Every year there are lakhs of aspirants who are keen to become IAS through UPSC. The UPSC conducts the exam for all the aspirants who aspire for the posts of IPS, IAS and IFS. But, even if there are lakhs of aspirants, the posts are only in thousands. The questions that many aspirants have is: What is the cutoff rank? What is the cutoff rank for the general category in UPSC? What will be the minimum rank for IAS through UPSC?

Well, let’s clear those doubts here. UPSC allocates the Civil Service Rank List of the aspirants per year. This article will provide you with last year cutoffs and we will discuss, what are the variations of cut-offs seen last year. Let us make your doubts clear, so read the whole article.

Also Read: UPSC Result 2020 Topper List: Check Out the Top 10 UPSC Ranks Marks and Biography

Cut-off Ranks of 3 Years for General Category Aspirants

The list of last ranks have provided below, for all the posts for the general category


Services  Last Rank 
IAS 92
IFS 134
IPS 236
IRS (IT) 239
IRS (C&CE) 265


Services  Last Rank 
IAS 105
IFS 152
IPS 245
IRS (IT) 329
IRS (C&CE) 379


Services  Last Rank 
IAS 95
IFS 208
IPS 267
IRS (IT) 379
IRS (C&CE) 447

2019 Cut-off Marks

Exam  Minimum Qualifying Marks 
CS(Prelim) 98.00
CS(Main) 751
CS(Final) 961


As we are seeing the curve, the rank is decreasing, that is, the rank is lowering itself from last year. That means the competition is increasing and boosting every year, as the number of candidates per year is increasing. In 2019 there were 927 vacancies and 829 candidates were recommended. In 2018, there were 782 officers recommended which were the lowest of all the years. While in 2017, there were 980 posts filled. We can see the curve decreasing from 2014 to 2018, then it increased in 2019. In 2020, there was again a decrease and it was 796 and it is expected that 2021 will have fewer posts that are around 712.

Also Read: Why are UPSC Vacancies Decreasing? Decoding the Reasons for the Shortage of UPSC Vacancies

Qualifying Rank for General Category in UPSC

As we have seen last year’s ranks, let’s make a reference from it and have a rough idea, as to what will be the qualifying rank needed in 2021.

IAS prelims expected cutoff for the general category which is out of 200 will be 5 greater than or less than 105 and the rank will be around 90 for the general category.

How to Score a Rank in UPSC?

Here are some tips for helping you score your desired rank in UPSC

Here are some factors that can affect your rank

#The complication degree of the question paper

#Total sum of openings in the IAS exam

#Total number of aspirants sat for the examination.

Strategic Revision

Many aspirants make this mistake, at the last minute reading new topics and other remaining topics. This should stop, tell your brain a no and focus on revision and revision doesn’t mean, reading the whole book once again, will not help. While you start preparing, prepare your revision notes as well. This will help you look at the syllabus at a micro size and will help you with the quick recovery of the information.

Revision should be done strategically, the revision helps you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and will help you gain confidence. Always, break things into small packets and this helps in remembering information longer. The topics and subjects should also be divided when you revise.

Pre-Exam Mindset

Your mind is a powerful tool. So, keeping it clear and positive is important. Your mind can either cultivate you or demolish you. Keep your mind positive and healthy. You should be stress-free and avoid all negative thoughts or things.

Connect with your friends who are attempting UPSC with you and do group revisions. This will help you clear your mind and if you are not able to answer in group revision, it is not a problem, it should not bring your confidence down. Before the day of examination, keep yourself as far from books as possible.

During-Exam Strategy

The aspirant might have the same preparation pattern but may end up getting different ranks. This happens when aspirants are either nervous, have examination anxiety, etc. One should always remember that miracles will not happen on examination day nor will they have a memory loss and lose everything they study. So, be calm and go to the examination hall, with a smile and also come out like that.


While solving the question paper, use notations.

For instance, put a cross where you think that this question is a little hard and should be left out, draw a circle, where you think the question has to be reviewed at the end. Put a dot before the question, if you think you are missing out on some information and so on. This will help in time management and also help in quick reviewing of your work.

Attention to Details

Many aspirants have problems, where the question is presented in a confusing and difficult manner. One should read the question carefully, word by word and this will help in understanding the question correctly, because afterwards when you realise that it was a simple question to crack, but confusingly presented, it might affect your mood.

Number of Rounds to Solve the Paper

While preparing the aspirants will get an idea of how many rounds they will finish the examination and so that is fed in their mind, to which questions are to be divided and how. For example: if there is a question from history, is asked in the exam, and is covered by the aspirant, but the question is confusingly presented. Such a question should be marked for later. The aspirant should know, in how many rounds when he/she reads the question, they will get the answer.

Well, answering the easier question, helps boost confidence and the candidate develops an interest to proceed. There may be difficult questions and there will be a situation where you have to attempt them, due to a shortage of overall attempts, so here the candidate should be ready, to attempt and don’t ever depend on luck, have guesswork done, based on your knowledge.


There will be no stress, you will be all positive before the exam day, but when the B-day comes, then you start getting the exam jitters. To control that, everyday after your preparation, sit down for five minutes and imagine yourself sitting in an examination hall and you are writing the exam. This will help you get out of the on exam jitters.

Motivation and Confidence

Well, the most important aspect of any examination is motivation and confidence, which everyone should have to face their exam ahead. The UPSC exam is a challenging experience and sometimes, one needs to have a ton of motivation and confidence in themselves to keep moving.

Going through previous topper’s journeys and their strategies will help you to gain some motivation and you can pick up some tips from them to apply while you are preparing. The syllabus is vast and it can be hard to complete it, but your confidence should not be bet off. There are deserving aspirants who get their desired rank, so keep working hard.

Also Read: UPSC CSE Cut-off for Prelims and Mains 2019: UPSC Previous Year Cut-off

Expected UPSC Civil Services Cut-offs 2021

Category  Prelims  Mains  Final 
General 95 – 110 665 – 679 850 – 889
OBC 90 – 100 602 – 631 810 – 845
SC 85 – 95 615 – 633 815 – 835
ST 80 – 90 610 – 620 800 – 815
PH-1 75 – 90 550 – 615 800 – 820
PH-2 50 – 65 550 – 630 780 – 835
PH-3 40 – 50 450 – 515 690 – 726

Also Read: UPSC Mains 2020-21 Cut Off: Unwinding the CSE 2020-21 Cut Off and Result Name List


The trends in the ranks, depend, based on the circumstances and the decisions taken by the UPSC. Though the ranks and cutoffs are sometimes unpredictable, the aspirants should not focus more on that. Focusing on your preparation and concentration on your goal is important. The result is the latter situation, in which one can turn predictable with their determination and hard work towards their goals.

UPSC Pathshala, has always encouraged students to give their best and become their best. If you are stuck anywhere then and are not able to figure out your preparation strategy for UPSC, then UPSC Pathshala will help you with it. Just drop your queries in the comments section below.

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

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What is the Minimum Rank for General Category Aspirants to Become IAS Through UPSC
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What is the Minimum Rank for General Category Aspirants to Become IAS Through UPSC
Upto which rank can a general category aspirant get into IAS through UPSC? Know the cutoff for general category aspirants and which rank is needed to become an IAS officer through UPSC. Click here.
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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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