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UPSC - Union Public Service Commission

Candidates should know about the supreme body which conducts the examination before preparing for the UPSC examination.

Civil service exams are conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) India’s major regulating body. A number of competitive exams are conducted by UPSC to fill in various civil service vacancies for the Government of India. IAS exam is one of the most competitive and prestigious exams among them.

Civil service examination is popularly known as IAS exam or Indian Administrative Service. This exam is conducted in two phases namely, prelims examination, mains exam and interview round or personality test. UPSC prelims exam consists of objective type questions while the main exam is about descriptive essay type question answers. UPSC conducts various examinations for the post like IAS, IPS, IRS, IFS etc.

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History of UPSC

The British government introduced the concept of the civil service exam in 1854 and this examination was conducted only in London for the Indian Civil Service. Shri Satyendra Nath Tagore, brother of Shri Rabindranath Tagore, was the first Indian who succeeded in this exam in 1864.

Indian Civil Service exams began to be held in India only after the Montagu Chelmsford reforms.

The first time, The public service commission was set up in India on October 1, 1926.

The first chairman of the commission was Sir Roj Barker, member of the home civil service, United Kingdom.

The federal Public Service Commission came to be recognised as the Union Public Service Commission with the introduction of the constitution of India on January 26 1950. Hence, UPSC is responsible for conducting government job examinations.

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Examination conducted by UPSC

Candidates must know the examination conducted by the UPSC to understand the Commission. The list of exams conducted by UPSC is given below.

  1. National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (NDA)
  2. Indian Statistical Service Examination (ISS)
  3. Indian Economic Service Examination (IES)
  4. Indian Forest Service Examination (IFS)
  5. Combined Geo-Scientist and Geologist Examination
  6. Indian Civil Services Examination (ICSE) for recruitment to IAS, IPS, IRS, etc officers
  7. Indian Engineering Services Examination
  8. Combined Medical Services Examination
  9. Central Armed Police Forces (ACs) Examination
  10. Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS)
  11. Various Recruitment Tests for UPSC EPFO, other exams

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Functions of UPSC

  • Managing disciplinary cases related to various civil services or offices
  • To frame and amendment of the recruitment rules for services and posts under the government
  • Conducting the recruitment examination for appointment to the service of the union
  • Direct recruitment of candidates by selection through interviews
  • Appointment of an officer in a Cadre on promotion/ absorption/ deputation
  • Advise the government on any matter related to Commission by the president of India

Eligibility criteria

  • Candidates need to qualify the below-mentioned parameter in order to apply for the UPSC civil service examination. The age limit for the IAS exam is 21 to 32 years. Age relaxation is given as per the category. Minimum educational qualification for UPSC civil service exam is graduation from any recognised University and the nationality of the candidates should be Indian.
  • Aspirants belonging to the General category and OBC category or belonging to the creamy layer have 7 attempts.
  • OBC non-creamy layer- 7 attempts
  • There is no restriction on the number of attempts for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe until they complete the age of 35 years.

UPSC exam pattern

  • Prelim examination – UPSC prelims exam consists of 2 objective type papers:
  1. General studies paper 1
  2. General Studies Paper 2 or CSAT exam. CSAT exam is qualifying in nature and candidates will have to secure 33 percent to qualify this exam.  Marks obtained in the general studies paper first will be considered for cutoff.
  • UPSC mains exam
  1. Paper A- compulsory Indian language
  2. Paper B- English
  3. Paper I- Essay
  4. Paper II-General Studies 1
  5. paper III- General Studies 2
  6. paper IV- General Studies 3
  7. Paper V- General Studies 4
  8. Paper VI- Optional I
  9. Paper VII- Optional II
Youth Destination UPSC Mains Exam
  • UPSC interview or personality test
  1. Candidates who secured the cutoff marks of the Mains examination will be called for an interview round or personality test. UPSC interview would include the assessment test, psychometric test and personal interview as well. The main objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the aspirant for a career in public service by a board of competent and unbiased observers.
  2. Questions will be asked on matters of general interest. UPSC interviews intend to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. This is an assessment of not only the candidate’s intellectual qualities but also his social traits and his interest in current affairs.
  • Functions of UPSC
  1. The UPSC is responsible for conducting examinations for all Indian services, Central services and Public Services for different Indian states and union territories.
  2. UPSC helps the state in composing and implementing schemes of combined recruitment for any service requiring special qualifications.
  3. It also serves the interest of the state on the demand of the governor and with the consent of the president of India.
  4. Moreover, the UPSC shall be consulted in the matters of demands for combination of legal express obtained by Civil servants in defending proceedings instituted against him, matters related to the interim appointments for a period exceeding one year and  matters of personal management etc.
  5. The recommendations from UPSC are not binding on the government therefore the Commission makes suggestions that are advisory in nature.

Why is the UPSC exam considered the toughest exam?

  1. UPSC civil service exam is commonly known as the IAS exam and is conducted every year by the commission to recruit aspirants for various posts like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS. No doubt, the IAS exam is one of the toughest competitive exams in the nation and many aspirants find it difficult to crack the exam. But if a candidate approaches this exam correctly and methodologically then nothing is impossible. Let us discuss some UPSC statistics.
  2. The Civil Service exam is held by the Union Public Service Commission every year.
  3. The Civil Service exam is the mother of all exams and one of the toughest exams as lakhs of aspirants take this exam but only thousand of them make it to the final list.
  4. But we can see that candidates belonging to average backgrounds have made the final list. So it is only a myth that the IAS exam is the toughest exam but it requires candidates’ punctuality, passion and extraordinary preparation to qualify for the exam.

The success rate of the UPSC exam

Every year approx more than 4 lakh aspirants apply for the prelims exam but only 10,000 make it to the next level to the mains exam and ultimately only 1000 reach the final stage that is the personality test or interview round. The vacancies to fill the post would be around thousands of odd.

Generally, only 50% of the aspirants appear for the prelims exam from the total number of candidates who apply and after them, only 5% make it to the mains exam. About 20% of those who appeared for the mains exam go to the next stage interview.

We can see that the success rate is less than 1% in the Civil Service exam and this is one major reason, candidates feel that they cannot make it to the final list. They are suggested ignoring the fractional numbers and considering the actual details to know the different faces of these statistics.

Very few candidates take the exam with utmost interest and enthusiasm; many candidates take the exam without much seriousness. Therefore, the competition is between only a few thousand serious candidates. So, the probability of success rate is 2%.

We can see the real intensity of the competition exists among the serious candidates, 62000 approx.

Candidates should have a good understanding of the examination along with the right guidance, an effective study plan, well organised and meticulous approach. Moreover, candidates should have at most enthusiasm and passion, perseverance and never give up attitude. It will definitely post you gradually from the preliminary to the mains exam and ultimately the final stage.

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