UPSC Exam 2019 Prelims dates released: Read the complete schedule

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 the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) among others. Also simply referred as UPSC examination.

It is conducted in three phases – a preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II also popularly known as Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT), and a main examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven paper are counted followed by a personality test (interview).

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The civil services examination is conducted annually by the UPSC in three stages — preliminary, main and interview. Every year, UPSC releases vacancy details and invite eligible candidates for the selection in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among others.

On an average, 900,000 to 1,000,000 candidates apply every year and the number of candidates appearing to sit the preliminary examination is approximately 500,000. The examination consists of the following each year. Results are published in mid-August.


The Preliminary examination consists of two papers:

Paper I – is a paper on General Studies – 200 marks3

Paper II – is a paper on Aptitude Test- 200 marks

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 in the various Services and Posts.

Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.


The Main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies Papers (Papers II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study.

The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyse, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

The Main (written) Examination will consist of the following papers:

Qualifying Papers (Non-Ranking)

Paper A One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the languages included in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution. 300 Marks

Paper B English 300 Marks

Papers to be Counted for Merit (Ranking)

Paper I Essay 250 Marks

Paper II General Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250 Marks

Paper III General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250 Marks

Paper IV General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250 Marks

Paper V General Studies IV ( Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250 Marks

Paper VI Optional Subject- Paper 13 250 Marks

Paper VII Optional Subject- Paper 2 250 Marks

For the optional papers in the Main Examination, UPSC has a list of about twenty-six subjects out of which any one subject has to be selected by the candidate.

Subtotal (Written Test) 1750 Marks

Personality Test (Interview) 275 Marks

Grand Total 2025 Marks


The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks). Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. (Ranking is based on score out of 2025 Marks). Candidates will be allotted to the various services keeping in view their ranks in the Examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various services and posts.

The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has released the examination calendar for 2019 and has announced that the civil services preliminary examination will be conducted on June 2, and the main examination on September 20, 2019.

Candidates preparing for this exam can note the important dates from the official website or check the calendar below.

• UPSC exam calendar 2019: Important dates

• Civil Services Preliminary Examination: June 2, 2019
• Civil Services Main Examination: June 20, 2019
• Engineering Services (Preliminary) Examination: January 6, 2019
• CDS Examination: February 3, 2019
• CISF AC (EXE) LDCE Examination: March 3, 2019
• NDA and NA examination: April 21, 2019
• IES/ ISS Examination: June 28, 2019

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