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The Union Public Service Commission which is a Constitutional body performs the role of staff as well as auxiliary agency to the Government of India on matters associated with personnel administration. As the main recruiting agency of the Government, it conducts various examinations to select suitable candidates for appointment to senior positions in the administrative system of the country. One of such examinations is the ‘Union Civil Services Examination’ which is conducted annually on all India basis in three stages as follows:

  1. Preliminary test ( in the month of May )
  2. Main Examination (Oct- Nov.generally)
  3. Interview ( March- April )


It is to be noted that the prelims is like a screening test only through which candidates are filtered for the main examination. The marks obtained in the prelims are not included for final ranking in the selection list. It consists of two objective –type (multiple choice) question papers with provision for negative marking. The first Paper is very broad and general in nature having questions for history, geography, polity, general science and technology, economy and current affairs etc. The second Paper known as CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) aims at testing a candidate’s decision making ability in diverse administrative situations as created through questions.It also tests a candidates comprehensive skill and basic numerical abilities.


Following the changes recently declared and notified by the UPSC, the Main examination now consists of only one optional subject (unlike two in the past) and four papers on General Studies along with an essay paper. (See the details in Syllabus).The main examination is descriptive in nature and is designed to assess candidate’s ability to express his thoughts, views and ideas on various important issues related to our environment with due relevance, clarity and precision.


The third and the final stage of civil Services Examination is interview which aims at making an overall assessment of the personality of the candidates in terms of suitability to various administrative positions. The objective here is not so much to fathom the depth of knowledge as is to examine the nature and degree of vibrancy in the personality towards environmental developments.

The marks obtained in Main examination and interview is added to determine the rank of a candidate in the merit list which along with the preference of the candidate and availability of seats determine the allocation of IAS,IPS IFS and many other allied services.