“I want to become IAS/IPS.” You might have heard this sentence a lot of times before from your peers, cousins or toppers. Now, you must be wondering what it means exactly? What is the full form of these terms? These terms are related to the civil services in India.

A statutory government body Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) conducts the Civil Services exam every year to select civil servants for various government departments. For example, Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Revenue Services(IRS) and many other All India services.

Why should One Choose Indian Civil Service?

If you are carrying the zeal to serve your country and its people, a career in Public Administration is the perfect option for you. A career in civil services not only assures a prestigious government job but also offers a challenging career with the power to bring efficiency in the country’s administration at the grassroots level.

Being a civil servant certainly brings high status and power to change lives and systems. It is a high paid job with the highest job security. A civil servant’s job allows you to work on various profiles and to take up new challenging tasks every day. If you are competitive enough and bear the fire within you to bring real change, this is the job you should choose.

What is the Eligibility Criteria to appear for the UPSC IAS Civil Services Exam?

This is an all India exam where the eligibility requirements are quite basic. To be eligible for this exam, the candidate must be an Indian national, and he/ she should be graduated or above. Candidates who have appeared their final year of the graduation exam can also appear for the UPSC exam. Let us discuss the age limit and the number of attempts based on the different categories.

Also Read : UPSC Mains Exam Question with Answer: GS Paper 1 Solution for Better Preparation

Category Upper Age Limit No. of Attempts
General 32 6
OBC 35 9
SC/ST 37 No Bar
PH(Blind, orthopaedic) 42 Gen/OBC: 9, SC/ST: No bar

The age is calculated on 1st of August of the year of UPSC Prelims Examination.

UPSC IAS Civil Service Exam Pattern

The pattern of the UPSC civil services exam is also quite basic. It comprises two critical stages. They are Preliminary Exam & Mains exams (written test & interview). Let us understand every stage of the exam in detail.

UPSC Prelims

Preliminary exam is the first stage which is based on multiple-choice questions. The preliminary exam of civil services is of qualifying nature. That means the marks obtained in this step will not be counted in the final result. Here is the exam pattern of the preliminary exam.

Name of the paper No. of questions asked Marks allotted Duration
General Studies Paper I 100 200 2 Hours
General Studies Paper-II 80 200 2 Hours

So, the preliminary exam is worth 400 marks in total. Candidates who clear the cut-offs become eligible to appear for the mains exam. Let us understand both the papers in detail.

General Studies Paper I

The General Studies question paper covers a bunch of topics based on the current affairs of national and international importance to various static data based subjects such as history, polity, Indian and World Geography, general science and ecology, economic and social development, etc.

General Studies Paper-II (Civil Services Aptitude Test – CSAT)

The primary motive of the CSAT paper is to test a candidate’s logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision-making and problem-solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, etc. This paper is of qualifying nature where candidates should attain at least 33% of marks to make the prelims.

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern

Name of the paper   Marks allotted Duration
Paper A (Indian language) Candidates can take any Modern Indian language but this paper is of qualifying nature. 300 3 Hours
Paper B (English Language) This paper is of qualifying nature 300 3 Hours
Paper I (Essay) This is an Essay paper where the candidate can write in the medium or language of their own choice. 250 3 Hours
Paper-II (General Studies I) Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society 250 3 Hours
Paper III (General Studies II) Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations 250 3 Hours

So, the subtotal of the written exam goes to 1,750 marks. The candidates who successfully clear the Main’s cutoff can appear in the final stage of the exam. i.e. Personal Interview.

IAS Personal Interview

Candidates who clear the Written Examination (Written) are called for the final stage of selection. i.e. Personal Interview. The personal Interview is worth 275 Marks which tests a candidate’s communication skills, decision-making ability, and quick thinking. With the Personal Interview, the main examination (written and interview) is worth 2025 marks overall. It is important to get good interview marks in UPSC to crack it finally.


The number of vacancies varies every year. UPSC discloses the available no. of vacancies for the current year. If we consider the comprehensiveness of the syllabus, the exam appears to be quite tough to crack. But, it becomes tougher, the moment we consider the competition for a limited number of posts. The most prime element that will help you to sail through is the fire and the passion within you. So, take the first step and start your journey!!

Also Read : Video Revolution in UPSC Civil Services Exam: Watch and Learn!

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UPSC Civil Service Exam: Everything to Know about the Indian Civil Service Exam
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UPSC Civil Service Exam: Everything to Know about the Indian Civil Service Exam
Want to appear on the UPSC exam? Don’t know what’s the exact pattern of the IAS exam? Click here and get to know all that important for the civil service exam.
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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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