Coaching for Civil Services Exams 2021

Athena Coaching Academy provides a one year coaching program for the Civil Services Exam 2021 (IAS Coaching in Lucknow) which is to be conducted by UPSC as per the schedule given below :-

  • (a) Prelims in June 2021.
  • (b) Mains in October 2021.
  • (c) Interviews in February 2022.

Athena Coaching Academy accepts registrations from aspirants on individual basis. The emphasis is on building the coaching program around the unique needs of each aspirant. Classes are held 5 days a week in small tutorial groups based on the academic background and language comfort levels of the aspirants.

(1) : Nature of the examination

UPSC holds this examination every year to fill up the vacancies advertised in each of the 19 Group ‘A’ services which are classified into two groups

(a) : All India Services

All India Services are those services in which the candidates selected are allotted a particular state cadre and are expected to serve a larger part of their entire career in that state, especially the first 14 years of service. These officers are allowed to serve in the central government, on deputation from their respective state governments, for normally up to 5 years at a time, especially when they have put in about 25 years of service. At present the three All India Services are:

  • (i) : Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • (ii) : Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • (iii) : Indian Forest Service (IFoS)

The recruitment to IFoS is done in two stages. The Prelims is common to UPSC Civil Service Prelims but its Mains exam is held separately because of its technical nature.

(b) : Group ‘A’ services of the central government

There are 17 Group ‘A’ services of the central government. Officers belonging to these services would normally serve under the parent ministry e.g. Finance ministry, Defense ministry, External Affairs ministry, Railway ministry etc. for all their career and can be posted across the country in various offices coming under the control of the respective parent ministry.

Officers of the Indian Foreign Service would be liable for postings in any of the embassies or consulates anywhere in the world, apart being given postings from time to time in the parent ministry itself in New Delhi.

Most of these services have existed for nearly 60 years and only a handful have been created in recent years. These services are mentioned below:

  • (i)       Indian Foreign Service
  • (ii)      Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax)
  • (iii)     Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Excise)
  • (iv)     Indian Railways Traffic Service
  • (v)      Indian Railways Personnel Service
  • (vi)     Indian Postal Service
  • (vii)    Indian Trade Service
  • (viii)   Indian Corporate Law Service
  • (ix)     Indian Defense Estates Service
  • (x)      Indian Information Service
  • (xi)     Indian Ordnance Factories Service
  • (xii)    Indian Audit and Accounts Service
  • (xiii)   Indian Civil Accounts Service
  • (xiv)   Indian Defense Accounts Service
  • (xv)    Indian Railways Accounts Service
  • (xvi)   Indian P & T Accounts Service
  • (xvii)  Indian Railway Protection Force Service

(2) : Scheme of examination

The UPSC Civil Service Examination is a three stage examination comprising of Prelims, Mains & Interview.

(a) : Prelims Stage

The Prelims stage consists of 2 papers of 200 marks each. This is a screening exam only and marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for calculating the merit for selection.

Paper Subject Total marks Duration
I GENERAL STUDIES (GS) 200 2 hours
II CSAT 200 2 hours

The main objective of holding this exam is to create a filter screening of the several lakh aspirants who appear for the Prelims, and from among them, select only the best performing candidates, invariably less than 16,000, who would be subjected to much more arduous and wide ranging testing in the Mains exams. Normally the cut off for the prelims is decided in such a way that the number of aspirants qualifying for the Mains is 12-13 times the actual number of vacancies advertized for all the All India Services and Group ‘A’ services put together.

(b) : Mains Stage

The written examination will consist of two qualifying papers of 300 marks each followed by seven papers of 250 marks each, as per details given below:

(i) : Qualifying papers (will not count for calculation of merit):

Paper Subject Total marks
A Any one of the Indian Language from among those
included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution
B English 300

(ii) : Mains papers (will count for calculation of merit) :

The Mains stage consists of seven papers of 250 marks each. The aspirants have a wide choice of optional subjects which are listed in the notifications issued by UPSC in February each year. The scheme of Mains examination is as listed below:

Paper Subject marks
Paper – I Essay (in any language out of those listed in the 8th schedule in the Constitution as per the choice of the aspirant) 250
Paper – II General Studies – I Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society 250
Paper – III General Studies – II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations 250
Paper – IV General Studies – III Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management 250
Paper – V General Studies – IV Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude 250
Paper - VI (Optional Paper I) Optional Subject 250
Paper - VII (Optional Paper II) Optional Subject 250
Total 1750

(c) : Interview Stage

The third and final stage is the interview which is conducted by a panel of members of the UPSC and distinguished experts from various subject domains.

The purpose is to assess the emotional maturity, reflexes and value system of each of the candidates who has successfully cleared the Prelims and Mains stage. Normally the number of persons invited for the interview is 3-4 times the number of actual vacancies and the cut off list for the Mains is adjusted accordingly by UPSC.

Normally about 2000-2500 candidates would be called for interview which is strictly person specific. No group discussions take place. Each candidate would generally be given up to 30 minutes time. Therefore, the UPSC Civil Service Interviews are generally spread over 4-6 weeks.

UPSC has allocated 275 marks for the interview. This is added to the marks obtained by the candidate in the seven papers of the Mains exam.

The interview is the crucial stage from the point of view of UPSC and government to ensure that any candidate, who has a dubious value system, or other latent angularities not consistent with the ethos of a responsible, welfare oriented and responsive government, does not manage to enter such government services.

(3) : The calculation of merit

The finalization of the merit list for the UPSC Civil Services Exam is done out of the maximum marks at 2 different stages in the selection process

(i) Maximum marks for the seven papers at Mains stage. 1750
(ii) Maximum marks for the interview 275
Total 2075

(4) : The level of competition

The UPSC Civil Service Exam has been considered one of the toughest exams of its genre anywhere in the world. In the Indian society, senior level jobs in government are seen to offer the best possible combination of total job security, good comfortable housing and other perks and, above all, enormous sense of job satisfaction for being part of nation building. However, being a very tough examination, it has became a clear pattern that year after year, the number of candidates who actually appear for the Prelims is just about half or even less of the total number of candidates who register for the examination, as would be clear from the details given below for the years 2014 – 2018

Vacancies & selection through UPSC Civil Service Exams in years 2014 – 2018

Year candidates applying
for Prelims
candidates appeared
for Prelims
candidates appeared
for Mains
candidates called
for interview
No. of candidates
2014 9,47,428 4,51,602 16,286 3,308 1.236
2015 9,45,908 4,65,882 15,008 2,797 1,078
2016 11,36,000 5,00,000 15,452 2,961 1,099
2017 10,00,00 (approx) 4,56,625 13,336 2,568 1058
2018 11,00,000 (approx) 4,93,972 10,468 1,994 758

The details of the number of candidates who registered for the Civil Service Prelims in 2019 and 2020 are not yet available in public domain.

(5) : The cut off for different Stages :

The number of vacancies advertized each year are filled up in accordance with the extant system of reservations for SC, ST, OBC, EWS and different classifications of physical handicaps. The category wise cut off for UPSC Civil Service Exam 2018 is as given below for different stages for the year 2018 (it is to be taken as indicator of a general trend since Civil Service Exam 2019 is still under process and the Civil Service Exam 2020 has not even begun because of pandemic challenges)

Cut off marks, category wise for Civil Service Prelims - 2018

Category Vacancy Cutoff Out of 200
General 386 98.00
OBC 204 96.66
SC 126 84.00
ST 60 83.34
Total 776  

Cut off marks, category wise for Civil Service Mains – 2018

Category Vacancy Cutoff Out of 1750
General 386 774
OBC 204 732
SC 126 719
ST 60 719
Total 776  

Final selection marks, category wise, after Interview – 2018

Category Vacancy Cutoff Out of 2025 (Final selection)
General 386 982
OBC 204 938
SC 126 912
ST 60 912
Total 776  

(6) : Preparation Methodology:

Due to the spread of the Corona Virus pandemic in the country, the Interviews for the UPSC Civil Service Exam originally scheduled to be held in March – April 2020 have been postponed by 4 months. Similarly, the UPSC Civil Service Prelims – 2020 originally scheduled to be held on 31st May 2020 have been postponed and are to be held on 4th October 2020.

For the very same reason, postgraduate’s exams in most of the universities which are generally completed by April are planned to be held in July. Assuming that the destabilizing impact of the pandemic is over within the calendar year 2020, it is being assumed that UPSC Civil Service Prelims would be held in June 2021 and Mains would be held in October 2021.

The aspirants for UPSC Civil Service Exam 2021 joining at Athena Coaching Academy would initially be offered independent slots of 2 hours each for 1:1 interaction for about 1 month (Classes 5 days a week) at mutually convenient timings to assess their specific and unique learning requirements with reference to the Prelims and Mains syllabus. Thereafter, they would be placed in small tutorial groups composed of aspirants of similar learning needs. A set timetable would be given, providing for about 3 hours interaction every working day. This pattern will continue till the beginning of the Mains exam for all those aspirants who qualify the Prelims.

Even those students who prefer to be given coaching in Hindi medium would be expected to have enough proficiency in English language to be able to read and absorb high quality study material made available to them in English in PDF. After all, they would be required to pass a fairly tough qualifying exam in English (Paper – B) even before they appear for the seven papers at the Mains stage. English is extensively used in central and state government as the official medium of communication. Any one aspiring to join an All India Service like IAS and IPS or any of the other 17 Group ‘A’ services of the central government has to learn to develop a working knowledge of English language.

(7) : Fee structure :

The fees structure at Athena Coaching Academy for the UPSC Civil Service Exam – 2021 is as given below:

(i) Before Prelims Rs.60, 000/-
(ii) Before Mains Rs.30, 000/-
(iii) Before Interview Rs.10, 000/-

The fees for Prelims can be paid in 3 equal instalments before 31st January 2021. However a rebate of Rs.10, 000/- is offered for full payment at the time of registration itself.

The fees for Mains can be paid in 2 equal installments within two months of the Prelims result being declared. A rebate of Rs.5, 000/- is offered for full payment immediately after the aspirant concerned is seen to have qualified for the Mains.

The fee for Interview preparation is to be paid after the aspirant clears the Mains Exam.

Athena Coaching Academy invites serious aspirants with a capacity to absorb multi-dimensional complex ideas relating to national development to join its personally customized coaching program for the UPSC Civil Service Exams – 2021(IAS Coaching in Lucknow).