The 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, the number of candidates who had applied for the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2011-12 was 4,99,120 of whom 2,43,326 candidates actually appeared in the Preliminary Examination. On the basis of this examination, 11,837 candidates had qualified for taking the Main Examination. That implies that approximately 2.4% of the candidates, who applied for the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination in 2011-12, could qualify for appearing in the Main Examination.

Age Limit

  For civil services (P) examination, the criterion for agelimit is that, a candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on 1st August, of the year of the examination. The upper agelimit is relaxable for certain other categories. For example, the upper age limit will be relaxable.
 upto a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.
 upto a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes.

Educational Qualification

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.