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Overview of Civil Services Examination 2021

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Nov 11, 2020

The Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) has released the exam calendar for the year 2021. One of the coveted examinations conducted by the commission is Civil Services Examination (CSE). The examination is for the recruitment of candidates in the Group A and Group B services of the Indian Administration. Here, you will find out all the important details of the upcoming UPSC Exam 2021 and important tips for the preparation.

How many stages are there in the UPSC CSE?

There are three stages in the civil services examination. Prelims is the first stage, Mains is the second stage while Interview is the last stage. For UPSC Preparation, candidates have to devise a perfect strategy to crack the examination in the first attempt.

Let’s learn about the exam pattern of each stage in brief:

  1. UPSC Prelims:

It has two papers of 200 marks each. While GS Paper 1 has 100 questions, CSAT paper has 80 questions. There is a negative marking of 0.33 percent against the total marks allotted to each question. CSAT paper is of qualifying nature but a candidate has to secure at least 33 percent marks for his/her GS Paper 1 to be considered.

  • UPSC Mains:

The Mains is the second stage of the UPSC examination. It has nine theory papers. Candidates who score above the cut-off marks that are released by the commission, appear for the Mains examination. Similar to Prelims, Mains also has two qualifying papers. Two language papers are qualifying in nature where a candidate needs to score at least 33 percent of 300 marks. There are four general studies papers, one essay paper and two optional papers.

  • UPSC Interview:

It is the last stage of the examination. 275 marks are assigned to the personality test. After this stage, UPSC releases the final result.

What are the important civil services posts in UPSC?

There are various civil services posts for which recruitment is done through the UPSC Exam:

  1. IAS – Indian Administrative Services

This is one of the most desired civil services posts by the candidates. Out of the total vacancies, candidates who are in the top 100 mostly qualify for this post. Candidates are attracted towards this post because of the life of the IAS officer, IAS Salary, responsibilities & powers of the IAS officer.

  • IPS – Indian Police Services

It is one of the three All-India Services (AIS). This post too is in one of the most desired civil services posts. To get IPS post, a candidate belonging to general category has to secure one of the top ranks (Mostly within 250 ranks can get IPS post.)

  • Indian Forest Service

The preliminary examination for civil services and forest services is the same. Candidates who opt for forest services get to serve under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC.)

  • Indian Foreign Service

There are many candidates who prepare to become a diplomat. For them, IFS is the best post. It is one of the most desirable Group A services’ posts. The candidates from general category who are selected for the IFS have to secure all India rank within 150.

How to prepare for the UPSC Exam?

There are a few important books that a candidate has to read without fail. These are mentioned below:

  1. NCERT Class 9-12 History Textbooks – Ancient and Medieval History can be covered with basic NCERTs. For Modern History, one can also refer to Rajiv Ahir’s Brief History of Modern India.
  2. NCERT 11-12 Class Polity Textbooks – These along with M.Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity is a must read for the UPSC Exam.
  3. NCERT 11-12 Class Economics Textbooks – Along with this, a candidate can do a selective reading of either Ramesh Singh’s Indian Economy or Nitin Singhania’s Indian Economy.
  4. NCERT Class 6-12 Geography Textbooks – To form the foundation of the geography-related concepts, NCERTs textbooks are the best reference material.
  5. Current Affairs – Aspirants should read newspapers religiously. One newspaper like The Hindu is sufficient to cover important issues.

Tips to Crack the IAS Exam

The candidates should stick to the following tips to sail through the civil services examination:

  1. Mug the UPSC Syllabus – It is always better to stick to the syllabus as candidates can get distracted with the sea of resources available in the market.
  2. Prepare notes – Concise notes-making is the key. Aspirants should make crisp notes that are easy to revise ahead of the examination.
  3. Revise – There should be a fixed timetable to revise the syllabus beforehand. Lack of revision could cost one attempt in the examination.
  4. Take tests – There are hundreds of mock tests available in the market. Candidates can pick any and practise from it on a weekly basis.

UPSC Prelims 2021 is scheduled for 29th June 2021 whereas Mains will start in September. Currently, Mains 2020 will take place from 8th January 2021 onward. Candidates who are undertaking their UPSC Preparation are advised to revise everything before the upcoming exam.

As a reminder, there are 796 vacancies for civil services 2020 examination. Similarly, the commission will be releasing the vacancies for 2021. It is always a tough fight for a civil services post hence, a candidate should not leave any stone unturned for IAS Exam.

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