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CSE is a 3-level examination held every year.

• Level 1 » Preliminary Examination

• Level 2 » Main Examination

• Level 3 » Interview/ Personality Test

Level 1 » Preliminary Test » The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers of Objective type (MCQs) and carry a maximum of 400 marks. Both the papers also carry penalty or negative markings for wrong answers (one-third or 0.33 of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty). The preliminary examination is usually held in the last week of May every year. Both the question papers (General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II) will be of two hours duration and carry a maximum of 400 marks. The General Studies Paper-II is qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks of 33%.

The Civil Services (Main) Examination is a written examination and consists of 9 papers of conventional essay type, two of them are Qualifying Papers and the rest Papers are counted for merit. The Civil Services (Main) is generally held in September or early October every year.

Qualifying Papers: Both carries 300 Marks (marks not included in Main Exam)

• Paper-A (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution) and

• Paper-B- English
Papers to be counted for merit:

Candidates who obtain minimum qualifying marks in the Civil Services (Main) Examination are called for an interview for a Personality Test in February or March. The number of candidates selected or interview will be about twice of the number of vacancies to be filled. The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).

Preparation for civil services is all about smart work, it completely depends on the type of study a candidate has chosen. The focus should be on quality rather than quantity study. Six to Seven hours a day for a year is enough provided the candidate is consistent in his studies.

Optional is the most important subject in Civil Services Mains examination as it carries weightage of 500 marks in total out of 1750 marks in Mains, therefore a candidate should choose his/her optional subject wisely. It is not necessary that your optional subject should be from your educational background or domain. If you have a solid command on any of the subjects among UPSC optional subjects list , then it is advisable to choose that as your optional. If not then a candidate can choose a subject of his own choice amongst the subjects available.

Simple answers with relevant content and objectivity supported by facts and arguments are good enough to score well.

No, Candidates have to write their answers either in English or in any one of the languages listed Eighth schedule.