How to become an IAS Officer? All about UPSC Civil Services Exam Pattern, Eligibility, Salary, Forms & updates

What is the IAS Exam?

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the civil services exam every year to fill the vacancies of posts such as Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, etc. This exam is famously known as the IAS exam. The notification for the IAS exam is released every year around February. The notification contains the number of vacancies, last date to apply. Interested candidates should make sure that they have carefully applied for the exam before the last date.

UPSC Exam Pattern

The UPSC Civil Services exam is held in three stages namely Preliminary, Mains, and Personal Interview. Each stage has its pattern and it is significant to clear every stage to become an IAS officer.

Stage 1: – Preliminary Exam

Among the three stages of the UPSC exam, the first stage is the Preliminary Exam. It comprises two papers of 200 marks each containing objective-type multiple-choice questions. The time allotted to attempt each exam is 2 hours which needs to be mandatorily attempted by the candidates. The candidates need to score qualifying marks to clear the cut-off. This stage is qualifying in nature as the marks of Prelims Paper1 and Paper 2 are not counted in the final merit list. There is a Negative Marking for the wrong answer given by the candidates, 1/3 rd marks will be deducted for every wrong answer.

SpecificationsIAS Preliminary Exam
MediumBilingual (English and Hindi)
Number of qualifying papers
Total weightage 400 Marks (200 each)
Type of questionsObjective
Negative marking for each incorrect answerone-third (0.33)
Duration of exam2 Hours per Paper

Stage 2: – Mains Exam

The UPSC mains exam is conducted in 2 parts: – qualifying papers and merit exams. There are a total of 9 papers in the Mains exam. Every paper is of 3 hours and extra 30 minutes extra is given to blind students.

Paper A and Paper B are 300 marks each and the remaining papers are 250 marks each.

The questions in Mains are of the subjective type and can be written in either Hindi or English language.

Qualifying Paper

Paper A – Paper A carries 300 marks and is based on Indian languages which can be selected from the 8th schedule of the constitution.

Paper B – Paper B is an English paper that also carries 300 marks.

SpecificationsIAS Main Exam
MediumBilingual (English and Hindi)
Number of qualifying papers7 + 2 language papers
Total weightage 1750 Marks
Type of questionsSubjective
Negative marking for each incorrect answer
Duration of exam3 Hours per Paper

Stage 3: -Personality Test

The 3rd of the UPSC preparation is the Personality test which carries 275 marks. At this stage, the overall personality of the aspirant is examined. The candidate can prepare for this stage by taking mock interviews.

IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria

The following are the basic eligibility criteria for the IAS exam:

Age Limit21-32 years with age relaxation for reserved categories
QualificationGraduation degree from a recognized university
Maximum Number of Attempts6
NationalityCitizen of India or Subject of Nepal/Bhutan, or Tibetan refugee and Indian Origin Migrants from select countries.

IAS Exam Application Form

The application forms are available only in online mode at the official website – Candidates should visit the website and apply for IAS Exam by filling the form before the last date.

How to Fill the Application Form?

It is extremely important to fill the Application form carefully to avoid mistakes. The candidates have to go through the following steps to fill the online application form.

Step 1: Registration
  • Go to the link ‘UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021’ on the official website –
  • Enter your Name, Date of Birth, Email Address, and Mobile Number.
  • Enter the captcha to receive your login credentials at registered ID.
Step 2: Filling Application Form
  • Log in again using your credentials to fill the application form.
  • Candidates have to fill in their Personal, Educational, Parental, and Employment details.
  • Changes can be made before final submission.
  • Once the application form is submitted no changes are allowed.
Step 3: Uploading Documents

Candidates have to upload the following documents in the application form:

  • Passport-size photograph
  • scanned image of their signature
Step 4: Pay Application Fee
  • Choose the payment method between online or offline mode
  • IAS Registration fee is INR 100 for General, EWS, and OBC candidates whereas SC, ST, PwD, and Female candidates are exempted from fee payment.
IAS 2021 Admit Card

The admit cards are made on the UPSC’s official website few days before the exam. The admit card contains all the personal details of the candidates along with the Roll Number, Photo. It is essential for entry into the examination hall. The candidates should keep the admit card safely for future reference.

Posts offered by UPSC exam

Group A Services
Indian Administrative ServiceIndian Police ServiceIndian Post and Telecommunication Accounts and Finance ServiceIndian Audit and Accounts ServiceIndian Postal ServiceIndian Civil Accounts ServiceIndian Railway Accounts ServiceIndian Corporate Law ServiceIndian Railway Personnel ServiceIndian Defence Accounts ServiceIndian Railway Traffic ServiceIndian Defence Estates ServiceIndian Revenue Service (Custom and Central Excise)Indian Foreign ServiceIndian Revenue Service (Income Tax)Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)Indian Trade Service (Gr. III)Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force
Group B Services
Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (Section Officer’s Grade)Pondicherry Civil ServiceDelhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil ServicesPondicherry Police ServiceDelhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Services

Age Limit

CategoryNo. of Attempts Age Limit
General Candidate + EWS0632 Years
Other Backward Castes (OBC) Candidate09Relaxation of 3 years – 35 years
Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) CandidateTill the Upper Age limitRelaxation of 5 Years – 37 Years
Physically disabled candidates (Blind, Deaf-Mute, Orthopedic)For the Gen and OBC Candidate – 09 attempts For SC/ST Candidate – Unlimited till age limitRelaxation of 10 years – 42 years

What are the powers of an IAS officer?

The powers and responsibilities of the IAS officer are interdependent. An IAS officer has to look after the following functions: –

  • Implementation of government policies and schemes.
  • Management of government infrastructure.
  • Taking decisions in case of disasters and emergencies.
  • Allocation and utilization of funds.

What is the salary of an IAS officer?

LevelBasic PayTotal IAS Salary
Entry-level (starting salary)5610056100 – 132000
Maximum Pay (cabinet secretary level)250000250000
Basic Pay (INR)Number of years required in servicePost
561001-4Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary
67,7005-8Additional District Magistrate, Deputy Secretary Undersecretary
78,8009-12District Magistrate, Joint Secretary, Deputy Secretary
1,18,50013-16District Magistrate, Director
1,44,20016-24Divisional Commissioner Joint Secretary
1,82,20025-30Divisional Commissioner, Additional Secretary
2,05,40030-33Additional Chief Secretary
2,25,00034-36Chief Secretary, Secretary
2,50,00037+ yearsCabinet Secretary of India

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