Every year approximately eight to eleven lakhs students appear in the civil services exam. Do you know how many candidates can become an IAS officer or even able to clear the exam? Read this article till the end to know statistics related to the UPSC exam.

UPSC Prelims Statistics

Here are the number of students who appeared in Prelims in past years.

Year Number of candidates every year 
2019 4,93,972 lakhs
2018 500484
2017 462848
2016 459659
2015 465882

In 2020 many students decided to skip the exam due to the current pandemic. In Lucknow, more than 50% of students didn’t appear for the exam. Many candidates couldn’t appear for the exam due to a lack of transportation.

Also Read: Will UPSC Give an Extra Attempt in 2021? UPSC Latest News  

UPSC Officers vacancies

Vacancy for IAS officers is fixed but for other sectors, it keeps changing up or down every year. Here are the vacancies for previous years

Service 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Indian Administrative Service 180 180 180 180 180
Indian Foreign Service 42 45 45 32 32
Indian Police Service 150 150 150 150 150
Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’ 29 29 22 16 25
Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’ 25 28 28 25 25
Indian Customs & Central Excise Service, Group ‘A’ 41 104 230 200 230
Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’ 15 15 15 13 19
Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’ 180 200 180 180 180
Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’ 27 23 27 32 28
Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’ 19 9 4 28 7
Indian Corporate Law Service, Group “A” 10 30 20 6 8
Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade) 67 218 53 240 74


From the above vacancies and the number of candidates appearing for Mains every year we see that the probability of cracking the exam is almost 0.2 per cent. But that’s okay. Don’t get demotivated by the odds. If you really want to achieve your dreams then just give your 100 per cent. There is a huge difference between the number of candidates applying and the number of candidates appearing in Prelims.

Here are some statistics on the number of candidates passing the prelims in past years.

Year Number of Candidates Appearing in Mains 
2019 11845
2018 10419
2017 13300
2016 15382
2015 15008

Also Read: Can IAS Officers Go Abroad for Holiday? UPSC IAS Officer Holiday Rules


In 2020 UPSC announced a total of 796 vacancies for UPSC officers. Vacancy depends upon the requirements of several ministries. For IAS officers most of the time seats available are 180. Many candidates missed the UPSC exam this year due to Covid. In Lucknow, more than 50% of students missed the exam.

The probability of one candidate becoming an officer is 0.2 % per cent. But that shouldn’t stop you from achieving your dreams.  All you need is proper guidance and a smart way of organizing your studies.

How Many IAS Officers are Selected Every Year? Important Stats Related to UPSC IAS Exam
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How Many IAS Officers are Selected Every Year? Important Stats Related to UPSC IAS Exam
Do you know how many IAS officers are selected every year? Or Total Number of candidates appear for prelims and Mains? Click here to get all the information regarding it.
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UPSC Pathshala
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