Civil Services Preliminary Examination

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS) among others. The examination is the toughest examination in India with success rate of 0.1%-0.3% with more than 900,000 applicants and also has the least success ratio in the entire World(Only top 0.03% get the prestigious IAS). The Civil Services Examination consists of two successive stages:

       I.           Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination;

    II.         Civil Services Main Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and post. 

Civil Services Preliminary Examination

The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks in the subjects set out in sub-section (A) of Section-II. This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.

Preliminary Examination The Examination shall comprise of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each. The Examination shall comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each. Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions). The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. Each paper will be of two hours duration. Blind candidates and the candidates with locomotor disability and cerebral palsy where dominant (writing) extremity is affected to the extent of slowing the performance of function (minimum of 40% impairment will; however, be allowed an extra time of twenty minuts per hour for each paper

The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies PaperII of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission

There will be negative marking for incorrect answers for all questions except some of the questions where the negative-marking will be inbuilt in the form of different marks being awarded to the most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.There are four alternatives for the answers to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty. If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happen to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question. If a question is left blank, i.e. no answer is given by the candidate; there will be no penalty for that question.

Syllabi for Civil Services Preliminary Examination

Paper I -(200 marks) Duration : Two hours

(1) Current events of National and International Importance. 

(2) History of India and Indian National Movement. 

(3) Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.

(4) Indian Polity and Governance - Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc. 

(5) Economic and Social Development - Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc. 

(6) General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialisation 

(7) General Science.


Paper II-(200 marks) Duration: Two hours

  • 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)

It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.
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