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Indian Administrative Service (IAS) EXAM SCHEME

Though, the exam is popularly known as IAS exam, but officially it is called the Civil Services Exam (CSE), which is conducted every year by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).  Here’s a complete detail about UPSC exam scheme, which will help all the IAS aspirants who dream to become IAS Officers, to face the exam with right approach and attitude, appropriate guidance, selection of relevant study materials, right focus, and exact preparation strategy.


The UPSC CSE consists of 3 stages and they are Preliminary Exam, Mains Exam, and Personality Test/Interview. The UPSC calendar that consists of the exam dates is announced by the commission through UPSC notifications. .


Below given is the tentative calendar by timeline for the candidates reference:




  1. The IAS Preliminary exam (objective / multiple choice questions type) has two papers:

  2. i. Paper - I (General Studies: duration - 2 hours; Marks - 200)

    ii. Paper - II (CSAT duration - 2 hours; Marks - 200)


       i. The minimum qualifying marks for Paper II is 33 percent.

      ii. In both Paper I and Paper II for each wrong answer there is a negative marking of 1/3rd of the allotted marks of that question.

  3. The second stage of the civil services is IAS Mains Exam (subjective or descriptive type) and it consists a total of 9 papers which is divided as given below:

    1. Essay
    2. English
    3. General Studies Paper I  (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
    4. General Studies Paper II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
    5. General Studies Paper III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
    6. General Studies Paper IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
    7. Optional Subject Paper I
    8. Optional Subject Paper II
    9. Language Paper

    For detailed UPSC exam pattern and syllabus click here


    Those, who clear UPSC Mains exam with the prescribed cut offs will be called for personality test/interview round (the third and final round) by the commission which will be held only in the UPSC Bhawan in New Delhi.



    The candidates who apply for the UPSC IAS examination should ensure that they meet all the eligibility criteria

    The eligibility for IAS exam is based on the following parameters:

    1. Nationality
    2. Age
    3. Education
    4. Number of attempts



    1. For the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS), a candidate must be a citizen of India.

    2. To know more about IAS age limit, UPSC age limit,and the eligibility criteria for other services click here.

     IAS Age Limit and Number of Attempts Criterion
    CategoryAge LimitAttempts
    General32 Years6
    OBC35 years9
    SC / ST 37 YearsUnlimited
    PH Gen-42 Years OBC-45 Years SC/ST-47 Years Unlimited
    J & K Domicile Gen-37 Years OBC-40 Years SC/ST-42 Years PH-50 Yearsdepending on the categories viz. Gen, OBC, SC/ST, PH
    EX-Servicemen Gen-37 Years OBC-40 Years SC/ST-42 Yearsdepending on the categories viz. Gen, OBC, SC/ST, PH
    Disabled Defence Services Personnel* conditionalGen-37 Years OBC-40 Years SC/ST-42 Yearsdepending on the categories viz. Gen, OBC, SC/ST, PH
    To know in detail about age and number of attempts criteria for IAS Eligibility click here.     

    Academic Eligibility for IAS Exams

    The candidate must hold a degree of any University that is recognized by the state or central government. A degree received through Correspondence Education or Distance Education. A degree from an Open University. A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to either of the above. Candidates who have given their final year graduation exam/ waiting for the results can also apply for this exam (but they will be required to produce proof of passing the graduation exam) before the final selection process.


    UPSC Online Application Procedure

    The application procedure for UPSC examination has been entirely made online at the preliminary level and UPSC e-admit cards are issued which candidates appearing for IAS exam should download from the UPSC official website.


    The candidates applying for the IAS Exam should make sure that they satisfy all the eligibility criteria for admission to the examination. The candidates’ admission to all the stages of the examination will be only conditional subject to fulfil the above-mentioned eligibility conditions. With the issue of admission certificate to a candidate does not indicate that the candidate’s application has been finally accepted by the Commission. As the Commission takes up verification of eligibility criteria with the reference to the original documents only when a candidate qualifies the final round that is the Interview/Personality Test.


    UPSC 2017 Vacancies

    In the latest notification released by the UPSC, the number of vacancies to be filled after the result of the UPSC Civil Services Examination is likely to be around 1079 and this includes the reservation for P.H. Category which would be 34. The final number of vacancies may be changed subsequently receiving the fixed number of vacancies from Cadre Controlling Authorities. Reservation will be made for candidates who belong to different categories like Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), and Physically Disabled depending on the number of vacancies as may be fixed by the Government.


    Now that the exam process is made transparent to you, all you have to do is to prepare for the IAS exam. For more information on UPSC exam and tips on preparation strategies, click the below links.

    UPSC Notficiation 2017  

    UPSC Syllabus | UPSC Online | Civil Services Exam | UPSC Current Affairs | UPSC Mains Test Series

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