We all might have had dreams to become an IAS or IPS officer at least once in our childhood. Few would have achieved it, many would be on its pursuit, and yet, many would have lost the path. Here are the basic things one should know about the Civil Service Examinations if you are on the chase.

Generally, Civil Service Examinations (CSE) is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), India and it’s a nationwide exam. Attending the UPSC exam is one of the major steps for a civil service aspirant. This exam determines whether the applicant is fit for the post of various administrations.



The very foremost and important thing to be reminded before attempting the exam is one’s Nationality. One has to be a citizen of India. However, there are other services for which the candidate can be from either of the nearby Indian Nations (Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan), who has permanently settled in India.


There is a general age restriction to appear for the Civil services. The candidate must be 21 and must not be above 32 years. However, the retiring age also depends on caste categories.

SC / ST – up to 37 years

OBC – not above 35 years

PwD workers – up to 32 years

General – up to 32 years

Ex- servicemen – up to 37 years

Disabled Defence Services Personnel – up to 35 years

All the categories have relaxation ages as mentioned above. In addition, there is a restriction on how much a candidate can attempt the examination. It varies between 6 (for General), SC/ST (unlimited until the maximum age) and 9 (all others).

*Educational background

All candidates applying must hold any approved degree from any approved Universities, either regular or distance.

Any Medical candidate who is yet to take up an internship is also eligible.

A student who has done his / her degree in a foreign university but approved by the Association of Indian Universities.

Candidates clearing ICAI, ICSI and ICWAI exams are eligible.

*Vacancies :

Every year there are thousands of people who apply for the Civil service examinations. Not everyone who is eligible and pass through the exams are recruited for posting. They are chosen based on the vacancies. Every year for each sector the vacancies vary. It is also based on the caste reservations for the respective sectors.

For details regarding the vacancies, it’s advisable to check on the official website for the category-wise openings in respective sectors.


All the civil service posts have three stages to cross through –

1. Preliminary

2. Mains

3.Personality Interview

Prelims Exams:

This is the first exam that each candidate takes during the examination process. It's merely a screening procedure that determines whether or not applicants are eligible to proceed to the next stage of the examination. Only those who pass this test are qualified for the second round of exams. i.e., Mains.

It consists of two objective type papers (GENERAL STUDIES 1 & GENERAL STUDIES 2), each 200 marks. The applicant must achieve the UPSC's cut-off mark. The cut off mark varies from year to year depending on the requirements and the number of candidates taking the exam.

Below is the syllabus and mark allotments for the Prelims exam.

General paper 1:

General paper 2:

Mains Exam:

Mains Exams followed by the Prelims is the second level in the CSE. This exam is about descriptive type answers. It comprises of 9 papers with a total of 1750 marks.

Below is the syllabus of the Mains exam.

Personality Interview :

The interview round is the last and final round in the CSE selective process. Only the candidates clearing the first and second exam with required cut off marks will be selected for the interview process. The primary purpose of this interview is to test the mental ability and suitability of the candidate for the post. Generally, candidate’s mental ability, judgement making, intellectual, and moral standards, and spontaneity are tested. The interview carries 275 marks, which is added to the mains exam marks. After the three stages, the results are announced through the final merit list, which the candidate can check in the official website.


Notifications and exam dates of the respective examinations will be mentioned on the website. However, below is a time frame of UPSC general schedule months.


There are three categories of Civil Service posts. Under each posts, there are various sub-posts.


1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

2. Indian Police Service (IPS)

3. Indian Forest Service (IFS)


1. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

2. Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS)

3. Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)

4. Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)

5. Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)

6. Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)

7. Indian Information Service (IIS)

8. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)

9. Indian Communication Finance Services (ICFS)

10. Indian Postal Service (IPoS)

11. Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)

12. Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)

13. Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)

14. Indian Revenue Service (IRS)

15. Indian Trade Service (ITS)

16. Railway Protection Force (RPF)


1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service



4. Pondicherry Civil Service

5. Pondicherry Police Service


All the UPSC posts are central government postings, and these are posts that are recruited for services around the country. Presently, these employees receive salary as revised by the 7th Pay Commission, despite which there are plenty of benefits they can avail.

Below listed are approximate monthly salary details of some of the posts.

IAS – Rs. 56,100 to 2,50,000

IPS – Rs. 39,000 to 2,12,650

IFS (Indian Foreign Service) – Rs. 12,750 to 90,000

IFS (Indian Forest Service) – Rs. 15,600 to 67,000

Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts & Finance Service – up to Rs. 67,000

Indian Audit and Accounts Service – up to Rs. 42,000

IRS – up to Rs. 80,000

IDAS – up to Rs. 87,000

IRTS – up to Rs. 1,20,000

IRAS – up to Rs. 56,500

IRPS – up to Rs. 56,500

ITS – up to Rs. 50,000

All these pay details depend on the rank an employee holds under the respective categories.


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