About Civil Service

Exam Pattern

The Civil Services Examination will consist of two successive stages

 (i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination; and

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

Exam Pattern

Total Marks:

Prelims – 400

Mains – 1750

Interview – 275

Final Rank is based on the total score of Mains and Interview [ 2025 Marks]


The Preliminary examination is normally held in the month of May/June. The standard of some questions of preliminary examination is high as some of the choices given are very similar to each other which make the task of choosing a correct answer very difficult.


The Main Examination is divided into two parts – The Written and The Personality test.

The written test comprises two Qualifying Papers, one Paper on General Essay and four papers in General Studies. Apart from this, the candidate must choose one optional subject for the examination. The question papers are of conventional short essay type where each question has to be answered within the word limit and the space demarcated. The written test is held in September/October.


Candidates who qualify at the written part of the Main Examination have to appear for the Personality test held in February-April.

Eligibility Conditions

  1. Nationality
  2. Educational Qualification
  3. Age Limit
  4. Number of Attempts
  5. Restrictions on Applying for the Exam
  6. Physical Standards

1. Nationality

(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 citizen of India, or
  • a subject of Nepal, or
  •  a subject of Bhutan, or
  • a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
  •  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.

2. Educational Qualification

The candidate must hold a degree of any of 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.

 3. Age limit

Minimum age 21 yrs  (As on 1st August)
Upper Age limit -32 yrs

Age relaxation:

SC and ST -5 yrs


Ex- serviceman -5 yrs

Defence service personnel -3 yrs

ECO/SSCO- 5yrs

PH – 10 yrs

4. Number of attempts

General candidate-  six

Other Backward Classes – nine

For others – age limit is there not the attempt limit

5. Restrictions on Applying for the Exam

  1. IAS/IFS
  2. IPS

6. Physical Standards

As per the Civil Services Exam Guidelines


(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’ Services

(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’ Services

(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” 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’

5. Pattern of the exam:


Preliminary Examination (CSAT) (400 marks)

Two Papers:

Paper 1 (200 marks)

Paper 2 (200 marks)
Both the question papers will be of the objective type

(Multiple choice questions- 4 Options)

Test is conducted Offline.
The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English

CSAT Paper -1 Syllabus

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and 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 – that do not require subject specialisation General Science

CSAT Paper -2 Syllabus

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  •  Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem solving
  • General mental ability Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.)   (Class X level),
  •  Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – (Class X level)


Mains Exam (1750 Marks)

Paper A- Indian Language (300 Marks)

Paper B- English (300 Marks)

Paper I- Essay (250 marks)

Essay – 250 Marks – To be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice. Candidate is required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They are expected to keep their thoughts closely to the subject and arrange their ideas in orderly fashion and be concise. Credit will be given to effective and coherent expression.

General Studies (1000 marks)

Paper II- GS Paper 1 (250 marks)

General Studies-I 250 Marks (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country

History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Role of women and women’s organization,

Population and associated issues

, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies

Effects of globalization on Indian society

Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism

Salient features of world’s physical geography.

Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., Geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Paper III- GS Paper 2 (250 marks)

General Studies -II: 250 Marks (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Separation of powers between various organs

Dispute Redressal mechanisms and institutions

Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries

Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government;

Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity

Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;

Mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education and Human Resources

 Issues relating to poverty and hunger

Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

Role of civil services in democracy

India and its neighborhood- relations

Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,

Indian Diaspora.

Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Paper IV- GS Paper 3 (250 marks)

General Studies -III 250 Marks (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

Government Budgeting.

Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers

Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

Land reforms in India

Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth

Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Investment models

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

Issues relating to intellectual property rights

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Renewable energy

Disaster and disaster management.

Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Paper V- GS Paper 4 (250 marks)

General Studies -IV 250 Marks (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.

Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

Case Studies on above issues.

 Optional (500 Marks)

Optional Subjects


 (ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

(iii) Anthropology

(iv) Botany

(v) Chemistry

(vi) Civil Engineering

(vii) Commerce and Accountancy

(viii) Economics

 (ix) Electrical Engineering

(x) Geography

(xi) Geology

(xii) History

Optional Subjects

(xiii) Law

(xiv) Management

(xv) Mathematics

(xvi) Mechanical Engineering

(xvii) Medical Science

(xviii) Philosophy

(xix) Physics

(xx) Political Science and International Relations

(xxi) Psychology

(xxii) Public Administration

Optional Subjects

(xxiii) Sociology

(xxiv) Statistics

(xxv) Zoology

(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.


Interview is for 270 marks.


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