Indian Administrative Service (IAS) EXAM SCHEME


IAS Exam is perhaps the most popular exam in India. It is not only most popular but also considered as one of the toughest exams in India. The exam is conducted in 3 phases- 1. Preliminary Examination 2. Mains and 3. Interview. The whole process takes almost a year to complete. It is probably because of the toughness level and the rigorous procedure of the exam the IAS Exam is called the “Mother Of All The Exams”.

Though the exam is popularly known as IAS exam, officially it is called the Civil Services Examination (CSE). The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is conducted every year by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).  Here we have tried to provide a complete detail and guideline about UPSC Civil Services Examination scheme to help all the aspirants who dream to become IAS, IPS Officers one day. Every aspirant start his/her journey for UPSC Examination with a lot of questions in mind like what syllabus will they have to read, how many hours study a day will suffice, is it necessary to take coaching classes, what study materials will they have to read, where they can get them all etc.

With mushrooming coaching institutes and a plethora of materials available online and offline, worries of aspirants only get compounded. Everyone has their own story to share and everyone has different reasons to believe. But one must be conscious while making choices. Right guidance, Right conduct and Right approach all are equally important to get success in this exam. While Right guidance can be given, Right Conduct and Right approach are one’s own responsibility. Here at AbsoluteIAS, we are trying to guide all the aspirants in best possible way, especially those who can’t afford expensive coaching institutes.

We will be providing free online courses for all the subjects in the best comprehensive manner possible. We have tried to keep ourselves updated with the latest trends of UPSC CSE. Besides, our daily news analysis videos will be much of the use for all aspirants new or former. We will also update our online courses to keep them relevant according to the changes in UPSC pattern. Our vision is that no aspirant should be left out from the best possible guidance that one can get. For that, all our online courses will be free of cost and open for all. Enjoy learning:)

While beginning their journey for UPSC, every aspirant faces a lot of questions like what would be the right strategy, right approach towards this examination. How much time they need to study on daily basis and how can they evaluate themselves. No worry, our Daily Quiz section, and Mains challenge section are there for you to evaluate yourself, besides you will also get proper feedback and review from our side.

However before beginning your journey you need to know about the UPSC exam pattern, schedule, Eligibility criteria etc. One must try to stay updated with developments related to UPSC Exam schedule. The release of notification, filling out forms to exam dates. Here are providing a rough estimate of UPSC Calendar. One can also download UPSC Calendar from UPSC website which it releases a year prior.

The UPSC Calendar/Schedule for the Civil Service Examination that consists of the exam dates, application form filling dates and the last date to submit the form is announced a year prior to the commission so that candidates can plan their preparation accordingly.

UPSC Exam Calendar:

Below given is the timeline of the tentative calendar of CSE, which is released by the UPSC prior a year in their online notification.

The UPSC CSE consists of 3 stages:

  1. Preliminary Exam.
  2. Mains Exam
  3. Personality Test/Interview.

The UPSC calendar that consists of the various UPSC exam dates is announced by the commission through UPSC notifications on its website.

We will try to keep you updated here (www.AbsoluteIAS.com), with UPSC, by bringing the complete and in detail information about the UPSC Exam Scheme, eligibility for IAS, online application procedure, and much more.The first thing that every aspirant should keep themselves updated with is the UPSC Exam Dates, procedure and exam pattern.

UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam Important Dates

Application formsFebruary (apply date)– March(last date)
Admit CardThree weeks before Prelims Exam
CSE PrelimsMay-August
Answer KeyAfter the final result of UPSC of Civil Service Exam (in the following year)
ResultAugust/September (same year)
CutoffAfter the final result of UPSC of Civil Service Exam (in the following year)

UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam Important Dates

Application formsAug-Sept
Admit CardThree weeks before Mains Exam
Main ExamOctober-December
Answer KeyAfter the final result of UPSC of Civil service exam(in the following year)
ResultJan-Feb of the following year
CutoffAfter the final result in the following year

UPSC Civil Services Personality Test/Interview Important Dates

NotificationFeb/March of the following year
e-SummonMarch/April of the following year
Personality Test/InterviewMarch/April of the following year
ResultApril-June of the following year


The Union Public Service Commission has announced dates for the 2018 Civil Services (Preliminary) exams. The exams will be conducted on June 03, 2018.

The date of notification is February 2, 2018, and the last date for the receipt of applications is March 6, 2018.



The Civil Services Exam is conducted by the UPSC every year and the exam is held in three stages and they are:

The stage 1 of the civil services exam is prelims, which is a screening test for candidates and comprises of two papers with questions of objective or MCQ type.

1. The IAS Prelims Exam Pattern is as follows:

1.Paper – I General Studies2 Hours100200 Marks
2.Paper – II General Studies (CSAT)QUALIFYING NATURE2 Hours80200 Marks
TOTAL100200 Marks


NOTE: The questions in the UPSC Prelims Exam are of objective type or Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
There is a ‘Negative Marking’ in the IAS prelims exam for each incorrect answer. The negative marking for incorrect answers will be 1/3rd (0.66) of the allotted marks (2) for that question.
The GS Paper II (CSAT) is of qualifying in nature and candidates should score a minimum of 33 percent i.e. 67 marks out of 200 to qualify for the next stage of the exam i.e. Civil Services Mains.
Blind candidates are given an extra time of 20 minutes for each paper in the prelims exam.
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.

2.The UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains Exam Pattern is as follows:

The second stage of the Civil Services Exam for IAS is called as the CSE Mains Examination, which is a written or subjective exam and comprises of 9 papers. The 9 papers are as following: Paper-A (Compulsory Indian Language) and Paper –B (English) are qualifying in nature, while the marks obtained in the other papers like Essay, General Studies Paper I, II, III, and IV, and Optional Paper I and Optional Paper II are considered for the final score.

Here is a tabular representation of Mains Examination Pattern:

Sl. No.PaperName of the PaperNature of the PaperDuration of the ExamMarks
1Paper – ACompulsory Indian LanguageQUALIFYING NATURE3 Hours300 Marks
2Paper – BEnglish3 Hours300 Marks
4Paper – IIGENERAL STUDIES I3 Hours250 Marks
5Paper – IIIGENERAL STUDIES II3 Hours250 Marks
6Paper – IVGENERAL STUDIES III3 Hours250 Marks
7Paper – VGENERAL STUDIES IV3 Hours250 Marks
8Paper – VIOPTIONAL PAPER I3 Hours250 Marks
9Paper – VIIOPTIONAL PAPER II3 Hours250 Marks
TOTAL1750 Marks



This is the final stage of CSE. Once who successfully clear this hurdle too, are eligible to become IAS, IPS, IFS or IRS etc. according to their ranks.

Candidates who clear the Civil Services Mains Examination with the set cutoff marks qualify for the final stage of the 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 and etc. The final round that is the personality test will be held only in the UPSC Bhawan in New Delhi. We will bring out a whole set of guidelines for Interview appearances.


The candidates who apply for the UPSC IAS Examination should ensure that they meet all the eligibility criteria, which are mentioned below. The eligibility for IAS exam is based on the following parameters:

1. Nationality2. Education Qualification
3. Age Criteria and Relaxation4. Number of Attempts



Candidates who are interested to write the UPSC Civil Services Exam and aspire to get the civil services post as IAS, IPS, IFS and others should ensure that they fulfill the Nationality Condition, which is given below.

Candidates who aspire to become an IAS Officers, IFS Officer and IPS Officers must be a citizen of India.

To get into the Indian Revenue Service, candidates must meet one of the nationality criteria as set by the UPSC guidelines:

To get into other civil services a candidate must meet one of the following criteria of Nationality.


Candidates who aspire to become IAS Officers and wish to apply UPSC Civil Services Exam should ensure that they fulfill at lease on of the following education qualification criteria. Candidates with the following criteria are also allowed to take the UPSC Civil Services Exam:-

Candidates who meet the below mentioned education criteria can also take the civil service exam, anyhow the candidates should submit the proof of eligibility from an practiced authority of their university or institution during the UPSC Main Exam, candidates failing to submit the proof may not be allowed to take the exam.
Candidates who have appeared in the graduation exam or relevant qualification exam or higher exams and waiting for the results can also write the UPSC Exam but they should ensure that after success in the exam they meet one of the above educational criteria.
Candidates who have not yet completed the MBBS internship but have passed in the final exam of the MBBS degree can also appear in the UPSC CSE.

Candidates who have passed the final exam of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI), ICSI, and ICWAI can also take the exam.
Candidates who have obtained a degree from any private university with the above mentioned conditions.
Candidates who have obtained a degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities.

Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the UPSC CSE and anticipating their results are also eligible to appear for the IAS Prelims Exam; however, they should submit proof of passing the obligatory qualification along with Detailed Application Form (DAF) for Civil Services (Mains) Examination.


To get into a civil services post, a candidate should have attained the age of 21 years and should not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August, 2016 i.e., a candidate should have been born not before 2nd August 1985 and not later 1st August, 1995.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has regulated the age criteria for the candidates who are willing to appear for Civil Services IAS Examination.

Below given are the complete and important conditions for the eligibility of IAS Exam, which candidates can go through and make sure that they meet all the eligibility criteria for UPSC Civil Services Exam.

General32 Years6
OBC35 years9
SC / ST37 YearsUnlimited
PHGen-42 Years OBC-45 Years SC/ST-47 YearsUnlimited
J & K DomicileGen-37 Years OBC-40 Years SC/ST-42 Years PH-50 YearsDepending on the categories viz. Gen, OBC, SC/ST, PH
Ex-ServicemenGen-37 Years OBC-40 Years SC/ST-42 YearsDepending on the categories viz. Gen, OBC, SC/ST, PH
Disabled Defence Services Personnel* conditionalGen-37 Years OBC-40 Years SC/ST-42 YearsDepending on the categories viz. Gen, OBC, SC/ST, PH


The application procedure for UPSC examination has been entirely made online at the preliminary level and UPSC e-admit cards are issued which candidates appearing for IAS exam should download from the UPSC official website (www.upsc.gov.in).

The candidates applying for the IAS Exam should make sure that they satisfy all the eligibility criteria for admission to the examination. The candidates’ admission to all the stages of the examination will be only conditional subject to fulfill the above-mentioned eligibility conditions. With the issue of admission certificate to a candidate does not indicate that the candidate’s application has been finally accepted by the Commission. As the Commission conducts verification of eligibility criteria with the reference to the original documents and only then a candidate qualifies the final round that is the Interview/Personality Test. So, one can’t go with forged documents or false data.

We hope by now things would have become clear for you. But still if any doubt is left you are most welcome in the comment section 🙂 Always Happy to serve!





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