Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a competitive examination conducted every year by the Union Public Service Commission. UPSC releases the recruitment exam notification for various All India Services, Central Services and Group A & B services.

UPSC CSE Exam 2021 Overview

Exam NameUPSC CSE Exam
Exam Year2021
Conducting BodyUPSC
Exam LevelNational
Exam PeriodicityYearly
Exam ModeOffline (Pen-Paper Mode)
No. of Vacancies announced712

UPSC CSE Important Dates 2021

Notification & Application Start Date 202104 March 2021
Last Date to Apply Online24 March 2021
UPSC CSE Prelims Admit Card 202116 September 2021
UPSC CSE Prelims Exam Date 202110 October 2021 
UPSC CSE Prelims Result 2021To be announced
UPSC CSE Mains Exam Date 202107 to 09, 15 & 16 January 2022
UPSC CSE Mains Result 2021To be announced
UPSC CSE Interview Dates 2021To be announced
UPSC CSE (Final list of selected candidates)To be announced

UPSC CSE Exam Pattern

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern 2021

PaperNo. of Qs.MarksExam Duration
General Studies- Paper-I (GS Paper 1)100200 Marks2 Hours
CSAT- Paper–II80200 Marks2 Hours

Note: UPSC Prelims Paper 1 marks will be counted to determine the merit list whereas the CSAT Paper-II will be of qualifying in nature (33% marks required).

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern & Interview

PaperUPSC Mains Exam PapersDurationMarks
Paper – ACompulsory Indian Language (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution)3 Hours300 Marks
Paper – BCompulsory English3 Hours300 Marks
Paper – IEssay3 Hours250 Marks
Paper-IIGeneral Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – IIIGeneral Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – IVGeneral Studies– III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – VGeneral Studies– IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – VIOptional Paper– I (Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – VIIOptional Paper-II3 Hours250 Marks
Total1750 Marks
Personality Test/Interview275 Marks
Grand Total2025 Marks

Note: Paper A & B is of Qualifying in Nature (25% i.e. 75 marks required). Whereas marks of Paper I to VII will be counted to determine the final order of merit.

UPSC CSE Syllabus

Prelims Syllabus

There is no fixed distribution pattern followed by UPSC. But the questions will be from the following topics.

Paper I (General Studies)

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography
  • Indian Polity and Governance
  • Economic and Social Development
  • General issues on Environment
  • General Science

Paper II (CSAT)

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy

Mains Syllabus

Language Paper A

One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Precis Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essays

Language Paper B (English)

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Precis Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary

Short Essays


The paper will have essay questions on a variety of topics. It will consist of Section A & Section B with 4 essay topics in each section. Candidates have to write Two essays, choosing one topic from each section.

General Studies 1

  • History of Indian Culture
  • Modern Indian history & Freedom Struggle
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization
  • History of the World
  • Indian Society and culture
  • Physical, Economic & Human Geography of India & the World

General Studies II

  • Constitution of India & Polity of India
  • Governance in India
  • Social Justice
  • Role of civil services in a democracy
  • International Relations & organizations

General Studies III

  • Indian Economy, Planning & Development
  • Agriculture and its associated challenges & issues
  • Developments in Science and Technology and its application
  • Environment & Bio-diversity
  • Disaster Management
  • Challenges of International and Internal Security

General Studies IV

  • Ethics and Human Interface
  • Attitude
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  • Public/Civil Service values and ethics in Public Administration.
  • Probity in Governance
  • Case studies on above issues

UPSC CSE Eligibility Criteria

UPSC CSE eligibility criteria is mentioned in the official notification. The candidates are recommended to check the UPSC eligibility before applying for the examination. The eligibility criteria for UPSC CSE 2021 examination includes the age limit, nationality, and educational qualification. However, there is no limit on the UPSC CSE eligibility percentage in graduation. UPSC eligibility for ex-servicemen includes age relaxation.


The candidates who wish to appear in the UPSC civil services examination should be a:

  • citizen of India or
  • should be a citizen of Nepal or
  • the subject of Bhutan or
  • he/she must be Tibetan Refugee who was migrated to India to settle permanently before January 01, 1962, or
  • person of Indian origin who migrated from Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Vietnam, and Zaire.

Age Limit

UPSC has a predefined age limit for the candidates who want to apply for the UPSC CSE 2021 exam. The age limit must be calculated as of 1st of August, 2021

CategoryMinimum AgeMaximum Age
UPSC CSE age limit for General21 year32 year
UPSC CSE age limit for OBC21 year35 year
UPSC CSE age limit for SC/ST21 year37 year

Educational Qualification

The UPSC CSE Educational Qualification states that the candidates applying for the UPSC Civil Services Examination must have a graduation degree from a govt. recognized university. The educational qualification is not limited to any particular stream.

Candidates who are pursuing graduation and are waiting for their final results can also apply, but only on the condition that the result should be declared before filling the application for the UPSC Mains 2021 exam.

UPSC CSE Application Process

Application Fee

The candidates who are interested in applying for the UPSC CSE 2021 examination will be charged Rs. 100/- as application fee. The application fee will be accepted via Visa/Master/RuPay Credit/ Debit card. The application fee can also be paid through the medium of online net banking facility of the SBI, State Bank of India. Candidates belonging to SC/ST/PWD & Female candidates are exempted from paying the UPSC application fee.

Steps to Fill Appication form for the UPSC CSE 2021

Step 1: - Visit the official website of UPSC i.e https://upsconline.nic.in/mainmenu2.php

Step 2: - Go to the Civil Services Examination (CSE) section.

Step 3: - Click on the "Apply" button to start your application process.

Step 4: - Fill in all the required details (Including Name, Father Name, Mother Name, Educational Qualification etc.) and upload your latest photo and signature.

Step 5: - Check your application preview and "Submit" to complete your registration.

UPSC CSE Mock Test Series, Notes & Video Lessons

Join Oliveboard for Complete UPSC Exam Preparation

Prelims & Mains Test Series:

30 Mock tests for Prelims 2021.

- 12 Full-Length Topic Tests

- 5 Subject-wise Full Tests

- 10 Full Syllabus Mock Tests

- 3 Special Mock Tests

- 5 CSAT Mock Tests

16 Mock tests for Mains 2021

- 8 Full-Length Sectional Tests

- 8 Full Syllabus Mock Tests

Covers GS I, GS II, GS III, and GS IV.

Peer Review of answers on Discuss


- Detailed notes for all subjects for prelims

- Revision notes for all topics of Prelims.

- Mains Notes for GS I, GS II, GS III & GS IV.

- Mindmaps on important topics of Prelims

- Important Current Affairs topics for Prelims & Mains 2021.

- Monthly compilation of current affairs Magazine.

- Monthly current affairs covered via MCQ.

- Summary of Yojana and Kurukshetra.

- Economic Survey, Budget, and Govt policies.


- Access to course for ‘UPSC Prelims 2021’.

- Exhaustive Coverage of NCERTs (6th to 12th).

- Subject wise current affairs.


Why should I buy this course?

This course has been designed for all the users who are looking to structure and organize their efforts in the last leg of their preparation cycle. The revision course exactly covers all the aspects that you need to be exam ready. We can assure that your preparation ends with this course.

What can I expect from the course?

The course enables you for an additional 25 marks from your current score level that will help you to comfortably clear the prelims.

What are the key features of this course?

The course consists of quick reference 30-minute videos, 5 min reference videos for the most important topics, Mind Maps, Revision Notes, Detailed Notes, Latest pattern MCQs, Topic-wise and Subject-wise tests and Full-length Mock tests.

What are the subjects covered?

The course covers Art & Culture, Current Affairs, Economy, Environment & Ecology, Geography, History, International Relations, Polity, Science & Technology.

What is so special about Mind Maps?

As the exam date nears, it is important to study in a manner that helps to visually structure your ideas, analyze and recall the key topics. The Mind maps have been created exactly to help you with it. You do not need anything else for the topic, once you review a Mind Map.

Will this course include preparation for Mains?

This course has primarily been designed as a revision guide exclusively for Prelims to help you score an additional 25 marks in the exam.

How do I reach the faculty for my doubts?

Once you register for the course, you’ll be provided with an email address to send your queries to reach the faculty. You’ll get an immediate response.

Can I download the videos for offline consumption?

No, but you can access all the content on the app or web at any time and any number of times at your convenience.

Which are the subjects that will be covered in the notes?

Both Detailed Notes and Revision Notes will cover all the fundamental subjects for Prelims and Mains. It will cover exam relevant content in Polity, Geography, Economy, Environment, History-Modern India, and Science & Technology.

Will the Mock Test Series cover the whole syllabus?

Yes. The Tests are designed in such a way to help you to practice questions on all exam relevant topics given in the syllabus and in line with recent trends of the exam.

Can I get a Mock test for free?

Yes, the First mock test of the Test series is absolutely free. You can directly attempt it by completing the registration.

How many times can a user attempt a mock test?

One test can be attempted once. However, you can view the detailed Solution and Analysis multiple times.

How to make use of Mock Test Analysis?

It will help you to gauge your performance on questions across various subjects of varying difficulty level. Based on your strength and weakness, you can plan smartly to improve your score.


1) How does Oliveboard help in your preparation?

Mock Test Series, Live & Self-paced Sessions, AI-enabled Performance Analysis, and Expert Mentors on Oliveboard platform provide you an immersive learning experience to ace Banking, Insurance, SSC, RRB, Other Govt. and State-level competitive exams even with your smartphone. Create your free account to access selected mock tests, videos, and ebooks now.

2) Why should I practice on Oliveboard?

Oliveboard provides insightful analysis of your mock test performance that helps you improve your speed, accuracy & overall test taking efficiency. Not just that, Oliveboard identifies your weak areas and recommends you personalized videos, ebooks and practice tests on those topics.

3) Does the course cover the entire syllabus?

Yes. The course covers all the topics for the exam.

4) How do I access the courses/locked tests?

Once you sign up, you can access a few of the free trial tests and concepts on the site. Beyond that, a purchase is needed to access the entire course, locked tests, and study notes.

5) What are the payment options available?

You can pay online using Credit Card/Debit Card/Netbanking. If you cannot pay online, you can deposit cash at a nearby SBI/ICICI Bank as well.

6) When will the Course/Test get activated?

If you make an online payment, you get access to the entire course or the premium access immediately. For offline deposits, we upgrade your account within 24 hours of receiving the transaction details from you.

7) What if I do not like the course?

To get your issues resolved, we recommend you to get in touch with us at support@oliveboard.in. And if you are still unhappy with anything, we provide a 5-Day Money-Back Guarantee (but we do not think you will need it).

8) How long is the course or the tests valid?

The validity for the plans is mentioned as part of the payment details. Please check this at the time of purchase.

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