The IAS exam (officially known as the Civil Services Examination) is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) annually. Those who clear all the three stages of the IAS exam enter into the prestigious civil services of the country, and become officers in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and a host of other services. Although regarded as one of the toughest exams in the country, with the right approach and strategy, an aspirant can crack the IAS examination in the very first attempt. It is essential for aspirants to know and understand the requirements of the IAS exam 2019 such as the UPSC syllabus for IAS Exam (Prelims and Mains), pattern, eligibility criteria, application procedure and other such significant details before kick-starting the preparations. Here, we present all the relevant details an aspirant needs to know if he/she wants to crack the UPSC IAS exam.
IAS Exam Date
|IAS Exam Conducting Body||UPSC|
|Mode of IAS exam||Offline|
|Number of times conducted||Once every year|
|Prescribed age limit||21 ‐ 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)|
|IAS Exam ‐ Prelims 2019||2nd June 2019|
|IAS Exam ‐ Mains 2019||Starts 20th September 2019 (exams for five days)|
|IAS Exam Pattern||Prelims (MCQs), Mains (Descriptive papers)|
The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is one of the 20-odd services for which candidates are recruited by the UPSC via the Civil Services Exam. However, the CSE exam is commonly referred to as the UPSC IAS exam as well.
IAS Exam Pattern
The IAS Exam pattern is:
- Stage I: Preliminary Examination (IAS Prelims)
- Stage II: Mains Examination (IAS Mains)
- Stage III: UPSC Personality Test (IAS Interview)
Updated IAS Exam Syllabus PDF:
Stage I: IAS Exam ‐ UPSC Prelims
|Sl. No.||Name of the Paper||Nature of the Paper||Duration of the Exam||Questions||Marks|
|1||IAS Exam Paper ‐ I: General Studies||Merit Ranking Nature||2 Hours||100||200 Marks|
|2||IAS Exam Paper ‐ II: General Studies (CSAT)||Qualifying Nature||2 Hours||80||200 Marks|
- The questions in the IAS Exam (Prelims) are of the objective type or Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
- There is 'Negative Marking' in the IAS Exam for each incorrect answer but only in the Prelims stage. The negative marking for incorrect answers will be 1/3rd (0.66) of the allotted marks of that question.
- The GS Paper II (CSAT) in IAS exam is of qualifying nature and candidates should score a minimum of 33 per cent in this paper to qualify to the next stage of the IAS exam i.e. the Mains.
- Blind candidates are given an extra time of 20 minutes for each paper in the IAS Exam (Prelims).
- It is mandatory for the candidates to appear in both the papers of civil services prelims exam for the evaluation.
- The marks scored by the candidates in the preliminary examination are not counted for the final score. It is only a screening test where candidates not securing the cut-off marks are eliminated.
Stage II: IAS Exam ‐ UPSC Mains
The second stage of the IAS Exam is called the Mains Exam, which is a written descriptive examination and comprises 9 papers. The 9 papers in IAS Exam (Mains) are as follows: Paper-A (Compulsory Indian Language); Paper ‐ B (English) which are qualifying in nature, while the other papers like Essay, General Studies Papers I, II, III, and IV, and Optional Papers I and II are considered for the final ranking.
|Sl. No.||IAS Exam Paper||Name of the Paper||Nature of the Paper||Duration of the Exam||Marks|
|1||Paper ‐ A||Compulsory Indian Language||QUALIFYING NATURE||3 Hours||300 Marks|
|2||Paper ‐ B||English||3 Hours||300 Marks|
|3||Paper ‐ I||ESSAY||MERIT RANKING NATURE||3 Hours||250 Marks|
|4||Paper ‐ II||General Studies I||3 Hours||250 Marks|
|5||Paper ‐ III||General Studies II||3 Hours||250 Marks|
|6||Paper ‐ IV||General Studies III||3 Hours||250 Marks|
|7||Paper ‐ V||General Studies IV||3 Hours||250 Marks|
|8||Paper ‐ VI||Optional Paper I||3 Hours||250 Marks|
|9||Paper ‐ VII||Optional Paper II||3 Hours||250 Marks|
|Interview or Personality Test||275 Marks|
|GRAND TOTAL||2025 Marks|
- The candidates can select their medium of writing the UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains Exam as Hindi or English or any other language listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
- The Indian Languages included in the IAS exam are as per languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
- The candidates who score above the prescribed cut-off marks in the IAS exam (Mains) will get the summons for the Personality Test (last stage of the IAS exam).
- The final ranking of the candidates is on the basis of the marks obtained by them in the Main Examination and Personality Test/Interview Round of the IAS exam.
Stage III: IAS Exam ‐ UPSC Interview/Personality Test
Candidates who clear the Mains stage of the IAS exam with the required cut-off marks qualify for the final stage of the IAS exam i.e., the Personality Test or Interview round with the UPSC Board Members. The candidates who qualify to the final stage will be sent an e-summon by the Commission for a face-to-face discussion round with the board members. In this round, the board assesses the personality traits of the candidates and questions will be asked on their hobbies, current affairs, general knowledge, situation questions, etc. to evaluate if they are fit for a career in the civil services or not. The UPSC personality test will be held only in the UPSC Bhavan in New Delhi.
IAS Exam Age Limit and Attempts
There are conditions of nationality, age, number of attempts and educational qualification if candidates wish to take the IAS exam. For the general category aspirants, the candidate must be a citizen of India or a PIO, must have a graduate degree, must be between the ages of 21 and 32, and must not have attempted the IAS exam 6 times. But there are certain relaxations and other conditions to the above.
For details on the IAS Eligibility, please check the below link:
IAS Exam Preparation
Read on for IAS exam preparation strategy:
- Ideally, start your preparation for the IAS exam at least 10-12 months before the Prelims. So, it's the right time to kickstart preparation for IAS Exam 2020. For IAS Exam 2019, focus on revision as much as possible.
- Analysing the trend, more current affairs based questions are being asked in both, Prelims and Mains stage of the IAS exam. Select only credible sources like PIB, The Hindu, Yojana etc. and align the current events as per the IAS exam syllabus. For the IAS exam, current affairs usually comprise events of national and international importance in the last 10-12 months.
- Go through the previous years' IAS exam questions to gauge the amount of preparation needed from your end.
- Read the NCERT books and make notes. You will have to make at least two sets of notes i.e. short notes for Prelims and descriptive notes for UPSC Mains.
- The preparation for Prelims and Mains must be done simultaneously until 1-2 months before the date of the Prelims exam. Identify the syllabus overlap between Prelims and Mains and focus on those areas first.
- Select an Optional subject for the IAS exam based on your aptitude, interest and experience. Few optional subjects have a significant overlap with the General Studies syllabus in Mains, however, their syllabi are rather vast so do your due diligence before finalising one.
- Go through the standard books for each subject. Find the IAS exam book list, Current Affairs notes, NCERT notes and other information in the links below.
- Do not take lightly the CSAT paper in Prelims and Ethics paper in Mains. Similarly, the two qualifying language papers in Mains are also important as failing to score at least 25% in them will automatically eliminate you from the IAS exam process notwithstanding your stellar performance in all the other papers.
- Take out time for MCQ solving practice for Prelims and answer writing practice for Mains.
- Revise multiple times, update your notes, and revise some more.