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UPSC Civil Services Examination

Important Dates

UPSC CSE  Important Dates 2024
Date Of Notification 14th February 2024
Prelims 16th June 2024
Mains 20th September 2024
Interview To Be Announced

About the UPSC CSE

UPSC IAS 2023 notification released for 1105 vacancies. Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) released the notification and along with it, the application link was also activated to fill out the UPSC 2023 application. The last date to apply for the IAS 2023 exam was February 21 (6.00 PM). The UPSC notification was issued for 29 services. The number of vacancies is more than last year’s 861 vacancies. The application fee is INR 100 for the preliminary exam. UPSC IAS 2023 notification will officially kickstart the exam process by announcing the application dates, eligibility, vacancies, syllabus, exam pattern and the like. UPSC Civil Service Exam (CSE) is the most sought after exam across the nation as it recruits the candidates for the All India Service (highest post under direct recruitment). UPSC 2023 Prelims exam will be conducted on May 28.
The candidates can see here the important details related to UPSC Civil Service (IAS) exam.

UPSC CSE Important Information
Exam name Civil Services Exam (CSE), 2024
Conducting body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam Purpose To recruit the candidates for All India and Central Civil Services
Exam Level National
Vacancies 1056
No. of Applicants Approximately 10 lakh
No. of applicants appeared in the exam Approximately 6.5 lakh
Exam Frequency Once a year
Exam Mode Offline – Pen and Paper mode
Exam Stages

Prelims (Qualifying Only) – 400 Marks

Mains (Written) – 1750  Marks

Mains (Personality Test) – 275 Marks

Exam Duration

Prelims – 2 hours for each paper

Mains – 3 hours for each paper

Personality Test  – not fixed

Application fee(Prelims) INR 100
Exam helpdesk no. 011-23098543 / 23385271 / 23381125 / 23098591
Official Website www.upsc.gov.in

Latest Updates

Examination Pattern

The Civil Services Exam is a two-stage process and the pattern for the Preliminary and Mains Exams is different. The exam pattern for both the stages is detailed below:

Preliminary (Prelims) Exam Pattern

UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam consists of two papers, both containing multiple-choice questions. Both the exams have a duration of two hours and carry 200 marks each.  It is mandatory for candidates to appear for both the papers. However, Paper-II of is a qualifying paper with 33% as minimum qualifying marks. Candidates can attempt the papers in either English or Hindi languages.

Paper
No. of Questions
Duration
Marks
General Studies Paper I 100 Questions 2 Hours 200
General Studies Paper-II (CSAT ) 80 Questions 2 Hours 200
Total 400
Marking Scheme

Paper I : 2 marks for each correct response, 0.66 marks will be deducted for each incorrect answer

Paper II : 2.5 marks for each correct response, 0.85 marks will be deducted for each incorrect answer

Negative Marking: There is a negative marking of (1/3), which means that one-third of the assigned marks to the question will be deducted for giving the wrong answer. However, no marks will be deducted for the questions left unanswered by the candidates.

Mains Exam Pattern

The Civil Services Main exam consists of a total of 9 papers- two qualifying papers and seven merit-based papers, which are followed by an interview round (personality test). Each paper has a duration of 3 hours. The details for all the papers are given below:

Qualifying Papers

There will be two qualifying language papers, the marks for which will not be counted for preparation of the rank list.

Paper
Description
Marks
A One of the Indian language to be selected by the candidate from the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the constitution 300
B English 300
Total 600

Paper A is not mandatory for Persons with Benchmark Disability (only Hearing Impairment sub-category) and candidates hailing from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.

The language papers are qualifying in nature, and candidates need to score above 25% in both of them so that their remaining answer sheets get evaluated. The pattern of questions in both these papers would be broadly as follows :

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Précis Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary.
  • Short Essays.

The Indian Language paper will additionally contain a section on translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Merit-Based Papers

There will be a total of seven merit-based papers, marks for which will be counted for the preparation of merit list:

Paper
Description
Marks
1 Essay 250
2 General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250
3 General Studies –II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250
4 General Studies –III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250
5 General Studies –IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250
6 Optional Subject – Paper 1 250
7 Optional Subject – Paper 2 250
Sub-Total (Written Test) 1750
Personality Test (Interview) 275
Grand Total 2025

Other than the literature or language papers, all question papers will be set in Hindi and English languages only. However, candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers (except the qualifying language papers, Paper-A and Paper-B) in either English or any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

List of Optional Subjects

The candidate can choose any one subject as the optional subject.

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

The candidates can choose the Literature of any one of the following languages as their optional subject:

Assamese Bengali Bodo
Dogri Gujarati Hindi
Kannada Kashmiri Konkani
Maithili Malayalam Manipuri
Marathi Nepali Odia
Punjabi Sanskrit Santhali
Sindhi Tamil Telugu
Urdu English

Personality Test/ Interview Pattern

Candidates who clear the written tests will be interviewed by a board at the UPSC premises in New Delhi. There is no defined pattern of the IAS interview since it differs from candidate to candidate and Board to Board. This interview is for a total of 275 marks. In the interview, candidates will be judged on the skills mentioned below:

  • Mental Alertness
  • Critical Powers of Assimilation
  • Clear and Logical Exposition
  • Balance of Judgement
  • Variety and Depth of Interest
  • Ability for Social Cohesion and Leadership
  • Intellectual and Moral Integrity

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates who wish to appear in UPSC CSE 2024 should ensure that they meet the below eligibility criteria regarding nationality, number of attempts, age limit and educational qualification.

Category Maximum age limit Number of attempts Comments
General 32 6 OBC Creamy Layer are included in the General category.
EWS 32 6 Same as General Category.
OBC (NCL) 35 9 3 years of age relaxation.
SC 37 Unlimited till age. 5 years of age relaxation.
ST 37 Unlimited till age. 5 years of age relaxation.
PwD 42 09 for GL/EWS/OBC and Unlimited for SC/ST. 10 years of age relaxation.
Defence Services Personnel 35 to 37 As per the category of the candidate. 3 years of age relaxation if disabled in action. 5 years of age relaxation for ECOs and SSCOs, who have rendered at least 5 years of service.
  • Nationality
    • For the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of
    • For other services, a candidate must be either:—
      1. a citizen of India, or
      2. a subject of Nepal, or
      3. a subject of Bhutan, or
      4. a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
      5. a person of  Indian origin  who  has  migrated  from  Pakistan,  Burma,  Sri  Lanka,  East  African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (2), (3), (4) and (5) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.

(II) Age Limits:

  • A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August, 2024 i.e., the candidate must have been born not earlier than 2nd August, 1992 and not later than 1st August, 2003;
  • The upper age-limit prescribed above will be relaxable:
    • up to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe;
    • up to a maximum of three years in the case of candidates  belonging  to  Other  Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates;
    • up to a maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services Personnel, disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof;
    • up to a maximum of five years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and Emergency Commissioned Officers (ECOs)/ Short Service Commissioned Officers (SSCOs) who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st August, 2024 and have been released:
  • on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due  to  be  completed within one year from 1st August, 2024, otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency); or
  • on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service; or
  • on
    • up to a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service as on 1st August, 2022 and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of
    • up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of candidates belonging to Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (PwBD) categories
  • blindness and low vision;
  • deaf and hard of hearing;
  • locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy;
  • autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness;
  • multiple disabilities from amongst person under clauses (i) to (iv) including deaf-blindness.

Note-I : Candidates belonging to either the SC or the ST or the OBC category who are also covered under any other clauses of para 3(II)(2) above, viz. those coming under the category of Ex-servicemen or PwBD, will be eligible for grant of cumulative age-relaxation under both categories.

Note-II : The term Ex-servicemen will apply to the persons who are defined as Ex-servicemen in the Ex- servicemen (Re-employment in Civil Services and Posts) Rules, 1979, as amended from time to time.

Note-III : The age concession under para 3(II)(2) (d) and (e) will  be  admissible  to  Ex-servicemen  i.e.  a person who has served  in  any  rank whether  as combatant or  non-combatant  in  the  Regular  Army,  Navy and Air Force of the  Indian  Union  and who either has  been  retired or relieved or discharged from such service whether at own request or being relieved by the employer after earning pension.

Note-IV : Notwithstanding the provision of age-relaxation under  para  3(II)  (2)  (f)  above,  candidates  of PwBD category will be considered to be eligible for appointment  only  if  they  (after  such  Medical Examination as the Government or appointing authority, as the case may be, may prescribe) are  found to satisfy the requirements  of physical  and  medical standards  for the  concerned  Services  to  be  allocated  to the candidates of PwBD category by the Government.

Note-V : Save as provided under para 3(II) (2) above, the age-limits prescribed can in no case be relaxed.

  • The date of birth, accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognised by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University which extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University or in the Higher Secondary examination certificate or an equivalent examination The certificate in support of the date of birth is required to be submitted by a candidate only at the time of applying for the Civil Services (Main) Examination. No other document relating to age like horoscopes, affidavits, birth extracts from Municipal Corporation, Service records and the like will be accepted.

Note-I : Candidate should note that only the date of birth as recorded in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in an equivalent certificate as mentioned in para 3(III) (3) above and issued prior to the date of submission of application will be accepted by the Commission, and no subsequent request for its change will be considered or granted.

Note-II : Candidates should also note that once a date of birth has been submitted by them in the application form and entered in the records of the Commission for the purpose of admission to an Examination, no change will be allowed subsequently or at any other Examination of the Commission on any grounds whatsoever.

Provided that in case of an inadvertent/unintentional/ typographical error committed by a candidate in indicating the date of birth in the Online Application Form, the  candidate  may make  a request to the Commission for subsequent rectification along with supporting documents, as specified in the Rule 5(3) of the Examination and the request may be considered by the Commission if the same is made latest by the date of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2024 which is 05.06.2024.

All communication in this regard should contain the following particulars :-

  1. NAME AND YEAR OF THE EXAMINATION
  2. REGISTRATION D. (RID)

  1. ROLL NUMBER (IF RECEIVED)
  2. NAME OF CANDIDATE (IN FULL AND IN BLOCK LETTERS)
  3. COMPLETE POSTAL ADDRESS AS GIVEN IN THE
  4. VALID AND ACTIVE EMAIL-ID.

(III) Minimum Educational Qualification:

A candidate must hold a Graduate degree of any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions  established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the  University Grants Commission Act, 1956 or possess an equivalent qualification.

Note-I : Candidates who have appeared at a qualifying examination the passing of which would render them educationally qualified for the Commission’s Examination but have not been informed of the  result as also the candidates who intend to appear at such a qualifying examination will also be eligible for admission to the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination. All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite qualifying examination along with their application (i.e. Detailed Application Form-I) for the Main Examination, failing which such candidates will not be admitted to  the  Main  Examination. Such proof of passing the requisite qualifying examination should be dated earlier than the due date (closing date) of Detailed Application Form-I of the Main Examination.

Note-II : In exceptional cases, the Commission may treat a candidate who does not have any of the foregoing qualifications as a candidate, provided that the candidate has passed an examination conducted by any other institution the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission justifies the admission to the Civil Services Examination.

Note-III : Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications which are recognised by Government as equivalent to professional and technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the Civil Services Examination.

Note-IV : Candidates who have passed the final professional M.B.B.S or any other equivalent professional examination leading to a medical degree or certificate but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the Civil Services Examination, provided they submit along with their application a copy of certificate from the concerned authority of the University/Institution that they had passed the requisite final professional examination. In such cases, the candidates will be required to produce at the time of their interview the original degree or a certificate from the concerned competent authority of the University/Institution that they had completed all requirements (including completion of internship) for the award of the Degree.

(IV) Number of attempts:

Every candidate appearing at the examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six (6) attempts at the CSE. However, relaxation in the number of attempts will be available to the  SC/ST/OBC and PwBD category candidates who are otherwise eligible. The number of attempts available to such candidates as per relaxation is as under:

 

Number of attempts

Category to which the Candidate Belongs
SC /ST OBC PwBD
Unlimited 09

09 for GL/EWS/OBC

Unlimited for SC/ST

Note-I : The terms – GL for General, EWS for Economically Weaker Sections, SC for Scheduled Castes, ST for Scheduled Tribes, OBC for Other Backward Classes and PwBD for Persons with Benchmark Disability are used for denoting the categories of candidates taking an attempt at the Examination.

Note-II : An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be deemed to be an attempt at the Civil Services Examination.

Note-III : If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, it will be deemed that the candidate has made an attempt at the Examination.

Note-IV : Notwithstanding any subsequent disqualification/cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the Examination will count as an attempt.

Cut Off

The combined score of the Civil Services Mains exam and personality test is considered while making the final rank list of candidates for the UPSC exam. The candidate’s score in the preliminary exam is not considered for preparing the final merit list. The final cutoff for UPSC exam 2020 will be released by UPSC after the declaration of the final result. Candidates have to qualify the cutoff in order to secure the post.

The cut-off marks are decided by UPSC based on various factors, some of which are:

  • Total Number of Vacancies
  • Total Number of Candidates Participating in Each Stage
  • Last Year cut off Trends
  • Reservation Norms
  • Difficulty Level of Questions

After each stage of the examination, UPSC releases the list of qualified candidates and results/scorecards of all stages along with cutoffs are only released along with the final cutoff. UPSC therefore releases a cutoff for each stage of the Civil Services Examination: Prelims, Mains and a Final cutoff.

Previous Years’ Cut-off Trends

The category-wise cut-offs for Prelims, Main and Final is given below:

UPSC Prelims Cut Off 2022

Category UPSC Cut Off
General 88.22
EWS 82.83
OBC 87.54
SC 74.08
ST 69.35
PwBD-1 49.84
PwBD-2 58.59
PwBD-3 40.40
PwBD-5 41.76

UPSC Mains Cut-Off 2022

Category UPSC Cut Off
General 748
EWS 715
OBC 714
SC 699
ST 706
PwBD-1 677
PwBD-2 706
PwBD-3 351
PwBD-4 419

UPSC Final Cut Off 2022

Category UPSC Cut Off
General 960
EWS 926
OBC 923
SC 893
ST 900
PwBD-1 879
PwBD-2 913
PwBD-3 632
PwBD-4 590

UPSC Prelims Cut Off 2021

Category UPSC Cut Off
General 87.54
EWS 80.14
OBC 84.85
SC 75.41
ST 70.71
PwBD-1 68.02
PwBD-2 67.33
PwBD-3 43.09
PwBD-5 45.80

UPSC Mains Cut-Off 2021

Category UPSC Cut Off
General 745
EWS 713
OBC 707
SC 700
ST 700
PwBD-1 688
PwBD-2 712
PwBD-3 388
PwBD-4 560

UPSC Final Cut Off 2021

Category UPSC Cut Off
General 953
EWS 916
OBC 910
SC 886
ST 883
PwBD-1 892
PwBD-2 932
PwBD-3 689
PwBD-4 701

UPSC Prelims Cut Off 2020

Category UPSC Cut Off
General 92.51
EWS 77.55
OBC 89.12
SC 74.84
ST 68.71
PwBD-1 70.06
PwBD-2 63.94
PwBD-3 40.82
PwBD-5 42.86

UPSC Mains Cut-Off 2020

Category UPSC Cut Off
General 736
EWS 687
OBC 698
SC 680
ST 682
PwBD-1 648
PwBD-2 699
PwBD-3 425
PwBD-4 300

UPSC Final Cut Off 2020

Category UPSC Cut Off
General 944
EWS 894
OBC 907
SC 875
ST 876
PwBD-1 867
PwBD-2 910
PwBD-3 675
PwBD-4 465

UPSC Cut Off Marks 2019

Exam
GEN
EWS
OBC
SC
ST
PwBD-1
PwBD-2
PwBD-3
PwBD-5
CSE- Prelims 98.00 90.00 95.34 82.00 77.34 53.34 44.66 40.66 61.34
CSE- Mains 751 696 718 706 699 663 698 374 561
CSE- Final 961 909 925 898 893 861 890 653 708

UPSC Cut Off Marks 2018

Exam
GEN
OBC
SC
ST
PH1
PH2
PH3
CSE-Prelims 98 96.66 84 83.34 73.34 53.34 40.00
CSE-Mains 774 732 719 719 711 696 520
CSE-Final 982 938 912 912 899 908 754

UPSC Cut Off 2017

Exam
GEN
OBC
SC
ST
PH1
PH2
PH3
CSE-Prelims 105.34 102.66 88.66 88.66 85.34 61.34 40.00
CSE-Mains 809 770 756 749 734 745 578
CSE-Final 1006 968 944 939 923 948 830

UPSC Civil Services cut-off marks for Final Ranking for the last few years is provided in the below table.

Year
GEN
OBC
SC
ST
PH1
PH2
PH3
2018 982 938 912 912 899 908 754
2017 1006 968 944 939 923 948 830
2016 787 745 739 739 713 740 545
2015 877 834 810 801 802 830 679
2014 889 844 830 811 816 778 713
2013 775 742 719 707 725 718 613

Tie-Breaking Resolution in IAS Exam

The below tie-breaking rules will come into play where two or more candidates score the same aggregate marks in the Civil Services exam.

  1. If the marks secured by two or more candidates are same in the aggregate total(out of 2025), the candidate who had secured more marks in the compulsory papers(Essay, GS I, GSII, GS III, GSIV) and the personality test(IAS interview) combined will be given preference over the others.
  2. In case the candidates tied in the above situation also, the candidate who is older will be given preference over the younger one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to apply for Examinations conducted by the UPSC?

Candidates can apply online for the UPSC Examinations by accessing the online portal hosted on the UPSC’s website (https://upsconline.nic.in).

Q: What is meant by Part I and Part II of the Application Form?

Online Application Form consists of two parts i.e. Part I and Part II.

  • Part I of the Application has personal details like name, father’s/mother’s name, date of birth, address, educational qualification, age relaxation, scribe details (only for PwBD candidates opting for scribe) and preferences of particular Examination etc. The applicants are also required to mention the number of Photo ID Card.
  • Part II of the Application consists of payment option for Examination Fee (only for those who are not exempted from payment of fee), Centre of Examination along with uploading of photo, signature and photo ID card of the candidate. Candidate has to complete both Part I and Part II and submit finally to be a candidate of the said Examination.
Q: Can a candidate choose an optional subject, which he has not studied at graduate/post graduate level?

Yes.

Q: Which is the language / medium of question papers?

The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) are set in Hindi and English.

Q: How an ‘attempt’ is counted in the Civil Services Examination?

An attempt at the Preliminary Examination is considered an attempt at the Civil Services Examination:

(a) If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination.

(b) Notwithstanding the disqualification/cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination is counted as an attempt.

Q: What are the eligibility conditions for consideration for promotion to All India Services?

In terms of the provisions of Promotion Regulations, a State Civil/Police/Forest Service Officer is eligible to be considered for promotion to IAS/IPS/IFS, provided on 1st January of the year for which the Select List is to be prepared, if he/she-

(a) is a member of the State Civil/Police/Forest Service, as the case may be; and

(b) has completed not less than eight years of continuous service (whether officiating or substantive) in the post of Deputy Collector or in any other post or posts declared equivalent thereto by the State Government for IAS/ Deputy SP or in any other post or posts declared equivalent thereto by the State Government for IPS/ post(s) included in the State Forest Service for IFS; and

(c) is confirmed in the State Service; and

(d) is within the zone of consideration which is equal to three times the number of vacancies in the order of seniority; and

(e) has not attained the age of 54 years (The cut-off age has been increased to 56 years which shall come into effect from the Select List of 2015, that is for the vacancies which may arise between 01.01.2015 and 31.12.2015, as per the amendments to the IAS/IPS/IFS Promotion Regulations dated 17.03.2015 and the clarification issued vide OM No. 14015/30/2015-AIS-I dated 20.03.2015 by the Department of Personnel & Training, Government of India).

Q: What are the eligibility criteria for consideration for selection of Non-State Civil Service Officers to the Indian Administrative Services?

In terms of the provisions of IAS (Appointment by Selection) Regulations 1997, a Non-State Civil Service Officer is eligible to be considered for selection to the Indian Administrative Service, provided he/she-

(a) is of outstanding merit and ability; and

(b) holds a Gazetted post in a substantive capacity; and

(c) has completed not less than 8 years of continuous service under the State Government on the first day of January of the year in which his/her case is being considered in any post which has been declared equivalent to the post of Deputy Collector in the State Civil Service; and

(d) has not attained the age of 54 years on the 1st day of the January of the year for which the Select List is to be prepared. (The cut-off age has been increased to 56 years which shall come into effect from the Select List of 2015, that is for the vacancies which may arise between 01.01.2015 and 31.12.2015, as per the amendments to the IAS Selection Regulations dated 17.03.2015 and the clarification dated 20.03.2015 issued thereto by the DoP&T, Government of India).

Q: Can State PCS Officers be promoted to IAS?

Yes, State PCS Officers can be promoted to become IAS officers subject to certain conditions laid down by UPSC. Each year, out of the total IAS vacancies, nearly 33% are filled through such promotions.

Q: I appeared only for GS Paper I in the Prelims Exam. Will this be counted as an attempt?

If a candidate appears in any one paper of the IAS Prelims Exam, then it is considered that he/she has made an attempt in the IAS Exam.