UPSC Civil Service Exam? Basic things to know before preparation.

Hello Guys, We discussed in our previous post “Why should you prepare for UPSC Civil Service Exam.” If you didn’t read this article please read it first, I have provided the link above.

And now if you have already decided that you want to prepare for IAS Exam then you must know the basic architecture of UPSC Civil Service Exam. Because, You can’t build a strong building until you know it’s architecture.

Harsh Reality of UPSC Civil Service Exam

Government reports for IAS exam.
Government reports for IAS exam.


So, commonly known service postings alloted after clearing this exam are IAS, IPS, IFS and IRS but there are more which are –

All India Services (Group A)

1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

2. Indian Police Service (IPS)

Central Services (Group A)

3. Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS)

4. Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)

5. Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)

6. Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)

7. Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)

8. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

9. Indian Information Service (IIS)

10. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)

11. Indian Postal Service (IPoS)

12. Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS)

13. Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)

14. Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)

15. Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)

16. Indian Revenue Service (IRS-IT)

17. Indian Revenue Service (IRS-C&CE)

18. Indian Trade Service (ITrS)

19. Railway Protection Force (RPF)

Group B Services

20. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (AFHCS)

21. Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS)

22. Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS)

23. Pondicherry Civil Service

24. Pondicherry Police Service

And number of vacancies every year is around 1000 to 1200. And around 1-1.2 million candidates fill up this form every year. And among them around 500,000-600,000 candidates came to the exam center to give the Preliminary UPSC Civil Service Exam. And 10,000-15,000 got selected for the Mains Exam. And now among those, 2,000-3,000 will get selected for Personality Test (Interview). And after this 1,000-1,200 posts are alloted according to their merit list.

So, there is no chance that you get selected for this exam. Accept this if you are not serious about this exam.

So, If you really have motivation, determination, passion with patients then only prepare for UPSC Civil Service Exam.

Because, this is a long and time-consuming process. And if you don’t have patience along with passion and motivation then this exam is not for you. 

And this is the reality of this exam.

Architecture of UPSC Civil Service Exam

This exam is divided into 2 successive stages.

1 – Civil Services Preliminary Exam :

Is a objective type and is qualifying in nature only for the selection of Mains Exam.

2 – Civil Service Mains Exam :

This is a written test of 9 papers and Interview on which merit list of candidates is decided.

Now, Coming toward the Civil Service Preliminary Exam.

Civil Services Preliminary Exam

It consist of 2 objective type papers with 200 marks each. And exam is in between May-June month.

Basically, this is a screening test for Civil Service Exam. And is qualifying in nature for Civil Service Mains Exam.

And 2 papers are –

– General Studies Paper 1 (GS 1) : This paper carries 200 marks and commission decides qualifying marks for this paper.

– General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT i.e Civil Service Aptitude Test) : This paper carries 200 marks and minimum qualifying marks for this paper is 33%.

And both are compulsary papers and both are in Hindi and English.

Now, if we talk about Civil Service Mains Exam.

Civil Service Mains Exam

So, after clearing the preliminary exam, the mains examination will be in between Sep-Nov month.

While, This exam has 9 written papers and 2 of them are language papers which are qualifying in nature. Candidate have to score 25% marks in each language paper.

So, merit list will be decide by remaining 7 papers and interview.

Qualifying Papers :

– Paper A : It is one of the Indian Language Paper selected by the candidates. And carries 300 marks and minimum qualifying marks for this paper is 25%.

– Paper B : It is English Language Paper. And carries 300 marks and minimum qualifying marks for this paper is 25%.

Papers for Merit List :

So, Now coming to the main part of whole procedure on which merit list of candidates is depend.

– Paper 1 (Essay) : This is a 250 marks paper. Candidates have to write an essay on multiple topics. Click here for Study Material.

– Paper 2 (GS 1) : This is also a 250 marks paper. And mainly this paper include the topics- Indian Heritage & culture, History and Geography of the world and society. Click here for Study Material.

– Paper 3 (GS 2) : This is also 250 marks paper. This paper includes the topic- Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations. Click here for Study Material.

– Paper 4 (GS 3) : This is also 250 marks paper. This paper includes the topic- Technology, Economic development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and disaster manegment. Click here for Study Material.

– Paper 5 (GS 4) : This is also 250 marks paper. This paper includes the topic- Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude. Click here for Study Material.

Optional Subject

So, You have to choose 1 optional subject and there will be 2 papers for this optional Subject. Which are-

Paper 6 (GS 5) : This is also 250 marks paper.

Paper 7 (GS 6) : This is also 250 marks paper.

And the optional subjects are-

– Agriculture

– Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science


– Botany

– Chemistry

– Civil Engineering

– Commerce and Accountancy


– Electrical Engineering


– Geology


– Law

– Literature of any one of the non-English languages listed above

– Management

– Mathematics

– Mechanical Engineering

– Medical Science



Political Science and International Relations

– Psychology

Public Administration


– Statistics

– Zoology

Personality Test

So, there is 1750 marks for the written tests. While the Personality Test carry 275 marks.

So, the total marks is 2025 and What you scored will decide your ranking.

So, This is the basic architecture of UPSC Civil Service Exam. i.e

Paper Subject Marks
Paper A (One of the Indian languages listed below, to be selected by the candidate (from the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India) (Qualifying) 300
Paper B English (Qualifying) 300
Paper I Essay 250
Paper II General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society) 250
Paper III General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations) 250
Paper IV General Studies III (Technology, economic development, bio-diversity, environment, security and disaster management) 250
Paper V General Studies IV(ethics, integrity and aptitude) 250
Papers VI, VII Two papers on subjects to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects below (250 marks for each paper) 500
Sub Total (Written Test) 1750
Personality Test (Interview) 275
Total Marks 2025

So, keep in touch, stay focused and stay motivated.While, we will discusse for the detail syllabus and what material you have to refer in the next post.

Buy Study Material For UPSC Civil Service Exam : Click Here

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