- Civil Services Examination
The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to the various Civil Services of the Government of India, including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Revenue Service (IRS) among others. The examination is conducted in two phases - the Preliminary examination, consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies and Aptitude Test), and the Main examination, consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type followed by the Personality Test (Interview). The entire process from the notification of the Preliminary examination to declaration of the final results takes roughly one and a half year. Usually referred to as the mother of all examinations in India, its success rate lies below 0.5%.
The Civil Services Examination of India is considered to be amongst of the most difficult competitive examinations in the world. On an average, 4 to 5 hundred thousand candidates appear for the examination. Aspirants must compete a three-stage process, with a final success rate of about 0.3 % of the total applicants.
- Stage I: Preliminary examination - This is qualifying test held in May/June every year. Notification for this is published in December/January. Results are published in the first half of August.
- Stage II: Main examination - This is the main test, held in October/November every year. Results are usually published in the second week of March.
- Stage III: Personality Test (Interview) - It is the final test and is held in April/May every year. Final results are usually announced a few days before the next preliminary examination.
The training program for the selected candidates usually commences in August every year.
The eligibility norms for the examination are as follows:
- For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
- For the Indian Foreign Service, a candidate must be one of the following:
- For other services, a candidate must be one of the following:
All candidates must have a minimum of any of the following educational qualifications:
- A degree from a Central, State or Deemed university
- A degree received through Correspondence Education or Distance Education
- A degree from an Open University
- A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to either of the above
The following candidates are also eligible, but have to submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority at their institute/university at the time of the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam.
- Candidates who have appeared in an examination, the passing of which would render them educationally qualified enough to satisfy any of the above points
- Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed their internship
Prescribed age limits are minimum 21 years and maximum of 30 years as on 1 August of the year of Examination. A candidate who turns 21 on 1 August is not eligible whereas a candidate who turns 30 is.
Upper age limit relaxation is provided to candidates as follows:
- A maximum of three years for OBC candidates
- A maximum of three years in case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof
- A maximum of five years for candidates belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe
- A maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1989
- A maximum of five years in case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1 August and have been released on either of the following basis:
- on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1 August) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency
- on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service
- on invalidment
- A maximum of five years in case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1 August and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.
- A maximum of ten years in case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopaedically handicapped persons
The age relaxation will not be admissible to Ex-Servicemen and Commissioned Officers including ECOs/SSCOs who are released on own request.
Numbers of attempts
The number of attempts a candidate can give the exam is limited as follows:
- Four attempts for General category candidates and OBC category candidates under the Creamy layer
- Seven attempts for OBC category candidates
- To SCs/STs, there is no limit on the number of attempts.
However these candidates are requested to bear in mind:
- An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be deemed to be an attempt at the Examination.
- If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, he/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination.
- Notwithstanding the disqualification/cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.
- Candidates just applied but not appeared at the exam is not an attempt.
Vacancies and Selection
Generally the number of vacancies varies every year. In the preliminary examination, the number of candidate selected for the mains is 11 or 12 times the number of vacancies and in case of the main examination, the number of candidates selected for the interview is twice the number of vacancies. As per existing policies, reservation for SC/ST/OBC is applied to each level of the selection process. For example, if the number of vacancies in a given year is 1000, and 1,000,000 candidates appear for the preliminary examination; the top 11,000 or 12,000 scorers will be selected for the mains and similarly, out of those 12,000 only the top 2,000 scorers will be called for the interview subject to their respective reservation quota.
In 2006, around 400,000 candidates applied for fewer than 500 vacancies and around 7,500 got through the preliminary and appeared in the Mains exam. In 2010, 5,47,698 candidates appeared for the preliminary exam.
To secure a place in the highly sought after Indian Administrative Service (IAS), a candidate must secure a rank in the top 80, a success rate of around 0.025 percent!
The number of vacancies in 2011 was approximately 880.
Exam Statistics Year Preliminary Mains Candidates
Category-wise Vacancies(Selection) SC ST OBC General Total 1995 NA(NA) 98(101) 49(49) 165(192) 333(303) 645(645) 1996 NA(NA) 125(138) 57(59) 174(212) 383(330) 739(739) 1997 2,65,761(1,30,198) 89(94) 43(46) 166(215) 323(266) 621(621) 1998 2,71,517(1,22,363) 53(60) 28(30) 114(142) 275(238) 470(470) 1999 3,09,501(1,35,086) 53(63) 27(30) 97(127) 234(191) 411(411) 2000 2,25,555(1,19,398) 54(58) 29(34) 100(128) 244(207) 427(427) 2001 2,56,673(1,38,240) 47(52) 39(42) 97(131) 234(192) 417(417) 2002 3,01,585(1,57,486) 38(38) 22(22) 88(88) 162(138) 310(286)
The pattern of the Preliminary examination up to 2010 was based on the recommendations of the Kothari Commission (1979). It included two examinations, one on general studies worth 150 marks, and the second on one of 23 optional subjects worth 300 marks. Until 2011, when it was revamped, the preliminary pattern was sustained with only minor changes once every ten to fifteen years. It is possible that in the coming years there can be some more changes in the format.
From 2011 onwards, the Preliminary examination intends to focus on analytical abilities and understanding rather than the ability to memorize. The new pattern includes two papers of two hours duration and 200 marks each. Both papers have multiple choice objective type questions only. They are as under:
- Paper 1 tests the candidate's knowledge on current events, history of India and Indian national movement, Indian and World Geography, Indian Polity and governance, Economic and social development, environmental ecology, biodiversity, climate change and general science.
- Paper II tests the candidates' skills in comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making, problem solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability.
The Civil Services Mains Examination consists of a written examination and an interview.
The written examination consists of nine papers, two qualifying and seven ranking in nature. The range of questions may vary from just one mark to sixty marks, twenty words to 600 words answers. Candidates who pass qualifying papers are ranked according to marks and a selected number of candidates are called for interview or a personality test at the Commission's discretion.
Civil Services Mains Format Type Subject Paper Marks Qualifying∗ English language Single paper 300 Indian language± single paper 300 Ranking Essay single paper 200 General studies Paper I 300 Paper II 300 Optional Subject I Paper I 300 Paper II 300 Optional Subject II Paper I 300 Paper II 300 Interview 300 Total Marks 2300
∗ Note: These papers are qualifying in nature and are not used for ranking. Hence their marks are not added to the total. Candidates who fail these papers as per the Commission's standards are not eligible for the interview.
± Note: The Indian language must be one specified under the eighth schedule of the constitution
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. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well educated youth.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Union Public Service Commission Central Civil Services Examination, 2011 Notice". upsc.gov.in. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/603P7XPv8. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- ^ a b c d e "Civil Services Examination - Overview". upsc.gov.in. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/603kACSub. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- ^ a b "FAQs". upsc.gov.in. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/603htCeuV. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- ^ a b c d e "Changes in the civil service examination". Hindustan Times (New Delhi). 21 June 2011. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/604rj8vNB. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
- ^ a b c "Change of pattern in UPSC". The Pioneer. 22 June 2011. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/604vtHWHW. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
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