This examination is held in three successive stages Preliminary Examination and Main Examination (Written and Interview).
Preliminary examination is an aptitude test based on multiple choice objective type questions. It is meant for selection of candidates for the Main Examination. The Preliminary examination is going to see some significant changes from 2011 examination with introduction of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).
The pattern and frame-work of syllabus and a few sample questions for the incoming pattern have been released by UPSC. This year the preliminary examination is scheduled to be held on June 12, 2011.
From 2007 examination Negative marking has been introduced in Prelims. It is still not clear that in the 2011 examination will Negative marking be in effect or not. Candidates should be careful while taking examination if there is penalty (Negative Marking) for every wrong answer marked by a candidate in the objective type question papers.
This is a qualifying kind of examination and its marks are not considered for preparation of final result.
Mains Examination (Written):
The prime aim for conducting preliminary examination is to short list few thousand candidates out of approx 4 lakh applicants. The successful candidates in Prelims will be eligible for 2nd stage of examination plan and will appear in the Main (written) examination which is held in October/November every year.
These candidates qualified for Main Examination compete for progression to the final stage of the examination plan. Those successful candidates who clear Mains Examination are called for final stage Interview which is staged in Delhi during the month of April every year.
The final selection is made on the basis of the candidate’s performance in Mains (Written) and Interview. A merit list is made as per their aggregate which determines the service the candidate will get keeping in mind what preference of service the candidate has opted for.
Your place in merit list determines whether you are able to get the services as per your choice or not.