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How To Crack The UPSC Exam Easily

Civil service examinations are assessments conducted in different nations to select and admit individuals into the civil service. UPSC exams are designed to ensure a competent and efficient public administration based on a meritocratic system for recruiting potential politicians and public sector personnel. Read more career blogs at college49.

Preparation Tips and Tricks To Crack The Exam

Here is a suggested strategy for preparing for the IAS exam:

  1. Analyze the trend: Notice that more current affairs-based questions are being asked in both the Prelims and Mains stages of the IAS exam. Focus on credible sources such as PIB, The Hindu, Yojana, etc. Align current events with the IAS exam syllabus. Current affairs usually cover national and international events from the past 10-12 months.
  2. Review previous years’ questions: Examine past IAS exam questions to gauge the level of preparation required. This will give you an idea of the type of questions asked and the depth of knowledge needed.
  3. Read NCERT books and take notes: Go through NCERT books and create two sets of notes—one with short notes for the Prelims and another with descriptive notes for the UPSC Mains. These notes will serve as valuable study material.
  4. Simultaneous preparation for Prelims and Mains: Prepare for both Prelims and Mains concurrently until 1-2 months before the Prelims exam. Identify areas where the syllabus overlaps and prioritize those topics.
  5. Choose an Optional subject wisely: Select an Optional subject based on your aptitude, interest, and experience. While some Optional subjects have substantial overlap with the General Studies syllabus, their syllabi can be extensive. Research and consider the syllabus thoroughly before making a final decision.
  6. Refer to standard books: Utilize recommended books for each subject. Access the IAS exam book list, Current Affairs notes, NCERT notes, and other relevant information from reliable sources.
  7. Give due importance to CSAT and Ethics papers: Don’t underestimate the CSAT paper in Prelims and the Ethics paper in Mains. Similarly, the two qualifying language papers in Mains are crucial, as scoring less than 25% in them will result in automatic elimination from the IAS exam, regardless of performance in other papers.
  8. Practice MCQs for Prelims and answer writing for Mains: Allocate time for solving multiple-choice questions for Prelims and practice answer writing for Mains. This will help you develop the necessary skills and familiarity with the exam format.
  9. Revise, update, and revise again: Make it a point to revise your notes multiple times. Stay updated with current affairs and make necessary additions to your notes. Regular revision is essential to reinforce your understanding and retain information effectively.


The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a national competitive exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India. It serves as a recruitment process for various prestigious government services, including the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, and Indian Police Service. The exam is commonly known as the UPSC examination or UPSC CSE. It consists of three phases: a preliminary examination with two objective-type papers (General Studies and Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT), a main examination with nine conventional (essay) papers (where two papers are qualifying and only seven are counted for scoring), and a personality test (interview). The entire process spans around a year and entails 32 hours of examination for a successful candidate.

UPSC Exam Date 2024

The UPSC exam calendar was released on May 10, 2023. The important dates for the UPSC 2024 exam are as follows:

UPSC Exam Calendar 2024 May 10, 2023
 UPSC 2024 exam notification February 14, 2024
 UPSC 2024 exam application form  February 14, 2024, to March 5, 2024
UPSC 2024 admit card  To be announced
UPSC 2024 Civil Services Prelims exam  May 26, 2024 UPSC 2024
UPSC Civil Services Mains exam September 20, 2024

UPSC exam Registration

The online application process for UPSC 2024 will commence once the official notification is released. It is crucial to fill out the UPSC online application form accurately, as even minor mistakes or errors can lead to the rejection of the candidature.

The online UPSC application registration process consists of two parts:

Part 1: This involves providing basic details such as name, age, address, etc.

Part 2: In this part of the registration, candidates need to select the UPSC exam center, make the payment of fees, and upload their photograph, signature, and ID proof.

Candidates can find more information about the UPSC online application process in the linked article.

UPSC Application Fee:

Candidates are required to pay an application fee of Rs. 100/-. The payment can be made by remitting the money in any branch of the State Bank of India by cash or by using the net banking facility of any bank or through Visa/Master/RuPay/Credit/Debit Card/UPI Payment. Female candidates, as well as candidates belonging to SC/ST/Persons with Benchmark Disability categories, are exempted from fee payment.

How To Crack The UPSC Exam Easily
How To Crack The UPSC Exam Easily 3

UPSC Exam Syllabus

The UPSC syllabus is extensive and covers a wide range of topics for both the Prelims and Mains examinations.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus:

The UPSC Prelims syllabus consists of two major subjects:

  1. General Studies: This paper carries 200 marks and includes topics such as Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, and International Relations.
  2. CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test): This paper carries 200 marks and includes topics like Reasoning and Analytical Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Decision Making.

Important topics in the UPSC syllabus for Prelims (General Studies – Paper 1) include:

  • 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, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – without subject specialization.
  • General Science.

Important topics in the UPSC syllabus for Prelims (CSAT – Paper 2) include:

  • Comprehension.
  • Interpersonal skills, including communication skills.
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability.
  • Decision-making and problem-solving.
  • General mental ability.

UPSC Mains Syllabus:

The UPSC IAS Mains exam consists of nine theory papers, and the marks obtained in seven of these papers are considered for preparing the final merit list. The remaining two papers, English and an Indian Language are qualifying in nature.

Important topics in the UPSC IAS Mains syllabus include:

  • Compulsory Indian Language – Paper A.
  • Paper B – English.
  • Essay.
  • General Studies I – Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society.
  • General Studies II – Governance, Constitution, Welfare Initiatives, Social Justice & International Relations.
  • General Studies III – Technology, Economic Development, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management.
  • General Studies IV – Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude.
  • Optional Subject – Paper I.
  • Optional Subject – Paper II.

UPSC Exam Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must meet the eligibility criteria in order to apply for the UPSC exam. It is important to note that candidates who do not fulfill the eligibility criteria will not be eligible to appear for the examination. The eligibility criteria for the UPSC exam are as follows:

Nationality The candidate must be an Indian citizen.
Age Limit The age limit for candidates is between 21 to 32 years. However, age relaxation is provided to candidates belonging to reserved categories.
Educational Qualification Candidates must have completed graduation in any discipline from a recognized university.
Number of AttemptsGeneral Category: 6 attemptsOBC Category: 9 attemptsSC/ST Category: Attempts can be made till within the upper age limit  

UPSC Exam Pattern and Test Structure

The UPSC examination comprises three stages: the Preliminary examination, the Main examination, and the Personality Test (interview).

UPSC Prelims: The UPSC Preliminary examination is an objective type test consisting of two papers: General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II, also known as the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

UPSC Mains: The Main examination is a subjective type test consisting of nine papers. These include an Essay paper, four General Studies papers, two optional papers (chosen by the candidate), and two language papers. Candidates who clear the UPSC Mains examination are eligible for the final round, i.e., the UPSC interview.

UPSC Interview: The Personality Test, or the interview, is conducted for candidates who have qualified for the Main examination. This round assesses the candidate’s personality, behavior, response to situations, knowledge, mental alertness, critical thinking, clarity of expression, judgment, interests, and other aspects. Candidates selected in this round proceed to attend training for different posts and services based on their preferences and ranks.

The exam pattern for UPSC 2024 Prelims is as follows:

Paper Type Number of questions Total Marks Duration Negative marking
General Studies I Objective 100200 2 hours Yes
 General Studies II (CSAT) Objective 80 200 2 hours Yes Total Marks 400

 (GS Paper II is qualifying with minimum qualifying marks set at 33%)

The exam pattern for UPSC 2024 Mains is as follows:

Paper  Subject Duration Total Marks
 Paper A Compulsory Indian language 3 hours 300
 Paper B English 3 hours 300
Paper IEssay3 hours250
Paper IIGeneral Studies I 3 hours250
 Paper IIIGeneral Studies II 3 hours250
Paper IV General Studies III 3 hours250
Paper V General Studies IV3 hours 250
 Paper VI Optional I 3 hours250
Paper VIIOptional II 3 hours250

UPSC Interview: The UPSC interview carries 275 marks. Therefore, the total marks for UPSC Mains and the interview, considered for the merit list, amount to 2025.

UPSC Exam Cut Off

The cutoff score for UPSC CSE varies each year and is determined by factors such as the difficulty level of the exam, the number of candidates participating, and the number of available posts. The cutoff marks are based on the General Studies (Paper-I) only, while the General Studies (Paper-II) is qualifying with a minimum of 33% or 66.66 marks.

The expected cutoff scores for UPSC CSP 2024 are as follows:

General category 120+
SC category 100+
 OBC category 110+
 ST category 90+
PH (Physically Handicapped) categoryPH-1: 90+PH-2: 70+PH-3: 40+  

UPSC Exam Admit Card

Aspirants appearing for UPSC exam 2024 will receive an e-admit card from the UPSC three weeks prior to the examination. The e-admit card can be downloaded from the official website.

The UPSC 2024 admit card will include the following information:

  • Candidate’s name
  • Roll number
  • Photograph of the candidate
  • Examination venue
  • Exam timings and shift details
  • Subject and subject code
  • Important instructions

Candidates must remember that they will not be allowed to take the examination without carrying their e-Admit Card. Upon downloading the UPSC e-Admit Card, candidates should carefully review all the information. If there are any discrepancies or errors, they must immediately inform the Commission.

Steps to download the UPSC e-Admit Card:

Here is a step-by-step guide to download the UPSC e-Admit Card 2024:

Step 1: Visit the official website.

Step 2: Click on the e-Admit Card link.

Step 3: Select the e-Admit Cards for various UPSC examinations.

Step 4: Enter the Roll number or Registration number.

Step 5: Download the prelims/mains admit card and take a printout to carry to the exam venue.

UPSC Exam Highlights

Candidates appearing for the UPSC exam can find important information in this article. Before delving into the details, it is helpful to review the following highlights of the UPSC exam:

Full Exam Name UPSC Civil Services Exam
Short Exam Name UPSC CSE
 Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission
UPSC Mains Exam Date Starting from 15th September 2023
 Frequency of Conduct Once a year
 Languages English, Hindi
 Mode of Application Offline / Online
Application Fee (General) Rs 100
 [Offline] Mode of Exam Offline
Mode of Counselling Offline
 UPSC CSE Preliminary Exam Duration 4 Hours +1 More

1. When is UPSC 2024 Civil Services exam scheduled?

UPSC 2024 Exam calendar was released on 10th May 2023. The Prelims exam is scheduled for 26th May 2024 and the Mains exam will start from 20th September onwards.

2. Can a candidate modify their date of birth already submitted in the online application?

No, UPSC exam does not have any provision for modifying date of birth details that have already been submitted. Candidates must know that submitting wrong/false information on the DAF can lead to the rejection of candidature.

3. When will the UPSC 2024 exam admit card be issued?

Candidates can download their UPSC 2024 e-admit card three weeks before the scheduled exam. Once notified on the official website, aspiring candidates can get details about it.

4. Are requests for a change of Centre/ Venue accepted?

No, UPSC doesn’t entertain the request of candidates for a change of venue/centers.

5. What is the procedure for allotment of roll numbers and venues to eligible candidates?

Allotment of Roll Numbers and Venues to the eligible candidates is carried out through a computer in a random manner without manual intervention. The Commission uses the method of “first-apply-first allot” basis to provide the preferred venue/exam centers to candidates. However, Commission may change the Centres of the candidates at its discretion.

6. How can I prepare for the UPSC interview?

To prepare for the UPSC interview, candidates should be well-versed with current affairs, both national and international. They should also have a good understanding of government policies and programs, and their implications on various sectors. Candidates should also be familiar with India’s social, economic, and political issues and be able to express their opinions clearly and coherently. Candidates can also practice mock interviews and seek guidance from experienced civil servants.

7. Is there a negative marking scheme in the UPSC exam?

Yes, there is a negative marking scheme in the UPSC exam. For every incorrect answer, one-third of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as a penalty. However, there is no negative marking for unanswered questions.