Examiners sometimes ask questions about things that appear insignificant in the book. If the candidate has not studied the book thoroughly, he/she is unlikely to be able to answer the question.
Q. Why is map practicing so important while studying geography?
A. Geography deals with places, physical features, climate, rainfall, longitudes, latitudes etc. They are located at specific places or at specific longitudes and latitudes. It is very useful to practice marking all these things on blank outline maps of India and the World while preparing for the topic of Geography because this will help candidates to form a good idea about the location of places and features in their mind. This knowledge will come in handy while answering the questions at the Examination, because quite often questions requiring the candidates to mark places on blank maps are asked in the Preliminary Examination. Therefore, candidates must be very thorough with their knowledge of maps. This is only possible if they practice marking places, physical features, natural phenomenon like weather, sea-currents, forests, minerals etc. on blank maps again and again.
Q. Which is the next topic in General Studies?
A. The next topic in General Studies is Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues etc.
Q. What does this topic deal with?
A. This topic deals with the Constitution of India and the political system in the country.
Q. Which books should be read to prepare for this topic?
A. Candidates must read the books prescribed by the NCERT on Polity. They should also try to read the Constitution of India. If it is possible, they should keep a bare Act of the Constitution of India handy and glance at the various Articles in the Constitution from time to time.
Q. Are there any other special books that should also be read?
A. If a candidate has the time and the inclination then one or two standard commentaries on the Constitution of India could be referred to in order to understand our Constitutional System. Durga Das Basu’s book on the Indian Constitution is the standard reference book. If they have the time, they can take a look at it. Otherwise, they must read, “An Introduction to the Indian Constitution” by Durga Das Basu. There are other books by authors like Subhash Kashyap, PM Bakshi etc. too.
Q. If a candidate cannot find the time to read these books, then what should he/she do?
A. If a candidate does not have the time to read any of these books then he/she should go through the books that have been written for candidates aspiring to appear for the Civil Services Examination. The candidate should select one or two of them. Laxmikanth’s books on Polity and Governance are considered quite useful. His books are also available on PDF format on the Internet.
Q. How will the reading of these books prove beneficial to a candidate?
A. A careful perusal of the books mentioned above is likely to help to clarify the Indian Constitution and the Political System that flows out of it. Subjects like the Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues etc. are all a part of the Constitution. Some of these subjects were included in the Constitution when it was originally framed by the Founding Fathers of the Constitution. Some others were included from time to time through Constitutional Amendments. More than a hundred amendments have already been carried out to the Constitution. When the candidates study these books, they will also understand how Amendments to the Constitution of India are made and the reasons why various new subjects have been included in the Constitution over time.
Q. What is the name of the next topic in General Studies?
A. The next topic in General Studies is Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives etc.
Q. What are the subjects covered in this topic?
A. Economic issues and social issues facing the country are dealt with in this topic.
In the famous words of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, ‘India’s tryst with Destiny’ commenced on 15th August 1947. More than 70% of the Indian population was desperately poor at that time. Something had to be done to improve their lot. The Central Government and the State Governments have been working since 1947 to raise the people out of poverty through various poverty alleviation programmes and schemes. The result of these programmes and schemes has been a mixed bag. Some programmes and schemes did well. Others did not. However, the efforts of the Government in this direction have continued.
Candidates will have to go through the development programmes and welfare schemes that were launched by the Central and the State Governments from time to time since independence to understand and study this topic.
Q. Which books should a candidate use to begin his/her preparations for this topic?
A. Candidates should use the books prepared by NCERT which deal with various subjects in this topic. These books have been prescribed for classes IX onwards.
Q. Which other books should be consulted after a candidate has gone through the books by NCERT?
A. Candidates should read Ramesh Singh’s book on the Indian Economy. It is a well written book. It is also available in the PDF format on the Internet.
Q. What else should a candidate read?
A. Candidates must also read the Economic Survey. The Ministry of Finance publishes it every year. It is in two volumes.
Q. What else should a candidate study to know more about this topic?
A. Candidates must have some idea of the Finance Commission which is appointed by the President of India under Article 280 of the Constitution of India. Among other things, the Finance Commission recommends how the resources collected by the Central Government are to be shared with the States.
Candidates must also have some idea of The Annual Budget of the Government of India, especially the portion that contains the ratio of sharing of expenditure on Centrally Sponsored Schemes by the Central and the State Governments.
Candidates should also go through the latest Five Year Plan to get some idea of the main developmental schemes that are under execution.
Q. Does a candidate need to look at any other information apart from all this?
A. The site called PM India provides details of the Major Initiatives taken by the Prime Minister of India. It provides regular updates on the Initiatives taken by the Prime Minister of India.
Books like ‘Indian Economy since Independence’ by Uma Kapila and ‘Indian Economy’ by Dutt and Sundaram could also be consulted.
Q. What is the title of the next topic in General Studies?
A. The next topic in General Studies is General issues on Environmental ecology. Bio-diversity and Climate Change.
Q. Which books should be consulted to prepare this topic?
A. The books on Science for Class XI and XII by NCERT contain some chapters on Environment. These should be read.
Many toppers go through a book titled ‘Environment’ by Shankar IAS Academy.
Jairam Ramesh’s note on ‘Critically Endangered Species’ must also be read.
Q. Does the Government of India publish any documents that should be studied?
A. The Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, carries out surveys on various subjects. It has carried out the Tiger Survey, the Elephant Survey, the Survey of Biosphere Reserves, the Survey of National Parks, the Survey of Wetlands of India etc. These Surveys have provided useful information to the Government and the nation about the current status of these subjects. Candidates should try to find time to take a look at some of them. They do not have to make an in-depth study of these surveys. They only need to get familiar with the general information contained in them.
Q. Does the Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests publish any document that should be considered a ‘must read’ document?
A. The Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests publishes the Forest Survey every year. This contains detailed information about the status of the country’s forests and associated issues. If candidates can find the time to read the latest Forest Survey, it will prove very useful. However, if there is paucity of time, then they must go through at least the Introductory Chapter of the latest Forest Survey.
Q. Does the Internet contain material on Environment and Climate Change?
A. The Internet is full of material on Environment and Climate Change. There are Scholarly articles on these subjects written by numerous persons including L Schipper, M Pelling, WN Adger, EL Tomkins, K Kern, M Linder, KL O’Brien, Amdt Hampe, Kathy J Willis, CD Thomas etc. These could be consulted. If candidates search the Internet, they are likely to find even more articles that could help them to understand the issues connected with Environment and Climate Change.
Q. Is there anything else that the Candidate should be familiar with for this topic?
A. (1) Candidates must be familiar with the Paris Accord on Climate Change. It was negotiated by Representatives of 196 countries at Paris in December 2015. This Accord has been negotiated within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC deals with Greenhouse Gas Emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance. The implementation of the Paris Accord is to commence from the year 2020. 196 UNFCCC members have, so far, signed the agreement and 179 countries have become parties to it. Please remember, the G20 countries are responsible for 74% of the global Greenhouse Gas emissions.
(2) The world leaders meet frequently to discuss the issues connected with this subject and these are extensively covered in the press. Candidates must be familiar with the latest status of the Accord.
(3) The Government of India’s policy and approach on Environment and Climate Change is dealt with by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The literature published by them on these issues will prove very useful for appreciating India’s stand on them.
(4) Very useful information is also available in ‘Environmental Ecology’ by Edgar and Showick Thorpe published by the Pearson Publication. McGraw Hill Publication has also brought out a few books on the subject.
Q. What is the title of the next topic in the paper on General Studies?
A. The title of the next topic in the paper on General Studies is General Science.
Q. Which books are recommended for this topic?
A. The NCERT books for the CBSE for General Science are very good. They will help candidates to understand the basic principles and theories. All the General Science Books prescribed for Class 6 to Class 10 must be studied. Besides them, the books on Biology, Chemistry and Physics for Class 11 and Class 12 must also be studied.
If a candidate has the time then he/she could supplement his/her knowledge by going through General Science for Civil Services Preliminary Examination Paper I by McGraw Hill Publication.
Q. Is there any other book that could be read by candidates to increase their knowledge of General Science?
A. Ashok Kumar Singh’s book, “Science and Technology in India” is an excellent book. If candidates have the time then they should read this book.
IAS exam: PRELIMs – PAPER 2 (APTITUDE TEST)
This is a qualifying paper; which means a candidate needs to score a minimum of 33% in this paper to be eligible for the Main (Written) Examination. If a candidate fails to score a minimum of 33% in this paper, his/her performance in the General Studies Paper I will not be taken into consideration. For instance, if a candidate has scored enough marks in the General Studies Paper I of the Civil Services Preliminary Examination, then the candidate will need to secure a minimum of 33% marks in Paper II to be eligible for the Main (Written) Examination.
If, however, the candidate fails to score a high percentage of marks in the General Studies Paper I of the Civil Services Preliminary Examination, then no matter how many marks he/she gets in Paper II of the Civil Services Preliminary Examination, he/she will not qualify for the next sage of the Civil Services Examination (Mains).
PaperII of the Preliminary Examination is an Aptitude Test and tests a candidate’s
- General mental ability;
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability;
- Decision making and problem solving;
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
- Basic Numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) [Class X level];
- Data Interpretation (Charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level).
Q. What is the title of Paper II of the Preliminary Examination?
A. The title of Paper II of the Preliminary Examination is CSAT or the Civil Services Aptitude Test. Sometimes it is simply called the Aptitude Test.
Q. Does this paper have any special feature?
A. The special feature of Paper II of the Preliminary Examination is that it is a ‘qualifying paper’. The qualifying marks for this paper have been fixed at 33% by the UPSC. Please remember, the marks secured in Paper II are not counted for deciding whether a candidate has cleared the Preliminary Examination. However, if a candidate fails to secure at least 33% marks in this paper, he/she is deemed by the UPSC to have not cleared the Preliminary Examination.
Q. What does Paper II of the Preliminary Examination test?
A. Paper II of the Preliminary Examination tests a candidate’s
•General mental ability;
•Logical reasoning and analytical ability;
•Decision making and problem solving;
•Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
•Basic Numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) [Class X level];
•Data Interpretation (Charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level).
Q. All human beings have been blessed with a certain level of general mental ability. Why does this have to be tested?
A. While it is true that all human beings have been blessed with a certain level of general mental ability, but officers who have to work in the All India Services and the Central Services are required to be possessed of a higher mental ability in comparison to most other people in view of the nature of their work. That is why it is necessary to test it.
Q. The ability to ‘comprehend’ quickly – why is it important?
A. All India Service officers and Central Service officers are required to comprehend things easily and quickly, because of the nature of the jobs they perform. After all, it is only after the officer has comprehended the issue would he/she be able to initiate steps to deal with the matter. There are occasions when time is of the essence in matters of public interest. At such times the ability to comprehend quickly is a very useful trait to possess.
Q. Why is so much stress laid on Logical reasoning and analytical ability?
A. The ability to reason logically and analyse dispassionately are admirable qualities. Any person who possesses these qualities is usually a cut above the others. The qualities of logical reasoning and analytical ability are especially important for All India Service and Central Service officers, because some times the officer may have to convince his/her colleagues about the course of action that should be adopted. To be able to do this successfully, the officer should not only be able to analyse the matter, he should also be able to explain to the others why the course of action being proposed by him is the logical and correct course to follow.
Q. Why are the qualities of decision making and problem solving important?
A. The very nature of the job of the All India and Central Services officers places them in positions where they are required to solve different kinds of problems. Usually problems can be solved only after decisions are taken. During the course of service, these officers will be required to take numerous decisions to solve the problems of the people. Therefore, they should have the capacity to take decisions. That is why this aspect of the personality of candidates of ‘decision-making and problem-solving’ needs to be tested.
Q. Why are interpersonal skills including communication skills important?
A. Usually there are three stages to solving a problem. The first is to comprehend the problem. The second is to take a decision to solve it. The third is to initiate steps on the ground to solve the problem to the satisfaction of the concerned. To be able to perform the third stage the officer needs to possess certain skills. These skills are called interpersonal skills, including communication skills. These skills enable the officer to not only convey in clear and concise terms to his subordinates what is required to be done, but, if and when required, the officer would also be able to persuade his/her colleagues to perform the task in a particular manner and within a particular timeframe.
Q. How are Basic Numeracy and Data Interpretation important?
A. All India Services Officers are sometimes posted in the Secretariat at the State Government and the Central Government level. Similarly, Central Services officers are posted in the Ministries at the Central Government level. During these assignments, they have to prepare schemes, draft the departmental budget, analyse Reports, prepare proposals for the Cabinet and so on. They are, therefore, required to possess at least basic skills pertaining to basic numeracy and data interpretation to enable them to do all this.
Q. Why has this paper been included in the Preliminary Examination?
A. This paper has been included in the Preliminary Examination to test whether a candidate who is aspiring for the Civil Services possesses the minimum pre-requisite qualities that are required to be present in All India Services and Central Services Officers. These qualities come into play almost every day during the working life of the officer. The absence of these qualities will adversely affect the ability of the officers to perform their duties. That is why candidates who do not obtain the minimum marks of 33% in this paper are deemed to have not passed the Preliminary Examination.
Q. Which books can help the candidates to hone these abilities that have been discussed above?
A. Please remember, Paper II tests the attributes that are already present in a candidate. The degree of the attributes may vary from candidate to candidate. There are a few books that can help candidates to hone these abilities. The books, “Analytical Reasoning” by MK Pandey and “Verbal and non-verbal reasoning” by RS Aggarwal can prove useful in this regard.
Q. Can some more books be suggested for tackling this paper?
A. “Cracking The CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) Paper 2” by Arihant Publications is a useful book for preparing for Paper II of the Preliminary Examination. If candidates read this book carefully they can sharpen their abilities further.
“15 Steps Programme, 15 Practice Sets CSAT Paper 2” also published by Arihant Publications contains, among other things, mock papers for Paper II. Candidates can practice them to get a feel of the kind of questions that are asked in the examination and how these questions have to be answered. Please remember, the more you practice, the greater will your confidence be.
Q. Are there some important things that must be kept in mind while preparing for Paper II of the Preliminary Examination?
A. Candidates should keep the following points in mind while preparing for Paper II:
i The duration of Paper II is two hours or 120 minutes.
ii Candidates have to answer 80 questions in 120 minutes.
iii 2.5 marks are assigned to each question.
iv To discourage candidates from trying to guess the answers, incorrect answers are awarded negative marks. For each incorrect answer 1/3 or 33% of the marks assigned for that question will be deducted. This means that three incorrect answers will result in the candidate losing 2.5 marks out of the total marks secured by him/her for the correct answers.
Q. What does the phrase, ‘80 questions to be answered in 120 minutes’, mean?
A. ‘80 questions to be answered in 120 minutes’, means that the candidate will get a little more than 1.5 minutes to answer each question. The questions in Paper II are more complicated than the questions in Paper I. Candidates have to think deeply before answering them. Since the time available with the candidate is only 120 minutes, candidates have to think fast. This means that they have to adhere to a very tight schedule of time management. Candidates can manage to do that only if they have carried out extensive practice solving mock papers. Therefore, candidates should try to attempt as many mock papers as they can. This will stand them in good stead during the Preliminary Examination.
Q. Will there be enough time for the candidate to revise his/her answer sheet for Paper II?
A. Candidates have to answer 80 questions in 120 minutes. The questions in Paper II are more complex than in Paper I and require deeper thinking. Candidates are, therefore, not likely to find the time to revise their answers. In fact, it is also possible that candidates may not find the time to answer the questions that they may have skipped over initially as those questions may have required deeper thinking. It would, therefore, be advisable for candidates to answer each question as it appears, in the sequence in which it has been set out in the question paper, so that they do not leave out any questions whose answers they are sure of due to paucity of time.
Q. Suppose a candidate does not know the answer to many questions in Paper II, will his/her performance not be unsatisfactory and prevent him/her from qualifying for Paper II?
A. It is quite likely that candidates may not know the answers to a number of questions. It has been observed that in most cases candidates know the answers to about 45% to 50% of the questions in Paper II. They should not get unduly worried about this. Please remember, if you do not know the answer to some questions, others may not know the answers to a far greater number of questions. Candidates must also remember that they have to secure only 33% marks to qualify this paper. Therefore, if a candidate can get even 40% of the answers correct, and can successfully resist the temptation to guess the answers to the questions that he/she does not know, there is no reason why the candidate should not qualify Paper II.
Q. What kind of impact can negative marking have on the marks that I may score in Paper II?
A. Negative marking is very dangerous in any competitive examination. It can bring down the marks secured by a candidate and can even result in the candidate not making the grade. Candidates incur the penalty of negative marking when they try to guess the answers and invariably end up giving the wrong answer.
Please remember, candidates need to score at least 33% or 66 marks to qualify Paper II.
Let me explain why guessing the answer can have disastrous consequences for candidates by giving an illustration. Suppose a candidate answers 35 questions correctly. Then the candidate will be awarded 87.5 marks (35*2.5=87.5). These marks will ensure that the candidate will comfortably qualify Paper II. However, suppose the candidate decides to be reckless and answers another 30 questions on the basis of guesswork and ends up answering all of them incorrectly. Then 25 marks (30*1/3*2.5) will be deducted and the candidate will end up scoring only 62.5 (87.5 – 25) marks. The candidate will be unable to qualify Paper II.
If the candidate is unable to qualify Paper II, then his/her performance in Paper I will not be taken cognizance of, irrespective of how he/she may have performed in that paper.
Thus, negative marking can even lead to a candidate not clearing the Preliminary Examination. This obviously means that candidates should not write answers on the basis of guess work.
Q. How worrisome should it be if a candidate does not know the answers to some questions in Paper II?
A. Please remember, there will be very few questions in Paper II where the correct answers will be obvious. Since Paper II is meant to test the innate abilities inherent in the candidates, all the questions in the paper will require an application of mind by the candidates. The candidates should not get daunted by this. Since the candidates have to use their mental ability to answer the questions, there is no reason why they should not be able to answer the questions correctly.
Also, please keep in mind that there are two redeeming features in Paper II. The first is that candidates are supposed to obtain a minimum of 33% marks in Paper II in order to qualify the Paper. And the second is that the marks secured in this paper will not be added to the marks of Paper I to determine the order of merit. Therefore, it is not something to worry about greatly if a candidate does not know the answer to many questions. The only thing that the candidates must guard against is that they should not get tempted to guess the answers to questions whose answers they are not sure of. This can have dangerous consequences. If candidates apply their mind and answer the questions diligently, without trying to hazard guesses for the questions whose answer they do not know, there is no reason why they should not be able to qualify this paper.
other Frequently Asked Questions about the ias exam
Q. How should a candidate prepare for the Preliminary Examination for the Civil Services for getting into the IAS?
A. The first thing that a candidate, who wants to prepare for the Preliminary Examination, should do is to get hold of a copy of the syllabus prescribed by the UPSC for the Preliminary Examination stage and go through it. He/she should not only read the syllabus, but should understand it properly. Then, he/she should try to find out about the kind of questions that are asked in the Preliminary Examination.
Q. From where can a candidate find out about the kind of questions that are asked in the two papers of the Preliminary Examination?
A. This information can be easily obtained. The Question Papers of the earlier years can be purchased from the UPSC. A candidate can place the order for these question papers on the UPSC website.
The candidate can also order the Answer Keys for these questions from the same website of the UPSC.
Q. What should a candidate do once he/she is in possession of both the previous years’ question papers and the answer keys?
A. Once a candidate is in possession of both the Question Papers and the Answer Keys, he/she should read them carefully in order to understand the kind of questions that are asked and how they are to be answered.
Q. Are any Model Question Papers available so that a candidate can practice answering them before the Preliminary Examination for getting into the IAS?
A. The Model Question cum Answer Booklets are also available from the UPSC. Candidates can go on their website and order them so that they can practice answering the questions as they continue with their preparations.
Q. Where should a candidate start his/her preparation for the Civil Services Examination for getting into the IAS?
A. The NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) has prepared and prescribed some Text Books for the schools that follow the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) pattern. They are very good. A candidate can start his/her preparation for Paper I of the Preliminary Examination by studying them. These books are prescribed from Class 6 onwards in the schools that follow the CBSE pattern.
Q. Why are the books prepared by the NCERT considered good for preparing for the Preliminary Examination?
A. The books prepared by the NCERT have been written by scholars, who are experts in their respective fields. They have written these books in a simple and lucid style. If a candidate studies these books carefully, it will not only increase his/her knowledge but also help to improve the candidate’s comprehension and understanding of various aspects of the subjects that he/she is preparing.
Q. How should a candidate go about preparing for the Civil Services Examination for getting into the IAS?
A. When a candidate commences preparing for the Civil Services Examination, he/she should make notes of everything that is studied. This will obviate the need for opening the books again and again. With the passage of time, additional information on the subject could be collected and added to these notes. This will make the notes more comprehensive.
Q. As the notes for various topics get ready, what else should a candidate do?
A. The candidates must read their notes and revise them regularly so that, over time, the information contained in the notes becomes a part of them, and their knowledge about the subject becomes very thorough
Q. Does the UPSC supply the marks sheets of the Preliminary Examination to the candidates?
A. The UPSC conducts the Preliminary Examination only as a screening test to sift out the candidates who will be permitted to appear in the Main (Written) Examination. Therefore, no marks sheets are supplied to successful or unsuccessful candidates.The UPSC does not entertain any request in this regard.
Q. What advice can be given to candidates who are preparing for the Preliminary Examination of the IAS?
A. Candidates have to work very hard and systematically to prepare for the Preliminary Examination. The competition is fierce. If they do not study hard and systematically, they will not be able to clear it and advance to the next stage of the Main (Written) Examination of the Civil Services Examination. Candidates must take care that whatever they study, they should study it thoroughly. They should not read a bit of everything. This will be a complete waste of time. The time available with the candidates is very limited, so, they should try to make the most of it in an intelligent and systematic manner. What is important is that the candidates should spend a lot of time in revising what they have studied. If necessary, candidates should read from only one source, but they must make sure that they revise and re-revise whatever they read so that it becomes a part of them and they have no difficulty in recalling it at the time of the examination. This will prove useful at the time of the examination.
ias MAIN (WRITTEN) EXAMINATION
The Main Examination consists of a written examination and an interview test. The written examination consists of 9 papers of conventional essay type in the subjects, out of which two papers are of qualifying in nature.
Marks obtained for all the compulsory papers (Paper-I to Paper-VII) and Marks obtained in the Interview for Personality Test will be counted for ranking.
The written examination will consist of the following papers:
PAPER-A 300 MARKS
One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.
PAPER-B 300 MARKS
PAPERS TO BE COUNTED FOR MERIT:
General Studies 1
Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society
General Studies 2
Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations
General Studies 3
Technology, Economic Development, Bio-Diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
General Studies 4
Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude
Optional Paper 1
Optional Paper 2
Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks
Personality Test 275 Marks
Grand Total 2025 Marks
(i) The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
(ii) Evaluation of the papers, namely, ‘Essay’, ‘General Studies’ and Optional Subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on ‘Indian Languages’ and ‘English’ but the papers on Éssay’, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance of who attain 25% marks in ‘Indian Language’ and 25% in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers.
(iii) The paper A on Indian Language is not, however, as of now, compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.
The languages and the scripts in which these are to be written are given below:
|Sindhi||Devnagari or Arabic|
|Santhali||Devnagari or Olchiki|
(iv) The paper A on Indian Language is not, however, as of now, compulsory for Candidates with Benchmark Disability (only Hearing Impairment sub-category) provided that they have been granted such exemption from 2nd or 3rd language courses by the concerned education Board/University.
(v) Marks obtained by the candidates for the Paper I-VII only will be counted for merit ranking.
Candidates can choose any one of the optional subjects from the following subjects:
LIST OF OPTIONAL SUBJECTS FOR MAIN (written) EXAMINATION
Q. Which are the subjects out of which the candidates can choose the optional subject?
(ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
(vi) Civil Engineering
(vii) Commerce and Accountancy
(ix) Electrical Engineering
(xvi) Mechanical Engineering
(xvii) Medical Science
(xx) Political Science and International Relations
(xxii) Public Administration
(xxvi) Literature of any one of the following languages:
Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.
(i) The question papers for the Civil Services Main examination are, as of now, of the conventional (essay) type.
(ii) Each paper is of three hours duration.
(iii) Candidates have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English.
(vi) The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) are set in Hindi and English only.
Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination, as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, are called by them for an interview for a Personality Test.
The number of candidates who are called for interview is usually about twice of the number of vacancies to be filled.
The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).
Marks obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking.
ias MAIN EXAMINATION FAQ’S
Q. Who can appear for the Main examination for getting into the IAS?
A. Based on the performance of the candidates in the Preliminary Examination, the UPSC draws up a list of candidates that it deems have cleared the Preliminary Examination. Only those candidates who are declared by the UPSC to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year are allowed to appear in the Main Examination of that year.
Q. How many papers are prescribed for the Main (Written) Examination for the Civil Services for getting into the IAS?
A. Nine papers in different subjects are prescribed for the Main (Written) Examination for the Civil Services for getting into the IAS. The nine papers are of the conventional essay type. Two out of the nine papers are of ‘qualifying nature’.
Q. What is the meaning of ‘Qualifying nature’ in the Main (Written) Examination?
A. ‘Qualifying nature’ for the Main (Written) Examination means that a candidate must score the minimum prescribed marks in these papers. In the context of the Main (Written) Examination, the UPSC has prescribed 25% marks as the qualifying marks in two papers – Indian Language and English. This means that a candidate must secure at least 25% in each of these papers to qualify for his/her performance in the remaining seven papers of the Main Examination being taken cognizance of. If a candidate is unable to secure at least 25% marks in each of these papers, then his/her performance in the other seven papers will not be taken cognizance of and he/she will be deemed to have failed in the Main (Written) Examination.
Q. How difficult are the papers on the Indian Language and English at the Main Examination?
A. The papers on the Indian Language and English are of the Matriculation and equivalent standard. They are not very difficult.
Q. Are the marks secured in the Indian Language and English counted while determining the ranking in order of merit of candidates?
A. No. The marks obtained in the Indian Language and English papers are not counted for ranking in order of merit of a candidate.
Q. While attempting the Main (Written) Examination, what points should candidates be careful about?
A. The candidates should be careful about the following points while attempting the Main (Written) Examination:
i) Candidates must write the answers only in the medium that has been authorized in the Admission Card (e-Admit Card). They must state the medium in which they will write the answers clearly in the space provided for this purpose on the cover of the Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet. If they do not write the answers in the medium that has been authorized to them, then no marks will be awarded to them for the answers.
ii) Candidates must adhere to the word limit wherever it has been specified. If they do not adhere to the word limit, some marks may be deducted from the total marks they score.
iii) If candidates are required to draw a Graph/illustration, they should do so only in the space that has been provided for answering that question in the Question cum Answer Booklet.
iv) Candidates must write the complete answer to each question that they attempt. The Examiner will mark the questions in a sequential order i.e. in the same order in which the answers have been written in the QCA booklet. Please remember, partially attempted questions will also be marked if they fall in the sequential order, unless they have been scored out. Therefore, candidates must remember to strike out partially attempted questions. I repeat, unless a partially answered question has been struck off, the attempt of a question is counted and it will be marked even if the question may have been attempted partly.
v) Candidates must remember to strike off any page or portion of a page that has been left blank by them in the Question cum Answer Booklet before they hand over the QCA booklet to the Invigilators.
Q. Which subjects are considered the most popular optional subjects for the IAS Mains (Written) Examination?
A. The following subjects are considered the most popular optional subjects for the IAS Main (Written) Examination: History, Geography, Public Administration, Sociology, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology and Economics.
Q. Which Optional Subject should a candidate take?
A. Candidates should be careful while choosing the optional subject. They should not choose a subject because it is very popular with most people. Please keep in mind that you are competing with lakhs of candidates for getting into the IAS. You have to do better than them in order to get selected. Therefore, you should choose a subject that you feel is likely to increase your chances for getting selected. Generally, it has been seen that people do well in a subject that they are comfortable with. This is usually a subject that they may have studied at College or the University. The advantage with such subjects is that books and study material are easily available for such subjects. Besides, competent faculty is also available and accessible for consultation for candidates who have studied the subject at College or in the University. Therefore, a candidate’s choice of the subject should depend on what he/she feels most comfortable with
Q. How does the UPSC determine the final merit of candidates who get selected to the Civil Services?
A. The UPSC prepares the final merit list of candidates who get selected to the Civil Services by adding up the marks obtained by them in all the compulsory papers (Paper-I to Paper-VII) of the Main (Written) Examination and the Marks obtained in the Interview for the Personality Test.
Q. Can a candidate choose more than one optional subject?
A. No. Candidates are allowed to choose only one optional subject. Each optional subject has two papers, Optional Subject Paper I and Optional Subject Paper II.
Q. What is the standard of the Papers on Indian Languages and English at the Main Examination?
A. The papers on Indian Languages and English are of the Matriculation or equivalent standard. These papers are of a ‘qualifying nature’. The marks obtained in these papers are not counted for ranking.
Q. Please list out the languages that are included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India?
A. The following languages are included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India:
Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Dogri, Maithilli, Santhali.
Q. How much time is prescribed for answering each paper in the Main Written Examination?
A. The UPSC has prescribed three hours for answering each paper in the Main Written Examination for the Civil Services for getting into the IAS.
Q. Which language is used while setting the question papers of the Main (Written) Examination?
A. The question papers for the Main (Written) Examination are set in Hindi and English only. However, the papers for the Indian Languages are set in the language concerned.
Q. Which language can the candidates use while answering the Question Papers?
A. The candidates can answer all the Question Papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English.
Q. What are the things a candidate must remember to do at the time of going to the Examination Hall for appearing for the Main (Written) Examination?
A. Candidates must remember the following things at the time of going to the Examination Hall for the Main (Written) Examination:
•They must carry the e-Admit Card or the Admission Certificate to the Examination Hall.
•They must remember to carry the e-Admit Card in each session to secure admission to the Examination Hall.
•They must preserve the e-Admit Card till the declaration of the final result.
•They must enter the Examination Hall at least 20 minutes before the examination commences.
•Candidates should note that they will not be admitted to the examination hall, if they reach the hall 10 minutes after the examination commences.
•Candidates should carry only Non-Programmable type of calculators with them. Please remember, candidates are permitted to use only Scientific (Non-Programmable type) Calculators in the examination. They are not permitted to use the Programmable type calculators in the examination.
•Candidates must keep in mind that Mobile Phones, Electronics/Communication devices of all kinds are prohibited in the examination hall.
•Please remember that the candidates must answer all parts and sub-parts of a question, only in the space that has been provided for that question/part question in the Question Cum Answer (QCA) booklet.
•Please remember to clearly cross out the spaces/pages remaining blank in your QCA booklet before you hand over the QCA booklet to the Invigilators.
•Please do not carry any valuable/ costly items to the examination hall. The UPSC refuses to take responsibility for their safekeeping.
1. The candidate is interviewed by a Board, who have before them a record of his career. He 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. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs.
Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
2. The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive, conversation, which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
3. The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers.
Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them, both within and outside their own State or Country, as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well educated youth.
Candidates are allotted to the various Services keeping in view their rank in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and posts.
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED BY THE COMMISSION
The following general instructions are issued by the Commission for the Preliminary as well as the Main Examination:
(i) Candidates must write the papers in their own hand. However, blind candidates and candidates with Locomotor Disability and Cerebral Palsy where dominant (writing) extremity is affected to the extent of slowing the performance of function (minimum of 40% impairment) will be allowed to write the examination with the help of a scribe in both the Civil Services (Preliminary) as well as in the Civil Services (Main) Examination.
(ii) Compensatory time of twenty minutes per hour shall be permitted for the Blind candidates and the candidates with locomotor disability and cerebral palsy where dominant (writing) extremity is affected to the extent of slowing the performance of function (minimum of 40% impairment) in both the Civil Services (Preliminary) as well as in the Civil Services (Main) Examination.
(The eligibility conditions of a scribe, his/ her conduct inside the examination hall and the manner in which and extent to which he/she can help the blind candidate in writing the Civil Services Examination are governed by the instructions issued by the UPSC in this regard.)
(iii) A candidate is deemed to be a blind candidate if the percentage of visual impairment is Forty per cent (40%) or more. The concessions admissible to blind candidates are not admissible to those suffering from Myopia.
(iv) The Commission have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all the subjects of the examination.
(v) If a candidate’s handwriting is not easily legible, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to him.
(vi) Marks will not be allotted for mere superficial knowledge.
(vii) Credit will be given for orderly, effective and exact expression combined with due economy of words in all subjects of the examination.
(viii) Candidates should use only International form of Indian numerals (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc.) while answering question papers.
MINIMUM EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS for the ias exam
The candidate must hold a degree of any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University Under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.
Candidates who have appeared at an examination the passing of which would render them educationally qualified for the Commission’s examination but have not been informed of the results as also the candidates who intend to appear at such a qualifying examination will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary Examination. All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite examination with their application for the Main Examination failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination.
In exceptional cases the Union Public Service Commission may treat a candidate who does not have any of the foregoing qualifications as a qualified candidate provided that he/she has passed examination conducted by the other Institutions, the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission justifies his/her admission to the examination.
Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications which are recognised by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the examination.
Candidates who have passed the final professional M.B.B.S. or any other Medical Examination but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the Examination provided they submit along with their application a copy of certificate from the concerned authority of the University/Institution that they had passed the requisite final professional medical examination.
In such cases, the candidates will be required to produce at the time of their interview original Degree or a certificate from the concerned competent authority of the University/Institution that they had completed all requirements (including completion of internship) for the award of the Degree.
All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite examination with their application for the Main Examination failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination.
(a) A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August of that year.
(b) The upper age-limit prescribed above will be relaxable:
(i) up to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe;
(ii) up to a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates;
(iii) up to a maximum of three years in the 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;
(iv) up to a maximum of five years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st August, 2018 and have been released on the fulfillment of certain conditions prescribed by the Commission.
(v) up to a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service as on 1st August, 2018 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.
(vi) up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of (a) blindness and low vision; (b) deaf and hard of hearing; (c) locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy; (d) autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness; and (e) multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including deaf-blindness.
AGE LIMIT/NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS TABLE
The details about age limits and number of attempts allowed is presented in a tabular format here:
|CATEGORY||AGE LIMIT||NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS|
|General Category||Upper age limit is 32
|Number of attempts allowed is 6|
|OBC Category||Upper age limit is 35
|Number of attempts allowed is 9|
|SC/ST Category||Upper age limit is 37
|Number of attempts allowed is unlimited|
|Physically Handicapped Category
Physically Handicapped Category
|Upper age limit for General Category Candidates is 42 years
For OBC Category candidates it is 45 years
For SC/ST Category candidates it is 47 years
|Number of attempts allowed is 9
Number of attempts allowed is 12
Number of attempts allowed is unlimited
|Ex Servicemen Category||Upper age limit for General Category candidates is 37 years
Upper age limit for OBC Category is 40 years
Upper age limit for SC/ST Category is 42 years
|Number of attempts allowed is 6
Number of attempts allowed is 9
Number of attempts allowed is unlimited
|Upper age limit for General Category is 35 years
Upper age limit for OBC Category is 38 years
Upper age limit for SC/ST Category is 40 years
|Number of attempts allowed is 9
Number of attempts allowed is 12
Number of attempts allowed is unlimited
The Date of Birth, accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognised by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University which extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University or in the Higher Secondary or an equivalent examination certificate.
These certificates are required to be submitted only at the time of applying for the Civil Services (Main) Examination. No other document relating to age like horoscopes, affidavits, birth extracts from Municipal Corporation, Service records and the like will be accepted.
IAS EXAM CENTRES
As of now the Civil Services Preliminary Examination is held at the following centres:
|AGARTALA||GHAZIABAD||GAUTAM BUDDH NAGAR|
|ANANTPUR (ANDHRA PRADESH)||ITANAGAR||RAJKOT|
Q: Where are the Civil Services Mains Examination held?
A. As of now, the Civil Services Mains Examination for getting into the IAS are held at the following 24 Centres all over the country:
i) A candidate who wants to get a Centre of his/her choice for the Civil Services Examination should apply early, because the Centres are allotted on “first-apply-first allot” basis.
ii) A candidate who does not get a Centre of his/her choice due to the ceiling will be required to choose a Centre from the remaining options.
iii) Once a Centre has been allotted to a candidate, the UPSC does not entertain any request for a change of Centre.
ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS FOR CANDIDATES APPLYING FOR THE IAS
(1) For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
(2) For other services, a candidate must be either: (a) a citizen of India, or
(b) a subject of Nepal, or
(c) a subject of Bhutan, or
(d) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
(e) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India. Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.
Provided further that candidates belonging to categories (b), (c) and (d) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.
A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.
1. The Candidates applying for the examination should ensure that they fulfill all eligibility conditions for admission to the examination.
2. Their admission to all the stages of the examination is purely provisional subject to satisfying the prescribed eligibility conditions.
3. Please remember, mere issue of an admission certificate to the candidate does not imply that his/her candidature has been finally cleared by the Union Public Service Commission.
4. The Union Public Service Commission takes up the verification of eligibility conditions with reference to the original documents only after the candidate has qualified for the Interview/Personality Test.
5. Reservations are made for candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Persons with Benchmark Disability in respect of vacancies as may be fixed by the Government.
6. As per a recent decision taken by the Government for increasing the access of unemployed to job opportunities, the Commission now publicly discloses the scores of the candidates (obtained in the Written Examination and Interview/Personality Test) through the public portals. The disclosure is made in respect of only those candidates who appear in the Interview/Personality Test for the Civil Service Examination, but are not finally recommended for appointment.
7. Candidates are required to give their options in this regard at the time of Interview/Personality Test, while acknowledging the e-summon letter mailed to them for interview. A candidate can opt out of the scheme. In that case his/her details will not be published by the Commission.
8. The information shared through this disclosure scheme about the non-recommended candidates may be used by other public and private recruitment agencies to appoint suitable candidates from the information made available in the public portal.
9. Besides sharing of the information of the non-recommended candidates for the examinations conducted by the Commission, the Commission will not assume any responsibility of liability for the method and manner in which information related to candidates who appear at the Commission’s Examinations/ Selections is utilized by other private or public organizations.
RESTRICTIONS ON APPLYING FOR THE ias EXAMINATION
(a) A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Foreign Service on the results of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service will not be eligible to compete at this examination.
In case such a candidate is appointed to the IAS/IFS after the Preliminary Examination of Civil Services Examination of the ongoing year is over and he/she continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall not be eligible to appear in the Civil Services (Main) Examination of the ongoing year notwithstanding his/her having qualified in the Preliminary Examination, of the ongoing year.
Also, if a candidate is appointed to IAS/IFS after the commencement of the Civil Services (Main) Examination but before the result thereof and continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall not be considered for appointment to any service/post on the basis of the result of this examination viz. Civil Services Examination, of the ongoing year.
(b) A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Police Service on the results of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service will not be eligible to opt for the Indian Police Service in the Civil Services Examination to be held during the subsequent year.
Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to the Civil Services Examination, 2018 as per guidelines laid down by the Government of India.
Candidates are required to pay a fee of Rs. 100/- (Rupees One Hundred only) to become eligible to appear in the examination.
All female candidates and candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe/ Persons with Benchmark Disability categories are exempted from payment of fee.
No fee exemption is, however, available to OBC candidates and they are required to pay the prescribed fee in full.
Applications without the prescribed Fee (Unless remission of Fee is claimed) shall be summarily rejected.
The Fee once paid shall not be refunded under any circumstances nor can the fee be held in reserve for any other examination or selection.
Candidates admitted to the Main Examination will be required to pay a further fee of Rs. 200/- (Rupees Two hundreds only).
(i) The candidates should note that their admission to the examination will be purely provisional based on the information given by them in the Application Form. This will be subject to verification of all the eligibility conditions by the UPSC.
The mere fact that a certificate of admission to the Examination has been issued to a candidate, will not imply that his/her candidature has been finally cleared by the Commission or that entries made by the candidate in his/her application for the Preliminary examination have been accepted by the Commission as true and correct.
Candidates may note that the Commission takes up the verification of eligibility conditions of a candidate, with reference to original documents, only after the candidate has qualified for Civil Services (Main) Examination.
Unless candidature is formally confirmed by the Commission, it continues to be provisional.
The decision of the Commission as to the eligibility or otherwise of a candidate for admission to the Examination is final.
It is possible that the name in the Admission Certificate in some cases, may be abbreviated due to technical reasons. This should not cause concern to the candidate.
(ii) In the event of a candidate downloading more than one Admission Certificate from the Commission’s website, he/she should use only one of these Admission Certificates for appearing in the examination and report about the other(s) to the Commission’s Office.
(iii) Candidates should remember that as the Preliminary Examination is only a screening test, no marks sheets will be supplied to successful or unsuccessful candidates.
(iv) Candidates must ensure that their email IDs given in their online application are valid and active.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE COMMISSION
The Commission usually does not enter into any correspondence with the candidates about their candidature except in the following cases:
(i) The eligible candidates are issued an e-Admission Certificate three weeks before the commencement of the examination. The e-Admission Certificate is usually made available on the UPSC website for downloading by candidates.
No Admission Certificate is sent by post. If a candidate does not receive his e-Admission Certificate or any other communication regarding his/her candidature for the examination three weeks before the commencement of the examination, he/she should at once contact the Commission.
All communications to the Commission should invariably contain the following particulars.
1. Name and year of the examination.
2. Registration ID (RID)
3. Roll Number (if received)
4. Name of candidate (in full and in block letters)
5. Complete postal address as given in the application.
A candidate will be eligible to get the benefit of community reservation only in case the particular caste to which the candidates belongs is included in the list of reserved communities issued by the Central Government.
If a candidate indicates in his/her application form for Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination that he/she belongs to General category but subsequently writes to the Commission to change his/her category to a reserved one, such request shall not be entertained by the Commission.
Similar principle will be followed for candidates of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities categories also. While the above principle is followed in general, there may be a few cases where there was a gap of not more than 3 months between the issuance of a Government Notification enlisting a particular community in the list of any of the reserved communities and the date of submission of the application by the candidate.
In such cases the request of change of community from general to reserved may be considered by the Commission on merit.
how to apply FOR THE IAS EXAMINATION
(i) Candidates are required to apply Online by using the following website: UPSC Online . Detailed instructions for filling up online applications are available on the above mentioned website.
(ii) The eligible candidates are usually issued an e-Admission Certificate three weeks before the commencement of the examination. The e- Admission Certificate is made available in the UPSC website for downloading by candidates. No Admission Certificate is sent by post.
(iii) All candidates, whether already in Government Service, Government owned industrial undertakings or other similar organizations or in private employment should submit their applications direct to the Commission.
Persons already in Government Service, whether in a permanent or temporary capacity or as work charged employees other than casual or daily rated employees or those serving under the Public Enterprises are however, required to submit an undertaking that they have informed in writing to their Head of Office/Department that they have applied for the Examination. Candidates should note that in case a communication is received from their employer by the Commission withholding permission to the candidates applying for/appearing at the examination, their application will be liable to be rejected/candidature will be liable to be cancelled.
While filling in his/her Application Form, the candidate should carefully decide about his/her choice of centre for the Examination. If any candidate appears at a centre other than the one indicated by the Commission in his/her Admission Certificate, the papers of such a candidate will not be evaluated and his/her candidature will be liable to cancellation.
Suitable provisions for information regarding use of scribes by the blind candidates and candidates with Locomotor Disability and Cerebral Palsy where dominant (writing) extremity is affected to the extent of slowing the performance of function (minimum of 40% impairment) have been made in the online application at the time of the initial online application itself.
Candidates are not required to submit along with their applications any certificate in support of their claims regarding Age, Educational Qualifications, Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes/Other Backward Classes and Persons with Benchmark Disability etc. which will be verified at the time of the Main examination only. The candidates applying for the examination should ensure that they fulfil all the eligibility conditions for admission to the Examination. Their admission at all the stages of examination for which they are admitted by the Commission viz. Preliminary Examination, Main (Written) Examination and Interview Test will be purely provisional, subject to their satisfying the prescribed eligibility conditions. If, on verification, at any time before or after the Preliminary Examination, Main (written) Examination and Interview Test, it is found that they do not fulfil any of the eligibility conditions, their candidature for the examination will be cancelled by the Commission.
WITHDRAWAL OF APPLICATIONS
No request for withdrawal of candidature received from a candidate after he/she has submitted his/her application are entertained by the Commission.
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about the ias examination
Q. Where should a candidate apply if he/she wishes to get selected to the IAS?
A. The UPSC has a website. Those who wish to get selected to the IAS should apply online to the UPSC on this website. Detailed instructions for filling up the online application are available on this website.
Q. How much time does the UPSC give to the candidates to apply online for the IAS examination?
A. The UPSC gives three weeks to one month to the candidates to apply online after the issuance of the notification. The website of the UPSC contains the instructions on how the online application is to be filled up. Candidates should follow these instructions while filling up their applications.
Q. After a candidate has applied online, what does the UPSC do?
A. The UPSC issues an e-Admit Card or Admission Certificate to the eligible candidates. This is done three to four weeks before the examinations begin.
Q. How does the candidate obtain the e-Admit Card or the Admission Certificate?
A. The UPSC uploads the e-Admit Card or Admission Certificate on its website www.upsc.gov.in Candidates have to download the e-Admit Card or Admission Certificate from this website.
Q. Does the UPSC send the e- Admit Card by post?
A. No. The UPSC does not send the e-Admit Card by post. Candidates must download the e-Admit Card.
Q. What precautions should a candidate take at the time of the Preliminary Examination?
A. The candidate should take the following precautions at the time of the Preliminary Examination:
•As soon as the examination begins, the candidate should check the Test Booklet that has been supplied to him/her to make sure that it does not contain any unprinted, or torn, or missing pages, or items. If the candidate finds that he/she has been given a defective Test Booklet, he/she must immediately inform the Invigilator, so that the defective Test Booklet can be replaced with a complete Test Booklet.
•Candidates must remember that it is their responsibility to fill in the Roll Number and to encode the Test Booklet Series Code A,B,C or D at the appropriate places in the OMR Answer Sheet. There must not be any omission or discrepancy in this. If any omission/discrepancy is found the answer sheet will be liable for rejection.
•The candidate is responsible for entering his/her Roll Number on the Test Booklet in the Box provided for this purpose. Please remember, the candidate has to write only the Roll Number. Nothing else is to be written on the Test Booklet.
•The candidate must remember that he/she has to write/mark all the responses ONLY ON THE SEPARATE ANSWER SHEET that is provided. He/she does not have to mark anything on the Test Booklet.
•Certain instructions are sent to the candidates with the e-Admit Card. These have to be filled in the Answer Sheet. The candidate must ensure that before he/she proceeds to write the answers in the Answer Sheet, the required particulars are filled in the Answer Sheet as per the instructions sent by the UPSC.
•After the candidate has written all the answers in the Answer Sheet and the examination has concluded, the candidate should hand over to the Invigilator only the Answer Sheet. The candidate is permitted to take away the Test Booklet with him/her.
•Rough work should be done on the sheets that have been appended with the Test Booklet at the end.
•A candidate belonging to Persons with Benchmark Disability category (only blindness and low vision sub-category) should not attempt questions where data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc.) is required in Paper 2 of the Preliminary Examination. The marks of these questions will be distributed equally amongst the remaining questions for such candidates.
Q. When does the UPSC hold the Civil Services Examination for getting into the IAS?
A. Generally, the UPSC maintains the following schedule for holding the examination; the specific dates, however, vary from year to year:
•The first Notification is issued around the end of January or the beginning of February.
•The candidates begin to apply from the third or fourth week of February.
•The Preliminary Examination is held around the middle of June.
•The Main Written Examination is held around the end of November or the beginning of December.
•The Interviews are held from the beginning of February.
•The Results are declared around the end of May or the beginning of June.
Q. Is it difficult to get into the IAS and the Other Civil Services?
A. More than 10 lakh candidates apply to the UPSC. Out of them only 1000-1100 candidates are selected for the Civil Services. Out of these 1000-1100 candidates who are selected for the Civil Services, only 180 candidates make it to the IAS. So, the competition for getting into the Civil Services and the IAS is fierce.
Q. How difficult is the examination for getting into the IAS?
A. There is huge competition for getting selected for the Civil Services. Statistically speaking, less than 0.01% of those who apply to the UPSC get into the Civil Services; and only about 0.001% get into the IAS.
Q. How much does a candidate have to study every day for clearing the Examination for getting into the IAS?
A. Candidates should study for at least 10 to 12 hours on an average, everyday, over a period of about two years to be able to do well in the examination.