FAQ on UPSC IAS 2021 for Beginners

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the apex body responsible for conducting the Civil Services Exam in India. Being one of the highest level competitive exams in the country, there are various doubts and queries that an aspirant has with regard to the IAS examination recruitment process. 

Thus, to assist candidates, especially beginners, we bring to you a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions on IAS. These UPSC FAQ are in context with all the relevant information regarding the eligibility, application, exam pattern, scheme of selection, and other recruitment details, which will help applicants understand the examination process even better. 

Frequently Asked Questions on UPSC IAS

Q 1. What is the full form of UPSC?

Ans. UPSC stands for Union Public Service Commission. 

Q 2. What is IAS?

Ans. IAS stands for Indian Administrative Service. It is the administrative arm of the All India Services of Government of India.

Q 3. What is the job profile of an IAS Officer?

Ans. The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is a highly prestigious career option. The IAS officer performs a number of varied tasks which mostly involve an administrative charge of a district/area/department, policy formulation, policy implementation, heading PSUs, etc.

Q 4. What is the civil services examination?

Ans. Civil Services Examination is conducted for the recruitment at Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and other Central Services and posts in accordance with the Rules published by the Government

Q 5. What is AIS?

Ans. AIS stands for All India Services. It comprises the three prestigious civil services of India: the Indian Administrative Service (IAS); the Indian Police Service (IPS); and the Indian Forest Service (IFS).

UPSC FAQ on Recruitment & Notification

Q 1. When is the exam notification released?

Ans. The exam notification for various posts under the Union Public Service Commission exam is generally released in the month of February every year. However, the release date is announced in the yearly UPSC calendar

Q 2. How many times is the UPSC recruitment held in a year?

Ans. It is an annual recruitment process and the official notification is released once every year 

Q 3. How many vacancies are released every year?

Ans. The number of vacancies released varies each year and depends on the requirement of the conducting body. For 2021, 712 vacancies have been released by the Commission.

Q 4. When are the exam dates for the recruitment released?

Ans. A calendar is released by the Commission at the beginning of every year, wherein the tentative schedule for all the exams is released by the conducting body. The final dates are released along with the official notification

Q 5. How much an IAS officer earns?

Ans. As per the 7th Pay Commission, the monthly salary of an IAS officer varies from Rs.56,100 to Rs. 2,50,000, based on their post.

Q 6. What is the salary of an IPS Officer?

Ans. The basic salary of an IPS officer starts at Rs.56,100(TA, DA and HRA are extra) per month and can go on to reach Rs.2,25,000 for a DGP.

UPSC FAQ on Online Registration & Application Process

Q 1. Where can I find access to fill the application form?

Ans. Candidates can find access to fill in the application form on the official UPSC website

Q 2. What should I do if I am facing a problem in entering my name and address in the online application form?

Ans. Applicants must know that the online application form does not accept special characters (!,@,#,$,%,^,&,*,(,),<,>,?,/,~,`, etc.) in the name and address fields. Thus, you must try again without these characters/symbols.

Q 3. What is the online registration fees to fill the application form?

Ans. The online application fee for the prelims exam is Rs.100/- for all except SC/ST/female candidates. For the registration of the mains examination, the application fee is Rs. 200/- for all except SC/ST/female candidates. 

Q 4. I am unable to continue after filling Part I of the form. What should I do?

Ans. All applicants are advised to clear the cache of their laptop/computer systems before filling in the application form

Q 5. Is there an offline mode for payment of application fees?

Ans. Yes, there is an option to pay the fees offline. For offline payment, you can download the e-challan and submit the fee in cash at SBI bank branches on the next day itself.

Q 6. What is the procedure to pay the application fees online?

Ans. Candidates can pay the application fees online using a credit card or debit card or even using internet banking

Q 7. The application fee has been deducted multiple times from my account. How to get a refund?

Ans. UPSC does not refund the application fee once the payment has been successfully done. In case of network failure or any disturbance during the transaction which has resulted in amounted deduction, you can contact your bank

Q 8. Can I fill multiple online applications?

Ans. Submission of multiple application forms is not recommended. However, in case a candidate has made an error and registers multiple times, the last form submitted (i.e. a form with the highest RID number) will be accepted by the body

Q 9. In case false information is added in the form, what action is taken against the candidate?

Ans. A candidate found to be furnishing false information to the Commission or suppressing information, adopting various unfair means in the examination like impersonation, cheating, etc., is liable to be disqualified and/or debarred from writing UPSC examinations as decided by the Commission.

Q 10. What is RID and TID?

Ans. RID is Registration ID, which is generated on completion of Part I of the form. On the other hand, TID is Transaction ID, which is  given by the SBI when the applicant deposits his/her fee in cash; and automatically generated in case of online payment

Q 11. Can I apply for multiple posts?

Ans. Yes, you can apply for multiple posts by filing a separate application form and submitting the application fee for each post. 

Q 12. Is it mandatory to add a phone number and email address in the application form?

Ans. Yes, it is important to add the correct contact details and email address in the application form as the conducting body only communicates electronically and no communication is done via post. All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory to be filled by the applicants

Q 13. I am facing issues with uploading my photograph and signature online. What should I do?

Ans. the correct dimensions and size of the image that can be uploaded online are mentioned clearly in the official notification. Candidates must refer to these criteria and accordingly upload the required documents

Q 14. Do we need to upload a black and white or coloured photograph in the application form?

Ans. Both, black and white and coloured photographs are acceptable by the Commission as long as they are clear (not blurred) and of the prescribed size

UPSC FAQ on Eligibility Criteria

Q 1. What is the minimum educational qualification required to apply for the examination?

Ans. Any candidate aspiring to apply for the exam must hold a degree from Government recognized Universities or possess an equivalent qualification. Final year students who are awaiting their results are also eligible to apply for the UPSC exam

Q 2. What are the age limit criteria to apply for the civil services exam?

Ans. The applicant must not be more than 32 years of age and not be less than 21 years of age. However, age relaxations are available for specific categories. 

Q 3. Are there a fixed number of attempts to apply for the UPSC Exam?

Ans. Yes, there is a fixed number of attempts for candidates applying for the upcoming exam. The details are as follows:

  • General – 6 attempts
  • OBC/Ex-Servicemen/PwBD-EWS/Disabled Defence Services Personnel – 9 attempts
  • SC/ST – Unlimited Attempts

Q 4. What document proof is required to claim reservation or relaxation in the recruitment process?

Ans. The list of documents required to claim any kind of reservation or relaxation is mentioned in the official notification. Thus, candidates seeking relaxation under SC/ST/OBC/EWS or any other reservation must make sure that they are in possession of all the required documents

Q 5. Is an attempt in prelims examination counted as an attempt for the UPSC exam?

Ans. Yes, an attempt in prelims examination counted as an attempt for the UPSC exam

Q 6. I have applied for the exam, but will not be able to appear for the examination. Will that be counted as an attempt?

Ans. No, it will only be counted as an attempt if the candidate has applied but not appeared for the examination.

Q 7. Can 12th passed students apply for the recruitment?

Ans. No, the minimum education qualification to apply for the UPSC recruitment is a bachelor’s degree in any discipline or equivalent education qualification. 12th passed students cannot apply for the recruitment

UPSC FAQ on Admit Card/Call Letter

Q 1. Can I change my exam centre after the application process has been completed?

Ans. Applicants must ensure that they choose the correct exam centre at the time of filling the application fee as a change of exam venue after final submission is not acceptable by the conducting body. However, a written request duly signed addressing to J.S. (Exam), may be considered in case of emergency

Q 2. How and when can I download my admit card?

Ans. An e-admit card is released at least three weeks prior to the commencement of the examination on the official website. Candidates can download the hall ticket from there and get a copy of it to carry to the exam centre

Q 3. What should I do in case my admit card has not been issued?

Ans. If the candidate’s admit card has not been released three weeks prior to the date of examination, he/she must contact the Commission. Information in this regard can also be obtained from the Facilitation Counter located in the Commission’s Office either in person or over phone Nos. 011-23381125/011- 23385271/011-23098543. 

Q 4. Is identity proof necessary to be carried along at the examination venue?

Ans. The candidates are required to carry identity proof at the exam venue. Aadhaar Card/Voter Card/PAN Card/Passport/Driving Licence/Any other Photo ID Card issued by the Central or State/UT Government is acceptable

Q 5. What documents need to be carried to the venue at the time of the Interview?

Ans. The call letter for the Interviews is sent to the registered email address of the candidates. The list of documents that are to be carried to the examination venue is also mentioned in the hall ticket and e-summon generated by the Commission

UPSC FAQ on Syllabus & Exam Pattern

Q 1. What is the scheme of selection for the IAS Exam?

Ans. There are three stages involved in the recruitment of an IAS Officer. These include:

  1. Preliminary Examination
  2. Mains Examination
  3. Personality Test/Interview

Q 2. Is there a negative marking in the written examination?

Ans. Yes, there is a negative marking in the prelims General Studies(GS) Paper I. Each incorrect answer would cost you 1/3rd of the marks allotted to that question. For prelims Paper-II, 1/3rd negative marking is applicable, also, you have to score at least 33% or 66 marks in the exam

Q 3. What is the exam pattern for the preliminary examination?

Ans. There are two compulsory General Studies papers in the preliminary examination, each of which carries 200 marks. Each paper is of 2 hours and is objective type. 

Q 4. Is there an option to give the paper in the Hindi language?

Ans. Yes, the question papers are set in both Hindi ad English (other than the literature of language papers)

Q 5. What are the minimum qualifying marks for the compulsory language papers?

Ans. The cut-off marks in each of the two Qualifying Papers i.e. English and Indian Languages is at present 25%

Q 6. Is the UPSC exam conducted online or offline?

Ans. The prelims and mains exam is conducted offline only. 

Q 7. Are there any minimum qualifying marks for the Personality Test?

Ans. The Interview/Personality Test is of 275 marks with no minimum qualifying marks

Q 8. Which optional subject has the highest success rate in UPSC Mains?

Ans. There are various factors that need to be considered while selecting the optional subject for UPSC Mains as electing the best optional subject can be the difference between success and failure of any candidate. The success rate generally depends on the number of candidates opting for a particular subject. To get comprehensive details, visit the Success Rate Of Different Optional Subjects page.

Q 9. What is the exam pattern for the mains exam?

Ans. The Mains Written Examination consists of the following papers:

  • Paper A – One of the Indian Languages (300 Marks)
  • Paper B – English (300 marks)
  • Paper I – Essay (250 marks)
  • General Studies‐I – Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society (250 marks)
  • General Studies‐II – Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations (250 marks)
  • General Studies‐III – Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management (250 marks)
  • General Studies‐IV – Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude (250 marks)
  • Optional Subject – Paper 1 (250 marks)
  • Optional Subject ‐ Paper 2 (250 marks)

This brings the total marks for the mains examination to 1750. 275 marks for Personality Test are also included in this, which brings the total to 2025 marks

Q 10. Where can I check the prelims and mains result?

Ans. The result for UPSC prelims and mains is released on the official website and there candidates can download the list of shortlisted candidates

UPSC FAQ on Exam Preparation

Q 1. Can I prepare for the exam at home?

Ans. Yes, aspirants can prepare for the UPSC exam at home if they have sufficient study material, proper notes, books and access to online and offline resources.

Q 2. Which are the best books for online exam preparation?

Ans. The booklist for UPSC exam preparation is vast as there are multiple subjects that are included in the prelims and mains examination. Thus, candidates can get the detailed list of UPSC Books in the linked article. 

Q 3. Are previous year questions papers available online?

Ans. Yes, candidates can download the previous year question papers PDF from the official website or from the various online portals, where they are available for free

Q 4. Which optional subject must I choose for the UPSC exam?

Ans. There are around 50 subjects from which candidates can choose their optional paper. A few things that must be kept in mind while selecting the optional paper include:

  • Basic knowledge of the subject
  • Past records based on UPSC analysis
  • Interest and Academic background
  • Easy availability of study material for the subject
  • External Assistance/Coaching available for the subject (if needed)

Q 5. Which subject is recommended for graduation to crack the UPSC Exam?

Ans. There is no such recommendation for the subject you choose in your graduation that will make cracking the UPSC exam easier. Though questions based on humanities have slightly an edge over the other subjects, being a graduate in it would not make a major difference. 

Q 6. Where can I find study material for exam preparation?

Ans. The syllabus for the civil services exam is comprehensive and the finest study material is necessary to prepare and furthermore, crack the exam. The books, video lectures, notes and study material is easily available both online and offline

Q 7. Can I choose an optional subject that I have not studied during my graduation?

Ans. Yes, you can choose a subject for the optional paper even if you have not studied it during your graduation or for other equivalent degrees

Q 8. Is one year enough to prepare for IAS Exam?

Ans. Yes, one year of thorough preparation, hard work and dedicated studies are enough to crack the IAS Exam

Q 9. Can I crack the exam without enrolling myself in a coaching institute?

Ans. Yes, you can crack the exam without enrolling yourself in a coaching institute. Ensure that you have sufficient study material, books, proper notes, access to the internet and devote ample amount of time for self-study. A coaching institute is only helpful in providing assistance with the concepts, topics, providing notes and familiarizing you with the exam pattern. Hard work and dedication is the key to excel in the examination

To guide candidates with their UPSC Preparation, BYJU’S provides comprehensive and exhaustive study material and guidance to excel in the examination.

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