The competitive examination comprises two successive stages :
(i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination; and
(ii) Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.

2. The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks in the subjects General Studies-I (consisting of 100 questions and two marks for each question) General Studies-II (consisting of 80 questions and two and half marks for each question) and there will be negative marks for wrong answers, one third marks will be deducted for each wrong answers. This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year in the various Services and Posts. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in a year will be eligibe for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission to the Main Examination.

Note I: The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the total qualifying marks as may be determined by the Commission, of the two papers put together.

3. The Main Examination will consist of a written examination and an interview test. The written examination will consist of 7 papers in the following pattern:

The written examination will consist of the following papers :
Qualifying Paper:

Part A: One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth
Schedule to the Constitution 300 marks
Part B: English 300 marks
Paper I: Essay writing for 250 marks
Paper II:  General Studies - Paper I  250 marks
Paper III: General Studies - Paper II  250 marks
Paper IV: General Studies - Paper III  250 marks 
Paper V:  General Studies - Paper IV  250 marks
Papers VI,VII: Any one subject to be selected from the list of the optional subjects set out in para 2 below.  subject will have two papers. 250 marks for each paper.
Note (i) The paper English and language will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard. The marks obtained in the paper will be counted for ranking.

(ii) Commission may fix minimum standard of qualifying marks for any papers.

List of optional subjects for Main Examination
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
Civil Engineering
Commerce and Accountancy
Electrical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Medical Science
Political Science and International Relations
Public Administration

Literature of one of the following languages :
Assamese, Bodo, Bengali, Dogri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili,  Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.

 (i) The question papers for the examination will be of conventional (essay) type.
(ii) Each paper will be of three hours duration. Blind candidates will, however be allowed an extra time of thirty minutes at each papers and An extra time of twenty minutes per hour shall be permitted for the candidates with locomotor disability and cerebral palsy where dominant (writing) extremity is affected to the extent of slowing the performance of function (minimum of 40% impairment) in the Civil Services (Main) Examination only. However, no scribe shall be permitted to such candidates.

(iii) Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except Section II of  Paper I in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution or in English, however to ensure the quality of the exam the number candidates who select medium of writing the exam other than English and Hindi should be minimum 25, otherwise candidates should opt either English or Hindi as the medium of their examination. 

(iv) Candidates exercising the option to answer in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution may, if they so desire, give English version within brackets of only the description of the technical terms, if any, in addition to the version in the language opted by them.

Candidates should, however, note that if they misuse the above rule, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to them and in extreme cases, their script(s) will not be valued for being in an unauthorised medium.

(v) The question papers  will be set both in Hindi and English.
4. Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an interview for a Personality Test vide sub-section ‘C’ of Section II. The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice the number of vacancies to be filled. The interview will carry 275 marks (with no minimum qualifying marks).

Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to the various Services keeping in view their ranks in the examination and the preferences expressed by them for the various Services and posts.

1. The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his career. He will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only his intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

2. The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
3. The interview test is not intended to be a test either of the specialised or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well educated youth. Marks for personality test is 275 marks and there is no minimum qualifying mark.

Note: From CSE 2011 onwards candidates allowed to choose any language as a medium of interview which may differ from written medium. If a candidate selects English as a medium for mains, he can attend interview in either in English or Hindi or any one Indian Language he has selected for written exam paper I (Indian Language).