Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Exam Details

The UPSC is the authority that conducts recruitment exams in India for union services. The UPSC exams are considered one of the toughest ones. The recruitment exams are conducted for different areas that serve as the backbone for the nation. The job post varies from administrative services, engineering services, medical and forest services, defense services, economic services etc.

Exams conducted for different posts:

  • CDS- Civil Defense Services
  • Central Armed Police Forces
  • Civil Services
  • CISF
  • Combined Geoscientists and Geologists
  • Combined Medical Services Exam
  • Engineering Services Exam
  • IES: Indian Economic Services/ ISS: Indian Statistical Services
  • NDA
  • SCRA: Special Class Railway Apprentice
  • Stenographers

Eligibility: The exams conducted by UPSC provide a flexible opportunity for the candidates, while graduation is a must for appearing in exams, candidates in final year of graduation can also apply. For specific posts, some subjects are mandatory in the graduation like for statistical jobs, a candidate should have studies statistics as a subject in his majors.

Age Limit in years
General Candidates 21-30
SC/ ST 5 years relaxation
OBC 3 years relaxation

Exam Format of UPSC:

Generally the UPSC exams are held in three tiers, first a preliminary exam is conducted, then afterwards a mains exam, and at last the skill test/ personal interview round. The other set of exam types like CDS, NDA etc. have simply two rounds, a written test and then a PI. The exams are conducted on tentative schedule and are subjective to vary according to the decision of UPSC.

I Preliminary Exams

In the first stage, a multiple choice question format paper is given to candidates with general quantitative aptitude; questions pertaining to the subject related to posts etc. are asked. A general ability or subjective test is also asked in this section.

II Mains Exam

The second stage is dedicated for conventional paper types where long answer questions are asked. In this part the thorough knowledge of the candidate is checked in form of brief answers, short and long answer questions. The Mains can also be in form of multiple choice questions. On successful clearance, candidates are called for next level of the UPSC exams.

III Interview

The third stage of UPSC exam is a very crucial one. Despite clearing the hard written examinations, interview decided the selection of candidates. In interviews for IAS, there exists a detailed discussion about choices of a candidate, his/ her hobbies, exam results, general topics etc. A candidate is judged on the basis of his / her response and attitude towards many things.

Syllabus for UPSC Exams

The UPSC exams are definitely hard but they involve general information about the geography, history, constitution, economics, and general awareness. English and Hindi are also a major part of UPSC exams. The syllabus includes the primary and secondary level of education common to NCERT. Therefore through study of social sciences, science, economics, policies etc. is recommended.

CDS: Combined Defense Services
I. Written Test English Antonyms and Synonyms, Fill in the blanks, Jumbled words, sentences, Reading comprehension, Sentence correction, Spotting the error, Basic English interpretation ability.
General Knowledge Current affairs, first important persons, questions on history and geography of India.
Mathematics Algebra, Basic trigonometry, H.C.F and L.C.M., Mensuration, Number system, Percentages, Profit and Loss, Time and Work, Time and Distance, Simple and Compound Interest, Statistics, Ratio and proportion, Variation.
II. Interview Personality Test Verbal and Non-verbal tests to access personality after written test.


Central Armed Police Forces
Written Test Paper A: General Ability and Intelligence[250 marks] Current Events, General Science, History of India, Indian and World Geography, Indian policies and economy, Mental ability, National and International news.
Paper B: General Studies, Essay and Comprehension[200 marks] Counter arguments, Essay based question, Comprehensive passage, Precis Writing, Report writing, other grammar based questions.
Personality Test 200 marks Interview


Combined Geologists and Geoscientists 
Written Test General English [100 marks] Antonyms and Synonyms, Fill in the blanks, Jumbled words, sentences, Reading comprehension, Sentence correction, Spotting the error, Basic English interpretation ability.
Paper I [200 marks] Geomorphology and remote sensing, Geotonics, Paleontology, Structural geology, Stratigraphy.
Paper II [200 marks] Environmental Geology, Geochemistry, Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, Minerology, Sedimentology.
Paper III [200 marks] Engineering geology, Geology of fuels, Indian mineral deposits and mineral economics, Mineral exploration, Ore genesis,
Interview 200 marks


NDA: National Defense Academy
Written Test General Ability [150] Questions from: Basic English, Comprehension, Grammar and Usage, Vocabulary.Questions from: Chemistry, Current Events General Science, Physics, Social studies.
Mathematics [120 marks] Algebra, Analytical Geometry 2D and 3D, Differential Calculus, Integral calculus and Differential Equations, Matrices and Determinants, Statistics and Probability, Trigonometry,  Vector algebra.
SSB Test/ Interview   Physical fitness test


Combined Medical Services Exam
Paper 1 General Ability Economy and Ecology, Food adulteration, Health and demographic trends, Heritage and Culture, Economy, Indian Society, Indian Agricultural scenario, HDI, Natural resources, Natural and manmade disasters, Politics, Recent trends in Science and Technology.
General Medicine Cardiology, Dermatology, Gastro Intestinal diseases, Genito Urinary, General diseases, Hematology, Diseases, Neurology, Respiratory diseases, Psychiatry.
  Pediatrics Basic questions related to pediatrics.
Paper 2 Surgery Questions on General Surgery including ENT, Ophthalmology, Traumatology and Orthopedics.
  Gynecology and Obstetrics Questions on Obstetrics, Gynecology, Family Planning.
  Preventive and Social Medicine Questions on Concept of health, Communicable diseases, disease and preventions, health administration and planning, social and community medicine, National programs, general concepts of medicine.


Special Class Railway Apprentice Exam
Written Examination Paper I General Ability Questions on English and general knowledge. Basic intelligence and mechanical aptitude.
Paper II Physical Sciences Displacement, Length Measurements, Measurement of time and mass, Newton’s law of motion, Pressure, Temperature and its measurement, Velocity and basic physics.Basic questions from chemistry including atomic structure, chemical bonding, equilibrium, solutions, electro chemistry, oxidation, and, organic and inorganic chemistry.
Paper III Mathematics Analytic geometry 2D, Algebra, Binary number system, Binomial Theorem and applications, Complex numbers, Differential Calculus, Integral calculus, and Differential equations, Matrices and Determinants, Quadratic equations, Statistics and probability, Trigonometry, Vectors and applications.
Personality Test Skill/ Personality test

These were the syllabus of some of the UPSC exams.

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