Civil Service in India - Examination, Interview and Recruitment

Preliminary Examinations (Prelims):

The Civil Service Preliminary Examination is held around May-June every year. This exam will contain multiple choice objective type questions from different streams. There are two papers of 2 hours duration each.

General Studies

Optional Subject

For optional subject you can choose from Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and veterinary science, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, Indian History, Law, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics and Zoology. It is not compulsory to take the same subject of your graduation as the option.

The results for the prelims are declared in July-August of the same year and the successful candidates are called for the main examination. The score of the preliminary examination does not have any weightage in determining the final merit list for the services.

Civil Services Main


The Civil Services Main Examination takes place during October-November every year. The examination comprises of 9 papers in all with 3 hours for each paper. This comprises of :

One of the Indian Languages that is included in the Eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution. (1 paper)

English (1 paper)

Essay GK (1 paper)

Current Affairs (2 papers on General Studies)

Option-1 (papers from 2 subjects in Option1)

Option-2 (papers from 2 subjects in Option 2)

Candidates who succeed in the main examination are called for an interview. The interview plays an important role in the selection process.

Civil Services


The interview for the Civil Services selection will take place in April-May. The number of people called for interview will be twice the number of vacancies. The main exam score and the interview determine the selection into the final list. If a person is placed high in the rank list, he/she can choose their service. If not, the service offered can be accepted. Otherwise, people can take another attempt. There are 4 attempts permitted.


Depending upon his rank, a candidate is recruited to services such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and other departments including Finance, Post and Telegraph, Revenue, Secretariat and so on. The appointment offers executive power.

The salary, allowances and facilities like healthcare, housing, conveyance etc. also make Civil Services a lucrative profession.

Entry into the State Civil Services is through a competitive examination conducted by every state public service commission.