The Union Public Service Commission is a Central Government authority to conduct various examinations in the field of civil services, defense services, engineering services etc. This organisation was established back in 1st October 1926 and runs under the Government of India.

There are lakhs of candidates who aspire to clear the tough examinations conducted by UPSC and serve in different areas of the government. Since these examinations are most sought after, this makes them more competent in terms of the number of candidates applying. Every year, scores of aspirants apply for different exams conducted by UPSC but only a few are able to make through. So where does the secret lie? Successful candidates share that they made themselves very much aware of the complete syllabus and paper patters, strategize their preparation and worked smarter than the rest. So, it is very crucial to know every detail of such highly competitive examinations before you plan to step your foot in the whole process of preparation.

Here are all the major details required for any aspirant to clear the desired UPSC exams conducted every year.

Civil Services Examinations:

UPSC CSE or UPSC Civil Services Examination is conducted to recruit civil services aspirants for various posts in Government of India such as Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Foreign Services (IFS),Indian Police Services (IPS), Indian Revenue Services (IRS) among others. This exam is considered one of the toughest exams in India and is known as “mother of all examinations”.

  • Eligibility Criteria: 
  • Educational Qualification: The candidate must have at least a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university. Also, candidates with technical/professional qualifications recognized by the Government as equivalent to the technical/professional degrees are also eligible.
  • Age limit: To be eligible to appear for UPSC CSE, a candidate must have attained an age of 21 years as on 1st August of the year of applying for the exam. The upper age limit is 32 years.
  • Nationality: Candidate must be a citizen of India (for IAS). For other services, candidate must be either from




A Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention to settle here permanently

A person of Indian origin (POI) who has migrated from Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, East African countries , Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zaire and Vietnam with the intention of getting here(India) permanently settled.

Number of attempts: 

  • for General candidates: 6
  • For OBC candidates: 9
  • for SC/ST and handicapped SC/ST : no restrictions
  • for handicapped General candidates: 9
  • for handicapped OBC candidates: 9

Examination process: it consists of 3 stages

  • Preliminary stage and CSAT
  • Mains exam
  • Personality test (commonly known interview)

Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE):

CDSE is conducted twice in a year and recruits for Defence aspirants who wants to join as officers in the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Indian Air Force Academy. 

Eligibility criteria :

  • Age : Indian military academy- 19 to 24 years
  • Air force academy- 19 to 23 years
  • Officers training academy – 19 to 25 years

Nationality: candidates must be citizens of India OR refugees of Bhutan, Nepal, Tibetan OR a person migrated from Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, east African countries.

Exam pattern: Only after the candidate has cleared the written examination, he is called for interview by the service selection board (SSB). Candidates are asked questions from English language, elementary mathematics and general knowledge.

National Defence Academy Examination (NDA):

UPSC conducts national level NDA exam for the admission of candidates in the army, navy and air force. It is conducted twice a year and help the aspirants make a career in the defence services. Only boys are allowed to appear in this examination.

Eligibility criteria :

  • Educational qualification: 10+2 in any stream for army. 10+2 with physics and mathematics for navy and air force.
  • Age: candidates from the age of 16.5 to 19 years of age.
  • Physical and medical requirements: apart from the written and interview, the candidate is required to also appear for a medical test before making into the merit list. Height-weight requirements, eyesight, audibility, tonsillitis etc are checked before the candidate is declared fit.
  • Exam pattern : it is conducted in two stages-
  • written exam
  • interview

Engineering services examination:

This examination is a golden opportunity for all engineering graduates seeking government jobs as Class-1 officers. This exam recruits engineers in railways, telecommunications, central engineering services etc. As the applicants are engineers, the work profile of these bureaucrats depends majorly on their branch in engineering.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Nationality: candidate must –
  • A citizen of India
  • A subject of Bhutan
  • A subject of Nepal
  • a person migrated from Burma, sri lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, east African countries.
  • A Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention to permanently settle in India  
  • Age limits: candidate between the age group of 21-30 years of age can apply.
  • Educational qualification:

A degree in engineering from any reputed central or state government of India. A diploma in engineering from any reputed or recognized institute by the government of India. 

  • Exam pattern :  consists of –

Stage 1: objective type

Stage 2: conventional type paper 

Stage 3: personality test

Special class railway apprentices (SCRA): 

This examination is conducted to recruit students for the undergraduate program in mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Jamalpur. It is conducted once in a year.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Age limit: candidates between the age group of 17-21 years.
  • Educational qualification: aspirants should have passed 10+2 from a recognized board.

Exam pattern: 

It is conducted in two phases-

Written test comprises of 600 marks and the personality test carries 200 marks. There is no negative marking.

Although all these exams demand different approaches, but some of the points are common and should be kept in mind in order to strategize your preparation for any of these examinations.

There is no substitute for hard work. This is a known fact to all but how many really succeed in implementing it? Smart work also requires hard work at the first place. It is equally important to analyze the complete paper and be aware of the type of questions asked. If you know the syllabus and the demand of the paper well, you can plan your preparation better.

UPSC CSE requires the basics to be crystal clear. And there should be at least one subject (optional subject), which you are a master of. Hard work, perseverance and full dedication towards the preparation is all you got to have.

For the defence exams, a basic knowledge of English language, reasoning, mathematics and current affairs should be on your tips. In addition to these, the aspirant must also possess some military aptitude.

The candidates appearing for the engineering exams must have all the required/desired knowledge in their respective branches. Subject knowledge is what they are tested for.