Age Limit and Number of Attempts in the UPSC Exam

At present the UPSC civil services gives to a general category candidate six attempts and a maximum age of 32 years to take a shot at the civil services exam. A few years ago, it used to be 26 years and the maximum number of attempts four. Rumours surface sometimes of the UPSC reducing the upper age limit and also the number of attempts permissible. These stories scare students and aspirants. So, should the UPSC reduce the number of attempts and the age limit for the UPSC IAS exam? Read on for arguments from both sides of the tale.

First of all, check out the following table for the number of attempts and the upper age limit for each category.

UPSC Age Limit 2019


Age Limit

Number of Attempts









Unlimited till the upper age limit is reached

Physically Handicapped


9 for Gen and OBC. Unlimited till age limit for SC/ST

Disabled servicemen disabled from duty

37 (Gen), 38 (OBC), 40 (SC/ST)

Unlimited till the upper age limit is reached

Those in favour of lowering the age say that many youngsters waste a lot of time (in years) trying to clear the UPSC civil services exam. If they don’t, they end up having to start their careers at a rather late stage in life. This could prove difficult for some, if not everyone. Also, aspirants and their families spent a huge amount of money year after year in case the candidate takes time to clear. This creates a huge financial drain for them. This can be avoided if the age limit is reduced. Some people have argued that having younger people enter the services is good as they are still impressionable and can be moulded into good and ethical administrators.

On the other side, there are people who are dead against the reducing of age limit and the number of attempts. This is particularly for the rural candidates who don’t have access to coaching centres and recommended study material like their urban or semi-urban counterparts. People with internet access do seem to have some edge over those who don’t. Another argument is that people with higher age would have more experience in life and possibly in career also. This experience could help them in their jobs as future administrators of the country. Moreover, it is the ability and intentions of a person that matter and not his or her age. Nobody should be barred from serving the country if they want to just because of the age factor.

Even if the commission decides to make any changes, it should implement these changes over the course of a few years say, 5 or 6 years so that contemporary aspirants are not affected.

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