Every year many students apply for UPSC preliminary exams. They prepare for the exams day and night for a year to score the marks for the required cut-off. The cut-off fluctuates every year, so the candidates would be considered the highest cut-off possible. It is said to be tough every year, and UPSC exams are one of India’s toughest exams.

People prepare a lot, and the percentage of people who can crack the exams is just 0.2%. It is difficult but not impossible to crack UPSC. With systematic and devoted preparation for 12 months, you have a good shot at cracking it. The information provided here will help you to know how the competition is and what is the situation due to the recent pandemic.

How many Candidates Applied for UPSC 2019?

The numbers we will display aren’t meant to scare you but to show how many people appear for UPSC exams every year. So, if you are not serious about the UPSC exams, then this is the time, and these figures might make you get serious as the competition is tough.

Number of Applicants for UPSC 2019

# Number of Applicants who Applied for UPSC – Approximately 8 Lakhs

# Number of Applicants qualified for Mains – 11,845

# Number of Applicants appeared for Personality Test interview – 2043

# Final Number of Applicants selected for posts – 829

Such statistics make the people believe that cracking UPSC is not their cup of tea, and they back out. Most of the time, only 50% of the candidates appear for the preliminary exams, as some do it to keep their number of attempts to the lowest possible. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t crack UPSC. With the proper guidance and disciplined preparation, you can crack the exam easily.

A total of 829 candidates got qualified for civil services in 2019. The candidates will be recommended to Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Foreign Services (IFS), Indian Police Services (IPS), and to various other civil services.

 Also Read- Are SEBC and OBC the Same For UPSC? Contrast to Know between SEBC and OBC For UPSC 

Know in Depth

According to the UPSC, out of 829 candidates, 36.7% were from General Category, 28.1% were from Other Backward Classes (OBC), 15.6% were from Scheduled Castes (SC), 9.4% were from Economically Weaker Section (EWS), and 8% were from Scheduled Tribes (ST).

829 candidates were selected against 927 available vacancies. The following number of candidates were selected against the vacancies for each caste category:

#General: Vacancies – 397; Candidates Recommended -304

#OBC: Vacancies – 251; Candidates Recommended – 251

#EWS: Vacancies – 83; Candidates Recommended – 78

#SC: Vacancies – 129; Candidates Recommended – 129

#ST: Vacancies – 67; Candidates Recommended – 67

#Total Vacancies – 927; Total Candidates Recommended – 829

IAS Cut Off

IAS cut-off is a matter of grave concern for every aspirant, as the cut-off isn’t revealed to the aspirants until the whole process of the Civil Service Examination is over. So, the aspirants have to rely on the cut-off prediction of the experts. The IAS cut off is influenced by three major factors:

#1. Number of Civil Service Vacancies

#2. The difficulty level of question papers

#3. Number of UPSC applicants appearing for the examination

The IAS cut-off and the number of vacancies are related to each other — when the number of vacancies is higher, the exam cut-off gets lower. But in some cases, the higher number of vacancies attracts a higher number of applications, which in the end increases the final cut-off. But it isn’t of much concern as the number of applicants for the UPSC examination doesn’t vary much every year, so the IAS cut-off doesn’t fluctuate much. The cut-off for the 2019 Civil Services Preliminary Examinations was 98 for the General category, 95.34 for OBC, 90 for EWS, 82 for SC, and 77.34 for ST.

How many Candidates Applied for UPSC 2020?

The year 2020 was a tough one for everybody, from private businessmen to government servants: the Coronavirus pandemic afflicted the entire world. The pandemic was a major hurdle for many UPSC aspirants. Every year only half of the number of applicants for UPSC  appear in the preliminary examination out of all those who have applied. An estimated 10,58,000 candidates were registered to appear for the preliminary examinations, but over 50% of the candidates didn’t appear for the exams.

In 2020, the main cause for not appearing in the examination was the pandemic. The pandemic had distressed the lives of many. Many UPSC aspirants were not able to appear for the examinations, due to lack of preparation and the fear of COVID-19. They opted out of the examination instead of wasting their attempts. The Civil Service Examination was held in 2,569 centres across 72 cities, and every state saw at least a 50% decline in the number of UPSC applicants appearing for the examination.

Also Read: Can an Individual with Anxiety Disorders Apply for Civil Services? What is the Eligibility Criteria for UPSC?

The Result Pattern of the UPSC Exam

Every year the results of the Civil Service Examinations are declared about 40 days after the examination. But the results were unexpectedly declared within 19 days from the date of examinations in 2020. The preliminary exams were conducted on 04 October 2020, and the results were out on 23 October 2020. Amongst all the aspirants who applied, 10,564 applicants were qualified for the Mains examination against 796 vacancies.

The students who appeared for the UPSC were notified that the marks, the cut off marks, and the answer keys for the screening test of CSE, 2020 will be uploaded on the UPSC’s website portal, which is, https://upsc.gov.in, only after the whole process of the civil services examination was over, that is, not until the declaration of final results. And it might take some time as due to the second wave of COVID-19, the interview of the 2020 Civil Service candidates which were supposed to be held from 26 April 2021 to 18 June 2021 has been postponed until further notice.


The numbers would have given you the idea of how competitive the Civil Service Examination is. If you don’t start preparing soon, you might not be among the 0.2% who can crack the exams. Keep an eye on the website for the dates of UPSC exams 2021. Since the COVID situation is worse than ever, there are chances of the exams getting postponed. Until then, to keep yourself prepared by learning from home from the best, you can join UPSC Pathshala. Contact us to know more.

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How any Candidates Applied for UPSC 2020 & 2019? How Many were Qualified?
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How any Candidates Applied for UPSC 2020 & 2019? How Many were Qualified?
The UPSC civil service examination is one of the toughest exams in the country, but still, you will be surprised to see how many students apply for the UPSC examination EVERY YEAR. Click here to know more about it.
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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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