UPSC exams

UPSC (Union Public Services Commission of India) organizes a national-level competitive exam  to recruit eligible candidates in the higher civil services of India. Candidates must clear three stages in the UPSC exam, Preliminary Exam, Mains Exam and an Interview to get selected prestigious government job such as IAS or IPS.

Indian Foreign Service
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Indian Forest Service
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UPSC Geo Scientist
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UPSC Steno
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More about UPSC exams

Table of Contents

What is UPSC?

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the central recruiting agency for the government of India. Established in 1926, it is responsible for conducting the Civil Services Examination, which is the most prestigious and highly competitive exam in the country. The UPSC also conducts various other examinations such as the Indian Forest Service Examination, Indian Economic Service Examination, Indian Statistical Service Examination, and Combined Medical Services Examination, among others.

UPSC provides all the information on exams conducted, posts, exam patterns, eligibility, syllabus, results, and other relevant details through the notifications over their official website.

Official website 


Dr. Manoj Soni 

Foundation Year 

1st October 1926 


New Delhi 

UPSC is a vital part of the Indian administrative system, providing the country with talented and dedicated civil servants who work tirelessly for the betterment of the nation and its people. The exam is a rigorous and challenging process that tests the candidates on various aspects of knowledge, skills, and personality, and only the most deserving and capable candidates are selected.

What is the full form of UPSC?

The full form of UPSC is Union Public Service Commission.

List of Exams under UPSC

  • Civil Services Examination (CSE)
  • Combined Geo-Scientist 
  • Engineering Services Examination (ESE)
  • Combined Defence Services (CDS)
  • Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
  • Indian Statistical Service/Indian Economic Service (ISS/IES)
  • National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (NDA/NA) 
  • Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF)
  • Combined Medical Services (CMS)
  • UPSC Steno 

Why UPSC Exams? 

Union Public Service Commission conducts selection process for high calibre central, state and union territory government postings in highly professional manner. The notifications, scheduled dates for 2022 and 2023 are declared well in advance on their official website. There is a separate event calendar for each year for above mentioned examinations separately for each year. UPSC conducts all India services such as IAS, IPS and IFS and other examinations. 

In-depth description of each of these examinations are given below. 

UPSC CSE (Civil Service Exam) 

Union Public Service Commission Civil Service Exam is one of the most popular exams conducted by UPSC on national level in offline mode. Candidates appearing for UPSC CSE should have minimum age of 21 years and maximum of 32 years for Open and economically weaker section (EWS). SC/ST category candidate age relaxation is for 5 years i.e. 37 years and for OBC category it is 3 years i.e. 35 years. 

There are two papers for civil services exam – CSE Prelims and CSE Mains. 

UPSC CSE – Prelims Exam 

There are two papers for UPSC CSE prelims exam – General Studies I and General Studies II. There is negative marking for both the papers and 1/3 of marks will be deducted for every incorrect question. Both papers are taken on the same day, with exam duration of 2 hours for each of the paper. 

Both papers are of 200 marks each. General Studies I will have 100 questions and General Studies II will have 80 questions. Candidates have to score cutoff marks to qualify in prelims exam. The cut off marks for paper I varied each year, whereas for 33% marks cut off marks for paper II.

UPSC CSE – Main Exam 

There are total of 9 (nine) papers with 1 paper on an essay, 4 general studies papers, 2 optional papers, and 2 language papers for UPSC CSE Mains exam papers are all of pen paper format totaling 1750 marks. 

 UPSC CSE Main exam has 9 (nine) papers – all of descriptive type. 

UPSC CSE Mains Papers 



Paper A 

one of the Indian language (qualifying) 


Paper B 

English (qualifying) 


Paper I  



Paper II 

General Studies I 


Paper III 

General Studies II 


Paper IV 

General Studies III 


Paper V 

General Studies IV 


Paper VI, VII 

Two papers from optional subject list 



Total Marks 


UPSC CSE – Interview  

Qualified candidates of UPSC CSE Mains exam only are allowed for personal interview. Marks for interview are 275 marks. Candidates are evaluated based on mains and interview score. The total marks are (1750 + 275) = 2025. The selected candidates will receive four month foundation course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA). 

UPSC CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) 

Union Public Service Commission Civil Services Aptitude Test (UPSC CSAT) also known as General Studies Paper III conducted by UPSC to check/test candidate’s analytical skills. There will be 80 questions of multiple choice type objective questions and is an offline exam for duration of 2 hours. There will be a negative marking for the exam with 1/3 of maximum marks deducted for every incorrect answer. The paper will have subjects like comprehension, logical reasoning, and numeracy skills and data interpretation. 

UPSC IAS (Indian Administrative Services Exam) 

UPSC IAS is Indian Administrative Services examination that has three stages for recruitment – IAS Prelims, IAS Mains and IAS Interview. IAS prelims will have Paper I (General Studies) will have 100 questions, Paper II (CSAT) will have 80 questions, both of these papers are of 200 marks and to be attempted within 2 hours. There will be a negative marking with 1/3 of marks deducted for each incorrect answer.  

UPSC IPS (Indian Police Services Exam) 

UPSC conducts exams for Indian Police Service (IPS) vacancies. There is priority for physical requirements as well, for IPS exam. 

Physical requirements –

For Male – 

Male Height 165 cm – open category 
160 cm – for ST category 
Chest Minimum – 84 cm 
Expansion – 5 cm 
Eyesight 6/6 or 6/9 distant vision for good eye 

For Female – 

Female Chest Minimum – 79 cm 
Expansion – 5 cm 
Eyesight 6/12 or 6/9 for worst eye 
Near Vision J1 / J2 worst eye 
Height 150 cm – open category 
145 cm – for ST category 

Physical requirement of a candidates are tested after personal interview.

UPSC IFS (Indian Foreign Services Exam)

The Union Public Service Commission Indian Foreign Service exam (UPSC IFS) with cadre control under the Ministry of External Affairs. Candidates appearing for this exam should have at least 21 years of age and upper age limit is 32 years for candidates from general category, SC/ST candidates will have upper age relaxed to 35 years are in their final year of graduation waiting for their result. Indian Foreign Service exam is conducted into three phases namely, Prelims, Mains and personal interview. 

 UPSC IFS (Indian Forest Services Exam)

Indian Forest service exam is conducted by UPSC to select officers for Indian forest services in two stages of recruitment, first phase is prelims exam taken in objective type, Mains exam in written mode and final stage is a personal interview. Candidates appearing IFS examination should be of 21 years of age and should not be more than 32 years. Candidates must hold Bachelor’s degree in one of the subject such as Agriculture, Forestry, veterinary, zoology, botany, chemistry, geology, physics, or statistics from recognized universities. 

UPSC IRS (Indian Revenue Services Exam) 

UPSC conducts exams to recruit group A candidates for Indian revenue services of the government of India. Indian revenue services have two divisions, IRS (Income Tax) and IRS (Customs and Central Excise). Candidate appearing for Indian Revenue Services should have a citizen of India, a subject of Nepal or Bhutan or Tibetan refugee came to India before 1st January 1962 with an intension of permanently settling in India. Candidates should have bachelor’s degree from central, state, deemed, open universities or distance or correspondence degree. Candidates should have minimum of 21 years of age and maximum of 32 years. 

UPSC-IES (Indian Engineering Services Exam) 

 The Indian Engineering Services exam is central civil service where selected candidates are class-1 officers recruited for Indian railways power, telecommunications central water engineering and defence services can get posted any place across India. Candidates should have minimum of 21 years of age and maximum of 32 years.  

The exam has three phases preliminary, mains and interview.  

  • Prelims has two papers of objective type- General Studies and Engineering Aptitude Paper for 2 hours and Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics & Telecommunications for 3 hours, first paper for 200 marks and second paper for 300 marks.  
  • Mains also have two papers – Paper I and Paper II in Engineering of descriptive type each of 3 hours and both of 300 marks.  

Successful candidates can get recruited in any of the following government organization. 

Railway Board 

Department of Telecommunication 

Public Work Department 

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways 

Ministry of Science & Technology 

Geological Survey of India 

Ministry of Defence 

Indian Navy 


Electricity Board 

River and water development 

Skill Development. 

UPSC CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces Exam) 

UPSC conducts recruitments for central armed police forces has papers like General Ability and Intelligence (250 marks), General Studies, Essay and Comprehension (200 marks). Candidates appearing for the Central Armed police forces must be a citizen of India with minimum age of 20 years and maximum of 25 years of age, must hold bachelors degree of Indian university. The examination fees of INR 200/- to be paid while filing the application. 

Recruitment of Central Armed Police Forces has following three stages of selection 

  • Written exam 
  • Physical and Medical tests 
  • Personal Interview 

 Written exam for Central Armed police force exam will have following pattern, there will be two papers as described below 

Paper 1 (MCQ) 

General Knowledge and Aptitude 

250 marks 

2 hours 

Paper 2 (Descriptive) 


Comprehension, General study topics, and essays 

200 marks 

3 hours 

For Central Armed Police Forces selection, it is essential for selected candidates to have considerable physical fitness and energy. Physical examination includes competition like long jump, shot put and running race to check physical fitness of candidate. The final stage is personal interview with a candidate and accounts for 150 marks. Candidates are finally selected based on their performance in all these phases. 

UPSC CMS (Combined Medical Services Exam) 

The Combined Medical Services exam is conducted by UPSC to recruit the candidates educated in medical profession for posts like Assistant Medical officer, divisional medical officer or General Duty officers in Government run hospitals and health departments across various states of India. 

Phases of the selection process 

2 phases (Written test + Interview) 

Written exam (Paper 1 and 2) 

250 +250 = 500 marks 

Personal Interview 

100 marks 

Application fee 

INR 200 (Reserved category and women candidates are exempted) 


MBBS graduate 

The maximum age limit is 32 

The maximum age limit is 35 for Junior scale posts 

Also, the topics covered in the written exam are General medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Genecology & obstetrics Preventive social & community medicine, etc., There is a penalty of 1/3rd marks for every wrong answer. 

UPSC SCRA (Special Class Railway Apprentice exam) 

Special Class Railway Apprentice exam conducted by UPSC to train candidates for the undergraduate program in mechanical engineering at Indian Railway Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Jamalpur. Candidates who wish to appear in SCRA exam should have passed first year of B.Sc. degree in Physics, Chemistry or Mathematics and must be of age 17 years and not more than 21 years on 1st of August of the year candidate is appearing the exam.  

The exam pattern is as follows. 

Paper I 

General Ability Test (English, General Knowledge and Psychological Test) 


Paper II 

Physical Sciences (Physics and Chemistry) 


Paper III 




Total Marks 


UPSC Combined Geo-Scientist 

Candidates with degree in M.Sc. in Physics or Applied Physics, Geophysics or Integrated M.Sc. in exploration Geophysics or Applied Geophysics or M.Sc. can only apply for the Combined Geo-Scientist exam which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. UPSC conducts Combined Geo-Scientist exam (CGGE) to select suitable candidate for the post of Geologist, Geophysicist and Chemist Group ‘A’ in GSI, Central Ground Water Board and Scientist ‘B’ and Junior Hydro-geologist. UPSC CGGE has three stages for selection of suitable candidates for the posts mentioned above. Preliminary, Mains and Personality Test. Candidates should apply online for this exam, preliminary test is objective exam, Main exam is descriptive type exam.

UPSC Steno 

The Union Public Service Commission conducts Stenographer exam as a recruitment process to select group B stenographer and section officers. UPSC Steno exam has two stages of recruitment process – written exam and evaluation of services. Candidates with 5 years of work experience as a stenographer and 4 performance appraisal at central secretariat service, or grade 4 general cadre / grade 2 of cypher sub-cadre, branch B of IFS, 2nd grade of C grade of railways board secretariat, or 3 years in central secretariat stenographer, in armed forces headquarters grade C or employees state insurance corporation. Candidate should be an Indian citizen can apply for the post of stenographer. Written test is an objective type exam with negative marking of 0.33 marks deducted for every incorrect answer. The test for writing in Hindi and English with speed of 100 words per minute for 10 minutes, 40 minutes and 55 minutes respectively. 


The Employee Provident funds of India exam is organized by UPSC to recruit enforcement officer or accounts manager in employee’s provident fund organization. The exam will have 120 multiple choice type of questions for the test and medium of exam can be English and Hindi. There will be a negative markings for each incorrect answer and 1/3 of marks will be deducted. The syllabus of UPSC EPFO exam includes subjects like General Mental Ability & Quantitative Aptitude, Social Security in India, Current Affairs, Industrial Relations & Labour Laws, Indian Polity & Economy, General Accounting Principles, General English, Indian Freedom Struggle and Current Affairs. 

Preparation tips for UPSC Exams 

  • Candidates appearing for UPSC exam should prepare well to qualify in the exam. There is a lot of competition from all across India and the percentage of qualifying candidates is only 0.01 percentage.  
  • Candidates should understand the syllabus for the exam and distribution of marks per subject 
  • Check previous exam papers and questions asked in these papers, Read recommended books for the subject 
  • Make notes of the current affairs topics, learn from various sources of learning for difficult subject like videos, note and problem solving 
  • Refer practice session for mock tests, understand the exam pattern, try to solve the papers yourself 
  • NCERT and Newspapers and television or internet are right sources of information. Text books and magazines should be revised and prepare notes from them. 
  • Prepare for spoken and written English, reasoning and aptitude tests for personal interview as well. 
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There are mainly 12 exams primarily conducted by UPSC. the list is as given below 

  • Combined Geo-Scientist
  • Engineering Services
  • Combined Defence Services
  • Indian Forest Service
  • Civil Services
  • Indian Statistical Service
  • Indian Economic Service
  • National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination
  • Central Armed Police Forces
  • Combined Medical Services
  • SO-Steno (GD-B-GD-I) LDCE

10 exams conducted by UPSC in addition to Indian Administrative, Indian Police and Indian Foreign Services (IAS, IPS and IFS) are as listed below 

  • Engineering Services
  • Combined Defence Services
  • Combined Geo-Scientist
  • Combined Medical Services
  • Indian Forest Service
  • Civil Services
  • Indian Statistical Service
  • Indian Economic Service
  • National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination
  • Central Armed Police Forces

A candidate applying for UPSC exam should be a citizen of India and a graduate from recognized university and should be minimum of 21 years of age and not beyond 32 years of age. for armed forces, defence there is need for physical requirements as well. for geo-scientist, engineering, medical services a candidate should have bachelor’s degree or masters degree in geo-physics, engineering or medical sciences as per required.

With the qualifying percentage of 0.01 UPSC exams are the toughest exams to qualify in India. However it is not impossible to qualify if candidate sincerely study on regular basis and has good strategy for the learning.

UPSC usually covers topics related to current affairs during the interview, where as in case of Indian Administrative services exam topics like public administration and geography are best subjects. 

Mathematics is a compulsory subject while appearing in UPSC exam and you should prepare for the mathematics to appear in prelims exam. 

Candidates should prepare for UPSC exam in following manner 

  • Candidates should understand the syllabus for the exam and distribution of marks per subject
  • Check previous exam papers and questions asked in these papers, Read recommended books for the subject
  • Make notes of the current affairs topics, learn from various sources of learning for difficult subject like videos, note and problem solving
  • Refer practice session for mock tests, understand the exam pattern, try to solve the papers yourself

The recommended books with author and publication are always announced along with the syllabus during the exam notification. It is advisable to make notes while reading from one of these books for the subject and make sure related information are referred from internet and publications.

The state of Uttar Pradesh in India has most of UPSC toppers 

In the year 2021, Shruti Sharma scored 54.57 percent in UPSC exam with 932 marks in Mains exam, 173 marks in personality test with a total of 1105 marks.