UPSC CSE - The Path to Power, Prestige and PUBLIC SERVICE

 Best coaching for UPSC is Self Learning or Online UPSC coaching or finding an IAS coaching center nearby.   Before jumping to a conclusion, read on UPSC  Basics Explained.

UPSC civil service examination is the prestigious exam in India held every year by Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) to recommend candidates to the Department of Personnel and Training for the recruitment of All India Services like IAS, IPS, Central Civil Services like IFS, Group A post like IRS, IRTS and Group B post under various Ministries and department.  


How to apply for appearing in UPSC civil service examination? 

In the month of  February, UPSC released the notification on the official website and the candidates are required to apply on the website .   There is no fee for female candidates to apply in order to encourage more woman candidates to participate.  

Stages of Examination: The student has to appear in three stages to clear UPSC CSE.  The first stage is the Preliminary examination where the students appear to write a General Studies paper in the morning(09.30 to 11.30) and CSAT(Civil Service Aptitude Test) in the afternoon session(2.30 to 4.30).  The candidate has to clear the CSAT paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%, technically the student has to secure 66 marks out of 200.  The language of the question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.  The candidates have to mark the answers in OMR sheets filled in black pen only.


For the General Studies UPSC syllabus, the student has to learn Indian History from Ancient to Indian National Movement till 1947,  Geography of India and the world, Indian Polity,  Economics, Environment, Science and Technology and current affairs at the national and global level.

For the CSAT paper, the candidates tested for their decision-making and problem-solving skills, general mental ability,  Basic numeracy and Data Interpretation, Comprehension, Interpersonal skills, Logical reasoning, and analytical ability.

After clearing the preliminary examination, the next stage that will be held after 3 months is the  Mains Examination.  It is a written examination held for five days continuously or with a break after completing the essay and general studies papers.  There will be nine papers to be written in the mains examination.  The papers on Indian languages in the 8th schedule of the  Indian constitution (1) Assamese, (2) Bengali, (3) Gujarati, (4) Hindi, (5) Kannada, (6) Kashmiri, (7) Konkani, (8) Malayalam, (9) Manipuri, (10) Marathi, (11) Nepali, (12) Oriya, (13) Punjabi, (14) Sanskrit, (15) Sindhi, (16) Tamil, (17) Telugu, (18) Urdu (19) Bodo, (20) Santhali, (21) Maithili and (22) Dogri).   You can choose the paper to be written in any of the languages above.  

The paper on English will be of Matriculation standard.  The pattern of questions would be comprehension, Precise writing, Usage and vocabulary, Short essays to test the candidate's ability to read and express his ideas clearly in both English and Indian language.  Both language and English paper will be of qualifying paper but it will be more important when two or more candidates with equal aggregate marks and these are resolved by the candidate securing more marks in the Compulsory papers and the marks in the Personality Test(Interview).   Moreover, the candidate's paper will be evaluated only when they secure 25% marks each in Indian Language and English Language paper. So always be put your sincere effort into all papers in UPSC CSE. 

Essay: Candidates have to write two essays out of 6 essays on multiple topics.  Selecting the right essay is crucial for the candidates to keep them close with the subject of the essay, arranging ideas in an orderly manner, and write the paper concisely, the effective and exact expression of ideas.  The mark assigned for the Essay paper will be 250 marks. Apurva Pandey secured 175 marks out of 250 the highest marks awarded in an essay in the UPSC CSE 2017.

For General Studies Paper 1,  the candidates have to read the topics related to Indian Heritage and Culture, History of India and the world, Geography of the world, Indian Society.  The total mark assigned for GS1 is 250 marks.

For General Studies Paper 2, the candidates have to read the topics related to Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations.  The total mark assigned for GS2 is 250 marks.

For General Studies Paper 3, the candidates have to read the topics related to Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management. It's an interesting paper to read because of its richness in diversity.  The total mark assigned to GS3 is 250 marks. 

For General Studies Paper 4, the candidate has to develop Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude while preparing for the civil service examination and improve their own best values and qualities.  The total mark assigned to GS4 is 250 marks. 

Optional Paper, the candidates have the choice to choose the optional paper.  There are lots of optional subjects recommended are Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Philosophy, Geography, History, Public Administration, Political Science, Engineering Subjects, Language etc.  There will be paper 1 and paper 2 for Optionals and the total marks assigned is 250 marks for each paper.  So the total value of the optional paper is 500 marks.  The candidates have to choose the optional wisely.  Before choosing the Optionals, kindly read the syllabus of the paper carefully.

After clearing the mains examination, the candidates have to appear for a Personality Interview before the  UPSC board.  The Candidates need to fill the Detail Application form(DAF) before and after clearing the mains examination regarding their personal details, work experience, personal achievement, asset declaration, hobbies, Cadre preference. etc. 

Interview for Personality Test: 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 members.  The qualities to be judged on Personality interview are intellectual qualities, social traits, interest in current affairs, mental alertness, critical power of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgment, the ability for social cohesion, leadership, depth of interest, intellectual and moral integrity.  The duration of the interview will be approximately 20 to 35 minutes and the awards assigned to PT is 275 marks. The board members will be cordial and allow you to speak your point. Being calm and composed is the prerequisite for the candidates to attend the interview. The interview will be held only in UPSC Dholpur House, New Delhi.

How to prepare for preliminary/Mains examination

In order to prepare for preliminary/mains examination, build a robust foundation by reading all the NCERTs textbooks from Class 6 to 12 (Ncerts) . Well begun is half done.  Once you read the NCERT textbooks, you will come to know about our physical, economical, and social geography of India, Understanding our origin and evolution of  Indian polity and the Indian constitution,  recalling our history of  India from the period of Indus Valley Civilization, the  Medieval Kingdom to India, Colonial rule in India and the freedom struggle of great Indian Independence,  Understanding the concepts behind micro and macroeconomics, economic development in India.

After reading every chapter in NCERTS, understand the concepts clearly and then move on to the next chapters. Don't rush yourself to finish the book, it'ss not a fictional book.  The first and foremost requirement of UPSC examination is understanding basic concepts.  Whatever the concepts you are learning, you can able to convey the friends or family clearly and precisely. 

Knowing about the current events is inevitable for preparing any kind of competitive exams.  In order to know the current affairs, the students can read the newspaper regularly which helps the students to update the current affairs knowledge as well as improving the reading ability of the candidates.  Choosing a newspaper is their own personal choice, traditionally candidates read The Hindu, The Indian Express, Livemint .etc,  Read at least one among these newspapers for updating current affairs.  If you want to enhance the perspective on any issues. Say National Educational policy, just type national educational policy opinion on Google to understand the pros and cons behind the particular policy.  Visit the  PIB website and PRS website to know the latest functioning, programs, policies, schemes, the act, year-end achievement of the ministries.

After reading Ncerts and the newspaper, you would like to watch videos on Youtube.  You can use the youtube platform in a productive manner by watching Big Picture from the RSTV youtube channel.  

Develop the habit of the syllabus and reading at least five questions every day from previous year's UPSC question paper Initially instead of trying to solve the question, just focus on understanding the questions and the topics asked in UPSC questions.  Try to accommodate yourself with the language and pattern of UPSC questions.  Later start solving the preliminary question and writing at least two questions from general studies and one question from the Optional paper.  " You will master the art only if you are practicing like mastering a language only if we start speaking it".

Books list recommended other than NCERT textbooks for further understanding of the basic concepts.  These are traditionally followed by UPSC candidates.

Indian Polity- Laxmikanth

Modern India- Spectrum

Environment- Shankar IAS academy book

Geography Go Che Leong and Atlas Map

Economy Shankar Ganesh

IndiaYearbook for the  latest update 

Read the books multiple times. The best revision will prevent you from confusion and lack of clarity while appearing in the real examination.  Be confident and self-motivated while preparing for the civil service examination.  For completion of one cycle in UPSC CSE, it took around 2 years to complete.  Have Moral courage, Patience, and persistence to achieve your desired place.  Develop hobbies like Photography, Trekking, Travelling, Movies, Blogging, Cycling. etc during the course of CSE preparation to develop a positive attitude about life. While preparing for UPSC CSE, don't fail by not trying other exams conducted by UPSC like CAPF(AC), CDS exam, Indian Engineering Service if you are an Engineering Graduate.  Good preparation is getting the right guidance from seniors and spend quality time in reading the notification and syllabus, understanding concepts through ncerts, analyze the previous year question paper, reading the newspaper and watching Rstv debates regularly, strengthen your optional paper by reading the right books, regular answer writing practices and finding the right strategy for clearing civil service examination but not doing any research on particular topic/subject.  UPSC CSE preparation itself a wonderful journey.  Prepare and repair your negative emotions through UPSC CSE prep.  All the best for future endeavors.