IAS Exam Written Test Pattern-Preliminary Examinations

The Civil Services Examination is conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) every year. The examination has three stages i.e.,The First stage is  Civil Services Preliminary Examinations (CSP) - normally conducted during the second half of May.

Preliminary Examination - Civil Services Preliminary Examinations (CSP)

CSP consists of two papers Which is common for all candidates from 2011 i.e., No optional paper is there in CSP from 2011.This is the first stage of Civil Services Examination. This is an Objective type examination consisting of Two Papers that is common to all candidates from 2011 having special emphasis on testing their “aptitude for civil services” as well as on “ethical and moral dimension of decision making”.

Normally, there are about 3 lakh applications for the preliminary examination. From this, the UPSC selects 10 to 12 folds of vacancies for the main examinations. This is only for the selection and not to be taken into consideration in the main ranking.
Subjects for Preliminary Examination:

• Each year there might be difference, You may refer to official website for more details.

• The Preliminary Examination shall now comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each and of two hours duration each. Detailed below is the new syllabus and pattern of the Preliminary Examination, which is brought to the notice of the prospective candidates intending to appear at the Civil Services Examination (CSE) in 2011 onwards:

Paper I - (200 marks) Duration: Two hours


  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, Economic geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance- Constitution, Political System,Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development - Sustainable Development,Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization
  • General Science.

Paper II- (200 marks) Duration: Two hours

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitudeetc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. -Class X level)
  • English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
  • Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus of Paper-II) will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.
  • The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.


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