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Eligibility for IAS Exam

In order to become an IAS officer, candidates will have to meet the following eligibility criteria laid down by the UPSC.

The minimum education qualification for IAS is that a candidate must hold a bachelors degree in any discipline.

The UPSC age limit, which is the age criteria for IAS exam is 32 years. Although, this limit can be exceeded for SC/ST candidates for up to 5 years and up to three years for OBC candidates.

The minimum age requirement to sit in the exam is 21 years.

Candidate must be of Indian nationality.


Syllabus for IAS Exam

Stages of IAS Exam

 StagesExam TypeTotal Marks
IPreliminary ExamObjective Type400
IIMains ExamDescriptive Type1750
IIIInterview RoundPersonality Test275


Stage I: Preliminary Exam 

  • The Preliminary Examination is the first round of the selection process, candidates must clear prelims to qualify for the Mains Exam.
  • It is mandatory for candidates to appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Preliminary) examination.
  • Each exam is of 2 hrs (20 mins extra for a candidate with Locomotor Disability & Cerebral Palsy).
  • Medium of paper is Bilingual (Hindi and English).
PaperNo. of  QuestionsMarksDuration
General Studies Paper I1002002 hrs (Morning session)
General Studies Paper II (CSAT)802002 hrs (Evening Session)
Total1804004 hrs
  • General Studies Paper I

In GS Paper I, each correctly answered question is awarded with 2 marks and for each wrong answer 0.66 marks will be deducted from total. Marks obtained in Paper I will be counted for the merit rank.

S.No.SubjectsTopic-wise Analysis
1.Current EventsCurrent Affairs of national and international importance
2.HistoryAncient History of India

Medieval History of India

Modern History 1857 to 1947

Indian National Movement


(Indian and World Geography)

Physical Geography

Social Geography

Economic Geography

World Geography

4.Indian Polity and GovernanceConstitution

Political System

Panchayati Raj

Public Policy

Rights Issues

5.Economy (Economic and Social Development)Sustainable Development




Social Sector Initiatives

6.Environment and EcologyGeneral issues on Environmental ecology

Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization

7.General ScienceGeneral Principles

Latest Science and Technological Development

  • General Studies Paper II (CSAT)

In GS Paper II also known as Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), each correctly answered question is awarded with 2.5 marks and for each wrong answer 0.833 marks will be deducted from total. Marks obtained in Paper II will not be counted for the merit rank in Prelims but will be considered as a qualifying paper with 33% as qualifying marks.

Reading ComprehensionInterpersonal skills including communication skills
Logical reasoning and analytical abilityDecision making and problem-solving ability
 General mental abilityBasic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level)

Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)

 Stage II: Mains Exam

The Commission releases the list of candidates shortlisted for the Civil Services Mains Exam based on merit and reservation.

Around 12-13 times the total number of vacancies will be shortlisted to take the Mains Exam.

No. of Papers9 papers
Type of QuestionsSubjective
Duration of Exam3 hrs each
Medium of ExamHindi and English (other than the literature of language papers)

 Subjects and Marks Distribution

Marks obtained in Paper-I to Paper-VII are considered for merit and marks obtained in optional papers just need to be qualifying marks.

Paper-A (Qualifying Paper)Indian Language (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution)300
Paper-B (Qualifying Paper)English300
Paper-IEssay writing250
Paper-IIGeneral Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)250
Paper-IIIGeneral Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)250
Paper-IVGeneral Studies-III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)250
Paper-VGeneral Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)250
Paper-VIOptional Subject – Paper 1250
Paper-VIIOptional Subject – Paper 2250
Sub Total   Written Test1750
  • Paper A & B: Indian Language and English

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned. The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows:

  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Precis Writing
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essays

Indian Languages

  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Precis Writing
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essays
  • Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Note: The syllabus for Indian Language and English will be of matriculation or equivalent standard. These papers are of qualifying nature and marks obtained will not be counted for final merit. Aspirants should answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).

  • Paper-I: Essay Writing

Aspirants should write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression. The topic can be on current issues.

The language for the paper is English thus candidates have no option of answering in any other language.

  • Paper-II: General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

Indian HeritageIndian culture

Aspects of Art Forms. Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times

Modern Indian HistoryModern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues

The Freedom Struggle its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country

Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country

World History History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.
Indian SocietySalient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Effects of globalization on Indian society. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
GeographySalient features of world’s physical geography. Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India). Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
  • Paper-III: General Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)



Indian ConstitutionHistorical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
Indian PolitySeparation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries. Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these. Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the polity. Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act. Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Social JusticeGovernment policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
Indian GovernanceImportant aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.  Role of civil services in a democracy.
International RelationsIndia and its neighborhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora. Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
  • Paper-IV: General Studies-III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

Indian Economy Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. Government Budgeting. Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers. Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issue of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing. Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. Land reforms in India. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc. Investment models.
Science and TechnologyScience and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Environment & Bio-diversityConservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Disaster ManagementDisaster and disaster management.
SecurityLinkages between development and spread of extremism. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention. Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
  •  Paper-V: General Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

Topics Details
Ethics and Human InterfaceEssence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
AttitudeContent, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
AptitudeAptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non- partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
Emotional Intelligence Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administrationStatus and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
Probity in Governance Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption. Case Studies on above issues.
  • Paper-VI: Optional Subject – Paper 1

Candidates may choose any optional subject from the list of optional subjects. Aspirants can also choose one Indian language as an optional subject amongst the list.

Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics and Zoology
  • Paper-VII: Optional Subject – Paper 2

Candidates may choose any optional subject from the list of optional subjects. Aspirants can also choose one Indian language as an optional subject amongst the list.


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

Stage 3: Interview Round 

  • Candidates who have qualified in the Civil Services Mains Examination will be called for the final stage of the selection process, i.e., Personality Test (Interview).
  • It will carry a total of 275 marks.
  • The board will test the candidates on various areas starting from his/her career to general interest.
  • The qualities to be judged are intellectual qualities, social traits, 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.
  • Candidates must secure at least 55% in this round.
  • A candidate securing 60% and above will most likely get a service of his choice.
  • Marks obtained by a candidate in IAS Interview will be added in the Main stage. This will form the basis of the final merit list.

Note: There is no specific syllabus for IAS Interview, hence, we advise candidates to work more on their personality. The final merit will be based on marks obtained in the Main Examination and Personality Test.

Notification for IAS Exam

EventDatesSalient Features
IAS Exam NotificationFrom 2nd week of February to Last week of FebruaryThe UPSC issues the Civil Services (IAS) Exam Notification 2020 for 796 vacancies
Start of Online RegistrationDuring mid of FebruaryOnline Form Filling starts at official website of UPSC.

Last date to apply for IAS Exam 20201st week of FebruaryThe IAS online application will be accepted until this date.
Admit Card (Preliminary Examination)Last week of May (5-6 days prior to the IAS Preliminary Exam)Admit card of IAS Preliminary Exam will be available on official website of UPSC.

IAS Prelims Exam 2020Between last week of May and 1st week of JuneIAS Prelims 2020 Exam will be conducted in offline mode across the nation.
Admit Card (Mains Examination)Between 1st and 2nd  week of SeptemberAdmit card of IAS Mains Exam for the IAS Prelims qualified candidates will be available on official website of UPSC.

IAS Main Exam 20202nd to 3rd week of SeptemberThe IAS Mains Exam 2020 will be conducted by UPSC.
IAS Personality Test/Interview3rd week of FebruaryInterview Round of IAS Mains qualified candidates will take place.

Results for IAS Exam

TitleDatesSalient Features
Result of Preliminary Examination1st to 2nd  week of JulyThe result of the IAS Prelims Exam 2020 will be announced by UPSC.
IAS Main exam Result3rd week of DecemberThe result of the IAS Mains Exam 2020 will be announced by UPSC.
IAS final Result4th week of AprilThe Final Result along with merit list will be out.

IAS Exam Dates 2020

Candidates can go through important IAS Exam dates 2020 below:

IAS Exam 2020 Notification12-Feb-2020
Start of Online Registration12-Feb-2020
Last date to apply for IAS Exam 20203-Mar-2020
Admit Card (Preliminary Examination)
IAS Prelims Exam 20204-Oct-2020
Admit Card (Mains Examination)
IAS Mains Exam 20208-Jan-2021
IAS Personality Test/Interview3rd Week of Feb

Candidates can go through important IAS Exam Result dates 2020 below:

Result of Preliminary Examination
IAS Main exam Result
IAS final Result