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 the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) among others.It is conducted in two phases – a preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (general studies and aptitude test), and a main examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type followed by a personality test (interview).
The examination consists of the following three stages:
Eligibility for the examination is as follows:
All candidates must have as a minimum one of the following educational qualifications:
The following candidates are also eligible, but must 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.
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 caste reservations. For other backwards castes (OBC) the upper age limit is 35, and for scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) the limit is 37 years. The upper age limit is relaxed for certain candidates who are backward with respect to other factors and physically handicapped people.
The number of times a candidate may attempt the exam is limited as follows:
Appearing to attempt one of the papers in the preliminary examination is counted as an attempt, including disqualification/ cancellation of candidature. However, applying to sit the exam but failing to attend is not counted as an attempt.
Generally the number of vacancies varies every year. The number of candidates that pass the preliminary examination is generally 11 or 12 times the number of vacancies, and the number of candidates selected for the final interview is twice the number of vacancies. As per existing policies, reservation for SC/ST/OBC is applied to each level of the selection process.
In 2006, around 400,000 candidates applied for fewer than 500 vacancies. Of those candidates, 7,500 passed the preliminary exam. In 2010, 547,698 candidates appeared for the preliminary exam.