IAS Exam 2021: UPSC [Union Public Service Commission] conducts the Civil Service exams annually for various posts like IAS, IPS, IFS and other All India service exams. Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is one of the most sought-after positions by the candidates who successfully clear the UPSC Civil Services Exam. Top brass ministry positions in both central and state governments are governed by IAS officers. High performing IAS officers after serving tenure of several years gets an opportunity to serve as the Cabinet Secretary of India. This article gives detail information about IAS 2021 notification, exam dates, eligibility criteria, pattern, syllabus, application process, admit card, selection process, results and more.
Highlights of IAS Exam 2021
|Official Exam Name||UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021|
|IAS Exam Conducting Body||Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)|
|Number of candidates apply for the exam||10 – 12 lakhs|
|Number of Vacancies||Nearly 900|
|Total Number of Services included in exam||24|
IAS Exam 2021 Dates
|Official Notification||February 10, 2021|
|Online Registration for IAS Exam 2021||February 10, 2021|
|Last Date for submitting the online registration||March 02, 2021|
|Release of UPSC IAS 2021 Admit Card||May 2021|
|IAS Prelims 2021 Exam Date||June 27, 2021|
|IAS Prelims 2021 Result||July 2021|
|IAS Mains Exam Date||September 17, 2021|
|IAS 2021 Mains Result||November 2021|
IAS 2021 Eligibility Criteria
Before applying, candidates must check their eligibility criteria set by authorities to take the exam. Only if they qualify in these conditions, then they can go ahead and apply. Below we have provided IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria in detail.
For IAS and IPS positions, candidates must comply with the standard condition of being Indian citizens. For other services like IRS, IRTS, etc., the candidates could be citizens of India or one of the following:
- Subject of Nepal
- Subject of Bhutan
- Tibetan refugees who have permanently settled in our country and migrated to our nation before 1st January 1962.
- An Indian origin person who migrated earlier to Pakistan/ Burma/ Sri Lanka/ Kenya/ Uganda/ United Republic of Tanzania/ Zambia/ Malawi/ Zaire/ Ethiopia/ Vietnam but returned to India with sole intentions of permanently settling here.
- Candidates looking out for IFS positions cannot be subjects of Bhutan/ Nepal or Tibet.
- All candidates who have completed graduation or studying in the final year of their graduation can apply for IAS Exam 2021. Candidates must obtain their degrees from recognised universities of the government of India.
IAS Age Limit
- Minimum age permitted – 21 years.
- Maximum age limit permitted – 32 years.
Age of candidate is taken into consideration as on August 1st, 2020.
Age relaxation for various categories is explained in the table provided below:
|Defence personnel injured in any event||3 years|
|Persons with disabilities||10 Years|
|Economically weaker categories||No age relaxation offered|
Number of Attempts
The maximum number of attempts allowed for General Merit candidates is 6 years. The UPSC committee offers certain age relaxation norms for reservation category candidates. Number of attempts allowed for candidates belonging to various reservation classes is tabulated below:
|Economically weaker classes||6 attempts|
|SC/ST||Maximum age limit applicable|
|Persons with disabilities||Maximum age limit applicable|
Check out the detailed IAS 2021 Eligibility Criteria
IAS 2021 Exam Pattern
The UPSC conducted Civil Services Exam consists of three significant rounds – Prelims, Mains and Personal Interview. Each round has a different set of patterns and question formats. The number of questions, type of questions and marks allocation for each round is quite different.
IAS Prelims Pattern
|I||General Studies – this paper contains questions related to everything you have studied in class 6 to 10 along with current affairs. This is the qualifying paper for the mains.||200||2 hours|
|II||Aptitude Test (CSAT) – A candidate needs to score at least 33% in this exam though the marks are not counted for qualifying in mains.||200||2 hours|
- The preliminary exam consists of 2 papers – Paper 1 and Paper 2.
- Paper 1 is for General Studies, and Paper 2 is the Civil Services Aptitude Test paper.
- Both papers consist of multiple choice questions.
- Number of questions in paper 1 is 100, and paper 2 is 80.
- Total marks combining paper 1 and 2 is 400.
- Each paper is conducted for a duration of 2 hours only.
- Negative marking is applicable. 1/3rd of marks are deducted for every wrong answer.
- Questions papers shall be made available in both English and Hindi.
- Offline mode of exam is conducted.
- Candidates would be provided with OMR sheets to mark answers.
- Paper 2 is only qualifying in nature.
- Cut off marks is calculated for Paper 1 only.
- 33% is the cut off score to qualify for the further round of Civil service mains exam.
IAS Mains Pattern
- All candidates who successfully clear the prelims exam and secure marks above the cut off range shall be provided with a chance to attempt the mains exam.
- There are totally 9 papers to be attempted in the mains exam.
- Language papers based on English and Hindi are only for qualifying purpose. Marks obtained by candidates in these two papers are not considered for the final calculation of marks.
- The rest of 7 papers are considered for final marks calculation. These papers are – 1 Essay paper, 4 General studies papers and 2 papers on optional subjects. Each paper carries a maximum of 250 marks.
- All papers are subjective in nature.
- Each paper is allocated a maximum duration of 3 hours.
- Total marks of all papers in IAS mains exam is 1750 marks.
- The exam is conducted in the offline mode.
- Exam papers are conducted in English and Hindi primarily. All languages listed in schedule 8 of the Indian constitution are also considered.
|Paper A (language)||One of the Indian languages from the list selected by the applicants (qualifying)||300|
|Paper B (language)||English (qualifying)||300|
|Paper II||General studies I||250|
|Paper III||General studies II||250|
|Paper IV||General studies III||250|
|Paper V||General studies IV||250|
|Paper VI, VII||There will be two papers of 250 marks each based on the subject which the candidate has selected at the time of application filing.||500|
- Candidates who successfully clear the mains exam by securing more marks than cut off range shall move to personal interview round.
- All selected candidates for personal interview shall appear before the UPSC panel board for a personality test.
- This round is conducted for a maximum of 275 marks.
Check out detailed IAS Exam Pattern 2021
The UPSC prescribes standard syllabus for each paper of the IAS exam. Candidates must refer in-depth for attempting each paper. The detailed IAS syllabus can be downloaded in PDF format.
IAS Prelims Syllabus
Important parts of the syllabus for papers 1 and 2 are provided below:
- For Paper 1 – Modern history, Indian national movement, Indian geography, world geography, Indian polity and governance, socio-economic development, environmental studies and ecology, science and technology developments, current affairs.
- For Paper 2 – Comprehension, logical reasoning, decision making and interpretation, general ability, basic numerical problems, interpersonal skills, English language skills.
IAS Mains Syllabus
- Paper 1 – Conducted for 300 marks. Candidate should select any one of the Indian languages that have been listed in the eight schedules of our constitution.
- Paper 2 – Conducted for 300 marks. Paper is based on General English language.
[Both papers 1 and 2 are only qualifying in nature].
- Paper 3 – Consists of General Essay paper. Candidates shall be provided essay topics based on current affairs or topics of national/ international importance pertaining to various disciplines, etc.
- Paper 4 – General studies [part 1] comprising topics on Indian culture and heritage, Indian and world history and geographical studies.
- Paper 5 – General studies [part 2] comprising topics on Indian constitution, Indian polity and governance, social justice and international relations management.
- Paper 6 – General studies [part 3] comprising topics on science and technology, economic development, biodiversity and environment, security and disaster management studies.
- Paper 7 – General Studies [Part 4] comprising of topics based on ethics, integrity and general aptitude.
- Papers 8 and 9 – All candidates should choose an optional subject for papers 8 and 9. UPSC provides the list of optional subjects a candidate can choose from.
Check out detailed IAS Syllabus 2021
List of Optional Subjects
For the IAS Mains exam, the committee has provided a list of optional subjects. Candidates have to choose any one optional subject to attempt papers 8 and 9.
Literature of any one language
IAS 2021 Application Form
All candidates who wish to attempt the Civil Services should apply through ONLINE mode only. Candidates can login to official website upsc.gov.in. to access the online application form. The application fee can be remitted in both ONLINE and OFFLINE modes. The application fee for various categories is tabulated below:
|Category||Prelims Exam||Mains Exam|
|General Merit / OBC and Economically weaker sections||INR 100||INR 200|
|For SC/ST/ Persons with disabilities and Female candidates||No fees||No fees|
IAS 2021 Application Form Process
- Visit the official website of UPSC.
- Click on “Online application form for various UPSC Exam”.
- Go to the Registration section. Enter basic candidate details and complete registration formalities.
- Login to the website again with registered candidate details.
- Enter candidate details in Part 1 – UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam
- In Part 2 of the registration form, enter further details requested.
- Upload candidate photograph, signature, ID proof etc. to complete application form filling process.
- Now come to the fee payment section. Pay relevant exam fees.
- Submit the application form.
- Candidates who successfully submit the application form by entering correct details and registering themselves shall receive an e-mail acknowledgement.
IAS 2021 Admit Card
Candidates who have successfully received e-mail acknowledgement of application submission can wait for updates on the official website. Generally, around the 1st week of May, the admit cards shall be available on the online portal for download. The admit card contains important information like candidate name, registration number, exam centre, timings and duration of exam, contact number and address etc. All candidates need to carry the admit card to the exam venue without fail. Below we have provided step by step process to download IAS Admit Card
- Visit the official website of UPSC.
- Click on the link Download IAS Admit Card 2021
- Enter details like registration number and date of birth.
- Enter Captcha code if displayed.
- Submit details. Admit card shall be displayed on the screen.
- Download the admit card and take a hard copy print of the same.
Please Note: Candidates should check for correctness of details. IF there are wrong entries, the same should be reported to the grievance cell of UPSC immediately
IAS Selection Process 2021
There are three steps in the selection process of candidates who have successfully cleared all rounds of UPSC IAS Exam with high scores.
- The first round of selection is the Preliminary exam round. Candidates who achieve more than the cut off marks shall move on to the Mains exam round.
- In the mains exam, candidates shall further attempt 9 papers. All candidates who successfully score above the cut off marks [the last 7 papers are taken into consideration for calculating cut off marks] shall qualify for the personal interview round.
- In the last round of personality test, candidates who possess very good communication and interpersonal skills and exceptional skill sets eligible for officer cadre roles are selected.
- The total score of candidates selected in the personal interview round is calculated. Total marks include mains exam marks [last 7 papers] plus personality test round marks.
- Based on final marks, all candidates are shortlisted according to ranking.
- Candidates who score exceptionally high marks occupy top ranks and get postings as IAS, IPS and IFS officers.
- The remaining ranks are allotted for other All India services plus Group A and Group B services.
IAS 2021 Result
All candidates have to check for their result on the official website. Here are the steps to follow for checking results on the official website:
- Go to the official website of UPSC, i.e. upsc.gov.in
- Login to the homepage.
- Click on the “Results” section.
- Click on the link indicating results for CSE Prelims/ Mains/ Personal Interview Round 2020.
- Enter the date of birth/candidate registration details.
- Results shall be displayed.
IAS Exam Preparation Tips
The journey to crack the IAS exam is quite tough and challenging. With the right strategy and approach, candidates can aim to clear the exam in the very first attempt; here are some useful tips to follow:
- Follow strategic time management tips with a strict, working time table.
- Extensive reading habits and in-depth learning of all topics indicated in the syllabus is the biggest trick.
- Always structure your studies around UPSC provided syllabus only. Do not leave any topic untouched in the syllabus.
- Crack previous year question papers. Practice enough with mock test series.
- Achieve a good understanding of your basics by referring to a whole lot of NCERT textbooks. Fundamental knowledge in all subjects is essential.
- Read at least two newspapers every day. One national newspaper plus another local newspaper is mandatory.
- Update yourself every day with current affairs, both at national and international levels.
- Do not pile up too much of study resources. Be wise and choosy in selecting the right books.
- Revision is crucial. Dedicate the last month before exams to fully revise what you’ve studied for your exams.
- Practice studies with good illustration techniques. Pictorial depictions, representations, charts and visual learning aids are very effective.
Last but not least; maintain a good and positive frame of mind. Develop confidence and approach the exam with a calm mindset for optimum results.
List of Posts under UPSC Civil Services Exam
Once the UPSC final merit list is out, candidates get a call for postings based on the ranking they have gained. The list of services that candidates get to choose from are:
All India Services
- Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
- Indian Police Service (IPS)
Central Services (Group A)
- Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
- Indian P&T Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS)
- Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS)
- Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)
- Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)
- Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
- Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
- Indian Information Service (IIS)
- Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)
- Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
- Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
- Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
- Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
- Indian Revenue Service (IRS-IT)
- Indian Revenue Service (IRS-C&CE)
- Indian Trade Service (ITrS)
- Railway Protection Force (RPF)
Group B Services
- Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (AFHCS)
- Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS)
- Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS)
- Pondicherry Civil Service (PCS)
- Pondicherry Police Service (PPS)
IAS Exam 2021 – FAQs
1. What is IAS Exam?
Answer: UPSC conducts the coveted Civil Services Exam for recruitment to various All India Services like IAS, IPS and Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ services. This exam is commonly known as the IAS exam.
2. How to apply for IAS Exam?
Answer: To apply, visit the official website of UPSC in the stipulated time duration. Download and fill all details in the application form. Upload documents and pay the application fee. Submit the form.
3. What is the last rank for IAS?
Answer: It generally depends on vacancies. Usually, the rankings till 90 get IAS postings, though the ranking limit is bound to vary every year.
4. Which degree is best for IAS?
Answer: A bachelors’ degree is the minimum qualification required. Degree in any stream or specialisation is equally good for applying to Civil Services Exam.
5. Which optional subject is best for IAS?
Answer: The choice of optional subjects should be made depending on the candidate’s specialization, aptitude, understanding and interest in the subject. Choices shouldn’t be made depending on the popularity or toughness level of the exam.
6. How to become an IAS Officer?
Answer: All aspirants who clear all three rounds of UPSC Exam with top ranking [below 100 ideally] shall be eligible for posting to IAS cadres.
7. Who got the highest marks in UPSC ever?
Answer: Anudeep Durishetty scored the highest ever marks in UPSC exam. He was the topper of the 2017 year exams. He scored a whopping 1126 out of 2025 marks in the IAS exam.
8. What is UPSC?
Answer: UPSC is the main exam conducting body for recruitment to various All India services, Group A, Group B services. It also conducts exams for various other subordinate services and state level public service exams. It looks into the recruitment, examination, posting and other major decisions related to these exams.
9. What is the age limit for IAS Exam?
Answer: Minimum age is 21 years, and the maximum age allowed is 32 years. This is the general rule applicable for all. For other categories, there are various reservations in age limits.
10. Can an average student crack IAS?
Answer: YES. Any student – average/ bright/ exceptional can clear the Civil Services Exam with the right preparation strategy, good practice and effective time management skills.