UPSC: Civil Services Exam Preparation Tips



Here are few common tips that may help aspirants in preparing for civil services examination:

  • Choose subjects which have an availability of books and reading material
  • Begin preparing for the main exams along with the prelims
  • For the General Studies paper, it is important to be updated in all fields. For History, Economy, Polity, etc, it is advisable to read Class 11 and 12 books published by the NCERT.
  • As for Optional subjects, do not choose completely new subjects. Go for the subjects you have already studied in school/college.
  • NCERT, IGNOU booklets and National Book Trust (NBT) publications are quite helpful. For the Preliminary paper, try studying with the following books:
History: NCERT books of class XI and XII, Freedom Struggle (published by National Book Trust)
Geography: Class XII books of Geography (NCERT)
Indian Polity: Introduction to the Indian Constitution
Indian Economy: NCERT and other books on Evolution of the Indian Economy
General Science: NCERT books on science, a science magazine or newspaper supplements on science
Current Events: A national newspaper, news magazines
General Mental Ability: Do the Quantitative Aptitude published in various Civil Services examination magazines, past test papers

For the main examination, study should be done in more detail. In addition to the above readings, the following are also suggested:

History: India’s Struggle for Independence, IGNOU publications on Modern India
Indian Culture: Art and culture portions of history books, India Yearbook (culture chapter), Encyclopedia on Indian Culture, Gazetteer of India, books on culture published by Publications Division and National Book Trust
Current Affairs: A national newspaper, various Civil Services examination magazines, current affairs programs on Television, Magazines, Internet. Statistics: Class XI NCERT book on Statistics.
Indian Polity: Introduction to the Constitution, Parliament
Indian Geography: NCERT books on Indian geography
Indian Economy: NCERT and other books on the Indian economy, financial newspapers

All India Civil Services

Based on the civil service exam result, the President of India makes the appointments to these posts.

  1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  2. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  3. Indian Police Service (IPS)

Central Civil Services

These services look after the administration of the Union government.

Group A:

The President of India makes the appointments to group A civil services.

  1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services, Group A
  2. Archaeological Service, Group A
  3. Botanical Survey of India, Group A
  4. Central Engineering (Civil) Service, Group A
  5. Central Engineering (Electrical and M201echanical) Service, Group A
  6. Central Engineering Service (Roads), Group A
  7. Central Health Service, Group A
  8. Central Information Service
  9. Central Legal Service (Grades I)
  10. Central Secretariat Official Language Service, Group A
  11. Central Power Engineering Service, Group A
  12. Central Revenues Chemical Service, Group A
  13. Central Secretariat Service, Group A
  14. Central Trade Service, Group A
  15. Central Water Engineering Service, Group A
  16. Company Law Board Service, Group A
  17. Directorate General of Civil Aviation DGCA, Group A
  18. Directorate General of Mines Safety, Group A
  19. Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service, Grade I.
  20. General Central Service, Group A
  21. Indian Audits and Accounts Service, Group A
  22. Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group A
  23. Indian Cost Accounts Service, Group A
  24. Indian Defense Accounts Service, Group A
  25. Indian Defence Estates Service, Group A
  26. Indian Economic Service, Group A
  27. Indian Engineering Services, Group A
  28. Indian Information Service, Group A
  29. Indian Foreign Service
  30. Indian Frontier Administrative Service, Group A
  31. Indian Meteorological Service, Group A
  32. Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group A
  33. Indian Postal Service, Group A
  34. Indian Posts and Telegraphs Accounts and Finance Service, Group A
  35. Indian Railway Service of Engineers, Group A
  36. Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers, Group A
  37. Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers, Group A
  38. Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers, Group A
  39. Indian Railway Stores Service, Group A
  40. Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group A
  41. Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group A
  42. Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group A
  43. Indian Revenue Service
  44. Indian Salt Service, Group A
  45. Indian Statistical Service, Group A
  46. Indian Telecommunication Service, Group A
  47. Indian Trade Service, Group A
  48. Mercantile Marine Training Ship Service, Group A
  49. Railway Inspectorate Service, Group A
  50. Survey of India, Group A
  51. Telegraph Traffic Service, Group A
  52. Zoological Survey of India, Group A

Group B:

Appointments to group B civil services are made by the authorities specified by an order of the President of India.

  1. Income Tax Service, Group ‘B’
  2. Indian Foreign Service, Group ‘B’ – (General Cadre, Grade I and General Cadre, Grade II only)
  3. Central Secretariat Service, Group ‘B’ (Section and Assistants’ Grade officers only)
  4. Indian Posts and Telegraphs Accounts and Finance Service, Group ‘B’ Telecommunication Wing.
  5. Indian Posts & Telegraphs Accounts & Finance Service, Postal Wing, Group ‘B’
  6. Indian Salt Service, Group ‘B’
  7. India Meteorological Service, Group ‘B’
  8. Central Secretariat Official Language Service, Group ‘B’
  9. Central Secretariat Stenographers’ Service, (Grade I, Grade II and Selection Grade officers only)
  10. Central Health Service, Group ‘B’
  11. Botanical Survey of India, Group ‘B’.
  12. Geological Survey of India, Group ‘B’.
  13. Geological Survey of India, Group ‘B’.
  14. Survey of India, Group ‘B’.
  15. Zoological Survey of India, Group ‘B’.
  16. Central Electrical Engineering Service, Group ‘B’.
  17. Central Engineering Service, Group ‘B’.
  18. Central Power Engineering Service, Group ‘B’
  19. Postal Superintendents’ Service, Group ‘B’
  20. Postmasters’ Service, Group ‘B’
  21. Telecommunication Engineering Service, Group ‘B’
  22. Telegraphs Traffic Service, Group ‘B
  23. Central Excise Service, Group ‘B’
  24. Customs Appraisers Service, Group ‘B’- (Principal Appraisers and Head Appraisers)
  25. Customs Preventive Service, Group ‘B’ – (Chief Inspectors)
  26. Defence Secretariat Service
  27. Union Territories Administrative Service
  28. Union Territorries Police Service

How to prepare for IES / ISS Exam?

  • Study thoroughly through text books and practice writing model answers.
  •  Get hold of previous years’ question papers and try formulating correct and precise answers.
  • You have to be proficient in English, as the questions are set and to be answered only in ENGLISH
  • For the General English Paper, practice comprehensions, essays, précis and vocabulary exercises from any standard grammar/Civil Services examination handbook
  • Your answers should be analytical, precise, logical and systematic.
  • Basic preparations should be made from good text books, with additional backup from a variety of sources e.g. journals, newspapers, topical essays, websites, etc.
  •  Legible and neat handwriting will definitely enhance the quality of a well-presented precise answer.


Under Secretary (CSP),
Union Public Service Commission,
Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road,
New Delhi-110 011.

How to apply

Application for the civil services examination is now online. You can check out the details and important dates on the Civil Services exam dates page.

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