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All about UPSC

Before starting the preparation, it is very important to have a complete Understanding about the exam process. UPSC generally issues the notification in the Employment News. The same should also be available on the UPSC website http://www.upsc.gov.in.
Remember at every stage of your preparation that this examination is relative. You only need to be better than the other aspirants to get a place in the merit list.
  • Plan of Examination
    • The competitive examination comprises two successive stages:
      1. Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination; and
      2. Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.
      Every stage of exam is designed to test overall personality of an aspirant. Prelims exam is the test of your knowledge. Mains is the test of presentation of your knowledge. It is the test of your writing and persuasion skill. It shows how smartly you impress others. What is the level of your thinking? And finally interview is the test of your personality.


The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks, with each paper of 200 marks.
    • Paper I: General Studies
      • • Maximum Marks: 200
        • Duration: 2 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
        4. Geography of India and the World.
        5. Indian Polity and Governance - Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
        6. Economic and Social Development Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
        7. General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change
        8. General Science.
    • Paper II: Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
      • • Maximum Marks: 200
        • Duration: 2 hours
        1. Comprehension Interpersonal skills including communication skills
        2. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
        3. Decision-making and problem-solving
        4. General mental ability
        5. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level)
        6. Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. Class X level)
        7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
        The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English medium. However, questions relating to English Comprehension skills of Class X level will be tested through passages from English Language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
    • Each paper will be of two hours duration.
      • • 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 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.
        • Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission shall be summoned by them for interview. Marks obtained in the papers will be counted for ranking.
        • The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled.
        • Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking.
        • 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.
    • Paper I: Essay
      • • Maximum Marks: 200
        • Duration: 3 Hours
        Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.
    • Paper II: General Studies I
      • • Maximum Marks: 250
        • Duration: 3 Hours
      • Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.
        • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
        • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
        • The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributors / contributions from different parts of the country.
        • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
        • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. - their forms and effect on the society.
        • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
        • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
        • Effects of globalization on Indian society.
        • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
        • Salient features of world’s physical geography.
        • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub- continent);
        • Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
        • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location - changes in critical geographical features (including water- bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
    • Paper III: General Studies- II
      • • Maximum Marks: 250
        • Duration: 3 Hours
      • Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
        • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
        • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
        • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
        • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
        • Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
        • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary. Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
        • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
        • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various constitutional Bodies.
        • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
        • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
        • Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
        • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
        • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
        • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
        • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
        • Role of civil services in a democracy.
        • India and its neighborhood - relations.
        • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
        • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.
        • Important International institutions, agencies - their structure, mandate. ​
    • Paper IV: General Studies III
      • • Maximum Marks: 250
        • Duration: 3 Hours
      • Technology, Economic Development and Bio Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
        • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
        • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
        • Government Budgeting.
        • Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems, storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
        • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing. • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
        • Land reforms in India.
        • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
        • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
        • Investment models.
        • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
        • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
        • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nanotechnology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
        • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
        • Disaster and disaster management.
        • Linkages between development and spread of extremism. • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
        • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
        • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
        • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate. ​
    • Paper V: General Studies IV
      • • Maximum Marks: 250 •
        Duration: 3 Hours
      • Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
        This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
        • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
        • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
        • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections.
        • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
        • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
        • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
        • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
        • Case Studies on above issues.
        • There will be two language papers, an English Language paper (compulsory paper, but with marks not added to the final score) and a paper on language of your choice (again a compulsory paper, and with marks not added to the final score). One has to pass these language papers to have the rest of the Main examination papers even evaluated.
        • After the language papers would be the two papers for the one optional subject that you choose.
        • Each of these papers would be of 250 marks with three hours duration.
    • The candidate will be interviewed by a Board, who will have before them, a record of the candidate’s career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers.
      Plan of preparation
      You will always know the date of the examination well before hand. So you know how much time you have with you. You need to then know what your speed is. We know this speed can vary from subject to subject. After this, you need to obviously know what all to read. Though the exam demands hard work from the aspirant, it should be “intelligent hard work”. Through the current times, hard work seems to be not just sufficient.
      Enjoy the preparation and avoid rumours
      Do not worry too much about the results and questions etc. every time. Leave it for the best judgment of whoever takes care of it. All we need to do is to have a planned preparation and go about it day by day, one day at a time. Avoid rumours. Rumours about the results dates, cut offs, change of patterns etc. will generally go around you all the time. The less you pay attention to such topics, the better it will be for your preparation. Do not stay alone and grow beard
      It looks funny but only two kinds of people grow beard, one whose love has gone unfortunate or one who is preparing for civil services. Prepare civil service not the civil war. Just try to understand that staying alone or away from people or growing beard doesn’t show any seriousness about your preparation nor they are the sure shot ways to get in to the services. Mingle with people (that definitely does not mean to waste time, you are grownups, you know where to draw a line), stay in touch with friend and family, live your life and prepare.
      Importance of Group discussion
      To understand any topic with clarity, discussions are a great way. More discussions help in giving a pattern to your random thoughts, gives feedback to oneself how much one knows about a particular topic. Discussion is for improving the understanding, not to prove a point or to prove that you’re the only one who is right and who knows everything.
      With proper planning and smart work for a considerable time, it is possible to clear the exam in a single attempt as well.
      Reading hours
      In this exam number of hours does not matters, the main focus should be given on quality not on the quantity. It takes a consistent effort for at least two years to be prepare for the exam.
      Importance of notes
      Notes are one among the most important tools of preparation. If you are not preparing note, it is just like you are fighting war without proper weapon. You should prepare notes of everything which you learned. It will also help you to clear your concept on topics. if you can prepare a good quality note, your performance is now directly related to these notes. Yet, a point to remember is, while making notes, do not blindly copy paste the information. Try to write it in your own words so that the notes making effort would itself be a revising step. Also, revision does not mean some pat of preparation that happen in the last phase, before the exam. Do not buy each and every material that comes in to the market.
      Reading of books
      You should read books to clear your basic concept not just for mugging. You should read each and every topic with cursivity and try to make your thought on a particular topic.
      Strategy of Success
      You should make two stage strategy. First of all you should make a good command on core subjects like History, Polity, Economics, Geography of India and World, Environment, Ecology and climate change and General Science. After that you should see previous years question papers of pre and mains and try to give answer in case of MCQs and write answers in case of mains. You should regularly read articles of current affairs, government, social and political issues and socio-economic development. You should prepare mind maps through creative approach.
      Use internet and website in study
      Please start using the laptops, if you are not already familiar with them. They are essential not just for the preparation but also for all the activities you need to take up later. Any link containing relevant data, fact or information from examination point of view or recent news may be useful. You may take help of you tube videos to clear your concept.
      It will not be easy to keep one-self-motivated all the time. There are huge ups and downs all through. What is important here is to renew ourselves when we fall. Apply formula of bounce back in your life. You are your own inspiration. Your preparation is your motivation. We need to do all this inspiration and motivation stuff, just for performance.
      Importance of memorising
      It is impossible to remember so many things through mugging up. The only way is to try and understand and get conceptual clarity. This will make sure most of the information is retained in your mind. Frequent revisions, studying from the same books/material is one good way to remember more. Practice answer writing through recollecting concepts instead of raw data and practice constantly.
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