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In the Prelims, there are two papers of 200 marks each. The first paper is based on General Awareness and the second is on Aptitude. The first paper has 100 questions while the second has 80 questions.

The Civil Services Main examination is designed to test aspirants' academic talent and also their ability to present their knowledge in a clear and coherent manner. The Main Examination is intended to assess the candidate's overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding rather than merely testing his memory and range of information.

In 2013, the UPSC revised the pattern of Civil Services Main examination. Now there are 9 papers in the written part of the Main Examination and all of them are of descriptive type. The total marks for the written examination are 1750. The Personality Test is of 275 marks. The Grand Total thus comes to 2025 marks. Aspirants are allowed to use either English or any one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution as their medium of writing the examination.

There are two qualifying papers of 300 marks each. The marks scored by aspirants in these two papers are not counted in the Main Examination. These two papers are:

  • Any modern Indian language
  • English
According to the new pattern, there are FOUR General Studies papers of 250 Marks each with a total of 1000 Marks. So the weight of General Studies papers has increased.

Syllabus of GS Papers is as follows

Paper 1 GS:

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society:
It includes new topics on art and culture, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. - their forms and effects on society. Geography of the world (physical) and social issues are also covered under this paper.

Paper 2 GS:

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations:
Along with a few themes of the old syllabus like Constitution and political system of the country, some new areas like e-Governance, Representation of People's Act, Welfare Schemes and aspects of governance have been added. In this paper, topics related to international and bilateral relations in the old syllabus have been brought under international relations.

Paper 3 GS:

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Security, Environment and Disaster Management:
This paper consists primarily of Indian Economy and Science and Technology. Security issues and Ecological conservation are new additions. Questions were asked from these areas in the old syllabus also but now the syllabus has been defined topic wise.

Paper 4 GS:

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude:
This is a new paper added in 2013. It is a mixture of Public Administration, Philosophy and Psychology. Ethics has to be studied as a separate subject with the syllabus as prescribed by UPSC. This paper would test a candidate's aptitude for Civil Services. This paper would also test the analytical approach and decision making skills of a candidate as they are relevant to administration. Many questions in this paper will be based on case-studies.

There is one paper on Essay writing of 250 marks.
There is only ONE optional subject to choose from the list of subjects. It comprises two papers of 250 marks each with a total of 500 marks.
How to crack Civil Services Prelims in 60 days

Civil Services – the aspiration, the dream that drives many. But, the Civil Services Examination also terrifies aspirants in equal measure. Can the Civil Services Prelims, the first hurdle, be cleared with just 60 days of preparation? Let us find out.

When we look at the pattern of the Civil Services examination, it is quite clear that the emphasis of UPSC is on checking a candidate’s decision-making ability and overall aptitude. Earlier, knowledge was of utmost importance. But now, the level of sincerity and the basic abilities of a candidate are tested. In short, it is your aptitude which is judged.

Now the strategy… First of all, there is no need to panic about the exam. Civil Services Prelims exam is only intended to screen out the non-serious candidates. The right strategy and right implementation would definitely enable to clear Prelims. You should have a positive frame of mind and a strategy that is practical. You should also know your personality well and should try to formulate the right strategy keeping your personality in mind.


For the year 2014,  Civil Services Preliminary Examination will be held on August 24. The number of vacancies to be filled through the examination is expected to be 1291. Applications for this exam have to be filled online and the last date for filling up the application is June 30, 2014 (till 11.59 PM) after which the link will be disabled.

In order to be eligibile for this examination, a candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years (for General Category) on the 1st of August, 2014 i.e., he/she must have been born not earlier than 2nd August, 1982 and not later than 1st August, 1993. The upper age limit for OBC candidates is 35 years and for SC/ST candidates is 37 years.

The number of attempts permissible for candidates belonging to the different categories are:-

  • General - Six
  • OBC - Nine
  • SC/ST - No limit

In the Main examination, papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance of who attain at least 30% marks in Indian Language and at least 25% marks in English
these are the parameters for clearing these qualifying papers.

There is no change in the pattern of the Preliminary and the Main examination as compared to the last year.
Candidates applying for this examination will be required to indicate the following information as well (at the time of the filling up the online application itself)

(a) Preference of centres for Civil Services (Main) Examination and Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination
(b) Choice of Optional subject for the examination
(c) Medium of examination for Civil Services (Main) Examination
(d) Compulsory Indian Language for Civil Services (Main) Examination.

Date of Notification: 31st May 2014
Last Date to Apply: 30 June 2014
Date of IAS PRE (CSAT) Exam: 24 AUGUST 2014

Name of Examination Date of Notification/ Last date for receipt of applications Date of commence ment of Examination and its duration Minimum academic qualifications prescribed Remarks
Civil Services
(Preliminary) Examination

31.05.2014 (SATURDAY)/

30.06.2014 (MONDAY)

24.08.2014 (SUNDAY)
A degree from a recognised University or equivalent. Candidates appearing at the degree examination also eligible to compete subject to certain conditions
Civil Services
(Main) Examination 2014
- 14.12.2014 (SUNDAY)
- -
(MAIN) EXAM, 2014
- 22.11.2014
- -
Civil Services
(Interview) Dates
- 09.04.2014 to 05.06.2014 - -

Download the official Civils services 2014 notification.

NOTE: The dates of notification,commencement and duration of examination are laible to alteration , if the circumstances so warrant.


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