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Civil Services Exam 2020- Prelims Syllabus, Application Form, Preparation Tips

The Civil services Exam 2020 will be conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruiting candidates for various civil services posts of the government of India such as IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS etc. It is the most prestigious recruitment exams in the country. There are about 23 services offered through this single examination. The exam is quite unpredictable and is one of the toughest exams in India.

The Civil Service Exam is conducted in 3 stages namely- Preliminary Examination, Mains Examination and Personality Test/Interview. The entire process of the examination usually takes a year and the candidates are recruited and trained for different services of the government of India. After the training is finished, candidates are allotted to different state cadres based on a number of conditions. For more details on the Civil services exam 2020, Aspirants are advised to read the article.

Exam Dates for Civil Services Exam 2020

Candidates can prepare for the civil service exam in advance keeping in mind the tentative schedule mentioned below. The data will be updated once an official notification is released by the authority.

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ScheduleDates (Tentative)
Date of Notification1st week of February 2020
Online application form availabilityFebruary 2020
Last date to submit the form1st week of March 2020
Admit card announcement (Prelims)1st week of May 2020
Preliminary Exam1st week of June 2020
Result of Preliminary Exam3rd week of July 2020
Detailed Application Form (DAF) availability4th week of July 2020 to 1st week of August 2020
Admit Card announcement (Mains)1st week of September 2020
Mains ExamLast week of September 2020
Result of Mains Exam1st week of January 2021
Filling of Addendum to DAF3rd week of January 2021 to last week of January 2021
Personality Test/Interview3rd week of February 2021

Civil Services Exam 2020 Pattern

Preliminary Exam: This exam will be for short listing the candidates for Mains examination. It will consist of two papers of objective type and will carry a maximum of 400 Marks. However, this exam will be of qualifying nature and the marks obtained in prelims will not be added while preparing merit list. For each wrong answer, 1/3rd marks will be deducted. A candidate needs to score minimum 33% marks in prelims exam to clear it.

Paper DurationTotal QuestionsTotal Marks
I (General Studies)2 Hours100200
II (Aptitude/CSAT)2 Hours80200

Mains Exam: The civil services mains exam will comprise of a total of 9 papers, out of which 2 are qualifying in nature and rest of the papers will be considered for the ranking. The mains exam will be a written exam. Here’s the pattern of the mains exam-

A (Qualifying)One of the Indian languages  from the list of languages mentioned in the 8th schedule of the constitution of India300
B (Qualifying)English Language300
IIGeneral Studies-I (Indian Culture, Geography of world, History)250
IIIGeneral Studies-II (Polity, International Relations, Constitution, Governance, Social justice)250
IVGeneral Studies-III (Technology, Biodiversity, Environment, Disaster Management, Security, Economic Development)250
VGeneral Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)250
VI, VIITwo papers on optional subjects (each paper of 250 marks)500

Optional Subjects: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, Indian History, Law, Management, Mathematics ,Mechanical Engineering ,Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Zoology.

Civil Services Exam 2020 Syllabus

  • Preliminary Exam Syllabus: The syllabus of prelims exam will be common to all the candidates.
  • The General Studies (Paper-I) will compose of topics such as- Current Affairs (National/International), Indian History, Indian Polity, Environment, Economics, Indian Culture, Geography- India and World, General Science etc.
  • The CSAT (paper-II) will compose of topics such as- English Comprehension, Basic Numeracy, General Mental Ability, Logical Reasoning, Interpersonal Skills, Problem Solving and Decision Making etc.
  • Mains Syllabus: The syllabus of mains exam is quite exhaustive in nature and covers almost everything under the sun. For in-depth details, candidates can refer to the page dedicated for it.

Preparation Tips for Civil Services Exam 2020

Here are some useful tips for aspirants which they can apply while preparing for the exam-

  1. Start with the NCERTs first. Brush up your basic concepts and build a foundation.
  2. Make a realistic timetable and strict to it no matter what.
  3. Buy the books recommended.
  4. Enroll for test series and mock tests to enhance your performance and knowledge.
  5. Utilize the free time in doing something productive. Let’s say if you have a hobby, try to know everything about it.
  6. Read the newspapers every day. For ideal preparation, the Hindu is recommended.
  7. Don’t get bothered about the low possibility of getting selected. Rather put your best foot forward and study whole-heartedly.
  8. Practice the writing skills every day. Write about the topics you’ve studied in a particular day and analyze the improvement areas.
  9. Discuss current affairs with your friends and family to broaden your horizon and get perspectives on different issues.
  10. To keep yourself motivated, read topper’s interview whenever in doubt.

Recommended Books for Civil Services Exam 2020

Since the civil services exam 2020 demands complete dedication from the aspirants, candidates need to prepare for it with the help of noteworthy reference books mentioned below-

  1. Laxmikant for Indian Polity
  2. Shankar IAS for Environment
  3. Bipan Chandra for Indian History
  4. NCERTs (Class 6th to 12th)
  5. Nitin Singhania for Art & Culture
  6. Majid Hussain for Geography
  7. Oxford School Atlas
  8. Goh Cheng Leong for Physical & Human Geography
  9. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  10. Economic Survey and Budget
  11. Indian Year Book
  12. CSAT book by Arihant Publication
  13. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by R.S Aggarwal
  14. Lexicon for Ethics, Aptitude & Integrity

Civil Services Exam 2020 Application Form

Aspirants can fill the application form for Civil services exam 2020 only via online mode by visiting the official website of the UPSC i.e. landing on the page, they’ll need to go for the part-I registration where basic details such as Name, Email ID, Phone Number etc. will be asked. On successful registration, candidates will get a unique registration/application ID and password in the registered Email and phone number which they’ll need to save. The same details will be used for PART-II registration, where candidates will be required to fill the application form. The details in the application form should be entered carefully as once the form is submitted successfully, no changes will be permitted thereafter. Applicants also need to keep the scanned copy of photograph and signature in handy while filling the form. Given below is the application fee that the candidates must pay to submit their form successfully.

Application Fee

Candidates (except females/SC/ST/PWBD Candidates) need to pay Rs. 100/- as application fee for the Civil Services Exam 2020 either through Visa/Master/RuPay Credit/Debit Card/Net Banking of SBI or through cash payment in any branch of SBI using the pay-in slip option available.

Eligibility Criteria for Civil Services Exam 2020

  • Nationality: For the post of IAS and IPS, only Indian Citizens will be considered. Whereas, for other posts eligible candidates can be from- India/Nepal/Bhutan/Tibetan Refugee/PIO migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African countries.
  • Minimum Qualification: A 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 (UGC) Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.
  • Age Limit: The minimum age to appear for the exam is 21 years and the maximum age is 32 years as on 1st August 2020. The Age relaxation is applicable for SC/ST/OBC/J & K domicile candidates/Ex-Servicemen/Defence Personnel disabled in operation/OH/Blind/Deaf candidates.

Number of Attempts

CategoryNo. of Attempts
SC/STNo Restrictions
Physically HandicappedAs many attempts as are available to other Non-PH candidates of his/her community, subject to the condition that a PH candidate belonging to the General Category will be eligible for 9 attempts.

Admit Card for Civil Services Exam 2020

The admit card for Civil services exam 2020 will be available for prelims and mains. Only those candidates can download the admit card for mains exam who have qualified the prelims exam. The admit card can be downloaded by visiting the official website. Candidates need to check the website regularly for fresh updates on the exam.

Civil Services Exam 2020 Result

The result of preliminary exam will be in form of a list where the roll number of the qualified candidates will be published by the authority. The result of Mains exam will be based on the scores obtained by the candidate in the relevant exam. The merit list will be prepared according to the scores obtained by the candidates in the mains exam. Candidates shortlisted in mains will be called for personality test/interview. The final result will be based on the overall marks obtained in mains exam and interview.


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