Civil Services 2016 Exam Pattern and Syllabus

civil services 2016

Recruitment by Union Public Service Commission

Union Public Service Commission (U.P.S.C.) is one of the Constitutional bodies set up under Article 315. One of its primary function is to conduct the civil services exam annually. U.P.S.C. has declared the civil services 2016 exam pattern and dates.

The Commission consists of a Chairman and ten Members. The present Chairman of the U.P.S.C. is Rajni Razdan.

Role of the U.P.S.C.

The Union Public Service Commission has been entrusted with the following duties under the Constitution:

  1. Recruitment to services and posts under the Union through conduct of competitive examinations.
  2. Recruitment to services and posts under the Central Government by Selection through Interviews.
  3. Advising on the suitability of officers for appointment on promotion as well as transfer-on-deputation.
  4. Advising the Government on all matters relating to methods of Recruitment to various services and posts.
  5. Disciplinary cases relating to different civil services.
  6. Miscellaneous matters relating to grant of extra ordinary pensions, reimbursement of legal expenses etc.

The major role played by the Commission is to select persons to man the various Central Civil Services and Posts and the Services common to the Union and States (viz. All-India Services).

Recruitment by U.P.S.C.

The UPSC conducts recruitment to many services. The list of the services to which U.P.S.C. recruits is below-

  • Civil Services
  • Indian Forest Service
  • Engineering Services
  • Combined Defence Service
  • National Defence Academy
  • Naval Academy
  • Combined Medical Services
  • Special Class Railway Apprentice
  • Indian Economic Service/Indian Statistical Service
  • Combined Geoscientist and Geologist and
  • Central Armed Police Forces(Assistant Commandant)

Mode for Recruitment

UPSC recruits to the various services using three methods:

1) Direct Recruitment- This involves induction of young people into the governmental services by written exam and/or interview.

2) Promotion- This for the people who are already employed in the services and are promoted to higher grades. This can also be through written test and/or interview.

3) Transfer.

Services under Civil Services

Below is the list of all the services available through the civil service exam:

All India Services

  1. Indian Administrative Service
  1. Indian Police Service

Group -A Services

  1. Indian Foreign Service.
  2. Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service.
  3. Indian Audit and Accounts Service.
  4. Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise).
  5. Indian Defense Accounts Service.
  6. Indian Revenue Service (I.T.).
  7. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration).
  8. Indian Postal Service.
  9. Indian Civil Accounts Service.
  10. Indian Railway Traffic Service.
  11. Indian Railway Accounts Service.
  12. Indian Railway Personnel Service.
  13. Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force.
  14. Indian Defense Estates Service.
  15. Indian Information Service (Junior Grade).
  16. Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Gr. III).
  17. Indian Corporate Law Service.

Group – B Services

  1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer’s Grade).
  2. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service.
  3. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service.
  4. Pondicherry Civil Service.
  5. Pondicherry Police Service.

Civil Services 2016 Exam Pattern 

The premier most service in the Indian Administrative System is preceded by an equally grueling exam. The U.P.S.C. conducts a three- tier exam annually to sieve the bestest talent in the country. Find below the details for the civil services 2016 exam pattern.


This is a multiple choice question (M.C.Q.) based exam.

It consists of two papers-

Paper 1- General Studies 200 Marks 2 Hours
Paper 2- Aptitude Test 200 Marks 2 Hours
  • Paper 1 for civil services 2016 exam would have 100 questions while Paper 2 has around 80 questions.
  • There is negative marking of 1/3 rd of the mark for each question.
  • In 2015 Prelims, Paper 2 was made qualifying.
  • Civil services exam 2016 -Prelims would be held in the month of August each year.
  • The Indian Forest Service also uses this prelims as the first stage for its recruitment process.

Second Stage: MAINS EXAM

This is completely a subjective exam.

It consists of 9 papers.

Paper A Modern Indian Language ( Qualifying only) 300 3 Hours
Paper B English (Qualifying only) 300 3 Hours
Paper 1 Essay 250 3 Hours
Paper 2 General Studies-I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World, and Society 250 3 Hours
Paper 3  General Studies -II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations 250 3 Hours
Paper 4 General Studies –III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management 250 3 Hours
Paper 5 General Studies –IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude 250 3 Hours
Paper 6 Optional Subject – Paper I 250 3 Hours
Paper 7 Optional Subject – Paper II 250 3 Hours
Total Marks (excluding Indian Language and English as they are only qualifying) 1750 Marks

Paper A (Indian Language) and Paper B (English) are qualifying in nature. Its marks are not counted in the total. However passing it is mandatory.

This stage of the examination is usually conducted in the month of December.

Third Stage: INTERVIEW

Those candidates, who qualify through the Mains, are then invited to attend the Interview held at Delhi.

Candidate can give preference of the language in which they may like to be interviewed.

The interview is for 275 Marks.

However a candidate gets ranked based on their score for Mains and Interview taken together i.e. 1750+ 275= 2025 marks.

Eligibility Criteria for Civil Services 2016 Exam

  • Nationality:

For I.A.S. and I..PS. joinees under civil services 2016 exam, they need to be an Indian Citizen. For other services under civil services 2016 exam, the candidates can be-

  1. Indian Citizen, or
  2. Subject of Nepal, or
  3. Subject of Bhutan, or
  4. A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
  5. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
  • Educational Qualification:

The minimum educational qualification for civil services exam 2016 is a degree of any of the Universities. The university should be incorporated by an act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an act of the Parliament or declared to be a Deemed University under the U.G.C. Act.

  • Age:

For general category candidates, of civil services exam 2016, the age limit is 32 years.

For O.B.C. category candidates the age limit is 35 years.

For S.C. or S.T. category candidates the age limit is 37 years.

For physically handicapped candidates the age limit is 42, 45 and 47 years for general, O.B.C. and S.C. or S.T. category respectively.

  • Number of Attempts:

The general category candidates of civil services 2016 are permitted a maximum of 6 attempts.

O.B.C. category candidates are permitted a maximum of 9 attempts.

S.C. or S.T. category candidates do not have any restriction on the number of attempts.

Physically handicapped candidates of general and O.B.C. category are permitted 9 attempts and for the S.C. or S.T. category are allowed unlimited number of attempts.

Civil Services 2016 Exam Syllabus

 Prelims Syllabus for Civil Services 2016 Exam 

Paper I: General Studies

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization General Science.

Paper II: Aptitude Test (Qualifying)

  • Comprehension.
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability.
  • Decision-making and problem solving.
  • General mental ability.
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level).

Mains Syllabus for Civil Services 2016 Exam

Paper A – Modern Indian language (Qualifying)

As this Paper is only qualifying in nature, its marks are not counted in the total. However passing it is mandatory for moving to the next round in civil services exam 2016. The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows:

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Précis Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essay.

(v) Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.

Paper B – English (Qualifying)

As this Paper is only qualifying in nature, its marks are not counted in the total. However passing it is mandatory for moving to the next round in civil services exam 2016. The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows:-

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Précis Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essay.

Paper I: Essay

Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay, to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

Paper II: General Studies I – Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World, and Society

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture. The time frame is from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present.  Significant events, personalities and issues.
  • The Freedom Struggle with its various stages. Also important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country need to studied.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
  • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. Their forms and effect on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society. Diversity of India.
  • Role of women and women’s organization. Population and associated issues. Poverty and developmental issues. Urbanization, its problems and remedies.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society.
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Salient features of world’s physical geography.
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world. Including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent. Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc. Geographical features and their location. Changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Paper III: General Studies II – Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and
  • Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of civil services in a democracy.
  • India and its neighborhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • Important International institutions, agencies and forums, their structure, mandate.

Paper IV: General Studies III – Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions;
  • Economics of animal-rearing.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • Land reforms in India.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
  • Investment models.
  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology;
  • Indigenisation of technology and developing new technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Disaster and disaster management.
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Paper V: General Studies IV – Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

  • This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may use the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
  • Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;
  • Ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information
  • Sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s
  • Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  • Case Studies on above issues.


Optional Subject – Paper I


Optional Subject – Paper II

Optional Subjects for Civil Services 2016 Exam

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry
  • 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
  • Arabic
  • Assamese
  • Bengali
  • Chinese
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi
  • Kannada
  • Kashimiri
  • Konkani
  • Malayalam
  • Manipuri
  • Marathi
  • Nepali
  • Oriya
  • Pali
  • Persian
  • Punjabi
  • Russian
  • Sanskrit
  • Sindhi
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Urdu

Happy Preparation!!