Civil Services (IAS) Exam – Notification, Application, Syllabus, Pattern, Admit Card, Results, Vacancies

For the year 2021, UPSC notified 712 vacancies (lesser compared to the previous yearโ€™s 792) for the civil services posts. This year, as per the latest announcement made by the Union Public Service Commission, the civil services exam registration deadline is 24th March and the Prelims will be held on 27th June 2021.ย ย 

Civil Services Examination (CSE) is one of the toughest competitive examination in India. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, which includes Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Forest Service (IFoS), and Indian Police Service (IPS). Also known as the UPSC exam, the Civil Services Exam is conducted in 3 stages – Prelims, Mains and Interview. Applicants have to pass each stage with a required cut off.

In this article, we will focus on how to qualify for IAS and apply for the UPSC exam, number of vacancies, and latest updates.

Civil Services Examination 2021 – Key Dates




1. Application timeline 4 March 2021 to 24 March 2021
2. Application withdrawal dates 31 March 2021 to 6 April 2021
3. Last date to pay the application fee

23 March 2021 (offline)

24 March 2021 (online)

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4. Release of e-admit card Three weeks before the commencement of examination
5.ย  Date of examination 27 June 2021

To check UPSC IAS exam dates updates, read Civil Services Exam Dates article here.

Civil Services Exam – IAS Main Features

The IAS exam is a highly coveted exam in India and all ministries and departments in the union and state governments have top IAS officers. UPSC has notified around 796 vacancies which is lesser as compared to the previous year.ย 

The table below highlights the types of exam, mode of exam, fees, no. of centres and much more.

Exam Civil Services (IAS) Examย 
Who conducts it Union Public Service Commission
Exam Level National
UPSC Vacancies 712
No. of attempts Once a year
Examination mode Pen and Paper Mode
Stages of exam Prelims – Mains(Written) – Mains(Interview)
Fees for application 100
Language Prelims – English and Hindi
Test centres Across the country

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Civil Services Exam IAS – Notification, Application, Syllabus, Pattern

Notification for the IAS 2021 exam was announced on March 4, 2021. UPSC holds the IAS exam for posting into the following All India Services & central services:

All India Services:

  1. IAS (Indian Administrative Services)
  2. IPS (Indian Police Services)
  3. IFoS (Indian Forest Services) – Only preliminary examination is held.

Central Services:

  1. Indian Foreign Services(IFS)
  2. Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  3. Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  4. Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  5. Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  6. Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  7. Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration).
  8. Indian Postal Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  9. Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  10. Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  11. Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  12. Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  13. Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group โ€˜Aโ€™
  14. Indian Defence Estates Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  15. Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  16. Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’.
  17. Indian Corporate Law Service, Group โ€˜Aโ€™.
  18. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group โ€˜Bโ€™ (Section Officerโ€™s Grade).
  19. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
  20. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’.
  21. Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
  22. Pondicherry Police Service, Group โ€˜B

Civil Services Exam – Key Dates

IAS Exam 2021 Notification March 4, 2021 The UPSC issued a notification for 712 openings
Last date to applyย  March 24, 2021 The IAS online application was accepted by this date
IAS Preliminary Exam 2021 June 27, 2021 IAS Prelims 2021 – Exam Dates
IAS Prelims 2021 Result To be announced The result of the IAS Prelims Exam 2020 will be announced by UPSC.
IAS Main Exam 2021 September 17, 2021 The IAS Main Exam 2021 conducted by UPSC to be held in September

Civil Services Exam – Eligibility

To be eligible for Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), a candidate must be an Indian citizen. For all other services, a candidate can be an Indian citizen or :

  • A subject of Nepal/ Bhutan
  • A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962 with intention to settle in India.
  • A person of Indian origin who has migrated from countries such as Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam and wishes to settle permanently in India.

Candidates must be minimum 21 years and maximum 32 years of age as on August 1, 2021 and there are certain age relaxation for reserved category students.

  • For SC/ST students, age is relaxed up to 5 years
  • For OBC candidates, age is relaxed up to 3 years
  • For Defence Services Personnel, disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country, age is relaxed upto 3 years
  • For ex-servicemen such as commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years of military service and released from service as on August 1, 2021, age is relaxed upto 5 years.
  • For PwD candidates, age is relaxed upto 10 years.

Applicants must have completed graduation degree in any stream from any university established under the act passed by the Parliament of India. If you are in the last year of the graduation and awaiting results you can still apply for the IAS preliminary exam. But you will have to submit the proof that you have passed the requisite exam at the time of applying for the Mains. Medical graduates can apply for the prelim exam but must complete an internship after obtaining the MBBS degree to be finally eligible to be selected for IAS posts.

Applicants must be physically fit to apply for the examination.

Civil Services Exam – Examination Attempts

General/EWS candidates 6 times
Other Backward Classes (OBCs) 9 times
SC/ST candidates Until exam age limit
PwD Until exam age limit

Civil Services Exam – Application, Syllabus & Pattern

IAS exam is conducted in 2 stages: preliminary stage – where candidates get an objective type of paper, main stage – you get a subjective type of paper and preliminary stage is for screening of candidates and it does not get counted into the final merit list. The Mains exam is the critical stage in which you need to get qualifying marks to be selected for an interview/personality test, and the marks obtained in it are crucial for the final merit list.

Civil Services Exam – Syllabus of the IAS prelims exam

General Studies Paper I 100 Questions – 2 Hours 200 Marks


Studies Paper-II

80 Questions – 2 Hours 200 Marks (not considered)
ย  Total 200

The prelims exam is an MCQ exam where the candidates require marking the right answer from the given options for the questions.

Civil Services Exam – Syllabus of the IAS mains examination

IAS main exam is a long descriptive paper-based exam in which the candidates will have to attempt the questions by providing long answers. In addition to general studies, there is an essay paper in which the candidates need to write 2 essays.

Index Exam Subject Marks
1 Essay Paper 250
2 General Studies I 250
3 General Studies II 250
4 General Studies III 250
5 General Studies IV 250
6 Optional Subject Paper I 250
7 Optional Subject Paper I 250

Steps to apply for the exam & selection process:

  • Aspirants have to visit to download the application form within the timeline advertised by UPSC.
  • After you have submitted the form online, you can then proceed to pay the IAS application fee in an online or offline mode.
  • Once the applications are submitted and registration deadline has got over, then an admit card issuing date will be announced. One can download the admit card from the official website on the day of announcement.
  • Applicants who qualify the IAS prelims exam,ย  will have to fill the Detailed Application Form(DAF) for the IAS main exam. It is a key document which plays a very important role in the IAS interview and service allocation process.
  • After qualifying for the prelims, applicants will be notified and they have to appear for the exam as notified by the main exam advertisement by UPSC.
  • If you have passed both the stages, you will be called for the IAS interview based on the result declared as notified. The IAS interview is conducted at the UPSC Office, New Delhi. Scholarship Registration, Get Scholarship Update

Civil Services Exam IAS – Admit Card, Results

UPSC releases the results on their official website after calculating both the marks obtained in prelims and mains and generating a final merit list to choose the top candidates for the civil services posts like IAS, IPS, IFS etc. Applicants whose names and roll numbers appear in the merit list will then become eligible for recruitment in different services based on DAF and the vacancies available at that time.

Civil Services Exam IAS – Salary, Vacancies

UPSC has notified that there will be 712 vacancies. Approximately 180 IAS officers are recruited each year based on the cadre allocation documents. This year, the number of vacancies is less than the previous year, as allotment trend says it. The Baswan Committee recommended to recruit 180 IAS officers and 150 IPS officers every year to fill the recruitment gap from the past years and to strengthen the pool of All India Services.

Civil Services Exam IAS – FAQs

Q. What is the age limit for applying to the IAS exam?

The lower age limit is 21 years and the upper age limit is 32 years.

Q. What is the difference between the IAS and PCS exam?

IAS is one of the toughest All India Services exam. The recruitment for top IAS students is done by the Union Public Service Commission. PCS is the state-centric civil services recruited through the State Public Service Commissions.

Q. How many papers are there in the IAS Main Exam?

In total, 9 question papers are constituted in the IAS Main Exam. Out of these papers, the candidates need to qualify in the General English and General Hindi papers and marks on these subjects are not counted for the final merit.

Q. Can an average student crack IAS?

Yes, if you prepare for the exam well, you can crack the exam.There is no minimum percentage of marks required in the graduation course to appear for the Civil Services IAS Exam.

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