What is IAS Exam?

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Services exam to recruit candidates for the three All India Services and Central Civil Services for various departments of the Government of India. The Civil Services Exam is commonly called as the IAS Exam. IAS notification 2020 will start the IAS exam process officially. IAS 2020 Notification will outline the vacancies, timeline of the exam, official IAS syllabus, number of attempts and the likes.
                          See here details related to the UPSC Notification 2020
UPSC Notification 2020 has been released by UPSC as per the UPSC calendar for 2020. UPSC has notified 796 vacancies which are very less as compared to the previous year even when the services related to Indian Railways are also notified in the UPSC notification 2020
The IAS exam is conducted to recruit the top functionaries who chair the top positions in all the government departments. The topper of the IAS exam has the opportunity to become the Cabinet Secretary to the Government of India. It is the highest bureaucratic position one person can have in India. UPSC conducts the IAS Exam for the following services.
All India Services
  • Indian Administrative Services(IAS)
  • Indian Police Servies(IPS) 
  • Indian Forest Services(IFoS) [ Prelims Only]
Central Civil Services
  • Indian Foreign Services(IFS)
  • Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration).
  • Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group 'A'.
  • Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Trade Service, Group 'A'.
  • Indian Corporate Law Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade).
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group 'B'.
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group 'B'.
  • Pondicherry Civil Service, Group 'B'.
  • Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’.
IAS Exam Highlights

IAS Eligibility

Eligibility for IAS is one of the first questions which crops up in the mind of an IAS aspirant. The nationality, the number of attempts, age limit and the educational qualifications are some of the basic eligibility criteria for IAS exam. All candidates who wish to appear in IAS exam 2020 need to ensure that they meet all the eligibility criteria as mentioned below.


For Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), a candidate must be a citizen of India. For all other services, a candidate can either be a citizen of India or
  • A subject of Nepal/ Bhutan
  • A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India
  • A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India
Note: Candidates who are subjects of Nepal/ Bhutan or Tibetan refugees are not eligible to apply for Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

Age Limit for IAS Exam 2020

Candidates must be minimum 21 years and maximum 32 years of age as on August 1, 2020. This means that candidates must have born not earlier than August 2, 1988 and not later than August 1, 1999.
There is also age relaxation of some years for reserved category candidates:
No age relaxation is provided to the Economically Weaker Sections in the UPSC Civil Services Exam.

Educational Qualification

Candidates must hold a graduation degree in any stream from any university established under the Act passed by the Parliament of India or State legislature. Candidates who are in the last year of the graduation and awaiting results are also eligible to apply for IAS Preliminary exam. However, such candidates need to submit the proof of passing the requisite exam at the time of applying for the Main exam. The applications for IAS Main exam are usually released in the month of July/ August.
Note: Candidates who have cleared MBBS or any other medical exam but have not completed their internship, by the time of submission of their Civil Services Main Exam applications, will be provisionally admitted to the exam. However, provisional admission to the exam will be given only if candidates submit along with their application a copy of the certificate from the concerned authority of the university/ institution that they had passed the requisite final professional medical exam, informs the official website.
Physical Standards
Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards given in the Civil Services exam notification.

Number of Attempts in IAS Exam

All candidates are allowed a maximum of six attempts in the IAS exam. However, it may be noted that the restriction of the number of attempts is not applicable for candidates belonging to SC/ST category. Also, candidates belonging to OBC and Persons with Benchmark Disabilities categories are allowed a maximum of nine attempts in the exam.   
If a candidate appears in any one paper of the IAS Prelims Exam, then it is deemed that he has made an attempt in the IAS Exam.

IAS Exam Process

IAS exam is conducted in two stages – Preliminary (objective-type paper) and Mains (descriptive paper and interview). UPSC IAS Preliminary paper is conducted to select candidates for the Main(written) exam. IAS Prelims is just a screening exam and its marks are not considered for the final merit.
UPSC Civil Services Main Exam, as the name suggests, is the main stage of the IAS Exam Process. The marks of the IAS Main exam is taken into consideration for the IAS Final Result. The final merit list for the UPSC Civil Services Exam provides a rank to the candidates. Based on these ranks, Services are allotted to the candidates.

Step 1: Fill IAS Exam Application Form

Candidates will be able to fill the IAS application form 2020 in online mode at upsconline.nic.in. Once the application form is filled, candidates also need to pay Civil Services exam application fee in online or offline mode.
Preliminary Exam Fee
Mains Exam Fee
General/ EWS/OBC
Rs 100
Rs 200
Females/ SC/ ST/ Persons with Benchmark Disability

Step 2: Download IAS Preliminary Exam Admit Card

Candidates, who successfully filled the online application form, will be downloading their IAS admit card from the official website of the commission three weeks before the commencement of the exam. It may be noted that admit cards will not be sent by post to any candidates. Also, candidates who fail to carry their admit card on the day of exam will not be allowed to take the exam.

Step 3: IAS Preliminary Exam 2020

The IAS Prelims Exam 2020 will be conducted on May 31. Candidates need to appear for IAS Prelims exam 2020. The Preliminary exam is conducted in order to shortlist candidates for the next stage of the Civil Services exam.

Step 4: Filling of IAS DAF

The candidates, who clear the IAS prelims exam, need to fill the Detailed Application Form(DAF) for the IAS Main Exam. The DAF is a very important document and plays a very important role in the IAS Interview and during the service allocation process. It is important because the candidates mention his service preference and state preference in this form only. Based on the information given in the DAF and the vacancies, the services and the state cadres are allotted to the candidates after the IAS result.

Step 5: Download IAS Mains Exam Admit Card

All candidates, who clear the IAS Prelims exam, can download their admit cards for the Civil Services Mains exam 2020. The admit cards will be available on the official website of UPSC three weeks before the commencement of the Mains exam. The duration of each paper is three hours.

Step 6: IAS Mains Exam

IAS Main Exam 2020 will commence from September 18. Candidates need to appear for IAS Mains Exam as per the details mentioned on the admit card. IAS Mains exam consists of a total of nine descriptive papers. Out of the Nine, two papers are of qualifying in nature. These IAS Question papers are of General English and General Language paper. There are Four General Studies papers, One Essay Paper and two optional Subject paper. The marks of each paper are assigned as follows.
Sl.No.Name of the PaperMarks allotted
1Essay Paper250
2General Studies I250
3General Studies II250
4General Studies III250
5General Studies IV250
6Optional Subject Paper I250
7Optional Subject Paper I250
 IAS Main (written)Total1750
 IAS Interview275

Step 7: IAS Result 2020

After both the stages of Civil Services Exam (Preliminary and Mains) are conducted successfully, UPSC will release a final IAS result 2020 on its official website. Candidates whose names/ roll numbers appear in the merit list will then be eligible for recruitment in different services based on their preferences given in the DAF and the number of vacancies for the service.

IAS Exam Centres

IAS exam centres are notified in the IAS notification each year. IAS Preliminary exam is conducted in about 72 cities across India. IAS Mains exam is conducted in a total of 24 cities across India. The IAS Exam Centres for Prelims and Main exam are given below

IAS Preliminary Exam Centres

Gautam Buddh Nagar
Panaji (Goa)
Port Blair
Anantpur (Andhra Pradesh)
Kozhikode (Calicut)
Navi Mumbai

IAS Mains Exam Centres

The number of candidates in the IAS Main Exam is just 15 to 18 times the number of vacancies notified in the official notification. Since the number of candidates is far less in the IAS Main exam hence the number of centres are also less. The IAS Main Exam Centres are given below:
Dispur (Guwahati)
Note: The official website informs that allotment of centres (for both Preliminary and Mains) will be on first-apply-first allot basis. Once the capacity of a particular centre is attained, the same will be frozen and applicants will have to choose a centre from the remaining options. Applicants are, therefore, advised to apply early so that they can get an exam centre of their choice.


Q. What is the age limit for IAS Exam?
A.IAS is considered as one of the toughest exams in India. The Age limit for IAS exam is different for the different categories. It is defined as follows
Category Lower Age LimitUpper Age Limit
General /EWS2132
The age of the candidates is counted as on August 1 of the exam year.
Q. What is the educational qualification required to become an IAS?
A. The educational qualification required to become an IAS Officer is a graduate degree in any discipline from any university established by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India.
Q. Is coaching necessary for cracking the IAS Exam?
A. Every candidate has different needs and abilities. Joining a coaching institute is a very subjective decision. It can help some of the candidates in understanding the structure and pattern of IAS Exam but some of them find it useless. It differs from candidate to candidate.
Q. Can I prepare for IAS Exam without coaching?
A. Yes, any candidate can prepare for IAS exam without coaching. Nowadays so much information is available online which can help the candidates to prepare for IAS Exam by themselves. The candidate should select the best authentic source of information can prepare for the IAS Exam by themselves.
Q. How to start IAS preparation at home?
A. The candidates should start preparing the basics with the NCERT Books and Daily Newspaper. Complete the NCERT of History, Geography, Economics and Sociology first and then start reading the dedicated books for each subject supplemented with the Newspaper.
Q. What is the difference between IAS and PCS?
A. IAS means Indian Administrative Services and PCS means the Provincial Civil Services. IAS is one of the three All India Services. The recruitment for IAS is done by the Union Public Service Commission. PCS is the state-centric civil services recruited through the State Public Service Commissions.
Q. How many papers are there in the IAS Main Exam?
A. There are 9 question papers in the IAS Main Exam. Out of these 9 question papers, the candidates need to qualify in the General English and General Hindi papers and their numbers are not counted for the final merit.
Q. Can an average student crack IAS?
A. The IAS exam is an open platform with no limitation for the average students. There is no minimum percentage of marks required in the graduation course to appear in the IAS Exam. Each year, a good number of Average students crack the IAS Exam.
Q. Who is the Cadre Controlling Authority of IAS?
A. Ministry of Personnel which directly report to the Prime Minister of India is the Cadre controlling authority for the IAS.
Q. When does UPSC issue the IAS Exam Notification?
A. The IAS Notification is issued in the month of February every year and the IAS Prelims is conducted in the month of May - June. The IAS Prelims 2020 will be conducted on 31 May 2019.
Q. Can State PCS Officers be promoted to IAS?
A. Yes, the State PCS Officers can be promoted to the IAS subject to certain conditions laid down by UPSC. Each year, out of the total vacancies of IAS, 33% is filled through the promotion.
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