Latest Updates

  • August 7: UPSC released the cut offs (Final, Prelims and Mains) for UPSC CSE 2019.
  • August 4: The final results for UPSC CSE 2019 have been declared and can be downloaded in a PDF format on the official website.
  • July 9: UPSC has released the schedule for medical examination of candidates who will appear in IAS interviews 2019.
  • July 7: Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, UPSC has allowed candidates to revise the choice of centre for IAS exam. The revision will be done in two phases- Phase 1 will be from July 7 to 13(till 6 PM) and the second phase will open from July 20 to 24 (till 6 PM).
  • June 19: The revised interview schedule for UPSC CSE 2019 has been released. The remaining IAS interviews will be held between July 20 and July 30.
  • June 5: Prelims exam for UPSC CSE 2020 has been postponed to October 4.
  • May 20: UPSC will be announcing new dates for IAS exam 2020 on June 5.
  • May 1: UPSC Prelims exam which was scheduled to be held on 31st May has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the new dates for the same will be reviewed on 20th May.
  • April 20: UPSC Prelims 2020 have not yet been postponed. The examination date will be reviewed post May 3.
  • March 20: The interviews scheduled from 23rd March, 2020 to 3rd April, 2020 for candidates who qualified the Civil Services (Main) Examination 2019 have been postponed till further orders due to the ongoing pandemic.

About UPSC

The Civil Services Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to recruit candidates for Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS) and Central Civil Services including the Indian Foreign Services. Since all the ministries and departments in the union and state governments are headed by IAS officers, this is the most coveted exam in India.

This year the exam will be conducted to fill the 796 vacancies as announced in the UPSC notification. From 2020 onwards, the services related to Indian Railways are also included within the purview of the UPSC CSE.

Important Dates



Release of Notification 12-Feb-2020
Online application 12-Feb to 3-Mar-2020
Prelims Admit Card To be announced
Prelims Exam 4 Oct 2020
Prelims Result To be announced
Main Exam 8 Jan 2021

Exam 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.

No. of Questions
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.

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:

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


The UPCS CSE Syllabus is broadly defined in the IAS notification each year. It has no boundaries but can be filtered with the relevance and recency point of view. The syllabus is defined based on the principles of socio-economic awareness expected from IAS aspirants. UPSC frames the IAS prelims questions in such a way that it requires the knowledge of a topic in its entirety to answer a question. So, candidates need to plan their IAS preparation in such a way that it serves the requirements of both the prelims and main exam. The detailed syllabus for Prelims is present here, while that for Mains examination is present on this page.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates who wish to appear in UPSC CSE 2020 should ensure that they meet the below eligibility criteria regarding nationality, number of attempts, age limit and educational qualification.

  1. Nationality

For Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), a candidate must be a citizen of India. For all other services, a candidate can either be a citizen of India or

  • A subject of Nepal/ Bhutan
  • A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India
  • 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

However, candidates who are subjects of Nepal/ Bhutan or Tibetan refugees are not eligible to apply for Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

  1. Age Limit

Candidates must be minimum 21 years and maximum 32 years of age as on August 1, 2020. This implies that candidates must not have been born earlier than August 2, 1988 and not later than August 1, 1999.

For reserved category candidates, there is some relaxation in this age limit as given below:

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, 2020 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

Please note that no age relaxation is provided to the Economically Weaker Sections in the UPSC Civil Services (IAS) Exam 2020.

  1. Educational Qualification

Candidates must hold a graduation degree in any stream from any university established under the act passed by the Parliament of India or State legislature. Candidates who are in the last year of the graduation and awaiting results are also eligible to apply for IAS preliminary exam. However, such candidates need to submit the proof of passing the requisite exam at the time of applying for the Main exam.

Candidates who have cleared MBBS or any other medical examination but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their Civil Services Main Exam applications, will be provisionally admitted to the exam. However, provisional admission to the exam will be given only if candidates submit a copy of the certificate from the concerned authority of the university/ institution that they had passed the requisite final professional medical exam, along with their application.

  1. Physical Standards

Candidates must be physically fit according to the standards given in the Civil Services exam notification.

  1. Number of Attempts

General/EWS candidates are allowed a maximum of six attempts in the IAS exam. The restriction of the number of attempts is not applicable for candidates belonging to the SC/ST category. Candidates belonging to OBC and Persons with Benchmark Disabilities categories are allowed a maximum of nine attempts in the exam.

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.

Number of Attempts Allowed
General/Economically Weaker Section(EWS) 6
Other Backward Classes 9
SC/ST Till the age limit
Person with Disabilities Till the age limit


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 Cut Off Marks 2019
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
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
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.

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.

Application Process

The Civil Services application process has two parts, which have been detailed below.

Steps for Part I (new registration)

  • Visit the official website of UPSC-
  • Click on the Exam Notifications tab.
  • Click on Apply Online link.
  • Click on the link available for Civil Services Part-I registration.
  • Read the application form instructions carefully and click on Yes.

Fill all basic information in the part-I application form such as name, category, date of birth, etc. and click on Continue once all the details are filled. Check all the details in the online form carefully before clicking on Submit.

Steps for Part-II Registration

Step 1: Pay application fee online (through SBI Net Banking/ debit card/ credit card) or offline (by cash through SBI bank challan) mode.

The fee for different categories is given below:

Preliminary Exam Fee
Mains Exam Fee
General/ OBC Rs 100 Rs 200
Females/ SC/ ST/ Persons with Benchmark Disability Nil Nil

Candidates can pay the application fee in online or offline mode.

  • Online mode: Candidates can make online payment of application fee via Visa/ Master/ RuPay credit/ debit card or internet banking of SBI.
  • Offline mode: Candidates can make offline payment of application fee by paying cash at any branch of SBI. Regarding the same, the official website states, “Applicants who opt for ‘Pay by Cash’ mode should print the system generated pay-in-slip during part II registration and deposit the fee at the counter of SBI Branch on the next working day only.” Candidates must note that the ‘Pay by Cash’ mode will be deactivated one day before the application process closes. However, candidates who have generated their pay-in-slip before the process is deactivated can make the payment at any SBI branch during banking hours on the closing date.

Step 2: Upload scanned images of photograph, signature and photo ID card as per the specifications mentioned below:

Format, Size & Bit Depth
Photo Minimum: 350 pixels (Width) X 350 pixels (Height)

Maximum: 1000 pixels (Width) X 1000 pixels (Height)

Format: JPG

Size: 20 KB – 300 KB

Bit Depth: 24

Signature Minimum: 350 pixels (Width) X 350 pixels (Height)

Maximum: 1000 pixels (Width) X 1000 pixels (Height)

Format: JPG

Size: 20 KB – 300 KB

Bit Depth: 24

Photo ID card NA Format: PDF

Size: 20 KB – 300 KB

Bit Depth: NA

Step 3: Enter the following information in the Civil Services online application form 2020:

Application fee payment details (except for fee exempted candidates) Selection of examination centre

Step 4: Click on the ‘I Agree’ button after reading the declaration.

Step 5: On clicking the button, a page with a registration number will be generated. To proceed for part-II registration, candidates need to click on the Click Here for Part II link present on the official UPSC website. A new page will open wherein candidates need to enter their registration ID and the date of birth and then proceed to click on the Submit button. On clicking the button, Civil Services Exam Part-II application form will appear on the screen. Candidates need to enter the required details and click on the Submit button. On submission of part-II registration form, candidates’ IAS Exam application process will be complete.

Note down the registration number or take a printout of the page.

Please note that candidates have to fill separate application forms for IAS Preliminary and Mains exams. The official website informs, “In case of any guidance/ information/ clarification regarding their applications, candidature etc candidates can contact UPSC’s Facilitation Counter near gate C of its campus in person or over telephone number 011-23385271/ 011-23381125/ 011-23098543 on working days between 10.00 hrs and 17.00 hrs.”

Steps to download admit card

Candidates can download their UPSC admit card by following the steps mentioned below:

Step 1: Visit the official website of UPSC (

Step 2: Click on the Admit Card link available on the Homepage of the website.

Step 3: Read the instructions given on the page and click on the Yes button.

Step 4: Select any of the given two options – By Registration ID or By Roll Number.

Step 5: Enter registration ID and date of birth (if ‘By Registration ID’ is selected) or roll number and date of birth (if ‘By Roll Number’ is selected).

Step 6: Click on the Submit button.

Step 7: Download the admit card

Steps to download admit card if candidate has forgotted registration ID

Candidates can follow the steps mentioned below to recover/ re-generate their registration ID:

Step 1: Visit the official website of UPSC (

Step 2: Click on the Admit Card link available on the Home page of the website.

Step 3: Read the instructions given on the page and click on the Yes button.

Step 4: Click on the link, “Forgot RID’

Step 5: Enter the following details:

  • Name
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Captcha code as shown on the screen

Step 6: Click on Submit.

On clicking the button, a registration ID will be re-generated.

In case, candidates are not able to download their admit card, they should contact the commission immediately. The official website informs, “Information in this regard can also be obtained from the Facilitation Counter located in the commission’s office either in person or over phone Nos. 011-23381125/011- 23385271/ 011-23098543.”

Details mentioned in IAS admit card

The IAS admit card is the official letter entitling the candidates to appear in the IAS exam. Other details mentioned in the IAS admit card are as follows:

  1. Name
  2. Roll Number
  3. Father’s Name
  4. Mother’s Name
  5. Centre
  6. Venue of Exam
  7. Time Table

Along with the Civil Services admit card, the candidates require an identity proof issued by government authority while appearing in the IAS exam. Any of the below ID proofs can be carried along with the admit card:

  1. Adhaar card
  2. Passport
  3. PAN Card
  4. Driving Licence
  5. Voter Id card(EPIC Card)

List of Centres

The IAS notification each year gives a list of centres for the IAS Preliminary and Main exams. The preliminary exam is conducted in about 72 cities across India while the mains exam is conducted in a total of 24 cities across India.

The exam centres (for both preliminary and mains) will be allotted on first-apply-first allot basis. Once the capacity of a particular centre is attained, the same will be frozen and applicants will have to choose a centre from the remaining options. Applicants are advised to apply early so that they can get an exam centre of their choice. The list of centres is given below:

IAS Preliminary Exam Centres

Agartala Ghaziabad Gautam Buddh Nagar
Agra Gorakhpur Panaji (Goa)
Ajmer Gurgaon Patna
Ahmedabad Gwalior Port Blair
Aizawl Hyderabad Puducherry
Aligarh Imphal Pune
Allahabad Indore Raipur
Anantpur (Andhra Pradesh) Itanagar Rajkot
Aurangabad Jabalpur Ranchi
Bangalore Jaipur Sambalpur
Bareilly Jammu Shillong
Bhopal Jodhpur Shimla
Bilaspur Jorhat Siliguri
Chandigarh Kochi Srinagar
Chennai Kohima Thane
Coimbatore Kolkata Thiruvananthapuram
Cuttack Kozhikode (Calicut) Tiruchirapalli
Dehradun Lucknow Tirupati
Delhi Ludhiana Udaipur
Dharwad Madurai Varanasi
Dispur Mumbai Vellore
Faridabad Mysore Vijayawada
Gangtok Nagpur Vishakhapatnam
Gaya Navi Mumbai  Warangal

IAS Mains Exam Centres

Ahmedabad Dehradun Mumbai
Aizawl Delhi Patna
Allahabad Dispur (Guwahati) Raipur
Bangaluru Hyderabad Ranchi
Bhopal Jaipur Shillong
Chandigarh Jammu Shimla
Chennai Kolkata Thiruvananthapuram
Cuttack Lucknow  Vijayawada


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.