The IAS exam (officially known as the Civil Services Examination) is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) annually. Those who clear all the three stages of the IAS exam enter into the prestigious civil services of the country, and become officers in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and a host of other services. 

An aspirant can crack the IAS examination in the very first attempt, with the right approach and strategy. Here, we present all the relevant UPSC Exam details for aspirants planning to crack the IAS Exams.

IAS Exam Conducting Body  UPSC
Mode of IAS exam Offline
Number of times conducted          Once every year
Prescribed age limit         21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)
IAS Exam – Prelims 2020          Sunday, May 31, 2020
IAS Exam – Mains 2020 Starts 18th September 2020 (exams for five days)

IAS Exam Pattern

  • Stage I: Preliminary Examination (IAS Prelims)
  • Stage II: Mains Examination (IAS Mains)
  • Stage III: UPSC Personality Test (IAS Interview)
Sl. No. Name of the Paper Nature of the  Paper Duration of the Exam Questions Marks
1                                        IAS Exam Paper– I: General Studies   Merit Ranking         Nature     2 Hours      100 200 Marks
2    IAS Exam Paper – II: General Studies (CSAT)   Qualifying   Nature    2 Hours      80 200 Marks


The questions in the IAS Exams (Prelims) are of the objective type or Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

There is ‘Negative Marking’ in the IAS Exam for each incorrect answer but only in the Prelims stage. The negative marking for incorrect answers will be 1/3rd (0.66) of the allotted marks of that question.

Blind candidates are given an extra time of 20 minutes for each paper in the IAS Exam (Prelims).

Stage II: IAS Exam – UPSC Mains

The second stage of the IAS Exams is called the Mains Exam, which is a written descriptive examination and comprises 9 papers. 

Sl. No. IAS Exam Paper Name of the Paper Nature of the Paper Duration of the Exam Marks
1 Paper – A Compulsory Indian Language QUALIFYING NATURE 3 Hours 300 Marks
2 Paper – B English 3 Hours 300 Marks
3 Paper – I ESSAY MERIT RANKING NATURE 3 Hours 250 Marks
4 Paper – II General Studies I 3 Hours 250 Marks
5 Paper – III General Studies II 3 Hours 250 Marks
6 Paper – IV General Studies III 3 Hours 250 Marks
7 Paper – V General Studies IV 3 Hours 250 Marks
8 Paper – VI Optional Paper I 3 Hours 250 Marks
9 Paper – VII Optional Paper II 3 Hours 250 Marks
TOTAL 1750 Marks
  Interview or Personality Test 275 Marks
  GRAND TOTAL 2025 Marks


The candidates can select their medium of writing the UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains Exam as Hindi or English or any other language listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

The candidates who score above the prescribed cut-off marks in the IAS exam (Mains) will get the summons for the Personality Test (last stage of the IAS exam).

The final ranking of the candidates is on the basis of the marks obtained by them in the Main Examination and Personality Test/Interview Round of the IAS exams.

Stage III: IAS Exam – UPSC Interview/Personality Test

Candidates who clear the Mains stage of the IAS exams with the required cut-off marks qualify for the final stage of the IAS exams i.e., the Personality Test or Interview round with the UPSC Board Members.

They 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, etc. to evaluate if they are fit for a career in the civil services or not. 

The UPSC personality test will be held only in the UPSC Bhavan in New Delhi.


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