FAQ Excell Career Online

What is the restriction on the number of attempts in Civil Services Examinations?

General Category-4, 
SC/ST- No restriction

Is there any relaxation in the number of attempts for the physically handicapped?

No. However physically handicapped candidates belonging to SC, ST and OBC categories will be eligible for relaxation in number of attempts provided to such categories.

Can a candidate who has completed his education from an open school/ University apply for Commissions Examination?

Yes, provided it is a recognized University and he possess the educational qualifications prescribed for the exam and is otherwise eligible

Whether a candidate belonging to a community included in the OBC list of states but not in the Central list of OBCs is eligible for age relaxation, reservation etc. for Commissions Examinations?

No. Only candidates belonging to communities which are included in the Central list of OBC's are eligible for such concessions

Can a candidate choose an optional subject, which he has not studied at graduate/PG level?


If a candidate has applied for the CS (P) Examination but has not appeared at any paper in the CS (P) Examination will it be counted as an attempt?

No. An attempt is counted only if a candidate has appeared in at least one paper in CS (P) Examination

Can a candidate write different papers of Civil Service (Main) Examination in different languages?

No, Candidates have the option to write their answers either in English or in any one of the Eighth schedule languages.

Can a candidate opt for the prelims paper in his/her regional language?

No. The Prelims papers will exclusively be in English and Hindi, except Comprehension, wherein questions will solely be in English

Can a candidate ,hailing from a state (say Tamil Nadu) , opt for another state’s(say Andhra Pradesh) language as his/her compulsory Mains language paper?


What is the penalty for marking a wrong answer in the Prelims?

Negative marking is applicable for wrong answers. For a wrong answer, 33% of the marks of that question will be deducted

What are the languages that a candidate can opt for in his/her Mains paper

One of the Indian language included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution<br /><br />
Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu 

What are the subjects available to a candidate , in his Mains optional paper ?

i. Agriculture
ii. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
iii. Anthropology
iv. Botany
v. Chemistry
vi. Civil Engineering
vii. Commerce and Accountancy
viii. Economics
ix. Electrical Engineering
x. Geography
xi. Geology
xii. History
xiii. Law
xiv. Management
xv. Mathematics
xvi. Mechanical Engineering
xvii. Medical Science
xviii. Philosophy
xix. Physics
xx. Political Science and International Relations
xxi. Psychology
xxii. Public Administration
xxiii. Sociology
xxiv. Statistics
xxv. Zoology
xxvi Literature of any one of the following languages:
Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu & English

If the overall marks of two or more candidates are equal, how is relative merit between such candidates decided?

Tie-breaking principles are applied to decide inter se merit among candidates having the same overall marks. These principles adopted by UPSC are:<br />
TIE PRINCIPLES – Wherever the two or more candidates have secured equal aggregate marks, the tie(s) is/are resolved in accordance with the principles approved by the Commission, viz.,<br />
(i) Candidate securing more marks in the Compulsory Papers and the Personality Test put together is to be ranked higher;<br />
(ii) In case where the marks mentioned at (i) above are equal, the candidate senior in age is to be ranked higher; and<br />
(iii) In case where the (i) and (ii) above are same, then the candidate getting more marks in the compulsory papers is to be ranked higher.

Are there any important points to be taken into consideration while choosing an optional subject?

Though there are no hard and fast rules, however one should select optionals, which he/she is familiar with, or has at least studied during graduation or post graduation. If you are not comfortable with a particular subject, it is requested that you should not select the subject as an optional. But the choice should not only be as per your interests but also be based on the availability of the study material. Even science and engineering students take up subjects like history, sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, psychology and public administration because there is a huge amount of study material available in these subjects. Also keep in mind that you may have been proficient in a subject, but lack of touch may make it tougher to crack technical subject where freshers may do better. The competition is among the people who have opted for the same subject. One should top in his/her subject to succeed in the examination. The Point is, if you are an electrical engineer with 2 years of experience go for a new subject like public administration or sociology or psychology.

Is it compulsory that a candidate will have to attempt all the papers in the Mains exam to be eligible to qualify for the interview stage?

Yes. All Mains papers are mandatory

Would the marks obtained by a candidate in his/her language and English papers be added to the final score?

No. It is just of qualifying nature. All that you need is a pass in this regard.

Is it likely that a candidates evaluated performance suffers because his/her answer books were evaluated by a strict examiner, while another candidate benefits as his answer books were evaluated by a liberal examiner?

The Paper Setter, who is an eminent person in his field, normally acts as the Head Examiner, and wherever the number of candidates in a particular subject is very large, the Commission appoints Additional Examiners for valuation of answer books.

To achieve uniformity in valuation, where more than one Examiner is involved, the Commission arranges a meeting of the Head Examiner with the Additional Examiners after the Examination is over. At this stage, they discuss thoroughly the question paper, the appropriate answers and decide the standard of evaluation.

To further bring about uniformity of assessment inter se the Examiners, the following procedure is undertaken:

The Head Examiner conducts a sample survey of answer books of each Additional Examiner to verify whether the uniform standards of evaluation evolved in the meeting of Examiners have actually been followed. Depending on the standard adopted by the Additional Examiner, the Head Examiner may confirm the awards without any change if the Examiner has correctly followed the standard decided upon, or may carry out upward / downward moderation as considered necessary to ensure maximum possible degree of uniformity in the evaluation process.

Therefore, the aspect of inter examiner variation in standards of evaluation in a Paper affecting candidates performance is taken care of adequately.

Does a candidate hailing from a backward class avail of any free pre-exam coaching by the UPSC?

No . The UPSC doesn’t provide for any free pre coaching to any candidate

Can a candidate change his/her preferences that he/she made during the online application(Prelims and DAF) ?

No. Once opted, a candidate cannot change his/her preferences.

What is the expected date of notification of the examination?

Mid of February

What is the general trend with regard to the cut off mark in the Prelims papers I and II?

No such trend is conclusive  though anywhere between 60 to 70 correct answers is a ‘safe’ zone in paper I

The CSAT though is unpredictable for the difficulty level determines the cut off

Is English a compulsory paper in the Mains ?

Yes , English is a compulsory paper of 300 marks. But the marks obtained by a candidate will not be counted for ranking.

For candidates not satisfied with the marks obtained by him/her , do they have an option of re-evaluation ?

No revaluation permitted 

What are the topics asked from, in the CSAT paper and is Maths a major factor in CSAT?

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

English language comprehension skills (Class X level).Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus) will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper. 

The UPSC syllabus says that the level of this section will be that of X standard. Now, basic numeracy can be restricted to arithmetic or it can include a few more areas of mathematics. To be on the safe side, you may have to go a little beyond arithmetic and cover elementary algebra, geometry, trigonometry and logarithm, The section also covers data interpretation which requires knowledge of basic statistical methods to solve questions.

So you must get acquainted with the basic principles and formulae, and some short cut methods of reaching the solution quickly wherever possible. Just remember, you are not allowed to use calculators for objective tests. So practice with timing is necessary.

What are the different newspapers and magazines to be referred to ?

The Hindu  , The Economic Times , The Indian Express 
Economic and Political Weekly, Yojana, Kurukshetra and Frontline

Are there any non academic books a candidate has to refer to ?

Yes. Referring books like ReImagining India by McKinsey publications, India An Uncertain Glory by Amartya Sen and Dreze , India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha , The New Oxford  Companion to Indian Economy by Kausik Basu  etc are good reads and will definitely help a candidate in his Mains GS papers

Can a candidate know the question-wise marks awarded to him/her for a paper?

In a competitive examination, what is relevant is not the absolute performance of a candidate, but his/her relative performance that in fact determines whether the candidate qualifies and , if so, his/her position in the merit list. Accordingly,  the evaluation process does not end after initial evaluation by an Examiner. Moderation, wherever applied, is on the total award initially given (the so-called ‘raw marks’) and not on question-wise basis. Therefore, once the evaluation process is complete, neither ‘raw marks’ nor ‘question-wise’ marks subsist. What subsists is the candidate’s total score in a paper awarded at the end of the evaluation process and this award is normally made available to the candidate in due course on the Commission’s website through a query-based application software

Can a candidate write the Civil Service (Main) Examination in English and take the interview in Hindi or any other Indian language?

The candidates, opting for Indian Language medium for the written part of the Civil Services (Main) Examination, may choose either the same Indian Language or English or Hindi as the medium for the interview.

The candidates, opting to write the Civil Services (Main) Examination in English, may choose as the medium for interview either English or Hindi or any other Indian Language opted by them for the compulsory Indian Language Paper in the written part of the Civil Services (Main) Examination.  However, the candidates, who are exempted from the compulsory Indian Language Paper, will have to choose either English or Hindi as medium of Interview of Personality Test.

What is the Minimum Educational Qualifications required, to be eligible to take up the exam?

The candidate must hold a degree of any of Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature  in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a  University Under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.

 Candidates who have appeared at an examination the passing of which would render them educationally  qualified for the Commission’s examination but have not been informed of the results as also the candidates who  intend to appear at such a qualifying examination will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary  Examination. All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main)  Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite examination with their application for the Main Examination failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination. 

Is a student ,who has graduated from a foreign university ,eligible to take up the Civil Service exam?

UPSC recognizes majority of all foreign universities and the degrees allotted by them. However, it needs to be a degree (and not a certification). It is advised the candidate consult the UGC (Union Grants Commission) in India or the Indian High Commission in that respective country to find out the eligibility/recognition of the certification

Sociology as Optional Subject

Dear Aspirant,

                               Sociology as a optional subject is a very easy one compared to all other options and more scoring also. Sociology is a very late science which is the study of society coming out of the human interactions and inters relations.  In fact as a University discipline In India it arrived vary late. There are basically some terminologies which are frequently used to prove it as a science, and initially a student finds difficult to cope up with. Once when the student understands the concepts, it is a very interesting subject and the questions can be handled like science subject. The scoring is also very high in Sociology compared to other UPSC options. The subject touches the everyday experience of the ordinary person at so many points and easy to assimilate the theories as well as case studies.

In the first paper three questions will be there from the theories of Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx and Pareto and short notes on the later the later sociologists like Merton, Talcott Parsons and the like.

It is very simple to follow provide one gets the grip of all the concepts fast.

As far as Indian Sociology the second paper is concerned all of us have experience what is happening in our society for centuries on the social structure like caste, class, hierarchy, westernization, modernization, urbanization, industrialization, impact of technology etc. Instead of using all this facts as in common sense language the subject deals as a Science where all the inter related facts can be verified. It is very interesting to see the very social changes occurring in our society , As far as preliminary is concerned if one understands the concepts out of common sense and application of mind all the answers can be answered. Unlike History or Geography here it is not necessary to remember so many facts and names, the concepts are more important and the questions are also like that. If one takes pride to know the various aspects of our social structure, the changes, the breakdown of traditional societies, joint families, impact of urbanization, explosion of population, pattern of social mobility, impact of Modern nation state with secularism and adult franchise the subject can be done with a flavor of love.

One last word is the subject deals with something which we experience attached with our everyday life not something unconnected. So all the aspirants can have a look at the syllabus and read a few chapters of Sociology by Haralambos and NCERT books. It will give a over view of the subject. Our institution is specializing in Sociology as an optional subject devoting considerable time in preparing a good course material for both prelims as well as mains from experts and toppers who have secured excellent marks in Sociology.

Wish you all the best

       Yours sincerely



                                    PAPER I - FUNDAMENTALS OF SOCIOLOGY

            TOPICS                                                                                             REFERENCE BOOKS

1. Sociology - The Discipline:

(a) Modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of sociology.

                                                                                                 - ESO – 13 (IGNOU, B.A)

(b) Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences. 

                                                                                                 - Sociology: T B Bottomore

(c) Sociology and common sense.                                   - Sociology: Anthony Giddens

2. Sociology as Science:

(a) Science, scientific method and critique.                     - Sociology: Anthony Giddens

(b) Major theoretical strands of research methodology.   - Sociology: Anthony Giddens

(c) Positivism and its critique.                        - Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn

(d) Fact value and objectivity.                                            - MSO – 002 (IGNOU, MA )

(e) Non- positivist methodologies.                         - Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn

3. Research Methods and Analysis:                             – MSO – 002 ( IGNOU , MA )

(a) Qualitative and quantitative methods.

(b) Techniques of data collection.

(c) Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity.

4. Sociological Thinkers:

                 – ESO – 13 (IGNOU, B.A ) , Sociological Thinkers : R K Mukherjee

(a) Karl Marx- Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle.

(b) Emile Durkheim- Division of labour, social fact, suicide, religion and society.

(c) Max Weber- Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.

(d) Talcolt Parsons- Social system, pattern variables.

(e) Robert K. Merton- Latent and manifest functions, conformity and deviance, reference groups

(f) Mead - Self and identity.

- Sociology   by  Haralambos and  Holborn ( a ,b, c )


5. Stratification and Mobility:

(a) Concepts- equality, inequality, hierarchy, exclusion, poverty and deprivation                         

(b) Theories of social stratification- Structural functionalist theory, Marxist theory, Weberian theory.

(c) Dimensions – Social stratification of class, status groups, gender, ethnicity and race.     

(d) Social mobility- open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility. – ESO: 14 (IGNOU)

6. Works and Economic Life:- Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn

(a) Social organization of work in different types of society- slave society, feudal society, industrial  /capitalist society.

(b) Formal and informal organization of work

(c) Labour and society.

7. Politics and Society:- Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn

(a) Sociological theories of power

Political Theory- O P Gauba (c,d)

(b) Power elite, bureaucracy, pressure groups, and political parties.

(c) Nation, state, citizenship, democracy, civil society, ideology.

(d) Protest, agitation, social movements, collective action, revolution.

8. Religion and Society:- Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn

(a) Sociological theories of religion.

(b) Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults.

(c) Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism,


9. Systems of Kinship:- Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn

(a) Family, household, marriage.

(b) Types and forms of family.

(c) Lineage and descent

(d) Patriarchy and sexual division of labour

(e) Contemporary trends.

10. Social Change in Modern Society:- Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn

(a) Sociological theories of social change.

(b) Development and dependency.

(c) Agents of social change.

(d) Education and social change.

(e) Science, technology and social change.




A. Introducing Indian Society:

(i) Perspectives on the study of Indian society:        

                                                             -Indian Sociological Thought. from B. K. Nagla

(a) Indology (GS. Ghurye).

(b) Structural functionalism (M N Srinivas).

(c) Marxist sociology ( A R Desai).

(ii) Impact of colonial rule on Indian society:

(a) Social background of Indian nationalism.

                                                            -Social Background of Indian Nationalism : A R Desai

(b) Modernization of Indian tradition.                  

                                                            - Modernization of Indian tradition - Yogenndra Singh

(c) Protests and movements during the colonial period.

                                    -Protests and movements during the colonial period – A R Desai

(d) Social reforms                                         - Modern History – B L Grover

B. Social Structure:

(i) Rural and Agrarian Social Structure:

(a) The idea of Indian village and village studies          - IGNOU , MSO – 004

(b) Agrarian social structure - evolution of land tenure system, land reforms.

                                                                                    - Rural Sociology – Doshi & Jain

(ii) Caste System:

(a) Perspectives on the study of caste systems: GS Ghurye, M N Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre

Indian Social system –Ram Ahuja

        Beteille. – Indian Sociological Thought. from B. K. Nagla

(b) Features of caste system.

(c) Untouchability - forms and perspectives

(iii) Tribal communities in India:     - Indian Society & Culture – Nadeem Husnain

(a) Definitional problems.

(b) Geographical spread.

(c) Colonial policies and tribes.

(d) Issues of integration and autonomy.

(iv) Social Classes in India:                                             - IGNOU , MSO – 004

(a) Agrarian class structure.

(b) Industrial class structure.

(c) Middle classes in India.

(v) Systems of Kinship in India:                 

      - IGNOU , MSO – 004 , Family , Marriage and Kinship in India by Patricia Oberoi

(a) Lineage and descent in India.

(b) Types of kinship systems.

(c) Family and marriage in India.

(d) Household dimensions of the family.

(e) Patriarchy, entitlements and sexual division of labour.

(vi) Religion and Society:             - Indian Society & Culture – Nadeem Husnain

(a) Religious communities in India.

(b) Problems of religious minorities.

C. Social Changes in India:

(i) Visions of Social Change in India:

(a) Idea of development planning and mixed economy. 

                                                                              - Contemporary India – Neera Chandhoke

(b) Constitution, law and social change.                   - Social Change in India – Yogendra Singh

(c) Education and social change.                                          - IGNOU , ESO – 14

(ii) Rural and Agrarian transformation in India:

Social inequalities in India – K L Sharma

(a) Programmes of rural development, Community Development Programme, cooperatives, poverty alleviation schemes.           - Rural Sociology – Doshi & Jain

(b) Green revolution and social change.

(c) Changing modes of production in Indian agriculture .

(d) Problems of rural labour, bondage, migration. IGNOU , MSO – 14

(iii) Industrialization and Urbanisation in India: IGNOU , MSO – 14

(a) Evolution of modern industry in India.

(b) Growth of urban settlements in India.

(c) Working class: structure, growth, class mobilization.

(d) Informal sector, child labour                  Child Labour – Beena Das

(e) Slums and deprivation in urban areas. IGNOU – Urban Sociology

(iv) Politics and Society:                     Politics in India - Paul R Brass

(a) Nation, democracy and citizenship.

(b) Political parties, pressure groups , social and political elite.

(c) Regionalism and decentralization of power.

(d) Secularization

(v) Social Movements in Modern India:

                                    -Social Movements In India by Ghanshyam Shah

(a) Peasants and farmers movements.

(b) Women’s movement.

(c) Backward classes & Dalit movement.

(d) Environmental movements.

(e) Ethnicity and Identity movements.

(vi) Population Dynamics:           -     Social Demography : Asha Bhede & Kanitkar

(a) Population size, growth, composition and distribution.

(b) Components of population growth: birth, death, migration.

(c) Population policy and family planning.

(d) Emerging issues: ageing, sex ratios, child and infant mortality, reproductive health.- IGNOU (ESO – 16 )


(vii) Challenges of Social Transformation:

Contemporary India - Neera Chandhoke

(a) Crisis of development: displacement, environmental problems and sustainability.

(b) Poverty, deprivation and inequalities.


(c) Violence against women. Women in India – Neera Desai

(d) Caste conflicts. Politics in India : Sudipta Kaviraj

(e) Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism. IGNOU (ESO – 16 )

(f) Illiteracy and disparities in education. IGNOU (ESO – 16 )