What is the Civil Services Exam or CSE? Why is it called the IAS exam?
Civil Services are jobs directly related to public service and are widely considered prestigious in India.
UPSC conducts Civil Service Exams for Central Government job vacancies while PSC in each state fills the State Government job vacancies. There are about 24 services which come under the Civil Services Exam conducted by UPSC every year. These services include IAS, IFS, IPS etc.
Types of Civil Services in India
(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’.
(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’.
(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’ (Gr. III).
(xix) Indian Corporate Law Service, Group “A”.
(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’.
Note: You may also read about the classification of services based on Civil Services Exam (CSE) into Technical Services and Non-Technical Services.
Civil Services Examination (CSE)
Though popularly known as ‘IAS exam’, the official name of the exam is UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE). There are many who consider this exam as the toughest exam in India (and even at the world-stage!). The exam is attempted by around 5 Lakh candidates each year. UPSC CSE is conducted in 3 phases: 1) Prelims and 2) Mains 3) Interview. The exam window extends over a year (from June month of a year to June month next year when the results are announced).
UPSC CSE 2020 Date
|The official notification will be out on:||12 February 2020|
|The final date for submitting the application form:||03 March 2020|
|The Civil Services Exam 2020 (Prelims):||04 October 2020|
|The Civil Services Exam 2020 (Main Exam):||08 January 2021|
Check UPSC 2020 Exam Calendar for details.
UPSC CSE 2021 Date
|The official notification will be out on:||10 February 2021|
|The final date for submitting the application form:||02 March 2021|
|The Civil Services Exam 2021 (Prelims):||27 June 2021|
|The Civil Services Exam 2021 (Main Exam):||17 September 2021|
Check UPSC 2021 Exam Calendar for details.
Civil Service Prelims Examination
There are two papers in Civil Service Prelims Examination. The questions are objective in nature.
- General Studies Paper 1 [which deals with subjects like History, Polity, Economics etc.]
- General Studies Paper 2 [which deals with subjects like Mental Ability, English Comprehension etc. This paper is popularly known as CSAT – Civil Services Aptitude Test).
IAS Preliminary Exam Date:
- Date of Notification of Civil Services Prelims: February.
- Date of UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam: June.
Preliminary Examination is mainly an elimination test and hence its marks are not considered for final ranking. Syllabus for UPSC Civil Services Preliminary and Main Exam is given on this website. For more details on the preliminary exam, refer: “how to clear Civil Services prelims?“.
Civil Service Main Examination
The mains stage is subjective in nature as the answers have to be written on paper. The papers in Civil Service Mains as per revised syllabus are as below.
UPSC Civil Services Main Examination as per revised syllabus consists of 9 papers. Marks of 7 out of these 9 papers will be counted for final ranking, while 2 papers will be of qualifying nature.
Mark-Counted Papers in UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam
- 1 paper on the essay. (250 marks x 1)
- 4 papers on from General Studies ( which covers topics like History, Geography Economics, Polity, Technology, Ecology, Ethics etc). (250 marks x 4)
- 2 papers on one Optional subject – which can be from selected from 25 subjects and 22 languages. (250 marks x 2)
Qualifying Papers in UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam
- 1 English Language Paper (Comprehension, Precis Writing etc).
- 1 Regional Language Paper (Comprehension, Precis Writing, Translation etc).
The Civil Service Main Exam marks are calculated out of 1750.
IAS Mains Exam Dates:
- Date of Notification of UPSC Civil Services Mains: August.
- Date of UPSC Civil Services Main Exam: October.
For more details on the topic “how to clear Civil Services mains?” – refer to the link.
Civil Service Interview
The interview is a face to face process which evaluates a candidate’s potential and commitment to society. The interview is out of 275 marks.
Final ranks are calculated by adding Mains (Out of 1750) and Interview marks (Out of 275) and the rank list will be prepared based on marks scored out of 2025.
IAS Interview Dates:
- Date of Notification of UPSC Civil Services Interview: December.
- Date of UPSC Civil Services Interview: February/March.
For more details on the topic “how to clear the Civil Services interview?” – refer to the link.
Civil Services Exam Eligibility Criteria
Click to know about the eligibility criteria for IAS exam. Details about the number of attempts and age limits in UPSC Civil Services Exam is available in the link given.
Civil Services Exam Syllabus
Scheme and Subjects for UPSC Civil Services Exam are provided on this website. In addition to this, the detailed syllabus of Civil Service Prelims, as well as Mains Exam (subject-wise), is also given. You can also refer to the UPSC Civil Service Notification.
Links are given on this website about the recommended books needed for civil service exams.