Do you know that Union Public Service Commission – Civil Service Examination is one among the toughest exam in the world? Of course, many are aware of this fact but have you ever pondered what makes it the toughest exam even in the International level? The current context is developing at a rapid rate and educational status is also increasingly jutting into excellency. There is also an emergence of very high competition among different Boards and examinations throughout the world. UPSC Exam is considered as the toughest exam because of the complexity in syllabus, number of exam stages and toughest competition among different competitors. 

Union Public Service Commission is the main body which conducts a wide range of governmental examinations in India for the recruitment of government services to the aspirant devoted national citizens. Civil Service Examination is also one such exam conducted by UPSC for recruitment of aspirant candidates for the highest rank post called Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service and Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Revenue Service (IRS). The examination is conducted every year with a total number of approximately lakhs of candidates. Due to limited seat vacancy but number of appearing candidates for limited post, after proper scrutiny only the sole aspirant candidates with right quality are allocated with jobs. And those who get through all the three stages of UPSC-CSE exam are prestigiously honoured, highly respected and serves the nation diligently with mighty and power. 

Syllabus for UPSC-CSE 

The syllabus provided for Civil Service Examination by UPSC covers the entire, wide range of National and International affairs/events. UPSC do not merely focuses on Indian events only but also focused on entire range of the world. Candidates should not only possess bookish knowledge but should also possess optimum knowledge Internationally. Candidates should study and cover entire knowledge on Science, Arts, Commerce, intellectual and personal potential, Environmental Education, etc. Due to the complexity of syllabus, one can say the Civil Service Examination is one of the toughest examination in the  world. 

Types of examinations

Civil Service Examination is conducted every year with approximately lakhs of appearing candidates. Those candidates who are appearing for UPSC-CSE have to undergo three successive stages of examinations:

  • Preliminary Examination–Objective Type Question (Qualifier):  The Prelims examination is held in the month of May-June and the result is declared in the month of July-August. There are two types of objective type question papers carrying 200 marks in both the paper with equal duration of 2 hours. Candidates can either choose English or Hindi language to write the answers. Out of total 400 marks, the cut off marks for Preliminary Examination 2019 for General was 95, Economically Weaker Society-94, Other Backward Class-93, Schedule Caste-81 and Schedule Tribe-79. Those candidates who successfully clear this exam will further undergo the next stage of examination known as Mains examination. 
  • Mains Examination: This examination is not merely focusing on candidate’s memory power but also should have quality on intellectual traits and in-depth understanding. It is a form of written examination carrying 1750 marks and comprises of nine papers in conventional essay type questions. This examination stage is one of the hardest stage to qualify for the interview because one has to know the crystal-clear knowledge of the World–History, Geography, Laws, current issues, etc. Paper 1 and 2 are qualifying paper comprising of essay writing, precise writing, comprehension of the passage, usage and vocabulary and translational Comprehension. Moreover, for paper 1, candidates can opt any suitable language that is listed in the 8th Schedule of Constitution. Paper 3 solely consist of essay writing. One has to choose any of the given essay topic, analyse it, understand the core topic, comprehensive, decisive and ink the apt and correct composition for the topic. Paper 3-7 merely deals with Indian Heritage Culture, History and Geography of the world and society, Governance, Constitution, Social Justice, Polity and International Relations, Technology, Economic Development, Security, Biodiversity, Environment, Disaster Management, Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude. 

Out of 1750 marks, the cut off marks for Mains 2019 for General 775, Economically Weaver Society-740, Other Backward Class-735, Schedule Caste-725 and Schedule Tribe-724. 

  • Interview/Personality Test: Those candidates who qualify the Mains examination will further      undergo the last stage of examination called interview. The personality test carries 275 marks. This is an open interview between the candidates and Board for encapsulating the thoughts of the candidates succinctly. Here, candidates are asked on skills, mental alertness, critical power of assimilation, logical thinking, intellectual and moral integrity, cohesive leadership as a public servant, etc. Candidates are asked not on the basis of general knowledge but on personal knowledge. Such questions are asked whether candidates have a potential for good administration of the nation. Candidates should be socially aware of the current situation and should be mentally prepared for overcoming the challenges through their analysed and decisive action. After proper judgement of their overall criteria, the fittest among the fittest are provided with the highest national officer rank called IPS, IAS, IFS and IRS. 

Those selected candidates are given a proper training and then are send to different places to serve the nation innovatively. 

  • Judges: The panel of judges are solely from Union Public Service Commission. They are highly qualified and renounced judges who had the best knowledge to tackle with unknown candidates. There will be one UPSC Chairman and four other UPSC members for judging the candidates. It is their responsibility to opt the right quality candidates for sowing new and innovative seeds in India. They are neither into money power nor into politics and takes the hardest responsibility for the nation.
  • Educational qualification: In order to appear for UPSC-CSE examination, one should not think that they should graduate and take degree courses from prestigious and most highly reputed University. If candidates graduate from any of the Government recognized university either it’s Science, Arts or Commerce steam, one can opt and appear for Civil Servants Examination. 
  • Attempts and age: Candidates who are appearing for Civil Service Examination also have certain attempts and age limitation. One cannot appear the examination beyond the boundary made by UPSC. For General category, candidates must attain 21 years of age but should not be above 32 years of age. General Category candidates can attempt UPSC-CSE examination for 6 times. For Other Backward Castes, candidates must be minimum 21 years and should not be above 35 years. Candidates from OBC can attempt for 9 times. Candidates from Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe, they should attain minimum age of 21 but should not be above 37 years of age. There is no attempt limit for SC and ST if candidates are not above 37 years of age. 

To be a successful UPSC-CSE aspirant, one should totally be devoted and eager to learn new things not only bookish knowledge but also understanding and creative innovatory novel idea for nation’s welfare. One should be consistency in studying and should have the zeal of Zeigarnik effect (eager to learn something unaccomplished and uncovered topic). Sacrifice leisure time, playing games, watching television and focus on the core goal. Be dedicated towards oneself, help the needy, be disciplined and do not listen to naysayers. One should not appear the examination because someone forces you to appear. Be determined and enthusiastic from within oneself and appear the examination. Sow the seed with tears and reap your sacrifice with joy.  

Arise, awake and never give up until you have                                                                                                                  reached your goal.

By Metsongmalem M Chang, Nagaland


  1. Very informative, .appreciated the hard work that you’ve put in. Keep it up.You’ll surely perfect this skill in the long run .keep writing.And never give. Take every opportunity that comes in your way. Wishing you the best for your future .


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