Eduzone IAS Academy

Civil Service Preliminary Examination​

The Civil Service Preliminary examination intends to focus on analytical abilities and understanding rather than the ability to memorize. The new pattern includes two papers of two hours duration and 200 marks each. Both papers have multiple choice objective type questions only.

What is Civil Service?

The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (Multiple Choice Questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks in the subjects set out in sub-section (A) of Section-II.

This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only. The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.

The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination.

In May 2015, the Commission decided to draw the list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.


  • Keep in mind that the question styles in the Preliminary and the Mains Examination are different. The aspirants must adopt suitable techniques and strategies for Prelims, Mains and Personality Test. The holistic coverage of Mains areas make the candidates successful in Prelims. However, the question patterns are entirely different so that we need particular attention and tools in each stage of preparation. 
  • The preparation for each of these segments has to be unique. Suppose, a long distance runner who won the gold medal in 10,000 meters is suddenly asked to take part in a sprint event of 100 meters, based on the logic that the distance involved is much shorter. The athlete is most likely to fail miserably in the 100-metre event because of lack of specific practice for the sprint.
  • Hence, the preparation for the preliminary examination should be in a style that suits objective type questions and that for the mains should be in tune with essay-writing. More clearly, in the Preliminary test, aspirants must focus on picking right answer from the giving options (i.e., the answer need not be brought forth from memory, but use discrimination in selecting the right answer) and in the Mains, the focus on writing skill with good contents.

There will be negative marking for incorrect answers.

  • There are four alternatives for the answers to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
  • If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happen to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question.
  • If a question is left blank, i.e. no answer is given by the candidate; there will be no penalty for that question.
  • So it is prudent to leave a question unanswered, if unsure of the correctness of the answer. It is advisable not to go for guesswork, and thereby invite penalty. 

Details of Preliminary Test

Salient Features of Preliminary Test

  • The purpose of the preliminary test is to eliminate non serious candidates. It is only a screening test which selects the candidates for the Mains Examination.
  • All the questions are in the nature of objective type (Multiple Choice Questions) and carry negative mark to.
  • Marks of the Preliminary test will not be counted in the aggregate marks of the Mains. The final rank will be determined on the basis of the marks secured in the Mains written test and Personality Test only.
  • No certificate or mark sheet is given after the Preliminary test.


Part A—Preliminary Examination Paper I – (200 marks) Duration : Two hours

  • 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-(200 marks) Duration : Two hours

  • 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);

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