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The Civil Services Aptitude Test (earlier called as Civil Services Preliminary examination) is held by the UPSC for the selection of candidates for Civil Services (Mains) examination(Written and Interview). The examination is conducted, once every year, in accordance with the rules published by the Department of Personnel & Training. It is one of the most competitive examinations in the country. For example, in year 2008-09, approximately 7% of the candidates, who appeared for the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, could qualify for appearing in the Main Examination.

There are 24 services(or posts) to which recruitment is finally made through this two stage examination process(i.e CSAT followed by Mains examination). These 24 servcies include 3 All India Services, 16 Group A services, and 5 Group B services. The services which come within All India Services are Indian Administrative Service(IAS), Indian Foreign Service(IFS) and Indian Police Service(IPS). The services which come within Group- A are Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Indian Defence Accounts Service, Indian Postal Service etc. The services which come within Group-B are Pondicherry Civil Service, Pondicherry Police Service etc. The number of vacancies corresponding to these 24 services(or posts) is liable to change every year. For example, in year 2004, the number of vacancies was 453 and it increased to 965 for the year 2010.

Eligibility Conditions

The eligibility conditions, as given below, were applicable for Civil services (P) examination, 2010.

  • Age Limits : For, civil services (P) examination 2010, the criterion for agelimit was that, a candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 30 years on 1st August, 2010. The upper agelimit is relaxable for certain other categories.

  • Minimum Educational Qualifications: The candidate must have completed his graduation while appearing for preliminary examination. However, candidates who are in the final year are also eligible to apply for and appear in the preliminary examination. However, he need to submit proof of his qualification while applying for the main examination, if selected.

Number of attempts

Every candidate appearing at the Civil Services Examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted four attempts at the examination.This restriction on the number of attempts will not apply in the case of SC/ST candidates. Also, the number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to OBCs, who are otherwise eligible, shall be seven. IAS/IFS officers are not eligible to appear for the exam.


A candidate appearing for the exam will have to pay a fee of Rs 50. Female candidates and candidates belonging to SC/ST/PH categories are exempted from paying any fee.

Application Procedure

The application for Civil Services (P) exam 2012 is ONLY through online mode. No other mode for submission of applications is allowed. The online application can be filled up to 5th March, 2012 till 11:59 P.M after which the link will be disabled. The detailed instructions are available on the website for filling up the online application form. It is be noted that there are two different parts of filling up the application form -Part I and Part II

It is mandatory to fill both the parts, otherwise your application will be rejected. Also, you will have to fill up Part I first and then Part II - in that same order. Before filling up the form, please go through the guidelines as issued by UPSC.