The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE) annually to select candidates for India’s most prestigious civil services such as Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), etc. The exam cycle spans approximately a year and consists of three stages. In the following pages, various facets of the UPSC CSE are explained in detail, offering insights into the Exam Cycle, Pattern, Syllabus, Eligibility Criteria, and more.

Table Of Contents

  • Exam Cycle, Calendar and Pattern

  • CSE 2024 Syllabus

  • CSE Eligibility Criteria

  • Documents Required for the UPSC CSE

  • UPSC CSE Cut-off Marks

UPSE CSE 2024 - Exam Cycle, Calendar and Pattern

The Exam Cycle, Exam Calendar, and Exam Pattern for each of the three stages of the UPSC CSE is explained comprehensively as follows.

Exam Cycle

The exam cycle of the UPSC CSE typically starts with the release of the official notification by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and ends with the declaration of the final result. The major events happening during one Exam Cycle are explained chronologically as follows:

  1. Release of the Official Notification

    • The official notification for the UPSC CSE is usually released in February or March month of the year. With this, the process of the exam kickstarts.
    • Note: The official notification provides important details such as the exam date, application process, and eligibility criteria.
  2. Filling of Application Forms

    The application process begins following the notification, allowing candidates to submit their applications online within the specified timeframe. Usually, the deadline for filling application form is around one month after the date of release of the official notification.

  3. Prelims Exam

    The Preliminary Examination is, usually, held in the month of May or June.

  4. Prelims Result

    Generally, the Prelims Result is declared around 2-3 weeks after the date of the Prelims Exam. Candidates who clear the Preliminary Examination become eligible to appear for the Main Examination.

  5. Main Exam

    The Main Examination is generally held in the month of September or October.

  6. Main Result

    The Main Exam result is declared approximately 2-3 months after the Main Exam is conducted. The candidates qualifying the Main Examination are invited to the final stage - the Personality Test (Interview).

  7. Personality Test (Interview)

    • The UPSC releases the interview schedule soon after the declaration of the Main Exam result. Usually, the Interview starts around 1 month after the declaration of the Main Exam result.
    • Around 35-40 candidates are invited to the interview on a single day. Usually, it takes around 3-4 months to complete the interview of all the candidates.
  8. Declaration of Final Result

    The final result of the UPSC CSE is declared around 1-2 weeks after the completion of interviews. Usually, it happens to be April or May months of the year following the notification year.

With the declaration of the final result, one exam cycle is completed. The entire exam cycle, from the release of the notification to the declaration of the final result, takes approximately one year.

Exam Calendar

The official Exam Calendar released by the UPSC contains dates of the important events regarding the UPSC CSE. The same for the UPSC CSE 2024 can be seen as follows:

Name of Examination Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2024 Civil Services (Mains) Examination, 2024
Date of Notification 14/02/2024 -
Last date of receipt of Application 05/03/2024 -
Date of commencement of exam 16/06/2024 20/09/2024
Duration of Exam 1 Day 5 Days

Exam Pattern

  1. Synoptic Overview of Exam Pattern

    Stages Stage I Stage II Stage III
    Name of Examination Preliminary Examination (Prelims) Main Examination (Mains) Personality Test (Interview)
    Nature of Examination Objective Descriptive Viva-voce
    • Papers 1 (General Studies)
    • Paper 2 (CSAT-Qualifying)
    • 9 Papers (General Studies I-IV, Essay Paper
    • Optional Paper I & II, 2 Compulsory Language Papers (Qualifying)
    • Viva-voce Examination
    Total Marks (Excluding Qualifying Papers) 200 1750 275
  2. Exam Pattern for UPSC Prelims Exam

    The UPSC Preliminary Examination (Prelims) functions as a screening test and does not contribute to the final merit list. However, it is important to clear this exam as it is a mandatory requirement to be eligible for the Main Examination. Failing to clear the Prelims will result in disqualification from appearing in the Main Examination.

    The exam pattern for UPSC Prelims Exam can be seen as follows:

    UPSC Prelims Papers General Studies-I (GS) General Studies-II (CSAT)
    Type of Paper Objective Objective
    Nature of Paper Marks counted for preparing Prelims result Qualifying (minimum qualifying marks – 33%)
    Number of Questions 100 80
    Total Marks 200 200
    Total Duration 2 Hours 2 Hours

    As per the current exam pattern for the UPSC Prelims Exam, the marking scheme is as follows:

    • General Studies-I (GS) Paper – 2 marks are awarded for every correct answer, and 0.66 marks are deducted for every wrong answer.
    • General Studies-II (CSAT) Paper – 2.5 marks are awarded for every correct answer, and 0.83 are deducted for every wrong answer.
  3. Exam Pattern for UPSC Main Exam

    The UPSC Main Examination (Mains) is a Written Examination consisting of a total of 9 papers of subjective type. The total marks obtained in this examination are counted to determine the final merit list.

    The exam pattern for the UPSC Main Exam can be seen as follows:

    Qualifying Papers (minimum Qualifying Marks – 25% of total marks)

    Papers Paper A Paper B
    Subject One language selected by the candidate from the languages included in the 8th Schedule to the Constitution English
    Total Marks 300 300
    Total Duration 3 Hours 3 Hours

    Papers to be Counted for Merit

    Papers Subject Total Marks Total Duration
    Paper-I Essay 250 3 Hours
    Paper-II General Studies-I 250 3 Hours
    Paper-III General Studies-II 250 3 Hours
    Paper-IV General Studies-III 250 3 Hours
    Paper-V General Studies-IV 250 3 Hours
    Paper-VI Optional Paper-I 250 3 Hours
    Paper-VII Optional Paper-II 250 3 Hours

    Sub Total (Main Examination) – 1750 Marks

    • The two Qualifying Papers (Paper A and Paper B) are of Matriculation or equivalent standard.
    • Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects from amongst the list of subjects provided by the UPSC.
  4. Personality Test (Interview)

    • It is the final stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examination. It is a Viva-voce type of examination wherein the candidate is interviewed by a Board.
    • The total marks allotted to the Interview is 275.

UPSE CSE 2024 Syllabus

The UPSC CSE is held in three stages - Preliminary Examination (Prelims), Main Examination (Mains), and Personality Test (Interview). While the Preliminary Examination and the Main Examination are paper-based examinations, the Personality Test (Interview) is a Viva-voce examination.

The syllabus for each paper of the Prelims Exam and Main Exam, as provided by the UPSC, consists of a list of topics that are only indicative in nature. However, one needs to understand what all needs to be studied in order to cover a topic comprehensively. Thus, understanding the syllabus demands understanding the topics listed therein along with their detailed break-ups.

Syllabus for UPSC Prelims 2024

The syllabus for the two papers of the UPSC Prelims Exam is discussed in detail as follows:

  1. UPSC Prelims Paper-I: General Studies

    • Current Events of National and International Importance

    Current Events of National Importance – News of national importance related to History and Culture, Geography, Social Issues, Polity & Governance, Economy, Internal Security, Environment, Science & Technology, etc.

    Current Events of International Importance – Major news related to India’s Bilateral Relations, International Organizations, Multilateral Bodies & Organizations, International Treaties & Agreements, etc.

    • History of India and Indian National Movement

    Ancient History of India – Pre-History Period; Indus Valley Civilization; Vedic Period; Rise of Heterodox Sects such as Buddhism, Jainism, etc; Pre-Mauryan Period, Mauryan Period & Post-Mauryan Period; Gupta Period; Post-Gupta Period, etc

    Medieval History of India – Early Medieval India; Delhi Sultanate; Mughal Period; Maratha Kingdom etc

    History of Modern India – Period from the decline of Mughals upto establishment of British Rule in India; Revolt of 1857; Rise of Nationalism; India’s Freedom Struggle etc

    • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, and Economic Geography of India and the World

    Physical Geography – Latitude & Longitude; Geomorphology; Oceanography; Climatology; Biogeography; Environmental Geography

    Social and Economic Geography – Human population and its distribution and growth; Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and Quaternary activities; Distribution of Minerals in India and the World; Location of Industries in India and the World; Agriculture in India and the World; Energy Resources, Transport etc in India and World.

    World Geography – The continents and major geographic features therein such as Mountains, Plateaus, Rivers, etc.

    Indian Geography – Physiographic Divisions of India; Drainage System of India; Indian Climate; Soils and Vegetations of India

    • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

    Constitution of India – The Indian Constitution, its evolution and salient features; Preamble to the Indian Constitution; Citizenship; Fundamental Rights; Directive Principles of State Policy; Fundamental Duties; Amendment of the Constitution, etc

    Federal System of Government – Federalism; Centre-State Relations; Inter-State Relations; Emergency Provisions etc

    Legislature – Parliament; Parliamentary Committees; State Legislature; Major issues related to Legislature.

    Executive – President; Vice President; Union Council of Ministers; Governor; State Council of Ministers; Local Self Governments including Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies.

    Judiciary – Supreme Court; High Court; Subordinate Courts; Major issues related to Indian Judiciary

    Other areas – Major Constitutional Bodies; Major Non-Constitutional Bodies; Elections and Political Parties etc

    • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

    Fundamentals of Economics – Factors of Production; Law of Demand and Supply; National Income Accounting etc

    Growth and Development – Human Development; Poverty, Inequality and Inclusive Growth; Employment and Skill Development etc

    Fiscal Policy in India – Development Planning and NITI Aayog; Government Annual Budgeting; Taxation System in India; Inflation; Business Cycles etc

    Monetary Policy in India – Money and its supply; Reserve Bank of India and Banking System in India etc

    Financial System in India – Money Market; Capital Market

    Sectors of Indian Economy – Agriculture; Manufacturing and Industries; Service Sector etc

    External Sector – Foreign Trade; Balance of Payment; Foreign Exchange, Foreign Investment etc

    International Economic Organizations – World Bank; International Monetary Fund (IMF); World Trade Organization (WTO) etc

    Other areas – Infrastructure such as Transport, Energy, etc; Investment Models, etc

    • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.

    Fundamental of Ecology and Ecosystem – basic terminologies such as Ecology, Ecosystem, Species, Speciation, Succession etc

    Biodiversity – Animal Diversity, Plant Diversity and Marine Organisms in India and the World, etc

    Protection and Conservation of Biodiversity – Protected Area Networks in India such as National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, etc; Other Indian efforts for biodiversity conservation such as Environmental Acts & Policies, Environmental Institutions, etc; Global initiatives for biodiversity conservation such as Man And Biosphere (MAB) program, international environmental organizations and conventions, etc

    Environmental Pollution – types of Pollution; Climate Change, Global Warming, Acid Rain, etc; Indian and international efforts to fight Climate Change.

    Other areas – Farming Systems, Irrigation Systems, etc which aid in environmental protection

    • General Science

    Biology – Cell Biology; Genetics; Human Physiology; Health and Diseases

    Physics – Force and Laws of Motion; Work, Energy and Power; Fluids; Heat & Temperature; Wave Motion; Sound; Optics; Electrostatics; Magnetism etc.

    Chemistry – Matter & its states; Structure of Atom; Classification of Elements; Chemical Reactions; Chemistry in everyday life.

  2. UPSC Prelims Paper-II: CSAT

    • Comprehension

    Reading Passages and answering questions based on them.

    • Interpersonal Skills including Communication Skills

    Verbal Interpretations; Analogies; Critical Reasoning etc

    • Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability

    Sequence & Series; Coding & Decoding; Blood Relations

    Venn Diagrams; Distance & Directions; Seating Arrangements; Puzzles

    • Decision Making and Problem Solving

    Ethical dilemmas and hypothetical questions based on them

    • General Mental Ability

    Profit & Loss; Mixture & Alligations; Time & Work; Time & Distance

    Geometry; Mensuration & Area

    Partnerships; Clocks; Dices etc

    • Basic Numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level)

    Number Systems; LCM & HCF; Averages; Fractions; Ratio & Proportion

    Averages; Percentage; Simple & Compound Interests etc

    • Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class X level)

    Pie Charts, Bar Graph, Line Graph, Tables etc.

Syllabus for UPSC Main 2024

The syllabus for the 9 papers of the UPSC Main Exam is discussed in detail as follows:

  1. UPSC Main Paper-A: Indian Languages

    • Comprehension of given passages
    • Precis Writing
    • Usage and Vocabulary
    • Short Essays
    • Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa
  2. UPSC Main Paper-B: English

    • Comprehension of given passages
    • Precis Writing
    • Usage and Vocabulary
    • Short Essays
  3. UPSC Main Paper-I: Essay

    • This paper expects the candidates to write essays on multiple topics. As per the current pattern, the Essay Paper is divided into two sections having multiple topics. The candidate is expected to write essays on two topics, choosing one from each of the two sections.
    • The UPSC expects that the essays are presented as an effective expression of ideas that are relevant to the topic and are arranged in an orderly fashion.
  4. UPSC Main Paper-II: General Studies-I

    • The title for this paper, as given by the UPSC, is - Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society
    • The topics given as part of the syllabus for the Main General Studies-I paper and their detailed break-ups are presented as follows:
    • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

    Visual Arts Forms – Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, etc

    Performing Art Forms – Dance, Music, Theatre, Puppetry, etc

    Literature – Important Literary Works of major languages such as Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, Tamil etc

    Miscellaneous – Buddhism, Jainism, Schools of Philosophy, Sufi Movement, Bhakti Movement, etc.

    • Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- Significant Events, Personalities, Issues.

    Significant Events – Major developments during the period from the decline of the Mughals up to establishment of British Rule in India; the Revolt of 1857, etc

    Personalities - Views and Contributions of prominent Indian historical figures such as Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore, etc

    Issues – Impact of British Policies in India related to Economy, Education, Press, Land, etc

    • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

    Rise of Nationalism; Pre-Gandhian and Gandhian Movements

    Role of different sections of society in India’s freedom struggle such as those of Peasants, Tribals, Women, Leftists, etc

    • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

    Partition; Integration of Princely States; Reorganization of States; Major developments during the eras of all the Prime Ministers of India

    Evolution of planning and economic development; Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy; Rise of Popular Movements in India

    • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

    Beginning of the Modern Age; the Rise of Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution; Revolutionary and Nationalist Movements such as the American Revolution, French Revolution, etc.

    Imperialism and Colonialism; World War-I; Major developments during World War-I to World War-II such as the rise of Fascism, the emergence of the Soviet Union, etc; World War-II; Major developments after World War-II such as Cold War, rise of NAM, etc

    • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India

    Major elements of the diversity of Indian Society such as Caste, Religion, Languages, etc, and issues related to them.

    • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies

    Evolution of the Women’s Liberation Movement from the middle of the 18th century upto now.

    Issues arising out of the high rate of population growth such as poverty, migration, etc, and measures to control population growth.

    Social issues arising out of a developmental processes such as Regional Divide, Rural Backwardness, Urbanization, and related issues such as the development of slums, etc

    • Effects of globalization on Indian society

    Different phases of Globalization and their impacts on India’s Culture, Religion, Politics etc

    • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism

    Challenges faced by vulnerable sections of Indian society such as Women, Children, Minorities, Dalits, etc

    Evolution of Communalism and Regionalism and challenges posed by them; Basic tenets of Indian Secularism

    • Salient features of world’s physical geography

    Physical Geography – Latitude & Longitude; Geomorphology; Oceanography; Climatology; Biogeography; Environmental Geography

    • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

    Key natural resources such as Major Minerals, Energy Resources etc and their distribution in India and the World.

    Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and Quaternary industries and factors influencing their locations in India and the World.

    Other facets of Social and Economic Geography such as growth & distribution of population, agriculture, transport, etc

    • Important Geophysical Phenomena such as Earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic Activity, Cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes

    Geographic phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunamis, etc, their genesis, impacts, etc.

    World Geography – The continents and major geographic features therein such as Mountains, Plateaus, Rivers, etc.

    Indian Geography – Physiographic Divisions of India; Drainage System of India; Indian Climate; Soils and Vegetations of India.

  5. UPSC Main Paper-III: General Studies-II

    • The title for this paper, as given by the UPSC, is - Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

    • The topics given as part of the syllabus for the Main General Studies-II paper and their detailed break-ups are presented as follows:

    • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

    Evolution and salient features of Constitution; Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policies, Fundamental Duties; Process of amendment, Basic Structure.

    • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

    Indian Federalism and its features; Centre-state relations and related issues; Inter-state relations and related issues; Cooperative Federalism; Emergency provisions etc

    73rd Constitutional Amendment, PRIs and issues faced by them; 74th Constitutional Amendment, ULBs and issues faced by them.

    • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

    Doctrine of separation of powers and constitutional provisions related to it; System of checks and balances

    Functional overlaps among various organs of the government and issues arising out of it; Dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions such as Inter-State Council, Judiciary, NITI Aayog, etc

    • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

    Major sources of Indian Constitution; Comparison of major features of Indian Constitution vis-a-vis that of other democracies

    • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

    Structure, functions, and major issues related to Parliament and State Legislatures such as misuse of Money Bill, inadequate control of Legislature over Executive, etc;

    Parliamentary Committees; Sovereignty of Parliament; Parliamentary Privileges, etc

    • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

    Executive - Powers and functions of President and Governor; Parliamentary System of Government and functioning of Union and State Council of Ministers.

    Judiciary - Powers and functions of the Supreme Court and High Courts and issues related to them such as Judicial Accountability, Judicial Overreach etc.

    Subordinate Courts, their structures and functions; Lok Adalats, Gram Nyayalayas, etc

    Pressure Groups, their functions, and significance.

    • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

    Major provisions of Representation of People’s Acts of 1950 and 1951; Election System in India and issues related to it such as Model Code of Conduct, Criminalization of Politics, etc

    • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

    Major Constitutional Bodies of India such as the Election Commission of India, Finance Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, etc, their functions and issues relating to them.

    • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

    Major Statutory Bodies such as the Securities Exchange Board of India, National Human Rights Commission, etc, their functions and issues related to them

    Major Regulatory Bodies such as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Competition Commission of India, etc, their functions and issues related to them

    Major Quasi-Judicial Bodies such as the National Green Tribunal, Central Information Commission, etc, their functions, and issues related to them

    • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

    Major schemes and policies of the government related to areas such as Drinking Water, Sanitation, etc, and remaining challenges

    • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

    Civil Society Organizations, NGOs, SHGs, etc, their functions, significance, and issues related to them; Participatory governance and people’s participation in governance

    • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

    Vulnerable sections such as Women, Children, SCs, etc, challenges faced by them and initiatives taken for their betterment.

    • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

    Major schemes and policies of the government related to Health, Education, Employment, Skill Development, etc, and remaining challenges.

    • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

    Poverty, its causes, implications, and steps taken to alleviate poverty.

    • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

    Transparency and Accountability, their meaning, significance, and steps taken to promote them; Corruption in India.

    e-Governance, its meaning, significance and applications, challenges in implementation, etc

    Citizen Charter, its meaning, benefits, challenges in its implementation, etc

    • Role of civil services in a democracy

    Role of Civil Services in governance; Reforms in civil services, its need, and recommendations of major committees thereon

    • India and its neighborhood- relations

    India’s bilateral relationship with its neighboring countries such as Pakistan, China, Nepal, etc.

    • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

    India’s bilateral relationship with major countries of its interests such as Russia, USA, etc

    Regional and Global Groupings such as BRICS, SAARC, G-20, etc

    • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

    Major developments from across the globe which impact India’s interests such as Ukraine War, change in US Visa Policy, etc

    Indian Diaspora, their roles in promoting India’s interests, challenges faced by them, etc

    • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

    International bodies such as the UN, IMF, WHO, etc, their structure, functions, challenges faced by them, etc.

  6. UPSC Main Paper-IV: General Studies-III

    • The title for this paper, as given by the UPSC, is - Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

    • The topics given as part of the syllabus for Main General Studies-III paper and their detailed break-ups are presented as follows:

    • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

    Planning in India, its achievements & failures, and challenges faced; primary tools for mobilization of resources such as government budgeting, taxation, disinvestment, etc

    Growth path of the Indian economy from independence till now, and issues related to it such as Regional Disparity.

    Employment and skill development, challenges therein, and initiatives taken to promote them

    • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

    Inclusive growth, challenges and initiatives taken; Issues related to inclusive growth such as poverty, income inequality, etc

    • Government Budgeting.

    Government Budget, its types, issues with budgeting process, and issues related to it such as Gender Budgeting; Other Fiscal Policies of the government.

    • Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, - different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

    Major crops of India such as Rice, Wheat, etc and their cropping pattern across the country.

    Major types of irrigation system prevalent in India, and issues therein

    Storage, transport and marketing of agricultural goods, their needs and issues therein

    • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

    Different types of agricultural subsidies, their needs and issues therein

    Agricultural price policies of the government; MSP, its needs and issues therein

    PDS, its needs, limitations, and initiatives taken to revamp it.

    Food Security, present status in India, challenges associated with it, steps taken to achieve it such as Buffer Stock, and related issues such as Hunger, Food Safety, etc

    Major technology missions related to agriculture in India such as Green Revolution, National Mission on Agricultural Extension & Technology, promotion of Farm Mechanisation, etc

    Livestock sector, its significance, challenges faced by it, and steps taken

    • Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

    Food Processing Industries, its potential and present status in India, its significance for India, challenges faced by it, and steps taken.

    • Land reforms in India.

    Factors necessitating land reform in India, its progress, and challenges coming in its way.

    • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

    Liberalization, policy changes made under it and their impacts on different sectors of the economy such as external trade, foreign investment, agriculture, etc.

    Industrial Policy, its need and evolution from the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1948 through the New Industrial Policy of 1991 up to the present.

    • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

    Major industrial infrastructures as mentioned above, steps taken for their development, challenges coming in the way such as their financing, land constraints, etc, and other issues related to them.

    • Investment models.

    Need for investment in the Indian economy, its types such as FDI, and issues related to it.

    Types of investment models such as PPP, their advantages and limitations, and steps taken to promote them

    • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

    Major emerging technologies such as 5G, IoT, etc, their applications and impacts.

    Role of Science & Technology in areas such as Health, Education, Agriculture, etc, major developments in those directions and issues arising out of them

    • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

    Development of science & technology in India since the 1950s upto now, and major achievements such as atomic energy, missiles, space, etc

    Steps taken towards indigenization of technologies in major sectors such as Defense, Manufacturing, etc

    • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

    Major developments in the fields of IT & Computers, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology, etc such as GM Crops, AI, etc, their applications, and issues related to them.

    Intellectual Property Rights such as Patent, GI, etc, their benefits, and issues related to them.

    • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

    Efforts taken for the conservation of natural resources such as forests, wildlife, rivers, etc at India and international levels.

    Environmental pollution, its major types, causes, and their impacts such as Global Warming, Ozone Depletion, etc.

    Environmental Impact Assessment, its need, initiatives taken, and challenges faced

    • Disaster and disaster management.

    Basic concepts related to Natural Hazards, Disasters, and Disaster Management; Different phases of disaster management, steps taken in India such as the Disaster Management Act of 2005

    Major types of disasters concerning India such as Flood, Drought, and Earthquake, etc, their causes, impacts, and steps taken to mitigate them

    • Linkages between development and spread of extremism

    Relation between developmental issues and rise of extremism; Various forms of extremism in India such as Left-Wing Extremism, Insurgency, etc, factors helping their rise, challenges posed by them, steps taken to contain them, and remaining challenges.

    • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

    Security challenges posed by external state actors such as those by Pakistan, China, etc; Security challenges posed by non-state actors such as Terrorism, Smuggling, etc.

    • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention

    Security challenges posed by social media and other forms of media such as propagation of extremism, rumor-mongering, etc

    Cyber security, its significance, steps taken and challenges faced

    Money laundering, its process, challenges posed by it and steps taken

    • Security challenges and their management in border areas - linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

    Land and Coastal Borders of India, challenges in their management, and steps taken

    Organized crimes, their types such as Trafficking, Smuggling, etc, challenges posed by them, their connecting with terrorism, and steps taken to tackle them

    • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

    Major security agencies of India such as Central Armed Police Forces, Intelligence Agencies, etc, their functions and related issues.

  7. UPSC Main Paper-V: General Studies-IV

    • The title for this paper, as given by the UPSC, is - Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

    • The topics given as part of the syllabus for the Main General Studies-IV paper are as follows:

    • Ethics and Human Interface

    Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics - in private and public relationships.

    Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators; the role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

    • Attitude

    Content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion

    • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service

    Integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion towards the weaker sections.

    • Emotional intelligence concepts

    Emotional intelligence concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

    • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers

    Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.

    • Public/Civil Service Values and Ethics in Public Administration

    Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

    • Probity in Governance

    Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

    • Case Studies

    Case Studies on the above issues

  8. UPSC Main Paper-VI: Optional Papers I and II
    • One may choose any optional subject from amongst the list of Optional Subjects as provided in the notification for UPSC CSE. The syllabus for different optional subjects is different.

Personality Test (Interview)

  • It is the third and final stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examination.

  • It is a Viva-voce type of examination wherein the candidate is interviewed by a Board.

  • UPSC does not provide any defined syllabus for this stage of examination. However, the experiences of the past interviewees suggest that questions asked in the interview are generally based on the Detailed Application Form (DAF) of the candidate, matters of general interest, current affairs, etc.

UPSE CSE 2024 Eligibility Criteria

  • Understanding the UPSC eligibility criteria is crucial for successful application and avoiding last-minute challenges.

  • Below is detailed information regarding various eligibility criteria for the UPSC Civil Services Examination viz. Age Limits, Age Relaxations, Educational Qualifications, Number of Attempts Allowed, Nationality Requirements, Medical and Physical Standards.

  1. UPSC CSE Eligibility Criteria: Synoptic Overview

    Age Limit
    • General - 32 years
    • OBC - 35 years
    • SC/ST - 37 years
    • PwBD – 42 years (Person with Benchmark Disability)
    Age Relaxation
    • As per the category (mentioned in the Section below)
    Education Qualification
    • Graduation (Bachelor's degree- in any stream)
    No. of Attempts
    • General - 6 attempts
    • OBC, PwBD - 9 attempts
    • SC, ST - Unlimited attempts
    • For IAS, IPS, and IFS - Indian Citizens only
    • For other services - Indian Citizens as well as some other nationals.
    Medical and Physical Standards
    • Candidate must be physically fit according to physical standards.
    • For other categories, discussed below
  2. UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Age Limit

    To be eligible to apply for the UPSC CSE of a particular year, a candidate must have attained the; minimum age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 yearson the date 1st August of that particular year. While the minimum age limit remains the same for all categories of aspirants, the maximum age limit criteria are relaxed for some categories of aspirants. Accordingly, the minimum and maximum age limits for different categories of aspirants are as follows:

    Category Minimum Age Limit Maximum Age Limit
    General 21 years 32 years
    OBC 21 years 35 years
    SC/ST 21 years 37 years
    PwBD 21 years 42 years

    To know more about the Age Limit and Age Relaxations, refer to the official notification.Official Notification.

  3. UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Minimum Educational Qualification

    To be eligible for the UPSC Civil Services Exam, a candidate must:

    • Hold a Graduate degree from any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956; OR
    • Possess an equivalent qualification.

    There are certain conditions attached to this general educational qualification criteria. To know more about them, please refer to the official this PDF.

  4. UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Number of Attempts

    The number of attempts allowed for candidates belonging to different categories in the UPSC exam are as follows:

    • General category candidates are granted a maximum of 6 attempts.
    • OBC candidates are allowed a maximum of 9 attempts.
    • ST/SC candidates have an unlimited number of attempts.
    • PwBD (Persons with Benchmark Disabilities) General and OBC candidates are allowed a maximum of 9 attempts, while ST/SC PwBD candidates have an unlimited number of attempts.
    Category Number of Attempts
    General 06
    OBC 09
    SC/ST Unlimited
    PwBD (GL/EWS/OBC) 09
    PwBD (SC/ST) Unlimited
  5. UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility: Nationality

    • For the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service, and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
    • For all other services, a citizen of India along with nationals of some other countries are also permitted, subject to some conditions.

    To know about the eligibility criteria regarding nationality, please refer to the official this PDF.

  6. UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility: Medical and Physical Standards

    • Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to the Civil Services Examination, as per guidelines given in Appendix-III of Rules for Examination published in the Gazette of India.
  7. Additional Information for the PwBD Categories

    Category Minimum Age Limit Maximum Age Limit Number of Attempts
    PwBD- General 21 years 42 years 9
    PwBD- OBC 21 years 45 years 9
    PwBD- SC/ST 21 years 47 years Unlimited

Documents Required for the UPSC CSE 2024

Below is the complete information about the documents that are required for the application for each stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) viz., Preliminary Examination (UPSC Prelims), Main Examination (UPSC Mains), and Personality Test (UPSC Interview).

Preliminary Examination

Candidates are required to fill up an online application for the Preliminary Examination by accessing the online portal hosted on the UPSC's website. They need to register on the One Time Registration (OTR) platform (one-time process) before filling up the online application for the UPSC examination.

The application process for the UPSC Prelims Exam requires certain documents as listed below

  • Scanned copy of a passport-size photograph
  • Scanned copy of the Signature
    • Note: Scanned in the .jpg format in such a manner that each file should not exceed 300 KB each and must not be less than 20 KB in size for the photograph and signature.
  • Scanned copy of a government-issued photo ID card such as an Aadhaar card, Driving Licence, PAN Card, Voter ID, Passport and any other photo ID issued by the Central Government and the State Government.
    • Note: This Photo ID Card will be used for all future reference and the candidate is advised to carry this Photo ID Card while appearing for the Examination/Personality Test.

Main Examination (DAF)

Once you successfully clear the UPSC prelims exam, you become eligible to appear for the mains exam. The UPSC releases a list of qualified candidates in the prelims result. Subsequently, the commission issues a mains notification, and you will need to apply online again, this time for the mains exam. The application form for the main exam is known as the Detailed Application Form (DAF). During this stage, you will be required to upload scanned copies of specific documents on the official UPSC website. The list of documents to be uploaded is provided below:

  • Proof of age

You can submit a scanned copy of your matriculation or secondary school leaving certificate.

  • Certificate of educational qualification

Degree should be a certificate awarded by the university or an equivalent qualification recognized by the UPSC.

  • EWS Certificate

To avail benefits of the Economic Weaker Section (EWS) category, a candidate should upload a scanned copy of the Income and Asset Certificate.

  • Certificate supporting OBC/SC/ST status (if applicable)

The Certificate should be issued by the District Officer/Sub-divisional Officer/any other officer as authorised by the government to issue such certificates of the district in which your parents reside.

If the parents are deceased, then the district in which the applicant normally lives will apply.

  • Disability certificate (if applicable)

The candidate must provide proof in support of the claim for the OBC non-creamy layer.

  • Certificate for proof of hailing from the north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya or Sikkim (if applicable)

Candidate can submit their certificate issued by the same authority that issues caste certificates (OBC/SC/ST certificate).

  • Undertaking for government servants (if applicable)

Undertaking stating that you have intimated in writing to your Head of the Office/Department about you taking the UPSC CSE.

  • Disabled while in defence service (if applicable)

Candidates under this category should provide the certificate issued by the Director-General Resettlement, Ministry of Defence stating that you were disabled while in service and were discharged from duty on account of it.

  • Certificate supporting age relaxation claim (if applicable)

For age relaxation the candidate should provide the OBC/ST/SC status certificate and/or disability certificate and/or J&K domicile certificate and/or defence personnel certificate.

Personality Test (DAF II)

The candidates who qualify Civil Services (Main) Examination for the Personality Test are required to fill up the Detailed Application Form (DAF)-II online. Failure to adhere to the submission timeline can lead to the cancellation of the applicant's candidature. The candidates must apply online through the UPSC website by filling out the Detailed Application Form - II (DAF – II) and uploading the scanned copies of the required document within the prescribed time limit so that DAF - II is submitted by the applicant on time.

  • Documents to be scanned and uploaded while submitting the Detailed Application Form - II on the website of the Commission by the candidate are as follows:

Note: EWS category candidates should produce supporting documents regarding immovable properties

  • OBC Annexure to be filled by OBC candidates.
  • EWS Annexure to be filled by EWS candidates.
  • Documents/Certificates in support of Higher Educational Qualification/ Achievements in different Fields/Service Experience, etc.
  • Additionally, ONLINE DAF-II has ten modules i.e Personal Information, OBC/EWS Annexure (for OBC and EWS candidates only), Educational Information, Parental Information, Socio-Economic Information, Service Preference, Zone and State Cadre Preference IAS, Zone and State Cadre Preference IPS, Upload Documents and Final Submission.

During the Personality test/interview stage of the UPSC examination, candidates are required to bring the following certificates with them:

  1. Original Documents

    Note: In case, the degree certificate has not been issued by the university, then the candidate should carry the provisional certificate or the mark sheet).

    • Matriculation Certificate: For proof of Name and Date of Birth (DOB) Matriculation certificate is required. Candidate should also carry a self-attested photocopy of the same.
    • Degree certificate: for proof of educational qualification
    • Candidate should also carry a self-attested photocopy of the same.
    • Candidate should bring the Print-out of the e-Summon Letter
    • Government recognised/issued Photo-id cards (like Aadhaar, Voter ID, PAN Card etc.)
    • 2 recent passport-size photographs, out of which one should be self-attested.
    • Candidate should bring the Certificates in support of age relaxation if applicable.
  2. Additional Documents to be carried by the SC/ST candidates

    • Caste certificate: original and photocopy.
    • PG Degree or higher education certificates and mark sheets (Original and photocopy).
    • TA Form – two copies plus proof of journey (Travelling Allowance for non-Delhi candidates).
    • Affidavit in case of minor discrepancies in the name.
  3. Additional Documents to be carried by the PH category candidates

    Note: For the PH-I category, the DWE Certificate also should be brought. DWE is the Dominant Writing Extremity certificate (for candidates who claimed the extra 20 minutes per hour in the main written exam).

    • Physically Handicapped Certificate: Original and photocopy.
    • Age relaxation certificates.
    • PG Degree or higher education certificates and mark sheets (Original and photocopy).
    • TA Form – two copies plus proof of journey (Travelling Allowance for non-Delhi candidates).
    • Affidavit in case of minor discrepancies in the name.
  4. Documents required for medical examination

    • Candidate should bring 8-10 Passport size photographs.
    • Candidate should also bring prescriptions or medical certificates if any that may be helpful for an eye check-up.

UPSC CSE Cut-off Marks

A candidate must secure marks equal to or more than the cut-off marks (minimum qualifying marks) for a particular stage to be eligible for the next stage of the examination. A detailed analysis of past-years' cut-off patterns for each of the three stages of the UPSC CSE 2024 is provided below.

UPSC CSE Prelims Cut-off

The UPSC CSE Prelims Exam, the first stage of the UPSC CSE, consists of two papers:

  • General Studies-I - It carries a total mark of 200 and the marks obtained in this paper are counted for the declaration of the result.
  • General Studies-II (CSAT) - It also carries a total mark of 200, but the marks obtained in this paper are not counted for the declaration of the result. One has to just qualify this paper by securing marks equal to or more than 33% of the total marks.

Past Years’ Trends of UPSC CSE Prelims Cut-off

Past years’ trends of cut-off marks for the Prelims Exam can be seen as follows:

Category 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
General 75.41 88.22 87.54 92.51 98 98
OBC 74.75 87.54 89.12 89.12 95.34 96.66
ST 47.82 69.35 70.71 68.71 77.34 83.34
SC 59.25 74.08 75.41 74.84 82 84
PWD 1 40.40 49.84 68.02 70.06 53.34 73.34
PWD 2 47.13 58.59 67.33 63.94 44.66 53.34
PWD 3 40.40 40.40 43.09 40.82 61.34 40.00
PWD 5 33.68 41.76 45.80 42.86 61.34 45.34
EWS 68.02 82.83 80.14 77.55 90

UPSC CSE Prelims 2024 Cut-Off: The cut-off for the UPSC CSE Prelims 2024 hasn't been released officially yet. However, based on the past year's trends, the expected cut-off for Prelims for the UPSC CSE Prelims 2024 for different categories could fall as follows:

  • General Category: 82-85 marks
  • OBC Category: 80-84 marks
  • SC/ST Category: 65-69 marks

UPSC CSE Main Cut-off

The UPSC CSE Main Exam is the second hurdle on the path to cracking the civil service exam. To clear it, you need to score above the cut-off mark. After clearing the UPSC Mains Cut Off, candidates qualify for the final stage—the Interview.

The Main stage comprises nine papers, with seven contributing to merit ranking. The English Language and Indian Language Papers are only qualifying in nature and marks obtained therein are not considered for merit.

Papers Paper A Paper B
Qualifying Papers
  • English
  • Indian language
  • 2 X 300 = 600 Marks
Compulsory Papers
  • Essay
  • 4 General Studies Paper
  • 2 Optional Papers
  • 250 X 1 = 250 Marks
  • 250 X 4 = 1000 Marks
  • 250 X 2 = 500 Marks
  • Total = 1750 Marks

Past years’ trend of cut-off marks for the UPSC Main Exam can be seen as follows:

Category 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
General 741 748 745 736 751 774
OBC 712 714 707 698 718 732
ST 692 706 700 682 699 719
SC 694 699 700 680 706 719
PWD 1 673 677 688 648 663 711
PWD 2 718 706 712 699 698 696
PWD 3 396 351 388 425 374 520
PWD 5 445 419 560 300 561 460
EWS 706 715 713 687 696

UPSC CSE Final Cut-Off

The UPSC Final Cut-Off is derived by combining candidates' scores in the Mains Examination as well as that in the Personality Test (Interview).

The UPSC interview carries a total of 275 marks, with no stipulation of minimum cut-off marks. Based on the past years’ trends, candidates who successfully make it to the final list secure marks ranging between 40% to 80% in the UPSC Interview.

Candidates who score equal to or more than the UPSC Final Cut-Off marks make it to the final list. They are, then, allocated different services based on their rank, service preferences, and the number of vacancies.

Past years’ trends of the UPSC CSE Final Cut-Off can be seen as follows:

Category 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
General 953 960 953 944 961 982
OBC 919 923 910 907 925 938
ST 891 900 883 876 893 912
SC 890 893 886 875 898 912
PWD 1 894 879 892 867 861 899
PWD 2 930 913 932 910 890 908
PWD 3 756 632 689 675 653 754
PWD 5 589 590 701 465 708 718
EWS 923 926 916 894 909


While all efforts have been undertaken to ensure the accuracy of data, this document does not provide any basis for legal claim and the management and the staff of NEXT IAS would not be liable for any discrepancy or changes effected by UPSC in the conduct of Civil Services Examination. Please satisfy yourselves about any terms and conditions from the official website and notification of the UPSC Civil Services Examination.