UPSC Qualification, Age, Attempt, Pattern & Books for Freshers

Academic Qualification

To apply for UPSC Civil Services (IAS/IPS?/IFS) Examination, a candidate

  • Must be a Graduate. No minimum %, grade or CGPA required in graduation. Pass certificate of graduation from a college/university recognized by UGC/AICTE/any law.
  • Undergraduate in the final semester of final year can apply.
  • American degrees valid but have to get equivalent certificate from AIU.
  • Distance education degree valid- IF recognized by UGC/AICTE/any Law
  • MBBS must have completed internship before UPSC Interview-stage comes.

Age and Attempt Limit

Age-32 -Age-35 Age-37
Max 6 Attempts Max 9 Attempts Max 16 Attempts

  • Age is counted as on the 1st of August of the given year.
  • Physical Disabled candidatesage limits:
    • PH-Gen: 42,
    • PH-OBC (non-Creamy): 45 years;
    • PH-SC/ST: 47 years.
      • This is cumulative ST ex-serviceman who was disabled: 32 +5 (ST) +5 (Ex serviceman) + PH (10)=52 years. But such cumulative effect will apply till maximum upper age limit 56 years, as per this DoPT Notification.
      • PH (GEN | OBC) = 9 attempts while PH (SC | ST) = Attempts, till upper age.
  • J&K Domicile OR Ex-serviceman: addl. +5 years| Attempt depend on category.

How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims 2019 ?

CLICK HERE for Best Government Websites and Online Resources


Apply online : 1st week of Feb to 1st week of March. You’ve to indicate optional subject in online Prelim-form. You can’t change it afterwards during Mains form. NO Documents/ Mark sheet and Caste Certificate are not required at this stage.

  • Stage 1: Prelims / CSAT: 1st Week of June
    • Multiple choice Question (MCQ) Test.
    • Two Papers
      • 1) General Studies
      • 2) Aptitude.
    • No optional paper here.
    • Question paper is set in English and Hindi. If you apply online but remain absent in prelims, then your attempt is not counted.

  • Stage 2: Mains : September or October (five days)
    • When you clear UPSC Prelims Exam, You’ll have to fill up a new separate (online) form called “Detailed Application form” (DAF).
    • In this online DAF-form, Your optional subject will be pre-selected from prelims form, hence you can’t change.
    • Along with DAF-you’ll have to give proof of graduation, caste, PH. Mains contains Seven Descriptive Papers; including one optional subject paper.

  • Stage 3: Personality Test, Dates will vary for Each candidate
  • Can be given in any language. But advisable to give in Hindi/English otherwise 1) Leaves Poor impression 2) Translator eats up time/ reduces impact of your answer.

How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims 2019 ?

CLICK HERE for Best Government Websites and Online Resources

How to start Prelim Preparation?

Step 1: Know the Exam Pattern
Step 2: Know the Exam Syllabus
Step 3: Go Through Previous Year Papers
Step 4: Start with NCERT Textbooks
Step 5: Devise Subject Wise Preparation Strategy

Paper-I: GS- Syllabus, Structure 100 MCQs x 2 marks = 200 Marks -0.66 Marks penalty for wrong answers Duration: 2 hours Marks Counted for Mains selection, but not in final selection Paper-II: Aptitude- Syllabus, Structure 80 MCQs x 2.5 marks = 200 Marks -0.83 Marks penalty for wrong answers Duration: 2 hours Marks Not countedin Mains-Selection. Only 33% passing marks have to be scored.


UPSC Prelims (HINDI MEDIUM) Books 

Books Recommended by CSE-2016 and CSE-2017 UPSC Toppers

Book List for UPSC Prelims – Subject Wise

Geography NCERT Class 11,12 (Fundamentals of Physical Geography, India Physical Environment, Human Geography, India People and Economy) Atlas (Orient Black Swan or Oxford Student Atlas) India Yearbook 2018 Chapter 1  G.C. Leong. (Part 1 complete and Part 2 till Climate) Ecology Environment-Biodiversity & Agriculture NCERT Class 12 Biology (last four chapters) Shankar IAS Environment Book  Revised Edition India Yearbook 2018 Environment Chapter
Economy NCERT Class 12 (Macroeconomics) Indian Economy by Sanjeev Verma (Thin book, covers important topics for the exam) Ramesh Singh (for extensive reading if time permits) Budget & Economic Survey (underline or make short notes for revision) India Yearbook Polity & Constitution NCERT Class11-12 Socio & Political Science M.Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity:  5th Edition (Bible for Polity) PRS latest Bills & Amendments
History & Culture New-NCERT, TN-Class:11/12 (Ancient and Medieval) Indian Spectrum: Modern History World History by Arjun Dev Post-Independence: India After Independence by Bipin Chandra (Selected chapters) UPSC Prelims (ENGLISH MEDIUM) Books  UPSC Prelims (HINDI MEDIUM) Books  Books Recommended by CSE-2016 and CSE-2017 UPSC Toppers Sci-Tech NCERT Class7-10 (All)| 11-12 (Selective) Science reporter Newspaper: The Hindu / Indian express UPSC Prelims (ENGLISH MEDIUM) Books  UPSC Prelims (HINDI MEDIUM) Books  Books Recommended by CSE-2016 and CSE-2017 UPSC Toppers


The Following table is about UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern & What are the UPSC Prelims Exam papers and subjects for  and we are providing UPSC Syllabus below this table.

UPSC Prelims Exam Papers Duration Questions Marks
Paper I – General Studies:   Only Marks of this paper is counted for making merit 2 Hours 100 200
Paper II – Aptitude: This paper is of qualifying nature, but candidate must score at least 33% marks in this paper and marks of this paper are not counted for writing the Mains examination. 2 Hours 80 200
TOTAL     400

General Studies Paper I Syllabus

  1. Current events of national and international importance
  2.  History of India and Indian national movement
  3. Indian and World Geography- Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the world
  4. Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political system, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights issues,         etc.
  5. Economic and Social development – sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives etc.
  6. General issues on environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate change-that donot require subject specialization
  7. General science

General Studies Paper II(CSAT) Syllabus

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  4.  Decision making and problem solving
  5.  General mental ability
  6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) (Class X level), Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
  7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)
  8. Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level. (will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation).

UPSC Prelims English Books

Books selection has very important role in Civil Service Preparation. Most of the Civil Service Aspirants are searching best UPSC Prelims English books. Why Best books ?–Best Books play invaluable role to increase chances of success in Civil Services Examination. We did a lot of research and took the suggestions from CSE-2016 and CSE-2017 toppers for preparing Book list for UPSC Prelims.

 1. History

(i)Ancient India NCERT – RS Sharma

(ii) Medieval India NCERT – Sathish Chandra

(iii) Modern India NCERT – Bipan Chandra:

(iv) Brief History of Modern India (Spectrum Publication)

(v) Bipan Chandra India’s struggle for Independence.

 (vi) Magbook Indian History –Test Yourself

Art and Culture

(i)Introduction to Indian Art Indian Art and Culture By Nitin Singhania

(ii)Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT)

 2. Geography

(i). NCERTs 6th to 12th

(ii) Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong — Good book for UPSC Prelims & UPSC Mains for physical & Human geography.

(iii) School Atlas – Oxford or Orient BlackSwan School Atlas

            (iv) Indian Geography by Mahesh Barnawal –Simple & Easy to understand, Based on NCERTs.

(v) Objective Indian and World Geography – Test Yourself

  3. Indian Polity

(i) Indian Polity – Laxmikanth

(ii) Indian Constitution At Work 11th NCERT

(iii) Objective Indian Polity by M Laxmikanth —Test Yourself

  4. Indian Economy

(i)Economy 11th and 12th NCERTs

(ii)Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh  or Indian Economy by SriramIAS

(iii) Indian Economy Key Concepts 

(iv) Objective Indian Economy and Social Development by TMH —Test Yourself

  5. Environment

(i)Environment By Shankar IAS– Wonderful book for Environment for UPSC Prelims & UPSC Mains.

(ii)Biology NCERT Class -12 — Read only Selective Topics on Environment.

  6. Science

(i) Science and Technology in India – TMH.

(ii) Lucent’s General Science

  7. Other Important Books

(i)India Year Book

(ii)Economic Survey

(iii)Previous Year Solved Papers 1995 to 2018   You must solve at least last 5 papers to get idea about, how UPSC frame questions and it will also help you to access your knowledge.

(iv) General Knowledge of Lucent

(v) GS Paper-I, by TMH – Only for freshers to get some basic idea. If you have completed NCERTs then no need to refer this guide.

Important Books for GS-Paper-II (CSAT)

You need to secure a minimum of 33% of 200 marks. Few good civil service aspirants could not qualify UPSC Prelims because they could not get minimum marks in CSAT Paper and wasted their precious attempt. We would request you, don’t ignore CSAT paper.

Solve atleast 10 CSAT papers, before going to real UPSC Exam.

(i) General Studies Paper-II- TMH Manual   or CSAT by Arihant-

(ii) Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by RS Aggarwal


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