The steps towards civil service admission is difficult but if you adapt a tactful strategy, you can work on it and score good marks in the test at the first go. The secret is to adopt a method, start early and follow it diligently in order to excel in the test. There are lakhs of candidates appearing for the test and you have to stand out in the crowd to achieve success.

This article is going to provide you an idea about the exam pattern, its modalities and a few tips that can help you to boost your confidence and take the correct step in preparing for the examination.

Civil Service Exam Phases


The exams take place in three phases. In phase I, there is a preliminary exam which consists of objective type multiple choice questions for a total of 400 marks. There are two papers in the first phase that consists of general knowledge and critical thinking and reasoning skills. Your English language skills will be tested along with ideas on numeric, communication and problem solving skills. There is negative marking per wrong answer unlike UGC NET exam where multiple choice answers do not carry any negative marking. The second paper, named CSAT acts the qualifying paper and you need to score minimum 33% to be eligible for the second step.


This is the second phase of the exam which consists of subjective essay type questions. There will be nine questions in all out if which seven will be counted for merit and two will act as qualifying papers. The Mains is conducted on 2 qualifying papers, each carrying 300 marks and 7 merit papers carrying 250 marks.

The 7 questions allotted for merit based answers will have to be answered within 3 hours. You have to begin your practice session very early as you can clearly see that this is not something you are going to master in a month or so. It demands merit that requires practice in order to score well and jump to the next step.

There will be a personality test along with which will carry 275 marks. So, you will be evaluated on a sum total of 2025 marks!

Personality Evaluation

If you have qualified for the previous examinations, it is time for the ultimate round – the interview round where your personality will be assessed based on your critical and analytical skills, your power of judgement, mental awareness, moral integrity and value of power. You will also be asked general questions to assimilate knowledge about how updated you are about your country and beyond. You have to be at your best here, speaking freely and genuinely about your opinions and not be too discreet about anything.

The final ranking based on written tests and your personal interview will qualify you to various civil ranks based on your score. This is the entire picture of the civil service admission.

Other National Tests

Apart from the UPSC conducted Civil Service Examinations, there is UGC NET exam as well which qualifies you as an Assistant Professor in colleges and Universities and if you crack the score required for JRF, you can pursue higher studies.

Practice is the key. Consult the best books for sharpening your skills and aspire to make your mark in the civil departments.