It is worth starting to prepare for UPSC exams at any age. Age is not a very big criteria, unless and until someone has crossed the upper age bar or has exceeded the limit of the number of attempts.

People always have chances to clear the UPSC examination provided they can put in some serious efforts in the preparation phase since the exam process is going to be much hectic.

Even though there has been no evidence of UPSC’s preference of candidates with low age bars it is suggested to start the preparation at the earliest for great results ahead.

Age Requirements to Appear for the UPSC IAS Examination

The claiming age relaxation bar, meaning as provided by UPSC to appear for the examination is at 21 years. This thereby intends to say that the candidate appearing for the examination must be at least 21 years as of 1st August on the year of appearing in the examination. A vague example would be, to appear for the 2021 UPSC prelims, the candidate should be born on or before 1st August 2000.

Also Read: How Can We Keep the Momentum to Study for IAS? A Few Things to Keep in Mind.

Upper Age Bar for Appearing in the UPSC

Although, most aspirants begin preparing for this examination for a very long time. It is seen that candidates who are to appear for it, start preparing for this exam in their mid-20’s. All the time, multiple endeavours are required for aspirants to get to the top rank.

The upper age bar is also based on the age calculated from the 1st of August. This intends to say that any candidates trying for the UPSC in 2021 should be below the upper age limit on the 1st of August. The upper age bars for different categories and quotas are mentioned below:

The UPSC Upper Age Bars for Different Categories

  1. For the General category candidates, the upper age limit is 32 years.
  2. For the OBC (Other Backward Classes) category the upper age bar is 35 years. This is only for the non-creamy layer (the applicant’s parents’ or guardians’ annual income is less than Rs. 8 lakhs).
  3. The upper age limit for SC/ST (Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes) is 37 years.
  4. For any Defense Service Personnel cast out in the war in hostile zones with any country (foreign or domestic) and thereby released with honour is 35 years.
  5. For Ex-Servicemen which includes Commissioned Officers and ECOs/ SSCOs (Emergency Commissioned Officers or Short Service Commissioned Officers) and have given 5 years to the service of the nation have an age limit of 37 years.
  6. For orthopedically handicapped individuals (blind, deaf, mute) the upper age bar is 42 years. They also have an additional 20 minutes to complete the paper.

Things to Know about the UPSC Upper Age Bar

Aside from the above-mentioned age criteria, the OBCs, SCs and the STs stand to gain from cumulative age relaxation, that is for example if a person from the OBC category is also an Ex-Serviceman, then he/ she will get a total age relaxation of 3 years + 5 years. Total relaxation of 8 years, now his/ her upper age limit stand at 40 years.

There are various general category candidates who are most of the time afraid that lowering the upper age might pragmatically vacant them of the numerous sections of government jobs.

Besides, any such reduction in the age limit might just stair to influence reserved category aspirants as well, despite the fact that their upper age limit is much higher.

Also Read: How Does a UPSC Aspirant Manage their Studies During any Wedding Ceremony or Functions at Home?

Total Number of Attempts for UPSC

For any general category candidate, the upper age limit is 32 years, but that does not mean that he/ she can sit for the UPSC as many times as they want. There is a limited attempt factor for candidates to not adulterate the quality of the examination.

The restrictions on the number of attempts for different categories are mentioned below:

  1. For the General category, a candidate has the utmost 6 attempts till 32 years of age.
  2. For the OBC, the maximum permitted number of attempts is 9 attempts till 35 years of age. This applies only to the non-creamy layer of the OBC category.
  3. For the SC/ ST, they have the benefit of unlimited attempts till the upper age limit of 37 years.
  4. For Orthopaedically, Physically handicapped / Disabled candidates belonging to the General category, the candidate gets a maximum of 9 attempts till the age of 42 years.

The Process of Calculation of Attempts for the UPSC

There is a certain exception on how the number of attempts for UPSC is counted. If someone has filled up the UPSC examination form and has attempted the prelims, then that person’s attempt will be counted. However, if any candidate has filled up the UPSC application form, but has not appeared for the preliminary exam then that individual’s attempt is not counted.

Also Read: What are the Duties and Responsibilities of an IAS Officer? Here’re the Functions and Duties of an IAS

Claiming Age Relaxation? Yes or No?

UPSC made an amendment claiming to the age relaxation rules code last in 2014.

Will NITI Ayog’s Proposal Reduce UPSC Age Limit?

The policy think tank of India, NITI Ayog aims at bringing institutional reforms in the development goals for the country. Recently, there has been an issue raised against the reduction of the maximum age limit for UPSC examination.

All the policies and plans set by the government cannot be implemented because of diplomatic pressure. Civil Service reform is evidently a very difficult amendment to be made by any form of government responsible.

Practically, not every policy and plan is seen to be put into practice, and there are times when the recommendations are witnessed to basically remain on the file shelf on their own from day one.

There are numerous commissions allocated by the government sometime before, recommending similar reforms. However, they were not allegedly implemented.


UPSC Pathshala provides you with great training and a plethora of test materials to let you prepare for UPSC diligently. You can even try the product out with a free demo class that they offer. Practice hard, study tough. All the best!

What is the Claiming Age Relaxation in UPSC? Find the Answers You have been Looking For
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What is the Claiming Age Relaxation in UPSC? Find the Answers You have been Looking For
Do you know about the minimum and maximum age limit for the UPSC examination? If you don’t, then this article is most likely the best read for you. Click here to check it out.
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