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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 Calendar/Schedule for the Civil Service Examination that consists of the exam dates, application form filling dates and the last date to submit the form is announced a year prior by the commission so that candidates can plan their preparation accordingly.


Also check | UPSC Exam Calendar 2017-18 / UPSC Exam Schedule 2017-18


Below given is the timeline of the tentative calendar of CSE, which is released by the UPSC prior a year in their online notification.

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. .


Indian Administrative Service, which is popularly known as IAS Exam among the common people and most of the aspirants is actually a civil service which lakhs of candidates aspire to get into through the Civil Services Exam, which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).


Every aspirant is told or advised by their mentors, faculty or seniors that before starting their IAS Exam Preparation to know and understand the UPSC Exam Pattern and Syllabus. Hence, here we bring the complete and in detail information about the UPSC Exam Scheme, eligibility for IAS, online application procedure, and much more.


Read through to know in detail about the UPSC Civil Services Examination pattern that will help you to come with a right preparation strategy, in choosing relevant study materials, take the right guidance, in s plan and to face the exam with right attitude and crack this so called ‘toughest exam’.


For UPSC Civil Services Exam online resources, exam preparation strategies, UPSC Online Notification, exam dates, results, and much more visit: http://byjus.com/free-ias-prep


The Civil Services Exam for IAS, IPS, IFS and other services is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission every year. The first thing that every aspirant should keep themselves updated with is the UPSC Exam Dates, which the commission releases a year prior in their online notification.



UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam Important Dates

Exam EventsDates
Application FormsFebruary (apply date)– March(last date)
Admit CardThree weeks before Prelims Exam
CSE PrelimsMay-August
Answer KeyAfter the final result of UPSC of Civil Service Exam (in the following year)
ResultAugust/September (same year)
CutoffAfter the final result of UPSC of Civil Service Exam (in the following year)

UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam Important Dates

Application FormsAug-Sept
Admit CardThree weeks before Mains Exam
Main ExamOctober-December
Answer KeyAfter the final result of UPSC of Civil Service Exam (in the following year)
ResultJan-Feb of the following year
CutoffAfter the final result in the following year

UPSC Civil Services Personality Test/Interview Important Dates

NotificationFeb/March of the following year
e-SummonMarch/April of the following year
Personality Test/InterviewMarch/April of the following year
ResultApril-June of the following year



The Civil Services Exam is conducted by the UPSC every year and the exam is held in three stages and they are:

Stage I: Preliminary Examination
Stage II: Main Examination
Stage III: Personality Test/Interview Round

The stage 1 of the civil services exam is prelims, which is a screening test for candidates and comprises of two papers with questions of objective or MCQ type.


The IAS Prelims Exam Pattern is as follows:

Sl. No.Name of the PaperNature of the PaperDuration of the ExamQuestionsMarks
1Paper – I : General Studies2 Hours100200 Marks
2Paper – II : General Studies (CSAT)QUALIFYING NATURE2 Hours80200 Marks
TOTAL100200 Marks


The questions in the UPSC Prelims Exam are of objective type or Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
There is a ‘Negative Marking’ in the IAS prelims exam for each incorrect answer. The negative marking for incorrect answers will be 1/3rd (0.66) of the allotted marks of that question.
The GS Paper II (CSAT) is of qualifying in nature and candidates should score a minimum of 33 percent in this paper to qualify to the next stage of the exam i.e. Civil Services Mains.
Blind candidates are given an extra time of 20 minutes for each paper in the prelims exam.
It is mandatory for the candidates to appear in both the papers of civil services prelims exam for the evaluation.
The marks scored by the candidates in the preliminary examination are not counted for the final score.

The UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains Exam Pattern is as follows:


The second stage of the Civil Services Exam for IAS is called as the Main Exam, which is a written examination and comprises of 9 papers. The 9 papers are as following Paper-A (Compulsory Indian Language); Paper –B (English) are qualifying in nature, while the other papers like Essay, General Studies Paper I, II, III, and IV, and Optional Paper I and II are considered for the final ranking.


Sl. No.


Name of the Paper

Nature of the Paper

Duration of the Exam



Paper – A

Compulsory Indian Language


3 Hours

300 Marks


Paper – B


3 Hours

300 Marks


Paper – I



3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – II


3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – III


3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – IV


3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – V


3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – VI


3 Hours

250 Marks


Paper – VII


3 Hours

250 Marks




1750 Marks




275 Marks



2025 Marks



The candidates can select medium of writing the UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains Exam in Hindi or English.
The Indian Languages included in the civil services exam are as per languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
The final ranking of the candidates’ is on the basis of the marks obtained by them in the Main Examination and Personality Test/Interview Round.

For detailed UPSC Syllabus for Prelims and Mains list of Indian Language, and Optional Subjects click here.




Candidates who clear the Civil Services Main Exam with the set cutoff marks will qualify for the final stage of the exam i.e., the Personality Test or Interview round with the UPSC Board Members. The candidates who qualify to the final stage will be sent an e-summon by the commission for a face to face discussion round with the board members. In this round the board assesses the personality traits of the candidates and questions will be asked on their hobbies, current affairs, general knowledge, situation questions and etc. The final round that is the personality test 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, which are mentioned below. The eligibility for IAS exam is based on the following parameters:

1. Nationality2. Education Qualification
3. Age Criteria and Relaxation4. Number of Attempts



Candidates who are interested to write the UPSC Civil Services Exam and aspire to get the civil services post as IAS, IPS, IFS and others should ensure that they fulfill the Nationality Condition, which is given below.


Candidates who aspire to become an IAS Officers, IFS Officer and IPS Officers must be a citizen of India.


To get into the Indian Revenue Service, candidates must meet one of the nationality criteria as set by the UPSC guidelines:

Citizen of India.
A person of Indian Origin who has migrated from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, or Zambia with an intention of permanently settling in India.

To get into other civil services a candidate must meet one of the following criteria of Nationality.

A Citizen of India.
A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan
Tibetan Refugee who came to India before 1st January 1962 to be settled permanently in India
A person of Indian Origin who has migrated from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, or Zambia with an intention of permanently settling in India



Candidates who aspire to become IAS Officers and wish to apply UPSC Civil Services Exam should ensure that they fulfill at lease on of the following education qualification criteria.


Candidates should have:

A degree from any of the universities integrated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India
A degree from any other educational institutions recognized by an Act of Parliament
A degree or an equivalent qualification from any Deemed University under the UGC Act, 1956
A degree through correspondence or distance education
A degree from an open university
A qualification equivalent to one of the above which is recognized by the Government of India

Candidates with the following criteria are also allowed to take the UPSC Civil Services Exam:

Candidates who meet the below mentioned education criteria can also take the civil service exam, anyhow the candidates should submit the proof of eligibility from an practiced authority of their university or institution during the UPSC Main Exam, candidates failing to submit the proof may not be allowed to take the exam.
Candidates who have appeared in the graduation exam or relevant qualification exam or higher exams and waiting for the results can also write the UPSC Exam but they should ensure that after success in the exam they meet one of the above educational criteria.
Candidates who have not yet completed the MBBS internship but have passed in the final exam of the MBBS degree can also appear in the UPSC CSE.
Candidates who have passed the final exam of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI), ICSI, and ICWAI can also take the exam.
Candidates who have obtained a degree from any private university with the above mentioned conditions.
Candidates who have obtained a degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities.

Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the UPSC CSE and anticipating their results are also eligible to appear for the IAS Prelims Exam; however, they should submit proof of passing the obligatory qualification along with Detailed Application Form (DAF) for Civil Services (Mains) Examination.




To get into a civil services post, a candidate should have attained the age of 21 years and should not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August, 2016 i.e., a candidate should have been born not before 2nd August 1985 and not later 1st August, 1995.


The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has regulated the age criteria for the candidates who are willing to appear for Civil Services IAS Examination.


Below given are the complete and important conditions for the eligibility of IAS Exam, which candidates can go through and make sure that they meet all the eligibility criteria for UPSC Civil Services Exam.

CategoryAge LimitAttempts
General32 Years6
OBC35 years9
SC / ST37 YearsUnlimited
PH Gen-42 Years OBC-45 Years SC/ST-47 YearsUnlimited
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* conditional Gen-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.


A candidate, in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.

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 (www.upsc.gov.in).


Also Read | Important Guidelines to fill UPSC Online Application Form




The Union Public Commission has released the Civil Services Exam Notification 2017 on February 22, 2017 as scheduled. In their notification it is mentioned that the number of vacancies to be filled on the final result of the civil services examination is likely to be around 980 that includes 27 vacancies reserved for PH, LDCP, and B/LV and HI categories. According to the vacancies as may be fixed by the government, reservations will be made for candidates who belong to Schedule Castes (SC), Schedule Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Physically Disabled Categories.


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 conducts verification of eligibility criteria with the reference to the original documents and only then a candidate qualifies the final round that is the Interview/Personality Test.


Now that the exam process is made transparent to all the IAS aspirants’, all they have to do is to prepare for the IAS Exam. For more information on UPSC Exam, Syllabus and tips on preparation strategies, check http://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/


Stay tuned to byjus.com/free-ias-prep for UPSC Online Notification and news on UPSC Civil Services Exam and more strategy articles on UPSC Syllabus and IAS Exam Preparation.


To know more about Civil Services Prelims and Mains Exam Syllabus, click the below link:

UPSC Prelims

UPSC Mains

UPSC Online

Online Preparation

Civil Services Exam

UPSC Syllabus

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