2. Services and Posts to which recruitment is made by UPSC
3. I.A.S. Scheme of Examination
4. Preliminary Examination
5. Main Examination
6. Interview Test
7. Important Tips for Interview
8. Types of questions asked at the Interview
9. Eligibility conditions
10. Number of attempts permissible
11. Book list for study – I.A.S Preliminary Exam
12. Book list for Optional subjects
13. Current Affairs
14. Ready Referral Points
15. Note on the Examination Cycle


Dear student,

I am herewith narrating the important points to be known for preparing any competitive examinations particularly for UPSC, TNPSC and other examinations. Basically you must understand that getting IAS is not a course but it’s attending a competitive examination and securing rank in the merit list. Based on your rank and choice you will be allotted Service like IAS / IPS / IRS / IFS / IRTS / IAAS / IRAS etc.


These contents will be updated periodically by me.


All the best and wish you good luck.



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2.Services or posts to which recruitment is made by UPSC

    • Indian Administrative Service.
    • Indian Foreign Service.
    • Indian Police Service.
    • Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) Group 'A'.
    • Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Revenue Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group 'A'
    • Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Post of Assistant Security Officer, Group 'A' in RPF.
    • Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’.
    • Indian Trade Service, Group "A".
    • Indian Corporate Law Service, Group "A".
    • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
    • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group 'B'.
    • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group 'B'.
    • Pondicherry Civil Service, Group 'B'.
    • Pondicherry Police Service, Group 'B'.

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    Civil Services Examination comprises two successive stages namely,

    (i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination; and (ii) Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.

    The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks. This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only and the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.

    The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year.
    Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year will be eligibe for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.

    The Main Examination will consist of a written examination and an interview test. The written examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type in the subjects. (Language [both vernacular and English], General studies and Optional subjects)

    Candidates, who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an interview for a Personality Test.

    However, the papers on Indian Languages and English will be of qualifying nature.  The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking. The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled. The interview will carry 300 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).

    Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to the various Services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and posts.

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    4.Preliminary Examination

    The preliminary examination will consist of two papers.

    • Paper I General Studies - 200 marks.
    • Paper II CSAT paper 2 - 200 marks.
    • Total - 400 marks.
    • Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions).
    • The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.
    • The course content of the syllabi for the optional subjects will be of the degree level.
    • Each paper will be of two hours duration. Blind candidates will; however, be allowed an extra time of twenty minutes at each paper.

    Negative Marking

      • There will be penalty for WRONG answers marked by a candidate in the objective type question paper.
      • There are four alternatives for the answers for every question.
      • For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate 1/3 of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
      • If a question is left blank there will be no penalty for that question.
      • For example in an optional subject for prelims there are 120 questions if you answer 101 questions and 80 questions correct, but 21 questions are wrong, therefore there will be (80-7) x 2 ½.

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    5.Main Examination

    The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory. The scope of the syllabus for the optional subject papers for the examination is broadly of the honours degree level i.e. a level higher than the bachelor’s degree and lower than the master’s degree. In the case of Engineering and law, the level corresponds to the bachelor's degree.

    The written examination will consist of the following papers,

    Paper I - One of the Indian languages (Tamil you can choose) to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Scheduled to the Constitution - 300 marks.
    Paper II - English - 300 marks.
    Paper III - Essay - 200 marks.
    Papers IV and V - General Studies - 300 marks for each paper.
    Papers VI, VII, VIII and IX - Any two subjects to be selected from the list of the optional subjects set out in Para 2 below. Each subject will have two papers - 300 marks for each paper.

    Interview Test will carry 300 marks.

    • The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature and the marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

    • Evaluation of the papers, namely, 'Essay, General Studies' and 'Optional subjects' of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on 'Indian Languages' and 'English'.

    • The papers on 'Essay', 'General Studies' and 'Optional Subjects' of only such candidates will be taken cognizance of as attain such minimum standard as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion for the qualifying papers on 'Indian Language' and 'English' and, therefore, the marks in 'Essay', 'General Studies' and 'Optional Subjects' will not be disclosed to those candidates who fail to obtain such minimum qualifying standard in 'Indian Language' and 'English'.

    List of optional subjects for Main Examination

    Agriculture / Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science / Anthropology / Botany / Chemistry / Civil Engineering / Commerce and Accountancy / Economics / Electrical Engineering / Geography / Geology / History / Law / Management / Mathematics / Mechanical Engineering / Medical Science / Philosophy / Physics / Political Science and International Relations / Psychology / Public Administration / Sociology / Statistics / Zoology and Literature of one of the following languages,
    Arabic, Assamese, Bodo, Bengali, Dogri, Chinese, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili,  Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.
    (i) Candidates will not be allowed to offer the following combinations of subjects:–

    • Political Science & International Relations and Public Administration;
    • Commerce & Accountancy and Management;
    • Anthropology and Sociology;
    • Mathematics and Statistics;
    • Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science.
    • Management and Public Administration;
    • Of the Engineering subjects, viz., Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering–not more than one subject.
    • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science and Medical Science.

    (ii) The question papers for the examination will be of conventional (essay) type.

    (iii) Each paper will be of three hours duration. Blind candidates will, however be allowed an extra time of thirty minutes at each paper.

    (iv) Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the language papers viz. Papers I and II above in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution or in English.

    (v) Candidates exercising the option to answer papers III to IX in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution may, if they so desire, give English version within brackets of only the description of the technical terms, if any, in addition to the version in the language opted by them.

    (VI) Candidates should, however, note that if they misuse the above rule, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to them and in extreme cases; their script(s) will not be valued for being in an unauthorised medium.

    (VII) The question papers other than language papers will be set both in Hindi and English.

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    6.Interview test

    The candidate will be interviewed by a Board which will have before them a record of his career. He will be asked questions on matters of general interest and the object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers.

    The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interst in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

    The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.

    The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well educated youth.

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    7.Important tips for Interview

    The Kothari Committee of the UPSC, has listed the qualities that should be rated in the interview as

    • Clarity of expression,
    • Grasp of narrative and argument,
    • Reasoning ability,
    • Appreciation of different points of view,
    • Awareness and concern for socio-economic problems,
    • Depth of interests and personal attributes relevant to interaction with people.''

    The Interview for the civil services examination also known as the Personality Test is exactly that. It is aimed at assessing the candidate’s personality, whether he is suitable to be a competent administrator or not. The candidate is tested not only for his/her intelligence but also for his/her overall personality development, his/her attentiveness, balance of judgement and qualities of honesty, integrity and leadership. Therefore preparation for the Interview requires proper planning.

    The selectors look out for some attributes in the candidate and decide whether he/she is suited for a career in civil services or not. For this, the candidate should have a positive attitude, should have an alert mind with quick reflexes, should be free from any sort of prejudice, should be good at making quick decisions and should have the ability to act under stress and to handle difficult situations.

    Preparation for the Interview is a continuous process. This involves a wide reading of books, journals, magazines and at least two newspapers. One should try to improve his/her conversational skills with the right pronunciation. The candidate should be prepared to answer questions on his background, hobbies and extra curricular activities. It is a good idea to discuss current affairs and recent issues with friends.

    One good way of rehearsing possible questions would be to have mock interviews and discussion groups. The candidate should make a self analysis of his strengths and weaknesses and make a conscious effort to play on his strengths.

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    8.Types of questions asked at the UPSC interview.

      • Relating to your name - Any famous personality who has a similar or same name or surname.

      • Your career choice - Why you want to opt for the civil services.

      • Your Hobbies - Why you pursue such a hobby or questions related to your hobby. So research well on your hobby.

      • Hot topics of recent days - like the Naxalism, Swine flu, Liberhan report, Telengana issue, Mumbai terror attacks, Copenhagen meet , Commonwealth games, India’s test cricket rankings etc. Keep reading and watching the news. If the recent headlines have something to do with your subject then specially revise those portions.

      • How you are going to use your specific knowledge (like if you are a doctor, lawyer, engineer etc) in the services.

      • Situational questions - Like if you were the collector/SP of Varanasi, what would you do after the Bomb Blast?

      • Choice of services - The order of your choice of services can raise questions too.

      • About your institution you have studied - and related. If you have studies at IIM you may be asked about the rising salaries, if from IGNOU then even about Indira Gandhi and so on.

      • From your form - You must go through the form you have filled because most questions will arise from there. If you have changed subjects, mentioned anything out of the way, watch out for questions on them. Interviewers take cue from the form you have filled.

      • About your home district, state - Important issues related to your state possible solutions they are not directly from the syllabus.

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    9.Eligibility conditions for the exam

    Age Limits - A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 30 years on 1st August, of the year in which he write the prelims exam and the upper age limit prescribed above will be relaxable,

    • Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.

    • Up to a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.

    • Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from the 1st January, 1980 to the 31st day of December, 1989.

    • Up to a maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof:

    • Up to a maximum of five years in the case of ex-servicemen  including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st August, of the year in which you write the prelims exam and have been released (i) on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1st August, of the year in which you write the prelims exam) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or (ii) on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or (iii) on invalidment.

    • Up to a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1st August, of the year in which you write the prelims exam and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three month's notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.

    • Up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped persons.

    NOTE I - Candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes who are also covered under any other clauses of para 3(ii) (b) above, viz. those coming under the category of Ex-servicemen, persons domiciled in the State of J & K, blind, deaf-mute and orthopadically handicapped etc. will be eligible for grant of cumulative age-relaxation under both the categories.

    NOTE II - The term ex-servicemen will apply to the persons who are defined as ex-servicemen in the Ex-servicemen (Re-employment in Civil Services and Posts) Rules, 1979, as amended from time to time.

    Note III - The age concession under para 3(ii) (b) (v) and (vi) will not be admissible to Ex-Servicemen and Commissioned Officers including ECOs/SSCOs who are released on own reguest.

    NOTE IV - Notwithstanding the provision of age-relaxation under para 3(ii) (b) (vii) above, a physically disabled candidate will be considered to be eligible for appointment only if he/she (after such physical examination as the Government or appointing authority, as the case may be, may prescribe) is found to satisfy the requirements of physical and medical standards for the concerned Services/posts to be allocated to the physically disabled candidates by the Government.

    The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognised by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University, which extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University or in the Higher Secondary or an equivalent examination certificate.

    These certificates are required to be submitted only at the time of applying for the Civil Services (Main) Examination. No other document relating to age like horoscopes, affidavits, birth extracts from Municipal Corporation, service records and the like will be accepted. The expression Matriculation/Secondary Examination Certificate in this part of the instruction includes the alternative certificates mentioned above.

    NOTE 1- Candidates should note that only the Date of Birth as recorded in the Matriculation/Secondary Examination Certificate or an equivalent certificate on the date of submission of applications will be accepted by the Commission and no subsequent request for its change will be considered or granted.

    Note 2 - Candidates should also note that once a Date of Birth has been claimed by them and entered in the records of the Commission for the purpose of

    admission to an Examination, no change will be allowed subsequently (or at any other Examination of the Commission) on any grounds whatsoever.

    Note 3 - The candidate should exercise due care while entering their date of birth in column 8 of the application form for the Preliminary Examination. If on verification at any subsequent stage, any variation is found in their date of birth from the one entered in their matriculation or equivalent Examination certificate, disciplinary action will be taken against them by the commission under the Rules.

    Minimum Educational Qualifications - The candidate must hold a degree of any of Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University Under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.

    Note I - Candidates who have appeared at an examination the passing of which would render them educationally qualified for the Commission’s examination but have not been informed of the results as also the candidates who intend to appear at such a qualifying examination will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary Examination. All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite examination with their application for the Main Examination failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination. The applications for the main examination will be called sometime in the month of July/August of that year.

    Note II - In exceptional cases the Union Public Service Commission may treat a candidate who has not any of the foregoing qualifications as a qualified candidate provided that he has passed examination conducted by the other Institutions, the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission justifies his admission to the examination.

    Note III - Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications which are recognised by Government as equivalent to professional and technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the examination.

    Note IV - Candidates who have passed the final professional M.B.B.S. or any other Medical Examination but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the Examination provided they submit along with their application a copy of certificate from the concerned authority of the University/Institution that they had passed the requisite final professional medical examination. In such cases, the candidates will be required to produce at the time of their interview original Degree or a certificate from the concerned competent authority of the University/Institution that they had completed all requirements (including completion of internship) for the award of the Degree.

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    10.Number of attempts

    Every candidate appearing at the Civil Services Examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted four attempts at the examination,

    Provided that this restriction on the number of attempts will not apply in the case of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates who are otherwise eligible.

    Provided further that the number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes, who are otherwise eligible, shall be seven.

    Provided further that a physically handicapped will get as many attempts as are available to other non-physically handicapped candidates of his or her community, subject to the General Category shall be eligible for seven attempts.


    An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be deemed to be an attempt at the Examination.

    • If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, he/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination.

    • Notwithstanding the disqualification/cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.

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    11.Books list for study – IAS Prelims Exam

    1. NCERT Books
    • Indian History - Ancient India, Medieval India and Modern India (+1, +2) and (Modern India – Spectrum Publications)
    • Indian Geography - Indian Geography.
      • Principles of Geography.
      • Human and Economic Geography.
    • Science - Science and Technology – (Standard 9 & 10)
    1. Indian Polity [constitution]
    • Indian polity          - by Laxmikanth (TMH publications) (or) Wizard guide for Indian Polity.
    • Reference
    • Introduction to constitution of India – D.D. Basu.
    • Indian Constitution – P.N. Bakshi / Pylee.
    1. Indian Economy          
    • Pratiyogita Darpan (Latest Edition) and Economic survey [2009-10]


    1. GK Books
    • Manorama Year Book – 2010
    • India Year Book – 2010 (Publication Division)


    1. Magazines
    • Frontline (For Mains & Interview)
    • Competition wizard/Civil Services Chronicle / Civil Service Times (Any 1)
    • Yojana [Published by Publication Division]
    1. Newspapers / Daily* - The Hindu / Economic Times / (Tamil Daily)


    1. Prelims Guide*

         Tata McGraw Hills UPSC General studies - Prelims guide -2010 and
    Wizard strategist for General Studies for Prelims (Latest Edition).

    1. Other Sources* -

    Regular watching of TV News (NDTV, BBC, CNN, and DD) and reading general magazines like India Today, Outlook and Sunday Indian etc.

    Note: * - 6, 7 & 8 - For beginners in preparation.

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    • 6th to 12th Std - NCERT Books
    • Physical Geography - Savindra Singh
    • Indian Geography - Khullar
    • Human Geography          - Majjid Hussain
    • Geographical Thought -  Majjid Hussain
    • Cartography - Khullar
    • Geography thro’ maps - Siddhartha and Mukherjee
    • Certificate of physical Geography  - Goh Cheng Leong
    • Map - Oriental Black swan and TTK Map

    Indian History

    • NCERT - XI Std.
    • IGNOU Materials.
    • An Advanced History of India 3 Authors – Majumdar Roy Choudary R.C. Dutt
    • Ancient India - Romila Thapar
    • Ancient India - TN Jha
    • The Wonder that was India - AL Basham

    Medieval India

    • NCERT - XI Std.
    • IGNOU Materials.
    • An Advanced History of India 3 Authors – Majumdar Roy Choudary RC Dutt
    • The History of South India - Nilakanta Shasthri
    • Delhi Sultanate - Satish Chandra
    • Mughal Empire - Satish Chandra
    • The Wonder that was India - Rizvi
    • Medieval India - J.L. Mehta
    • Medieval India - Sathiya Natha Iyer


    Modern India

    • NCERT - VIII and XII Std.
    • Modern Indian History - BL Grover and S Grover.
    • Indian Freedom Struggle          - Bipin Chandra.
    • India – After Independence - Bipin Chandra.
    • India 1857 – 1947          - Sumit Sarkar.
    • IGNOU Materials.
    • Advanced History of India 3 Authors - Majumdar Roy Choudary and RC Dutt.
    • Modern India - Spectrum Guide.


    • Indian History - Krishna Reddy and Tata Mc Graw hill Publications
    • Indian History - Agnihothri

    Question Banks

    • M’n’M Series
    • Jawahar Publication
    • Arihant previous years question papers


    • Sociology - Shankar Rao.
    • Social anthropology - Madhan and Majumdar.
    • Sociology Themes and Perspectives - Harlon Bose.
    • Dictionary of sociology - WP Scott.
    • Modernisation of Indian tradition - Yogendhra Singh.
    • Indian society - Ram Ahuja.
    • NCERT Books on sociology.
    • IGNOU Booklets on sociology.
    • Spectrum prelims guide for sociology.

    Political Science

    • An introduction to political theory – Gauba.
    • An introduction to the constitution of India - D.D. Basu.
    • Political Ideology - Andrew Heywood.          
    • Political theory - Andrew Heywood.
    • IGNOU Booklets.

    Public Administration

      • Administrative Thinkers - Prasad & Prasad.
      • Indian Public Administration - Arora & Goyal.
      • Public Administration - Avasthi Maheshwari.
      • Public Administration for prelims – Laxmikanth.
      • Public Administration - Fadia & Fadia.
      • Introduction to Constitution of India - D.D. Basu.

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    Following Topics to be covered while reading ‘The Hindu’ and Competitive Monthly Magazines (Competition Wizard or Civil Service Chronicle or Civil Service Times – Preferably any one). If possible students are suggested to take down daily notes on the basis of topics covered here.


    • New Govt. schemes.
    • Newly constituted committees on national issues.
    • Newly appointed heads of important offices.
    • Interstate disputes.
    • Important places in news.


    • Recent trade pacts like FTA, trade targets, items of trade and grouping in WTO
    • Bilateral defence deals and military exercises.
    • Bilateral visits by heads of nations.
    • Bilateral summits (Place, theme to summit, issues discussed in summit).
    • Bilateral, trilateral and regional forums like IBSA, SAARC.


    • RBI – monetary policy changes – CRR, Bank Rate, Forex reserves, inflation rate etc
    • Finance Ministry – Fiscal policy-tax rates, tax holidays, committees appointed to review exciting tax structures.
    • CSO – National income, Per capita income, GDP growth rate, Base year, Poverty rate etc.
    • Central Govt. schemes of Employment Generation (NREGP), Social welfare (NOAP, ICDS, MDMS), Poverty eradication (AAY), Infrastructure development (NURM, NHDP)
    • SEBI – Stock exchanges, Stock indexes, disinvestments, scams, committees
    • TRADE- Export items, Import items, export targets of various sector, trade pacts
    • PLANNING – Plan period, GDP target, priorities, sectoral allocations
        • WTO – Summits, discussed issues, groupings formed for trade dialogue.
        • IMF, WB - development agenda, loans and grants
        • UNDP – Theme, HDR, HDI rankings,
        • ILO, UNCTAD reports.

    4. POLITY

    • New amendments
    • National issues – Any related article in constitution
    • Major Supreme court verdict in national issues
    • Important committees related to constitution
    • Interstate river water, territorial disputes  


    • International summits – theme of summit, major agenda, total membership, observers, Declaration issued, recent members, venue of next summit.
    • International forums and NGO’s – WEF, WSF, TI, Greenpeace etc.
    • International disputes – Territorial claims, civil war, Non Proliferation issues and related treaties.
    • Terrorism – Organisations, funding, recent attacks and assassination, international efforts to curb it (UN resolutions, treaties.)

    6. SPACE

    • Recent space missions – name of space mission, space research organization (country)   and name of spacecraft, planet name, purpose, period.
    • Space phenomenon – Possible Asteroids threat etc.
    • Discoveries – Names of recently discovered planets, comets and asteroids
    • International Space station
    • Space accidents – Jupiter & Shoemaker levy-4 crash, Colombia shuttle crash,
    • International space projects like Galileo (GPS).

    7. DEFENCE

    • Recently tested missiles – Name, type, range, speed, nuclear capability, technology used, indigenous or joint production.
    • Bilateral defence deals-Fighters, ships, submarines, missiles, radars etc.
    • Bilateral military, Navy and Air force exercises – Place, Code name, nature of operation.
    • International peacekeeping operations – Indian role and presence
    • Recent bodies like Strategic Forces Command etc.,

    8. AWARDS

    8.1. National Awards

    • Civilian – Bharath Rathna, Gandhi peace prize, IG prize for peace, disarmament and development
    • Sports – Rajiv Khel ratna – Arjuna – Dhronacharya
    • Cinema – IFFI, Dadasaheb phalke, National
    • Science – Kalinga, S.S. Bhatnagar
    • Literature – Janpith, Sahithya Academy, Vyas Samman and Saraswathi Samman etc.
    • Social service – IG national integration, LB Shasthri award for excellence in pub-ad etc.

    8.2. International     

    • Noble prize.
    • Oscar awards (cinema)/ Grammy awards (music).
    • Ramon Magsaysay Awards (Asian Nobel Prize).
    • Right livelihood (Alternative Nobel Prize).
    • Booker – Pulitzer- Orange-Dylan Thomas awards (Literature) Abel prize, Templeton awards etc.



    • Newly elected head of nations and important world organisations.
    • News makers, inventors etc.
    • CEO’s of major corporate bodies.
    • Major national and international award winners.


    • Recent ones containing issues of national and international importance
    • Controversial books. (E.g. In the line of fire, Lajja, Satanic verses)
    • Books which recently got national/international awards.
    • Popular writers of National/ International fame.
    • (Noam Chomsky, Salman Rushdie, Arunthathi Roy, Shashi
    • Tharoor, Vikram Seth, R.K. Narayan)

    11. SPORTS

    • Players and sports events.
    • Major national international records.
    • Olympic, Asian, Commonwealth, South Asian games-mascot, no of countries participated. Newly added disciplines, top Medal winning countries
    • Doping cases-drug used, player, ban period, country
    • Grand slam titles in tennis


    • Major treaties like Montreal – Kyoto – Basel – Cartegena etc, recent
    • Summits like UNFCCC, UNEP etc.
    • Calamities, Accidents and natural disasters – Valcano action, Earthquake, Tsunami,
    • Storms – Cyclone – typhoon (names of it Ex.Katrina, Nargis, Gustav)
    • Disease outbreak (ex. Bird flu)
    • -Recent campaigns by environmental agencies like



    • UNESCO World heritage sites.
    • Major temples / festivals / Eg. Recent kumba mela.
    • Dances of Indian states.
    • Folk arts and states
    • Personalities in Dance, Arts and Theatre currently in news


    • Areas of bilateral and international disputes (islands etc).
    • Any major calamities (Volcanoes, storm, nuclear accident,)
    • Countries – language wise.
    • Location of important cities, river of a country.
    • Questions based on national census (2001).


    • Dailies - The Hindu*, Economic times, Dhina Mani (Tamil)
    • Magazines - Frontline, Yojana
    • India year book*, Manorama year book.
    • Economic Survey*.

    * marked are to be studied sincerely.

     Details mentioned in the above seen pages are general in nature and I would like you to go through the following pages as a ready referral points.

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    14.Ready Referral Points

    What is the minimum educational qualification required to appear in Civil Service Examination?

    Any degree from an institution duly recognized by the Central or State Government is alone sufficient for appearing in CSE. Students in final year also can write provided they must be in a position to produce the Degree certificate while applying for the main examination.

    What are the mediums in which we can write the Examinations?

    Preliminary exam question paper will be in English and Hindi alone. Hence we must possess a minimal amount of English knowledge so as to understand the questions. Main examination can be written in either in English or Tamil and you must specifically mention this in the main application to be filled.

    Once you have chosen the language for the main examination you must attend the interview also in the same language. But sometimes the board in which you are attending interview will give you a choice to select language on the spot. If such chance is given to you then you may choose English because they will appreciate you for your interest in learning other languages. Moreover this will improve your confidence level. Hence I advise you to prepare for the interview in both English and Tamil so that you can easily handle the situation.

    Whether we need to go to Chennai or Delhi for preparation?

    In those days people will be visiting Delhi to prepare for the examinations because of the reason that coaching centres will be available there only.
    But nowadays Chennai is becoming a hub for the Civil Services Examination. My suggestion to you is that attending coaching centre alone will not give the assurance that we can clear the examination. Being a fresher to this examination it is always advisable to join some Coaching Centre to know “what is what” about the examination. But again the question of spending money has to be carefully looked at.

    If you feel that you cannot afford to join some institutions, there are large numbers of centres offering free coaching. You can join in one of those centres or the centre we are going to open will always give you a helping hand.

              But once you have understood the pattern of the examination there is no need to attend coaching classes continuously. You can just update your study materials and keep preparing.

    From when you can start preparing for the Civil Services Examination?

              Ideally speaking a person can start preparing for civil services examination once he or she has completed the schooling. Some people who choose to write competitive examinations will select their degree courses after completing the schooling itself. But majority of us will think of writing this examination either when we are pursuing the Degree or after the completion of the Degree. Some people will start preparing even when they pursing their higher studies. My suggestion is that if you are really interested to become an IAS officer, you should start preparing in you degree course itself.

              Your preparation for examination shall not affect your regular course and hence you must focus on your degree also. Hence when you pursing your degree you can focus only on the “General Knowledge”. Preparation for the optional can be done once you have completed your degree successfully. Some people will select the degree course and the same will e taken by them as optional.

    What is popular optional?

              In UPSC examination you must select two optional for the main examinations. Initially there used to be one optional for the preliminary exam also. But now that system has been changed. Anyhow you must select two optional for the main exam. The optional papers available for the exams can be divided into two categories informally as popular and non-popular. Popular optional means a subject which regularly fetches you good score in the main examinations over a period of years. For example the following subjects are called popular optional,

    • History
    • Geography
    • Political science
    • Public administration
    • Sociology
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Tamil Literature
    • Commerce
    • Philosophy


    Please do not think that necessarily you must select optional from this above mentioned list alone. If you are confident and comfortable you can choose any one optional listed by UPSC on your choice. The optional subjects mentioned above are only indicative.
    Whether we can work and prepare simultaneously?

              Ideally speaking, it’s very difficult to prepare when you are working in institutions. The reason is that we are competing with invisible aspirants and everybody will definitely put in their maximum energy to clear the exams. It’s always advisable to prepare exclusively for a period of two years so that you can understand the nuances of the exam in detail.
    But some students need to work because of the compelling family situations and they may also aspire to write examinations. In those cases I advise you that you must at least take a leave for a period of two months before examinations to prepare vigorously.

    Some people will prepare seriously for one attempt and if they are not able to clear the exam, then they will leave the field permanently. This is not correct. You must again understand the fact that there are lakhs of persons trying continuously and hence you must also try hard continuously for a period of two years at least. That is why I have mentioned in the previous pages that you can start preparing from the college days itself.   

    What is objective pattern and subjective pattern?

              Objective pattern means choosing the best answer among the available options. This pattern is followed for the Preliminary Examinations. But UPSC has negative marking system in Objective pattern. Subjective pattern means wring the answers descriptively and in detail. This pattern is followed for the Mains Examinations. In Subjective pattern you need to critically analyse the question and write answers. You can draw diagrams, sketches, maps and pictures also. Your analytical ability and presentation are more important.

    Note on material availability:-

              Ideally speaking you can prepare in any language as you wish like in English or in Tamil. But one fact you must appreciate is the availability of materials for the subjects chosen. In English language the availability of materials are plenty and you will be in a position to write variety of points in your examinations. But if you prepare in Tamil language the material availability is limited. Sometime you may need to translate some books in English which will be consuming your time to large extent. But if you are comfortable in Tamil alone you can always prepare in Tamil.

    Who is the Best guide for the competitive examinations?

    I can strongly say that the old question papers are the best guide for any competitive examinations. Once you are planned to prepare for the civil services examinations you must definitely buy the old question papers booklet and keep it with you. This will give you a broad idea about the way they ask questions. You must always keep the question paper booklet when you are reading tour materials. Once you complete certain portions of the syllabus then you must go through the question bank and try to answer the questions. In this method you will be able to predict the questions very easily.

    How many hours per day you must study?

              When you decided to prepare for the competitive examinations seriously then the duration of preparation shall be continuous and constant. In other words you must study ten hours per day regularly than you study for three days continuous and three days’ rest. Ten hours per day will definitely give you good results. Some people will prepare very seriously for a period of two to here months and will take long rest. This method will not give results as expected.

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    15.Note on the examination cycle


    Here I am presenting the real-time examination cycle pattern as follows

    Calling for the exams – in the month of November / December of previous year (e.g. November / December 2011)

    Preliminary exam – in the month of May/June of current year (e.g. May or June 2012)

    Main exam – in the month of October / November of current year (e.g. October / November 2012)

    Interview – in the month of April / May of next year (e.g. April / May 2013)

    Final result – in the month of May / June of next year (e.g. May / June 2013).

    Whether we can prepare for UPSC and TNPSC and other examinations simultaneously?

              Nowadays the modes of examination for UPSC and TNPSC have become much similar and you can always prepare for these two examinations together. In UPSC exams still the optional paper system is maintained but whereas the TNPSC has abolished the optional subjects concept. A small comparison of TNPSC and UPSC are as follows,

    Name of the exam

    Preliminary exam

    Main exam



    General Knowledge and reasoning ability (two papers)

    English + Tamil + General Knowledge (2 papers) + Essay + two Optional subjects (2 papers each)

    Only personality test.


    General knowledge and Tamil language (two papers)

    English + Tamil + General Knowledge (two papers)

    Only personality test.

    What are the crucial periods in the civil service preparation?

    • Gap between preliminary exam and preliminary exam result – this time shall be effectively used to prepare for the mains examination.
    • Gap between main examination and main exam result – this time shall be effectively used to prepare for the Interview.
    • Ideally speaking you must not take long rest in each stage of the examination.


    Should we need to read newspaper daily?

              Yes. You must spend at least one hour per day with the newspapers and necessary notes shall be taken wherever necessary. In fact you will be answering a major portion of the General Knowledge paper of main examinations by using the knowledge gained from newspapers.

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