If a student aspires to a profession that brings respect, authority, power, a career that makes one an idol, a career that enables him/her to contribute to the welfare of the society, then civil services is a golden pathway to achieve it. Civil services is one the most coveted career options in India.
A career in civil services gives you the opportunity to participate in governance and make important policy decisions for the country. There is immense prestige and power attached to the services and one travels the lengths and breadths of the country meeting different types of people often listening to their problems and coming up with solutions to resolve those problems.
How to build on the subjects
The school curriculum offers Humanities stream in class 11. Students who are willing to pursue civil services should opt for Humanities as it will give them early exposure to subjects such as History, Geography, Political Sciences, and Sociology etc. which are asked in extreme depth during the Civil Services Examinations. One should make newspaper reading a practice; learning about politics, business and commerce, national and international scenarios and then debating and discussing the key stories. It will not only enhance student’s general knowledge but will also improve their language skills and vocabulary; which all will be of immense help during the preparation of Civil Services Examinations (CSE). Additionally the students should join voluntary teaching programs, NGOs, orphanages to gauge their hunger and will power in helping the needy and underprivileged as the profession of civil servant demands helping the public every day.
List of Services under the Civil Services
There are 24 different Civil Services posts which are filled through Civil Service Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. The allotment of services to successful candidates depends on the rankings obtained in the examination. The three types of services recruited through the Civil Services Examination are All India Services, Central Services, and State Services.
All India Services
- Administrative Services (IAS)
- Indian Foreign Services (IFS)
- Indian Police Services (IPS)
Group ‘A’ Services
- Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service
- Indian Audit and Accounts Service
- Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
- Indian Defence Accounts Service
- Indian Revenue Service (I.T.) or IRS
- Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
- Indian Postal Service
- Indian Civil Accounts Service
- Indian Railway Traffic Service
- Indian Railway Accounts Service
- Indian Railway Personnel Service
- Indian Railway Protection Force (Assistant Security Commissioner)
- Indian Defence Estates Service
- Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
- Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Gr. III)
- Indian Corporate Law Service
Group ‘B’ Services
- Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade)
- Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service
- Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service
- Pondicherry Civil Service
- Pondicherry Police Service
The candidate must hold a degree from Government recognised Universities or possess an equivalent qualification.
Those who are in their final year or awaiting results are also eligible to appear for UPSC preliminary Examination.
One must be a minimum of 21 years of age and must not be more than 32 years of age and the no. of attempts provided are 6 w.r.t. General category. For OBC and ST/SC the age limit is 35 years and no of attempts are 9 and unlimited respectively.
The detailed eligibility criteria is further mention in the below link (page no 1-7)
The UPSC Civil Services Exam 2022 is conducted in three stages namely, Prelims, Mains and then followed by an interview.
The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers of objective type and carry a maximum of 400 marks. The duration of the exam is 2 hours for each paper and it is conducted in offline mode. The question paper is set in both English and Hindi. However questions related to English Language Comprehension skills would be provided only in English. Also, for every incorrect answer, the candidate is penalised 1/3rd of the total marks allocated to that question.
- Paper I – is on General Studies, it has 100 questions each carrying 2 marks.
- Paper II – is an Aptitude Test (CSAT), it has 80 questions each carrying 2.5 marks. This paper is of qualifying nature with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
The Preliminary Examination is meant to serve as a screening test only and the marks obtained by the successful candidates (who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination) will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.
Candidates who qualify the Preliminary exam are called for the Main exam. The Main Examination (a written test) will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type.
Two papers will be of Non-Ranking but qualifying in nature (the marks obtained by candidates in these papers will not be counted for determining the final order of merit). Both these papers will be 300 marks each. The minimum qualifying marks for both papers is 25% i.e. 75 marks in each paper.
The two papers will be-
Paper – A : one paper of an Indian language to be selected by the candidate out of languages included in the Eighth Scheduled to the Constitution. One can choose any one of the following languages for this paper.
|Sindhi||Devanagari or Arabic|
|Santhali||Devanagari or Olchiki *|
Paper – B : the second paper of English, which is a compulsory language paper.
Structure of the language papers is as follow-
Essay – 100 marks
Reading comprehension – 60 marks
Precis Writing – 60 marks
Translation: English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
Compulsory language to English – 20 marks
Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks
Other seven papers are of Ranking type (marks obtained in these papers will be counted for merit). The seven papers are
Paper I – Essay – 250 marks
Four papers of General Studies-
Paper – II: General Studies – I on Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society – 250 marks
Paper – III: General Studies – II on Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations – 250 marks
Paper – IV: General Studies – III on Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management – 250 marks
Paper – V: General Studies – IV on Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude – 250 marks
Paper VI & Paper VII: Two papers in any one optional subject (candidates may choose any one optional subject from amongst the UPSC’s list of about forty eight optional subjects in the Mains Examination) – 250 marks each
The subtotal of the mains examination is 1750 marks. And there is no provision of negative marking.
Candidates, who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as decided by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an Interview. The Interview will carry 275 marks with no minimum qualifying marks. Marks, thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination as well as interview would determine their final ranking.
Syllabus of UPSC Examination
Preliminary Exam (2 Papers)
- General Studies – This test is intended to test the general awareness of a candidate in a wide range of subjects that include: Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and associated UPSC current affairs.
- Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)– It intends to assess the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the occasionally asked ‘Decision Making’ questions.
Here is the link of detailed syllabus of UPSC Prelims Examination (page-28)
Mains Examination (9 Papers)
Paper A and B are just qualifying in nature and will be of matriculation or standard. For the grammar portion, it is recommended that the student glance through the school textbooks till Class X. Read newspapers in the language that one’ve chosen to improve essay-writing and precis-writing skills. Solve 2-3 previous year question papers.
Here is the link of detailed syllabus of UPSC Mains Examination for Paper A and B (page 29)
Paper I to V are General Studies Paper (marks obtained in these papers will be counted for merit). One needs to have a good command over the subjects to excel in the mains examination
Here is the link of detailed syllabus of UPSC Mains Examination (page 29-33)
Paper VI and VII are optional papers where candidates are required to choose any one optional from the list of 48 Optional Subjects which include Literature of different languages.
Here is the link of the list and syllabus of all optional subjects (page 33 onwards)
Do I need to take coaching for clearing the UPSC examination
In order to clear the UPSC examination it is very important to put all your efforts in the right direction. Taking coaching for the exam helps in channelizing one’s efforts in the right way. Good mentorship and study materials hugely boosts candidates’ preparation for the UPSC exam. Along with rigorous self study, solving previous years question papers and appearing for mock tests are also an effective way of preparation.
Recommended books and online resources:
- Indian Polity – by M. Laxmikanth
- Important Acts that Transformed India – by Alex Andrews George
- Indian Art and Culture – by Nitin Singhania
- Certificate Physical And Human Geography – by Goh Cheng Leong
- Geography of India – by Majid Husain
- Oxford Student Atlas for India
- Indian Economy – by Nitin Singhania
- Indian Economy – by Ramesh Singh
- Environment – by Shankar IAS
- Fundamentals of Essay and Answer Writing – by Anudeep Durishetty
- Mastering Essay and Answer Writing – by Awdesh Singh