Do you wish to become an IAS officer? Well, then you have to take the CSE exam. This is a popular exam organized by UPSC every year. The candidates have to clear three different stages- Prelims, Mains and Interview. These all stages are compulsory and candidates need to secure at least cutoff marks to become one.

In this article, you will find all information about UPSC prelims cutoff 2021. Here is complete information about the previous year cutoff. Therefore read the article till the very end.


Name UPSC Civil Service Examination
Level National
Authority Union Public Service Commission
Duration Once in a Year
Application form Online
Mode Offline
Total Vacancies Decided every year
Number of Phases 3 (Prelims, Mains, and Interview)
Official Website

UPSC CSE Prelims Examination

The UPSC CSE has three different phases including Prelims, Mains and Interview. The prelims are the first and foremost important step of your UPSC journey. This section contains two papers: GS paper I and CSAT.

The GS Paper I examines the basic knowledge of candidates in relevant subjects such as history, Indian polity, geography, economics, current affairs, science and technology, etc. Candidates are required to understand the basic concepts of these subjects and stay updated with the recent changes in them.

The next paper is CSAT. This paper is qualifying nature only. Hence the candidates have to secure a minimum of 66.67 marks to clear this one. This paper tries to assess the basic mental ability of the candidates. It has questions of quantitative aptitude, reasoning, English, etc.

Also Read: Strategy for UPSC CSE Preliminary Exam: Steps to Clear Prelims in the First Attempt

Eligibility Criteria

UPSC determines different eligibility criteria for a candidate to complete in order to be eligible to give their UPSC CSE exam. They are nationality, age limit, age relaxation, number of attempts and education qualification.


# To become an IAS officer one must be a citizen of India.

For other civil services are as follows:

# A candidate must be a  citizen of India, or

# A subject of Nepal, or

# A subject of Bhutan, or

# A Tibetan refugee who came over on 1st January 1962.

# A person of Indian origin migrated from East African countries of Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Zaire, Burma, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Zambia and Vietnam.

Age Limit and Upper Age Relaxation

Categories UPSC Exam Age Limit Age Relaxation
General 21-32 years
OBC 21-35 years 3 years
SC/ST 21-37 years 5 years
Defense Service Personnel 21-35 years 3 years
Ex-servicemen 21-37 years 5 years
General PWD 21-35 years 3 years
OBC PWD 21-38 years 3+3 years
SC/ST PWD 21-40 years 5 years+3 years

No. of Attempts

Category Number of Attempts
General/ EWS 6
SC/ST No limit
General PWD 9
SC/ST PWD No limit

Education Qualification

The minimum education qualification required to become an IAS officer is a bachelor’s degree from an affiliated university.

Also Read: UPSC Prelims Exam Time: Have a Look at the Exam Pattern, Time, and Date for UPSC CSE 2021

How does UPSC Decide Cutoff Marks?

UPSC decides the minimum qualifying marks every year on the basis of the marks obtained by the last candidate who has cleared the exam. For instance, suppose there are 100 seats reserved for the SC category, then the marks of the last of the first hundred SC students is determined as the minimum qualifying marks of the candidates of the SC category.

How Much Score is Enough to Clear UPSC Prelims?

Generally, the UPSC decides the minimum qualifying marks for the candidates according to the last candidate’s score. But still, we can speculate the minimum marks that a candidate has to obtain to ensure his success. A candidate must obtain 110-120 marks on average to ensure his success in prelims.

UPSC Prelims 2021 Analysis

Before we speculate the expected cutoff marks of the UPSC prelims 2021, let us examine the exam questions. First of all, according to the candidates, the paper was difficult from last year’s paper. Hence we can conclude that the exam cutoff will be lower than the previous years. Why? We have already illustrated above that the minimum cutoff marks is decided by the scores obtained by the last candidate.

Indian History

The questions of this section were around moderate to difficult. There were around 20 questions from this section.


There were around 13 questions from this section. The candidates who have prepared for this section well found this section moderate.

Indian Polity

The questions were mixed and were around easy to difficult. All 14 questions were influenced by current affairs.


There were around 15 questions in this section. This section was easy to moderate. And candidates who are good with the basic concepts find it pretty easy.

Science and Technology

The questions were tough in this section. This section had 13 questions and was mostly influenced by current affairs.

Also Read: When is the UPSC Prelims 2022? UPSC The Most Prominent Exam of India

Trend Analysis of Question

Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Economics 10 13 18 16 18 14 15 14
Polity 14 13 7 22 13 15 17 20
Environment 18 11 18 15 13 11 10 17
History 20 17 15 14 22 17 20 20
Geography 14 16 7 9 10 14 10 13
Science and Technology 16 8 8 9 10 7 10 12

Also Read: CSAT Qualifying Marks in UPSC: Tips to Qualify General Studies-I (CSAT)

UPSC Prelims 2021 Expected Cut Off

The cutoff of CSAT has already been pre-decided. In the general studies, II (CSAT) candidates have to secure around 66.67 marks i.e. around 33%.

Categories UPSC Prelims Total Marks (General Studies I)
General 95-105
EWS 85-95
OBC 93-103
SC 79-89
ST 78-88
PwBD-1 66-76
PwBD-2 48-58
PwBD- 3 35-45
PwBD- 4 48-58

Also Read: How Many Questions to Attempt in UPSC Prelims? UPSC CSE 2021 Tips For All Aspirants

UPSC CSE Prelims Cutoff: Past Five Year Analysis (2020-2016)

Name of Category 2020 Marks 2019 Marks 2018 Marks 2017 Marks 2016 Marks
General 92.51 98.00 98.30 98.9 98.5
EWS (Economically Weaker Section) 68.71 89.00 91.30 90.00 89.40
OBC (Other Backward Class) 74.84 94.5 92.4 96.5 94.5
SC (Scheduled Caste) 89.12 82.5 81.20 84.5 81.5
ST (Scheduled Tribes) 77.55 76.5 76.5 79.5 75.5
PwBD 1 (Person With Disability) 70.06 51.00 53.25 54.00 53.0
PwBD 2 (Person With Disability) 63.94 49.5 48.5 49.9 50.2
PwBD-3 (Person With Disability) 40.82 40.35 40.00 40.00 43.2
PwBD-4 (Person With Disability) 42.86 marks 61.5 marks 60.00 marks 63.2 marks 59.8 marks

UPSC CSE Prelims Cutoff: Past Five Year Analysis (2015-2011)

Name of Category 2015 Marks 2014 Marks 2013 Marks 2012 Marks 2011 Marks
General 107.34 205 241 209 198
OBC (Other Backward Class) 106 204 222 190 175
SC (Scheduled Caste) 94 182 207 185 165
ST (Scheduled Tribes) 91.34 174 201 181 161
PwBD 1 (Person With Disability) 90.66 167 199 160 135
PwBD 2 (Person With Disability) 76.66 113 184 164 124
PwBD-3 (Person With Disability) 40 115 163 111 96

There was an in-depth analysis of the UPSC CSE prelims examination 2021 and the expected cutoff. If you are confident about your marks, start your preparation for mains right now. For this, you can take the help of our website UPSC Pathshala. This website is the best solution for your UPSC preparation queries. It has helped and is continuing to help several aspirants to achieve their dream and become successful in their life.

Content Protection by
UPSC Prelims Expected Cutoff 2021: Analysis of Past Five Years Cutoff
Article Name
UPSC Prelims Expected Cutoff 2021: Analysis of Past Five Years Cutoff
Do you want to become an IAS officer? Then you have to clear the first phase of UPSC CSE with at least minimum cutoff marks. Find out all about UPSC cutoff details with UPSC Pathshala.
Publisher Name
UPSC Pathshala
Publisher Logo

About the Author

Deeksha Paswan

Deeksha is a content writer at Ufaber EduTech. She writes well-researched, SEO-friendly articles to satisfy the reader's search intent. Until now, she has written over 300+ articles for various websites on different genres. She goes by the motto “flowing like a river, rather than an immobile pond.” She is a headstrong girl who follows her heart. Apart from this, she is a nature lover, bibliophile, dancer, artist and skilled cook. She is set on her journey to unveil the mysteries of life.

View All Articles