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UPSC Civil Services Exam 2024 - Latest Notification, Exam Dates, Syllabus, Eligibility and Pattern, Preparation and Top Coaching Centres in India

The highest professional position anyone can dream of through academics is IAS, IPS, or IFS. If they possess similar dreams, they need to take the UPSC CSE exam. This article deals with the initial understanding of the exam for aspiring students.

Masoom Khare 21 June 2024 11:04


What is UPSC CSE?

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) stands as India's premier central recruiting agency, entrusted with the task of conducting various examinations to select candidates for civil services, including the prestigious Civil Services Examination (CSE). This examination serves as a gateway for ambitious individuals aspiring to join the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and other esteemed government positions. The UPSC is revered for its rigorous and competitive selection process, meticulously designed to identify and appoint only the most capable and dedicated individuals who are poised to serve the nation.

The Civil Services Examination, often referred to as the UPSC CSE, is a meticulous multi-stage process meticulously designed to evaluate a candidate's breadth of knowledge, analytical acumen, and personal attributes essential for effective civil service. It commences with the Preliminary Examination, where aspirants face objective-type questions aimed at assessing their general awareness and aptitude. Successful candidates then advance to the Main Examination, which includes a series of descriptive papers covering diverse subjects outlined in the comprehensive UPSC syllabus. This phase delves deeper into the IAS syllabus and other disciplines crucial for effective governance and public administration.

Subsequently, candidates who demonstrate exceptional performance in the Main Examination are shortlisted for a personal interview, a critical stage where their overall suitability for a career in public service is meticulously scrutinized. This holistic approach, integral to UPSC online coaching programs and offline preparations alike, ensures that the selected candidates are well-prepared and well-rounded individuals capable of embracing the multifaceted responsibilities and challenges inherent in civil services.

In essence, the UPSC Civil Services Examination, with its structured syllabus encompassing the IAS syllabus and beyond, coupled with effective UPSC online coaching and traditional study methods, stands as a testament to India's commitment to selecting the finest minds to lead and serve the nation.

Also Read: Two Kuki Siblings from Manipur cracked UPSC 2023 exam despite challenges


The Civil Services Examination (CSE), conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), stands as India's prestigious gateway to coveted administrative, police, and foreign service positions. This comprehensive exam is celebrated not only for its rigorous selection process but also for offering a transformative career dedicated to public service. The journey commences with the Preliminary Examination, designed to test candidates' broad knowledge and quick thinking abilities, aligned closely with the UPSC syllabus and the extensive IAS syllabus.

Following this initial phase, successful candidates advance to the Main Examination, a stage that dives deep into various subjects through thought-provoking essays and comprehensive papers. Both the UPSC syllabus and IAS syllabus play crucial roles in shaping this phase. The final hurdle is the personal interview, where candidates' personalities and determination are rigorously evaluated. This meticulous and challenging path ensures that only the most brilliant and resilient minds, honed through UPSC online coaching and other preparation methods, emerge as leaders prepared to steer India's future. The UPSC exam thus stands as a true crucible of talent and determination, shaping the nation's governance with its meticulous selection of leaders dedicated to public service.

UPSC Exam Syllabus

Two Compulsory Papers

General studies paper - I

General studies paper - II (CSAT)

Number of questions asked in each paper

GS Paper I - 100

CSAT - 80

Subjects of each paper

GS Paper I

  • 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 – that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science


  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

Total number of marks

400 marks

  • GS Paper I - 200 marks
  • CSAT - 200 marks

Negative marking

⅓ of the total marks allotted to the question will be deducted for every wrong answer.

Time allotted

Two hours each ;

  • GS Paper I - 2 hours ( 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM )
  • CSAT - 2 hours (2:30 PM - 4:30 PM )

Civil Services Exams

Civil service exams are standardized tests conducted by governments to assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individuals seeking to enter various civil service positions. These exams are typically used to fill positions in government agencies at local, state, or federal levels. The specific content and format of civil service exams can vary widely depending on the country and the level of government, but they generally cover subjects relevant to the job role, such as:

  1. General Knowledge: This may include questions on history, geography, current affairs, and basic mathematics.
  2. Specific Job-Related Knowledge: Tests may also cover specialized knowledge required for particular civil service positions, such as law, accounting, engineering, or public administration.
  3. Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills: Many exams include sections designed to assess critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities.

Civil service exams are often competitive, with candidates ranked based on their exam scores. Those who perform well may be considered for positions within the civil service, following further selection processes such as interviews or assessments of qualifications and experience.

UPSC Top Coaching Centres

  • Rau's IAS Study Circle: Established in 1953, it is one of the oldest and most reputed UPSC coaching institutes, known for experienced faculty, comprehensive study materials, regular classroom programs, and a focus on current affairs and answer writing practice.
  • Vajiram and Ravi: Located in Delhi, this popular institute is renowned for its high success rate and quality teaching, offering extensive classroom sessions, test series, interview guidance, a structured syllabus, and updated study resources.
  • Chanakya IAS Academy: Founded by A.K. Mishra, known as "Success Guru," offers personalized guidance, mentorship programs, specialized courses for different UPSC exam stages, and is known for consistent results and a holistic approach.

The above courses are available on an offline basis.

UPSC Online Coaching Centres

  • PW OnlyIAS Known for its detailed online lectures and affordable UPSC preparation resources.
  • RICE Education Offers comprehensive online courses with a strong focus on conceptual clarity and regular assessments.
  • Drishti IAS Provides extensive online coaching with a focus on Hindi medium students and detailed study materials.
  • Unacademy Features a wide range of live classes, interactive sessions, and expert faculty for holistic UPSC exam preparation.
  • Vision IAS Renowned for its online test series, current affairs analysis, and well-structured study plans.
  • BYJU’s Offers personalized learning experiences with engaging video lessons and adaptive test series for UPSC aspirants

UPSC Preparation

Meticulous Planning and Time Management: Embark on this scholarly odyssey with a well-charted plan. Allocate ample time to each subject within the civil services exam syllabus, ensuring a harmonious blend of revision and practice. Discipline in adhering to your schedule will be the cornerstone of your success.

In-Depth Understanding and Conceptual Clarity: Dive deep into the ocean of knowledge, focusing not just on rote memorization but on grasping the underlying principles. Cultivate a profound understanding of the subjects to effortlessly navigate the labyrinthine questions posed in the UPSC exam.

Comprehensive Coverage of the Syllabus: Leave no stone unturned in your quest for mastery. Traverse through every nook and cranny of the expansive IAS syllabus, ensuring you are well-versed in the intricacies of each topic. Utilize standard textbooks, authoritative sources, and credible online platforms, including UPSC online coaching resources.

Consistent Practice and Mock Tests: Hone your prowess through relentless practice. Engage in regular mock tests to simulate the exam environment, sharpening your time management skills and identifying areas for improvement. Analyze your performance meticulously to refine your strategy, and make use of UPSC online coaching to gain further insights.

Holistic Development and Current Affairs Acumen: Beyond academics, nurture a well-rounded persona. Stay abreast of current affairs, cultivating an insightful perspective on national and global events. Regularly read newspapers, journals, and partake in intellectual discussions to stay informed and articulate, enhancing your preparation through UPSC online coaching sessions.

Also Read: UPSC IFS Topper: ‘Public service opportunity and responsibility’


1. Mark Your Calendar: The grand announcement of the UPSC CSE 2024 will grace us in February, unfolding the gateway to your dreams.

2. Application Window: Once the proclamation is made, you have a three-week window to submit your aspirations and apply.

3. The Preliminary Prelude: June will witness the commencement of the Preliminary Examination, a crucial stepping stone on your path to glory.

4. The Majestic Mains: September will be a month of endurance and intellect as you tackle the Main Examination, where true mettle is tested.

5. The Final Curtain Call: February-March of the following year will host the Personality Test/Interview, the final gateway to your coveted destiny.

6. Bifurcation of Prelims: The Preliminary stage is a twin challenge - General Studies Paper I, where your knowledge will shine, and CSAT, a test of your skills, requiring just a 33% score to pass.

7. The Mains Odyssey: The Main Examination is an extensive journey with 9 papers, including language skills and subjects that reflect your intellectual prowess.

8. Qualifying Essentials: Two papers, one in an Indian language and the other in English, are mere formalities, but your focus should be on excelling in the core subjects.

9. Optional Odyssey: Choose an Optional Subject wisely, for it can be your strong ally, with two papers dedicated to your chosen field of expertise.

10. The Final Battle: The Personality Test, worth 275 marks, is where your persona, presence, and potential are truly evaluated.

These milestones form the enchanted path to becoming an officer par excellence, guiding you towards a prestigious and impactful career.

Best Online Coaching for UPSC with Fees

Choosing the best online coaching for UPSC involves considering factors beyond just fees, such as course content, teaching approach, faculty expertise, and support services. Let’s have a glimpse of some of the top online coaching centres in India. These platforms offer unique strengths designed to cater to the diverse needs of UPSC aspirants aiming for success in the civil services examination.

Coaching Centers

Teaching Methodology


Vision IAS

Revered for its extensive study materials and seasoned faculty, Vision IAS stands out with its meticulously designed online courses that cater comprehensively to the diverse needs of UPSC aspirants. They offer personalized guidance and effective strategies through interactive online sessions, ensuring thorough preparation and confidence-building.

INR 50,000 to INR . 1,00,000

Byju's IAS

Renowned for its innovative pedagogy and captivating video lectures, Byju's IAS has established itself as a trailblazer in online UPSC coaching. Their holistic approach encompasses both static and dynamic aspects of the syllabus, fostering an enriching and engaging learning environment that resonates with aspirants seeking top-tier preparation.

INR 70,000 to INR 1,50,000

Physics Wallah UPSC

Renowned for its exceptional teaching methodology and comprehensive coverage of UPSC syllabus, Physics Wallah has gained prominence in online coaching. With a focus on conceptual clarity and innovative learning techniques, it offers aspirants effective strategies through live classes and recorded lectures. Their emphasis on simplifying complex topics makes learning engaging and accessible.

INR 10,000 to INR 30,000.

Unacademy UPSC

Offering a vast array of courses delivered by esteemed educators, Unacademy UPSC provides flexible learning options through live classes, recorded lectures, and dedicated doubt-clearing sessions. Their interactive platform fosters collaborative learning and exam-centric preparation, empowering aspirants with comprehensive tools and resources.

INR 30,000 (for basic courses) and going up to INR 1,00,000 (for more comprehensive packages.)


Distinct for its emphasis on critical thinking and seamless integration of current affairs, InsightsIAS provides meticulous online coaching that enhances conceptual clarity and exam readiness. Their daily current affairs analysis and rigorously crafted mock tests are highly esteemed among aspirants for their precision and relevance.

INR 40,000 to INR 80,000,


Specializing in simplifying UPSC preparation through concise study materials and targeted mock exams, ClearIAS advocates a self-study-centric approach supplemented by strategic revision techniques. Their online guidance program is designed to equip aspirants with the confidence and proficiency needed to navigate the complexities of the UPSC examination.

Prelims Test Series INR 4,999

Mains Answer Writing Practice (AWP) Program:INR 9,999

Essay Writing Course: INR 4,999

Ethics Course:INR4,999

Interview Marks Booster Course:INR 4,999

Total initial cost: INR 29,995

Civil Service Exam Practice Tests: Key Points

  • Simulating Real Exam Experience: Practice tests mimic the actual civil services exam atmosphere, helping you get accustomed to the format, time constraints, and question types you'll encounter on exam day.
  • Understanding Your Strengths and Weaknesses: By taking these tests, you can pinpoint areas where you excel and areas that need more attention, guiding your study efforts effectively in accordance with the UPSC syllabus.
  • Improving Time Management: Engaging in timed practice tests sharpens your ability to manage time efficiently during the exam, ensuring you can complete all sections within the allotted time as outlined in the IAS syllabus.
  • Gaining Confidence: Regularly testing yourself builds confidence in your knowledge and exam-taking abilities, reducing anxiety and boosting your readiness for the actual exam.
  • Tracking Progress and Adjusting Strategy: Analyzing your performance in practice tests helps you track your progress over time. This feedback allows you to adjust your study plan, focus on weak spots, and refine your exam strategy.
  • Utilizing UPSC Online Coaching: Incorporate UPSC online coaching resources to enhance your preparation. These platforms provide valuable insights, practice tests, and strategic advice tailored to the civil services exam, ensuring comprehensive coverage of the UPSC syllabus and IAS syllabus.
  • Practice tests are not just assessments; they are valuable tools in your preparation arsenal, guiding you towards peak performance and success in the civil services exam with the aid of UPSC online coaching.

UPSC Exam Pattern

  1. Preliminary Examination (Prelims):
    • Objective Type: The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers:
      • Paper 1: General Studies (GS) - 200 marks
      • Paper 2: Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) - 200 marks
    • Duration: Each paper is conducted for 2 hours.
    • Marking: Negative marking for incorrect answers (1/3rd of the marks allotted for that question).
  2. Main Examination (Mains):
    • Descriptive Type: The Main Examination consists of 9 papers:
      • Paper A: Compulsory Indian Language - 300 marks (Qualifying nature)
      • Paper B: English - 300 marks (Qualifying nature)
      • Papers 1 to 7: General Studies papers - 250 marks each (Total 1750 marks)
      • Paper 8 & 9: Optional Subject papers - 250 marks each (Total 500 marks)
    • Duration: Each paper is conducted for 3 hours.
    • Nature: Papers on Indian Language and English are qualifying in nature. Marks obtained in the rest of the papers are counted for merit.
  3. Personality Test (Interview):
    • Nature: This is the final stage of the UPSC examination process.
    • Marks: The Personality Test carries 275 marks.
    • Purpose: It assesses the candidate's suitability for a career in public service by evaluating their intellectual, moral, and personal qualities.

Key Points to Note

  • Negative Marking: Applies only to the Preliminary Examination (Prelims) for incorrect answers.
  • Cut-off Marks: Candidates must secure the minimum qualifying marks in the Prelims (GS Paper 1) as determined by UPSC.
  • Optional Subject: Candidates choose one optional subject for Papers 8 & 9 in the Mains exam from the UPSC approved list.

Understanding the UPSC exam pattern is crucial for aspirants to devise a strategic preparation plan that covers all aspects comprehensively. The exam demands thorough knowledge of a wide range of subjects, effective time management, and strong analytical skills to succeed in each stage of the selection process.

UPSC Prelims Mock Test

Benefits of UPSC Prelims Mock Tests:

  • Simulating Real Exam Experience:
    • Mock tests replicate the actual atmosphere of the UPSC Prelims, giving you a feel for the format, timing pressures, and the intensity of the real exam environment.
  • Discovering Strengths and Weaknesses:
    • Taking mock tests helps you uncover your strengths in various subjects and pinpoint areas where you need more focus. It’s like a compass guiding you to where you shine brightest and where you need to shore up your knowledge.
  • Mastering Time Management:
    • Practice under timed conditions sharpens your ability to manage time efficiently during the exam. It teaches you to balance speed with accuracy, ensuring you can complete all sections within the stipulated time.
  • Understanding Question Patterns:
    • Mock tests expose you to a diverse range of question types and difficulty levels encountered in UPSC Prelims. This exposure prepares you to navigate through different question formats with confidence and clarity.
  • Analyzing and Learning from Performance:
    • After each mock test, analyzing your performance is key. It allows you to delve into why you answered certain questions correctly or incorrectly, enabling deeper learning and retention of concepts.

Eligibility Criteria for Applying for Civil Services Exam

To apply for the Civil Services Examination (CSE) in India, candidates must meet the following key eligibility criteria:

Nationality: Must be a citizen of India, or a subject of Nepal, Bhutan, a Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1962, or a person of Indian origin who has migrated from certain countries.

Age Limit: The candidate must be at least 21 years old and not more than 32 years old on August 1 of the examination year. There are age relaxations for certain categories, such as OBC (up to 35 years), SC/ST (up to 37 years), and candidates with disabilities (up to 42-47 years).

Educational Qualification: Must hold a graduate degree from a recognized university. Candidates awaiting final year results can also apply, provided they can produce proof of passing the examination.

Number of Attempts: General category: 6 attempts, OBC candidates: 9 attempts and SC/ST candidates: Unlimited attempts up to the age limit.

These eligibility criteria ensure that only qualified and eligible candidates apply for the prestigious Civil Services Examination, maintaining its high standards and integrity.

UPSC Exam Preparation


In conclusion, the UPSC Civil Services Examination is not merely a test but a profound journey that molds aspirants into future leaders of India. As candidates navigate this challenging path, they acquire essential knowledge and skills, alongside invaluable traits like perseverance and a commitment to public service. This rigorous process, grounded in the UPSC syllabus and IAS syllabus, transforms them into visionary leaders equipped to govern with integrity and wisdom. Utilizing UPSC online coaching, aspirants gain insights and strategies to master the complexities of the civil services exam. Each aspirant's journey reflects the resilience and dedication necessary to contribute meaningfully to society. As they assume roles in public administration, they carry the nation's collective hopes and aspirations, ready to drive India's progress and prosperity forward. Through rigorous preparation, including the use of UPSC online coaching, they are well-prepared to meet the challenges of the civil services exam and beyond.


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