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Table of Contents: –

  1. What is IAS Exam?
  2. IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria
  3. Age Relaxation Criteria
  4. How to apply for IAS Exam?
  5. UPSC Exam Pattern
  6. What are the Responsibilities of an IAS official?
  7. What are the powers of an IAS officer?
  8. Strategy for Early Birds
  9. Syllabus
  10. Booklist
  11. IAS Recruitment and Training
  12. UPSC IAS Prelims 2024 Updates

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1. What is IAS Exam?

IAS Full Form – The IAS full form is Indian Administrative Services. The IAS Civil Services Examination is the opening gate to become IAS and IPS officers. This exam is conducted by the constitutional body, Union Public Service Commission i.e., UPSC. UPSC is the central agency that conducts Civil services Exams for the posts of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS), Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS).

2. IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria

UPSC has mentioned the age limit for IAS in the official IAS notification. The candidates need to ensure that they fall within the prescribed age limit because UPSC can cancel the candidature of the candidate at any moment in the wake of non-conformity to the eligibility criteria.

The candidate must attain the age of 21 years and must not exceed the age of 32 years. The date of birth as mentioned in the High School/Higher Secondary certificate will be considered by the UPSC.

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

  1. Age Limit: – 21-32 years with age relaxation for reserved categories
  2. Qualification: – Graduation degree from a recognized university
  3. Maximum Number of Attempts: – 6
  4. Nationality: – Citizen of India or Subject of Nepal/Bhutan, or Tibetan refugee and Indian Origin Migrants from select countries.

You Can also read: Coaching for UPSC in Delhi

3. Age Relaxation Criteria: –

Category Age Relaxation 
SC/ ST 5 Years
OBC 3 Years
Defence Services Personnel, disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof 3 Years
Ex-servicemen including commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years of military service as on August 1, 2024 and have been released 5 Years
PwD [(a) blindness and low vision; (b) deaf and hard of hearing; (c) locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy; (d) autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness; and (e) multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d) including deaf-blindness] 10 Years

4. How to Apply for IAS Exam?

Amongst several posts offered by Union Public Service Commission, the Civil Aspirants craves for the two important posts of IAS and IPS officers. These posts are the most celebrated in the Union Public Service Commission.

Following are the general steps every aspirant should follow to become an IAS /IPS officer: –

  1. Check the notification for the UPSC exams. The notification is generally released in February, every year.
  2. After carefully reading the notification, Apply for the exams within the specified time limit.
  3. Once the application is completed, Prepare your Study time table as per the dates of examination.
  4. Select the sources, NCERTs, and Reference books for every subject.
  5. Prepare accordingly for every stage of the UPSC examination: Preliminary, Mains, and Personality Test.
  6. To apply for the Mains Exam, the aspirants should fill the Detailed Application Form (DAF) considering the minute details.
  7. After clearing the cut-off for mains, take multiple mock interviews to get a good hold on Personality Test.
  8. Once you secure a good rank in the UPSC exam you can become IAS/IPS officer.

You Can also read: IRS Full Form

5. 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. The duration of the exam is two hours. Paper-2 (CSAT) in the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination is a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. The Prelims consists of two papers of 200 marks each. The question papers will be set in both Hindi and English.

Name of the Paper No of Questions Topics Included (Brief) Marks Allotted Time Allotted
Paper I: General Studies  (Objective-type) 100 Questions from subjects like History, Polity, Geography, Science, Economy, Current Affairs are asked. 200 2 hours
Paper-II: (CSAT) (Objective-Type) 80 Questions from topics like Maths, Logical Reasoning, Reading comprehension are asked. 200 2 hours

Stage 2: – Mains Exam

Candidates who qualify Preliminary exam are called for the Main 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.

Paper Subject Duration Total marks Time Allotted
Paper A Compulsory Indian language 3 hours 300 3 hours
Paper B English 3 hours 300 3 hours
Paper I Essay 3 hours 250 3 hours
Paper-II General Studies I 3 hours 250 3 hours
Paper III General Studies II 3 hours 250 3 hours
Paper IV General Studies III 3 hours 250 3 hours
Paper V General Studies IV 3 hours 250 3 hours
Paper VI Optional I 3 hours 250 3 hours
Paper VII Optional II 3 hours 250 3 hours
Sub Total Written Test   1750  
  Personality Test   275  
  Grand Total   2025  

Stage 3: – Personality Test/ Interview: –

The Personality test is the last and most significant phase of UPSC Exam. On the basis of marks secured in the Main exam, the candidates will be called for Interview. The personality test is conducted for 275 marks.

This stage tests an applicant’s psychological and social qualities. The candidates are examined for qualities such as mental sharpness, focus, clear and sensible work, an equilibrium interest, capacity for social initiative and moral honesty.

Here, the applicant will be posed a few situations to check their decision power. The board checks if the individual in question is good for the Civil Services profession based on their skills and abilities.

Venue: Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi-110069

Timing: Two sessions per day (Forenoon session 9:00 AM onwards, Afternoon session 1:00 PM onwards).

Dress Code: Basic formals (dark trousers with a light-coloured plain shirt for men and saris or ‘churidar’ for women)

Maximum Marks: 275

6. What are the Responsibilities of an IAS official?

Aside from post explicit and job explicit forces and obligations, each IAS officials are offered ability to satisfy certain overall duties as referenced underneath:

  • To deal with the legislative issues and framework.
  • Implement and oversee the execution interaction of administrative approaches.
  • Disburse assets and assets for execution of arrangements and upkeep and support of administrative framework.
  • Ensure zero abnormalities in store the executives, as the official is liable to the Parliament and separate state governing body for bookkeeping of assets designated to them.

7. 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.

You Can also read: IAAS Full Form

8. Strategy for Early Birds: –

1.Understand the Syllabus: – The first step towards clearing the IAS exam is understanding the syllabus. This will help the early birds on focusing the syllabus points while reading Newspapers and reference books.

  1. Study Previous Year Questions: – Once the syllabus is understood, the next step is to analyze the patterns and sources of questions asked in the previous year Prelims and Mains exam. The early birds should also study the previous year’s Essay topics which will help them to comprehend the topics to be studied.
  2. Reading the Sources: – Most early birds spent 90 % of their time reading the NCERTs and Reference sources. Reading of NCERTs and Reference material for General Studies, Essay, and Optional subject should be completed in a definite time frame.
  3. Preparing the Notes: – To raise the efficiency of their preparation, the early birds should consider making their notes. This will be beneficial in retaining the important points of any topic that has been read from different sources.
  4. Value addition: – The IAS exam demands the aspirants to be up to the mark in terms of current data which may be the latest Report, Indices, Study, or any government Initiative.
  5. Revise-Revise-Revise: – The most important part of any competitive exam is revising the material you have read so far. The focus should be on revising each source material 3 times before the Prelims and Mains exam.
  6. Practice Prelims and Mains Mock Tests: – To increase the performance in Prelims and Mains exam, the aspirants should take extra efforts by taking Prelims and Mains mock tests.

9. Syllabus: –

IAS Prelims Syllabus 

General Studies Paper 1 General Studies Paper 2
Current events of national and international importance. History of India and Indian National Movement. Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World. Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc. Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc. General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization. General Science

Comprehension Interpersonal skills including communication skills. Logical reasoning and analytical ability. Decision making and problem solving. General mental ability. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class X level).


IAS Mains Syllabus 

Paper Subject Syllabus Marks
Paper A Compulsory Indian language Comprehension of given passages Precis Writing Usage and Vocabulary Short Essays Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa. 300
Paper B English   300
Paper I Essay   250
Paper-II General Studies I General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250
Paper III General Studies II General Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250
Paper IV General Studies III General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250
Paper V General Studies IV General Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250
Paper VI Optional I Optional Subject – Paper 1 250
Paper VII Optional II Optional Subject – Paper 2 250

10. Optional Subject list: –

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce and Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • History
  • Law Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology
  • Literature

11. Booklist: –


  1. Indian Polity by M Laxmikanth
  2. Introduction to the Constitution of India: D D Basu


  1. Certificate Physical and human geography – Goh Cheng Leong
  2. Orient Longman Atlas of Oxford Atlas
  3. 11th NCERT Geography: Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  4. 11th NCERT Geography – India Physical Environment


  1. Shankar IAS book
  2. Ecology & Environment Chapter (India Year Book)
  3. ICSE Environmental Education 9th & 10th
  4. Unit X – Class 12th Biology NCERT


  1. India’s struggle for Independence – Bipin Chandra
  2. From Plassey to Partition: Shekhar Bandyopadhyaya
  3. A Brief History of Modern India- Spectrum Publications
  4. New NCERT – Class XII th Themes in Indian History – Part III


  1. Old NCERT: Ancient India
  2. Old NCERT: Medieval India
  3. Class XI NCERT – Introduction to Fine Art (part 1)
  4. Class XII th New NCERT – Themes in Indian History Part -1 and Part 2


  1. 11th NCERT: Economics: Indian Economic Development
  2. 12th NCERT: Economics: Macroeconomics
  3. Indian Economy Dutt and Sundaram


  1. General Science books – IX and X standard

12. IAS Recruitment and Training

After final Result is declared, selected Civil Service officers have to undergo 15 weeks training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) . The training is given in two stages. In stage I of the training, the officers learn to expand the proficient qualities in managing the huge arrays of tasks for 26 weeks. Then district training for several parts of administrative responsibilities of regional sorts, including location study of assignment for the academy. The duration is of 52 weeks where the officers experiences about the actual execution of the regional administration. The district training aims for the allotment of Cadres for the actual appointment.

Designations held by an IAS officer

  • The IAS officials’ designation varies from state to state. This is due to the fact that the nomenclature of the state administrative apparatus varies from state to state.
  • However, the major tasks of IAS officials across the country remain mostly unchanged. The designations/posts held by IAS officers in their depicted careers are listed here.
  • IAS officers’ designations when on assignment in the field
    • Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO)
    • Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM)
    • Joint Collector/ Chief Development Officer (CDO)
    • District Magistrate (DM)/District Collector/Deputy Commissioner
    • Divisional Commissioner
    • Member Board of Revenue

There are now three forms of IAS recruitment:

  • Through the Civil Services Examination, which is held annually by UPSC; • Through the elevation of State Civil Service personnel to IAS; and • Through the selection of non-State Civil Service officers.
  • Approximately 66 (1/3 percent) of the positions are for Direct Recruitment, while the remaining 33 (1/3 percent) are for promotion quota.
  • Direct recruit IAS officials are assigned to State cadres/Joint State Cadres based on their rank, preference, and vacancy availability.
  • The table below illustrates the positions held by an IAA official under the State Government and the Central Government in terms of grade and years of service.
Grade Position held under the State Government Or Central Government
Junior Time Scale (Initial Year)   Sub-Divisional Magistrate in a sub-division of a district/Section Officer in state secretariat (Entry) /Assistant Director to Government of India.
Senior Time Scale (4th year)   Additional District Magistrate/Additional Collector/Additional Deputy Commissioner of a District or Under Secretary in the State Government.  
Junior Administrative Grade (6th year)   District Magistrate/Collector/Deputy Commissioner of a District or Additional Secretary in the State government or Joint Director/Deputy Secretary to the Government of India.  
Selection Grade (10th year)   District Magistrate/Collector/Deputy Commissioner of a District or Special Secretary in the State government or Director in the Government of India.  
Super Time Scale (17th year)   Divisional Commissioner in a division or Secretary in the State government or Joint Secretary to Government of India.  
Above Super Time Scale (24th year)   Principal Secretary in the State Government or Additional Secretary to the Government of India.  
Apex Scale (31st year)   Chief Secretary of States or Secretary to Government of India.  
Cabinet Secretary Grade (35th year)

Cabinet Secretary of India (Only one post).

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. What does UPSC stand for in full?

Answer:  Union Public Service Commission is the acronym for the Union Public Service Commission.

Q2. What exactly is UPSC?

Answer: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is a federal agency that selects individuals for positions in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Foreign Service (IFS), among others.

Q3. What exactly is IAS?

Answer: The Indian Administrative Service is abbreviated as IAS.

Q4. Is it possible to pass the IAS exam without taking classroom training?

Answer: Yes. You certainly can, especially if you excel at self-study. We are not opposed to classroom instruction. There are excellent colleges and teachers who can assist candidates in saving a significant amount of time and effort.

Q5. What is the UPSC Civil Service Prelims Exam’s structure?

Answer: The nature of the prelims exam is objective. There will be two papers, each worth 200 points. The first paper is on general studies, and the second is about mental ability and aptitude.

Q6. What is the total number of papers in the main exam?

Answer: There are nine papers in the main exam. However, the rating is based on seven studies. In addition, there are two papers that are qualifying in nature. To qualify, you must achieve a minimum score.

Q7. Is there any penalty for incorrect answers?

Answer: The Prelims paper is the only one that is objective and bears negative marking. For each incorrect response. There will be a 0.66-point deduction.

Designations Held by an IAS officer:

  • Sub-Divisional Officer(SDO)/ Sub-Divisional Magistrate(SDM)/ Joint Collector/ Chief Development Officer(CDO)
  • District Magistrate(DM)/District Collector/Deputy Commissioner
  • Divisional Commissioner
  • Member Board of Revenue
  • Chairman Board of Revenue

UPSC 2024 Exam Highlights | Civil Services Examination

Name of the Exam UPSC Civil Services Examination, 2024
Conducted by Union Public Service Commission
Level National 
Exam Frequency Annual
Mode of the Exam Pen and Paper Mode/Offline
Test Centres Across Nation
Exam Stages 03 Stages- Preliminary Exam, Main Exam, and Personality Test
Application Fee 100/-
Official Website

Important Dates for UPSC CSE 2024 | UPSC Notification 2024

Event Date
Release of UPSC Notification 2024 01.02.2024
UPSC Online Registration for UPSC CSE 2024 (Begins on) 01.02.2024
Deadline to Apply for UPSC CSE 2024 21.02.2024
UPSC CSE Prelims 2024 Exam 26.05.2024 (Sunday)
UPSC CSE Prelims 2024 Result July
UPSC Exam Date 2024- CSE Mains Exam 20.09.2024 onwards

UPSC Exam Syllabus
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How to Join
IAS Coaching In Delhi

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