The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS) among others. The examination is the toughest examination in India with success rate of 0.1%-0.3% with more than 900,000 applicants and also has the least success ratio in the entire World(Only top 0.03% get the prestigious IAS). It is conducted in two phases – the Preliminary examination, consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies and Aptitude Test), and the Main examination, consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type followed by the Personality Test (Interview). The entire process from the notification of the Preliminary examination to declaration of the final results takes roughly one year.

  • Stage I: Preliminary examination – This is qualifying test held in August every year. Notification for this is published in May. Results are published in mid-October.
  • Stage II: Main examination – This is the main test, held in December every year. Results are usually published in the second week of March.
  • Stage III: Personality Test (Interview) – It is the final test and is held in April/May every year. Final results are usually announced in the month of May every year

The training program for the selected candidates usually commences on first Monday of September every year.

Education
All candidates must have a minimum of any of the following educational qualifications:

  • A degree from a Central, State or Deemed university
  • A degree received through Correspondence Education or Distance
  • A degree from an Open University
  • A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to either of the above. The following candidates are also eligible, but have to submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority at their institute/university at the time of the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam.
  • Candidates who have appeared in an examination, the passing of which would render them educationally qualified enough to satisfy any of the above points
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed their internship
  • Candidates who have passed the Final exam of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India(ICAI), ICSI and ICWAI
  • A degree from a private university
  • A degree from any foreign university recognized by Association of Indian Universities (AIU)

Age
A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on August 1 of the year of examination. Prescribed age limits vary with respect to the caste reservations. For OBC category upper age limit is 35, and for SC/ST it is 37 years. Upper age limit relaxation is provided to certain candidates who are backward with respect to other factors and physically handicapped people.

Numbers of attempts
The number of attempts a candidate can give the exam is limited as follows:

  • General Category Candidates and OBC Category Candidates under the Creamy layer = 6 attempts
  • OBC Category Candidates = 9 attempts
  • SC/ST Candidates = NO NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS