Everything about IAS Exam prelims and mains (UPSC) – Preparation Strategy, Syllabus, Eligibility, Optional Subjects, Previous Paper, Books, Schedule, cut off, Resources.

Every year Union Public Service Commission conducts Civil Services Exams across India. There are around 8 to 9 lakhs forms received by UPSC from aspirants of IAS Exam. Out of which on an average 60% appears in PT. This article will help you to understand all about the IAS exam.

In IAS exam after pre-exam, 10 times of total vacancy is called for mains written test and 3 times of total vacancy is called for interview.

Eligibility for applying the IAS Exam prelims and mains or Civil service Exam:

To apply for this examination, you should must eligible under certain criteria, as we know that eligibility is an entry point in any examination.

  • The candidate must be a citizen of India.
  • The candidate should have a degree from Central, State or Deemed University. Degree from Correspondence Education or distance education, the open university is also accepted.
  • The candidate age must be 21 years old and not must be greater than 32 years old. For Open category is restricted to 32 years, for OBC category is restricted to 35 years and for SC/ST it is restricted to 37 years old.

number of attempts is limited, for the Open category it is limited to 6 attempts, for OBC category it is limited to 9 attempts and for SC/ST candidate there is no limitation (Any number of attempts)

Selection Process

There are three stages of IAS Exam prelims and mains the selection process –

1.   Preliminary Test

2.   Mains Written Exam

3.   Interview

A number of vacancies are notified by UPSC which remains around 700-1000 for civil services. But only the top 70-100 candidates are allotted Indian Administrative Service.

 Indian Police Service is a second most opted choice among services, third is Indian Foreign Service, fourth is Indian Revenue Services and then other civil services follow.

Preliminary Test

The preliminary test is conducted in the month of August for which form and notification released by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), New Delhi in the month of February.

The preliminary test exam has Two papers. First paper 100 questions related to General Studies Paper- I, and second paper 80 questions related to General Studies Paper II, and time for both papers be finished in two hours.

General Studies Paper-II is only qualifying naturcher with a 33% cut off score but the merit list is created solely based on a score of GS Paper I.

Syllabus for IAS Exam

General Studies Paper – I  

 Total Marks- 200

Duration of Exam – 2 h

The timing of Exam – First Half (9 am – 11 am)

  • Paper, I am having Social Studies, Indian Economy, General Science, Current Affairs, Environment, etc. this syllabus provided by UPSC for this paper.
  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization General Science.
Syllabus for Paper-II – (200 marks)

Paper-II has Comprehension and Aptitude. Its duration is also of two hours, scheduled in the second half of the day. Syllabus provided by UPSC: –

  • Comprehension
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization General Science.
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)
Cut off marks for Selection in Civil Services Preliminary Exam Exam

Paper I – Generally cut off preliminary exam marks for selection in PT remain between 50 to 65 percent. But we suggest you aim at scoring up to 65 percent for the mains exam.

Paper-II – It is a qualifying paper candidate need to score a minimum of 33% marks in this paper to qualify.

UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam

After qualifying the Preliminary Examination candidates are allowed to go for mains exam which consists of two parts –

  •  The written exam of nine papers
  • Inter Interview

It consists of nine paper and followed by a personality test (Total marks is 1750)

Paper AOne of the Indian languages should be selected300
Paper BEnglish300
Paper IEssay writing250
Paper-IIIndian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World250
Paper IIIGovernance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations250
Paper IVTechnology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment250
Paper VEthics, Integrity, and Aptitude250
Paper VI, VIIOne subject is selected from the prescribed optional subjects500(250×2)

Some of the Indian languages that will be useful while selecting are Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, Telugu, Urdu, etc.

A candidate is allowed to take up literature as an optional subject “without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that language’s literature.

The optional subjects are Geography, Agriculture, Chemistry, Economics, Law, Psychology, etc.

Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks

Marks of English and Hindi Language will not be counted so total marks for the Written exam will be 1750 Marks Only

Interview and Personality Test – 275 marks

The Candidate can give preference to the language in which they may like to be interviewed. UPSC will make arrangements for the translators.

Grand Total = written exam 1750 + interview 275 = 2025 Marks

The candidate is allowed to use anyone language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the exam.

 More information visit the official website – click here


Hi, This is Ram Pal Singh. I am a Profocinal Blogger and content writer, and Now I am working in the Government Sector in Uttar Pradesh.

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