The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a nationwide competitive examination in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to higher Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, and Indian Police Service. Also simply referred to as the UPSC examination, it is conducted in three phases: a preliminary examination consisting of two objective-type papers (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II also popularly known as Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT), and a main examination consisting of nine papers of conventional (essay) type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven are counted followed by a personality test (interview) A successful candidate sits for 32 hours of examination during the complete process spanning around one year.
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The Civil Services Examination is based on the British era Imperial Civil Service tests, as well as the civil service tests conducted by old Indian empires such as the Mauryan Empire and Mughal Empire. It is one of the most difficult competitive examinations in India. A single attempt can take two complete years of preparation – one year before the prelims and one year from prelims to interview. On average, 900,000 to 1,000,000 candidates apply every year and the number of candidates sitting in the preliminary examination is approximately 550,000. Results for the Prelims are published in mid-August, while the final result is published in May of the next year.