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FAQs about UPSC

Get answer to all your basic UPSC related queries here

What is UPSC?

UPSC stand for Union Public Service Commission. It conducts nationwide competitive examinations in India such as Civil Services Examination, Combined Medical Services Examination, National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination, etc.

Is UPSC exam conducted only once in a year?

Yes, UPSC conducts Civil Services Examination (CSE) once in a year.

What is the educational qualification required for UPSC?

Educational qualification required to appear for UPSC CSE is either completion of graduation from any UGC recognised university (Distance Learning Degree is also recognised) or candidate appearing for last semester exam of graduation can also apply. (He/She has to produce degree certificate at the time of filling of detailed application form/DAF)

What is the cycle of UPSC CSE?

  • UPSC CSE is divided into three phases namely; preliminary examination, main examination and personality test.

  • One has to appear for preliminary examination. It is an objective type examination with negative marking. On account of scoring minimum qualifying marks (cut off) one is eligible to appear for main examination.

  • Mains examination is a subjective type exam consisting of 9 papers -  4 General Studies, 2 Optional papers, 1 Essay Paper, 2 qualifying language papers. 

  • Scores of Main examination and personality test are the exams, are taken into consideration in final selection.

How does UPSC select candidates?

On the basis of marks scored in main examination and personal interview, the final list of selected candidates is prepared by UPSC.

Is there any waiting/reserve list?

Yes, every year UPSC prepares a reserved/ waiting list as well. (one should take a note that not necessarily candidate from waiting list will receive appointment letter from UPSC. It must only be seen as contingency list.)

Which services can I apply for?

What is the age criteria for UPSC?

  • Minimum age to appear for UPSC civil services examination is 21 years on 1st August of the respective year when the exam is going to be held.

  • Upper age limit to appear for UPSC civil services examination for various categories is as follows:

  • General – 32 years

  • OBC (non creamy layer) – 35 years

  • SC/ST – 37 years

  • PH General – 42 years

  • PH OBC – 45 years

  • PH SC/ST – 47 years

  • Defense services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in disturbed area and released as consequence thereof – 35 years

  • Ex-servicemen including commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least 5 years in military service – 37 years

  • Blind/Deaf-Mute/Orthopaedically handicapped person (general) – 42 years

Can candidate from reserved category apply for seat from unreserved category?


What are the maximum number of attempts for UPSC CSE?

  • General - 06

  • OBC - 09

  • SC/ST - Upto the age of 37

  • Disabled Defence Services Personnel - 09 

How do I fill the UPSC exam form?

Candidate who wishes to apply for UPSC CSE have to visit UPSC’s official website, from there he/she may apply for the examination.

What is the best stream for graduation if I want to appear for UPSC & similar exams?

On an average most students who appear for UPSC CSE or like exams are from humanities. But it is not at all necessary that a candidate must choose humanities only as graduation. One’s likes, dislikes and other career priorities must be taken into account before making such decision.

Can I write UPSC exam in vernacular language?


What if I fail in UPSC?

Failing in UPSC does not mean that a person is failure. It only means person could not qualify. It is neither end of the world nor of opportunities. Knowledge and wisdom acquired during preparation process helps always in various spheres of life and puts one ahead of all.

Is coaching necessary for UPSC CSE preparation?

It is always advisable to have proper guidance and strategy, so that chances of repeating mistakes are reduced and chances of better result are enhanced.

Can I work and prepare for UPSC simultaneously?

Yes, Of course. There are many candidates who were working while preparing for UPSC CSE and still could secure desired rank and cadre.

I don’t live in any metro city or big city; can I still prepare for UPSC and get selected?

Yes, without a doubt. Person’s dedication, hard work and focus is necessary and not to which locality he/she belongs to.

I am 29, from open category, working in full time job but want to give UPSC attempt, is it possible?

If you are dedicated and focused, one attempt in UPSC is also sufficient.

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