The UPSC Civil Services Exam is one of the most prestigious and competitive exams in India. Every year, thousands of aspiring candidates appear for this exam in the hope of serving their country by becoming a part of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), or other civil services. However, with so much at stake, it is common for aspirants to have numerous questions and doubts about the exam.
In this blog, we aim to answer some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the UPSC Civil Services Exam.
Whether you are a first-time aspirant or someone who has already appeared for the exam, we hope to provide you with valuable insights and information that can help you in your preparation.
UPSC Civil Services Exam FAQs
So, let’s dive into the world of UPSC Civil Services Exam FAQs!
When does UPSC release notification for the exam?
- The Notification or so called Announcement for yearly CSE is usually issued by UPSC in the month of February.
- Generally, three weeks’ time is given to the aspirants to fill up Application form.
- Filing up of form is done online.
How many times is Civil Services Exam conducted in a year?
- Civil Services Examination (CSE) is conducted once every year.
- Although the entire cycle of the exam – from Prelims to Mains to Interview and final selection – takes one year to complete and is spread over two calendar years.
- Prelims exam is held usually in the month of June on a single day. The result is declared around early August.
- Mains exams is conducted around three months after the conduct of Prelims exam, over a span of five days, generally in the month of Sep. Mains result is declared by Nov/ Dec.
- Personality Test, commonly called as Interview is the third stage which is conducted from Jan to Feb.
- Final result of CSE is declared by April end.
What is the level of competition in UPSC CSE?
The actual number of applicants vary every year. To help you understand the level of competition in UPSC, below is an illustration basis the average number of applicants who have been filling UPSC form over the last 5 years and the average number of vacancies.
- The average number of applicants who fill up the UPSC CSE form = 10,00,000
- The average number of vacancies has been considered as = 1000
|Applicants who appear for Prelims Exam||5,00,000||50% of applicants who fill form|
|Applicants who are shortlisted for Mains Exam||12,000||12-13 times the number of vacancies|
|Applicants who are shortlisted for Interview||2500||2-3 times the number of vacancies|
|Final Selection||1000||= the number of vacancies|
What is the educational qualification criterion for appearing in Civil Services examination?
A 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 University under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act,1956.
Candidates who possess an equivalent qualification of degree can also appear. As long as an aspirant hold a Degree that meets the eligibility criterion, he or she can appear for CSE.
Can a candidate who has completed education from open school/university apply for CSE?
Yes, a candidate holding a degree from an Open University is also eligible to appear for CSE exam. He 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 possesses an equivalent qualification.
Do post graduates have a better chance of clearing UPSC exam?
The difficulty level of UPSC syllabus is that of graduation. In most cases, the reference material used for preparation of various subjects is of NCERT school level. Therefore, post graduation degrees or higher studies do not have any direct impact on the success in Civil services exam.
Latest UPSC Annual Report (2020-21) statistics based on result of CSE 2019:
- A total of 922 candidates were appointment to various Civil Services. Of them, 672 (72.9%) were graduates and 250 (27.1%) possessed post-graduate or higher qualifications.
- 1736 candidates with Bachelors degree were interviewed out of which 672 were selcted, making 38.7% success rate.
- 566 candidates with Higher degrees were interviewed out of which 250 were selcted, making 44.2% success rate.
What are the relaxations available for reserved categories, physically handicapped, etc?
UPSC have given relaxation for reserved categories in following aspects:-
- Number of Attempts: Number of attempts for General Category candidates are 06; for OBC category and PwBD 09 and candidate belonging to SC/ST category have no restriction on number of attempts.
- Age Limit: Age Limit for General Category is 32 years, for OBC category 35 years, for SC/ST it is 37 years and for PwBD it is 42 yrs.
- Application Fee: All SC/ST candidates ( in addition to Female candidates and candidates with Benchmark Disability) are exempted from payment of Rs 100/- Application fee charges.
Whether a candidate belonging to a community included in the OBC list of states but not in the Central list of OBCs is eligible for age relaxation, reservation etc. for Civil Services Examinations?
No. A candidate will be eligible to get the benefit of reservation only if his Caste is listed in the Notification issued by the Central Government.
Whether the relaxation on number of attempts and reservation applicable to all candidates included in the Central List of OBC’s?
Candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC), Creamy layer category (‘Creamy layer’ is defined by the income limit beyond which OBC category candidate is not eligible for quotas) are not eligible for any type of reservation benefits.
Right now, the Creamy Layer bar stands at earnings of over rupees 6 lakhs annually. More details about To know about creamy layer criteria click the link
What precautions must be taken by candidates for claiming community reservation or reservation for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (PwBD)?
Candidates seeking reservation/ relaxation benefits available for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes/ Other Backward Classes/Economically Weaker Sections/Persons with Benchmark Disabilities/Ex-servicemen must ensure that they are entitled to such reservation/ relaxation in accordance with the eligibility prescribed in the Examination Rules/Notice. They should also be in possession of all the requisite certificates in the prescribed format in support of their claims for availing reservation before applying for the examination, and in any case, not later than the closing date for receipt of applications for the examination.
Is an attempt at the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination counted as an attempt at the Civil Services Examination?
- An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be counted as an attempt at the Civil Services Examination.
- If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, it shall be counted as an attempt at the Examination.
- Notwithstanding the disqualification/ cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the Examination will count as an attempt.
If a candidate has applied for the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination but has not appeared at any paper in the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, will it be counted as an attempt?
No, an attempt is counted only if a candidate has appeared in at least one paper in the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination.
Can a candidate choose an optional subject, which he has not studied at graduate/post graduate level?
Is there any negative marking at the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination?
- Candidates should note that there is penalty (negative marking) for wrong answers marked in the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination.
- For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (1/3rd) of the marks assigned to that question is deducted as penalty.
- If a candidate gives more than one answer, it is treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happens to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question.
- If a question is left blank, i.e. no answer is given by the candidate; there will be no penalty for that question.
Which is the language medium of question papers?
The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) are set in Hindi and English.
Can a candidate write different papers of Civil Service (Main) Examination in different languages?
No, the Candidates have the option to write their answers either in English or in any one of the Eighth Schedule languages except the Qualifying Language Papers Paper-A and Paper-B, which they have indicated at the time of filling up of their online application form for the Civil Service (Preliminary) Examination.
Can a candidate write Civil Service (Main) Examination in English and take the interview in Hindi or any other Indian language?
The candidates, opting for Indian Language medium for the written part of the Civil Services (Main) Examination may choose either the same Indian Language or English or Hindi as the medium for the interview.
The candidates, opting to write the Civil Services (Main) Examination in English, may choose either English or Hindi or any other Indian Language opted by them for the compulsory Indian Language Paper in the written part of the Civil Services (Main) Examination, as the medium for interview.
The candidate has to indicate the language medium of interview at the time of filling up of the Detailed Application Form (DAF) However, the candidates, who are exempted from the compulsory Indian Language Paper, will have to choose either English or Hindi as medium of Interview or Personality Test.
What are the Cut-off Marks for the compulsory language Papers?
The minimum qualifying standards in each of the two Qualifying Papers i.e. English and Indian Languages is indicated in the Examination Rules, is at present 25%.
Is the Indian Language Paper compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim?
The Paper A on Indian Language is not compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim. In the Online Application, if a candidate hails from these North-Eastern States, the option for Indian Language will automatically be disabled in the Online Application.
Is the Indian Language Paper compulsory for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities categories?
Yes, Paper A on Indian Language is compulsory for candidates belonging to Persons with Benchmark Disabilities category.
However, it will not be compulsory for the candidates suffering from Hearing Impairment provided they have been granted such exemption from 2nd or 3rd language courses by the concerned education Board/University.
The candidate needs to provide an undertaking/self-declaration in this regard in order to claim such an exemption to the Commission.