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IAS 2021: Application, Eligibility, Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Admit Card & Result

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Jan 22, 2021

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Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Indian Administrative service (IAS) exam every year on a national level. The competitive exam comprises of Prelims, Mains and Interview round and is designed to recruit for several superior administrative positions in Central Government. The IAS 2021 notification will be released by UPSC in February 2021. In the meantime, IAS Mains 2020 is being conducted from January 8-17, 2021.

Latest Updates:  

January 13, 2021:SC adjourned petition to provide extra attempt for IAS 2021. Check the news here

12 January 2021: Supreme Court has directed Centre to prepare guidelines regarding extra attempt for IAS. Read more

10 January 2021: Check the exam analysis for IAS Mains 2020 GS-III and IV here and here

9 January 2021: Check the exam analysis for IAS Mains 2020 GS-I and II here and here

8 January 2021: Check the question paper and topics for IAS 2020 Mains Essay paper here

6 January 2021: The reserved list of recommended candidates for UPSC civil services exam 2019 is out. Read more

22 december 2020:  IES Qualified jatin Kishore cracked civil services 2020 with rank AIR 2. Read more

Get FREE IAS 2021 Mock Tests, Sectional Quiz, Previous Years Papers. Click Here

IAS dates

IAS 2020-21 Exam Dates 

Event UPSC 2021 exam dates
IAS 2020 Mains exam January 8,9,10,16,17, 2021 (5 days)
Issuance of Official Notification (IAS 2021) February 2021 (expected)
Online Registration for IAS Exam 2021 Start Date February 2021 (expected)
Last Date for submitting the online registration March 2021
Release of UPSC IAS 2021 Admit Card 3rd week of May 2021
UPSC Civil Services Prelims 2021 Exam Date June 27, 2021

Must Read

IAS Highlights

Highlights of IAS Exam 2020-21

The key points about the IAS exam 2021 are highlighted below:

Exam Name UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021
Exam Level National
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Official Website
Exam Periodicity Yearly
Exam Mode Offline (Pen-Paper Mode) 
No. of Vacancies Nearly 900   

Download IAS 2020 Sample Papers

IAS Important Dates
IAS Admit Card

IAS 2021 Admit Card

Candidates can download their admit cards from the official website of UPSC once it is released. The admit card is mandatory to be granted entry in the exam hall and has all the personal details as well as venue details for the candidates. it should be retained till the results are declared for future reference. In case there is any descrepancy in the admit card, it should be reported to the UPSC Exam authorities with relevant redressal documents at the earliest.

IAS 2021- How to download the IAS admit card?

By following the steps mentioned below, you can easily download the IAS admit card when it is released:

Step 1: Visit the official website of UPSC

Step 2: Click on the link ‘Download IAS Admit Card 2021’ 

Step 3: Read the instructions mentioned carefully and click ‘Yes’

Step 4: Enter Registration ID or Roll Number followed by the Date of Birth of the candidate

Step 5: Submit after entering the captcha in the given blank field. 

Check the details here about downloading the IAS admit card and the relevant instructions.

IAS 2021 Preliminary Exam Centers

For IAS 2020 Prelims, there were exam centers across 24 cities in India. To get more details about the IAS 2021 exam centers and relevant instructions, you can refer the IAS Prelims Exam Center.

IAS Eligibility

IAS 2021 Eligibility Criteria

The following are the basic eligibility criteria for IAS exam:

Criteria Requirement
IAS 2021 Age Limit 21-32 years with age relaxation for reserved categories
Qualification Graduation deree from recognized university
Maximum Number of Attempts 6
Nationality Citizen of india or Subject of Nepal/Bhutan, or Tibetan refugee and Indian Origin Migrants from select countries.

For complete Eligibilility criteria, Check the IAS 2021 Eligibility Criteria.

How to Apply

UPSC IAS 2021 Application Form

Candidates can fill the civil services application form in online mode only at the official website –

UPSC IAS 2021- How to Fill the IAS 2021 Application Form?

There are four simple steps involved in the IAS Application Process – online registration, filling up the form, uploading documents, and fee payment. The step by step procedure to apply for IAS Exam is given below:

Step 1: IAS 2021 Registration

  1. Visit the official website –
  2. Click on the link ‘UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021’ under Active Examinations section
  3. Enter your Name, Date of Birth, Email Address, and Mobile Number.
  4. Enter the captcha and click on the “Submit” button. You will receive your login credentials at registered ID.

Step 2: Fill IAS 2021 Application Form

  1. Log in again using your credentials to fill the application form.
  2. Candidates have to fill their Personal, Educational, Parental, and Employment details.
  3. Keep saving each module after filling the details.
  4. You can make changes before the final submission.
  5. However, no changes would be possible after the final submission, hence fill the application form very carefully.

Step 3: Uploading Documents

Candidates have to upload the following documents in the application form:

  • Passport-size photograph
  • scanned image of their signature

Step 4: Pay IAS Application Fee

  1. Choose the payment method between online or offline mode
  2. For online payment, candidates can use credit card/debit card/Rupay card or Internet Banking Services.
  3. For offline payment, download the e-challan and submit the cash in SBI bank branches on the next day itself.
  4. IAS Registration fee is INR 100 for General, EWS, and OBC candidates whereas SC, ST, PwD, and Female candidates are exempted from fee payment.
Note: After fee payment, download and save the filled-in IAS 2021 Application Form.

IAS Vacancy

Posts Offered through IAS

There is a tentative of 782 vacancies this year via the civil services exam. Following posts are offered in two given groups:

Group A Services
Indian Administrative Service Indian Post and Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service
Indian Audit and Accounts Service Indian Postal Service
Indian Civil Accounts Service Indian Railway Accounts Service
Indian Corporate Law Service Indian Railway Personnel Service
Indian Defence Accounts Service Indian Railway Traffic Service
Indian Defence Estates Service Indian Revenue Service (Custom and Central Excise)
Indian Foreign Service Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax)
Indian Information Service (Junior Grade) Indian Trade Service (Gr. III)
Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration) Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force
Indian Police Service --
Group B Services
Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services (Section Officer’s Grade) Pondicherry Civil Service
Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Services Pondicherry Police Service
Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Services -

Check IAS Selection Process

IAS Exam Pattern

IAS 2021 Exam Pattern

IAS Exam 2021 consists of 3 stages namely Preliminary, Mains, and Personal Interview. Each exam has a different pattern and number of questions.

  • Preliminary exam in IAS Exam 2020 is just a screening test to shortlist candidates for the further selection process.
  • Those who qualify Prelims are required to re-register for IAS Main 2021 which is qualifying in nature.
  • Further, selected candidates will appear for the personal interview round.

IAS 2021 Exam Pattern is given in the table below:

Specifications IAS Preliminary Exam IAS Main Exam
Mode Offline Offline
Medium Bilingual (English and Hindi) Bilingual (English and Hindi)
Number of qualifying papers 7 + 2 language papers
Total weightage  400 Marks (200 each) 1750 Marks
Type of questions Objective Subjective
Negative marking for each incorrect answer one-third (0.33) -
Duration of exam 2 Hours per Paper 3 Hours per Paper
IAS Syllabus & Books

Go through the practice of previous years’ papers of IAS Exam free of cost

IAS Syllabus & Books

IAS Syllabus is decided by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) each year. Each stage in the IAS exam has a different syllabus.

  • IAS Syllabus for Prelims evaluates a candidate’s knowledge and aptitude in current affairs.
  • IAS Syllabus for Main assesses a candidate’s academic expertise in his specialized subject. It also tests his ability to present knowledge in a clear and coherent manner and his overall intellectual traits and understanding of concepts. 
  • IAS Exam 2021 covers questions from History, Polity, Geography and Agriculture, Science and Technology, Ecology and Environment, Economics, Arts and Culture, Social Welfare, and GK. 
  • In the Main examination, candidates have to choose two optional subjects in which they have specialization and the level of paper corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.

Read Complete IAS 2021 Syllabus

Read IAS Preparation Tips

IAS Previous Years Papers

IAS Previous Years’ Prelims Question Papers

Years General Paper 1 General Paper 2 (CSAT)
2019 Download Download
2018 Download Download
2017 Download Download
2016 Download Download

Download More IAS Question Papers

How to Check IAS 2021 Result?

UPSC will declare IAS Preliminary Exam Result in July 2020 at  Candidates can follow the below steps to access IAS Result 2020:

  1. Visit the official website of IAS i.e.
  2. Click on the link which says ‘View IAS Result 2020’
  3. Find your roll number in the list of the roll numbers mentioned in the PDF
  4. Download PDF for future reference

Read Current Affairs (Polity and Governance Part II) before appearing for IAS exam

IAS 2021- Previous Years’ Cut-off

  • IAS Cutoff Marks is the minimum score that must be obtained by the candidate in order to qualify the exam.
  • Candidates scoring more than or equal to the cutoff marks are eligible for the next stage of IAS selection process.
  • The cutoff for both prelims and main depends upon a number of factors like the difficulty level of the exam, vacancies available and the number of appearing candidates, etc.
  • The cutoff for each stage is released by the authorities post the completion of the entire process of civil services examination. Meanwhile, candidates can check IAS Previous Years’ Cutoff for different categories as tabulated below:

IAS 2018 Cutoff

Category Preliminary (Out of 200) Main (Out of 1750) Final (Out of 2025)
General 98.00 774 982
OBC 96.66


SC 84.00 719 912
ST 83.34 719 912
PH 1 73.34 711 899
PH 2 53.34 696 908
PH 3 40.00 520 754
PH 5 45.34 460 718

IAS Selection Process 2021

The selection process of IAS Exam is a 3 stage assessment, wherein, candidates have to appear for Prelims, main and Personal Interview round.

  • Preliminary exam is basically a screening test in which, over 8 lakh candidates participate every year.
  • There are two papers for candidates to attempt compulsorily in IAS Exam 2020 Prelims.
  • Further, on the basis of IAS Exam 2020 result for prelims, candidates register for the main exam.
  • IAS main exam will cover 9 conventional essay type papers, 2 being optional in them.
  • The main exam and interview session form the basis of a candidate’s selection.
  • After the IAS Exam 2020 main examination of 1750 marks, candidates have to clear the cutoff as decided by UPSC.
  • Those who clear the cutoff are called for the Interview session which is the last stage of IAS Selection Process.
  • Marks obtained in personal interview out of the total of 275 marks will also be considered while preparing the list of finally selected candidates.
Frequently Asked Questions

IAS 2021 FAQs

Ques. What is the IAS Exam?

Ans. IAS stands for Indian Administrative Service. It is a civil services exam that is conducted by UPSC each year. It contains 3 stages viz. Prelims, Prelims and Interview. All shortlisted candidates can choose from the given Group A/ B posts.

Ques. What is the salary of an IAS officer?

Ans. The 7th Pay Commission recommendations were approved by Cabinet on May 19, 2016. Now the basic pay of entry-level IAS officers is INR 56100. Allowances like Dearness Allowance (DA), House Rent Allowance (HRA), and Travel Allowance (TA) will be extra. The salary will increase as experience increases. The basic pay of Cabinet Secretary is fixed at INR 2,50,000.

So, IAS Salary = Basic Pay + DA + HRA + TA

Ques. What are some useful websites to prepare for IAS?

Ans. Candidates preparing for IAS can take help from websites such as,,,,,, etc.

Ques. What are the minimum qualifying marks for clearing IAS interview?

Ans. There are no minimum marks to qualify the interview round. However, the interview round carries 275 marks.

Ques. What is the number of vacancies available through IAS each year?

Ans. The number of available vacancies is noted in each of the advertisements. They vary every year. However, in the last 4 years, the number of vacancies has varied between 1000-1200.

Ques. When will IAS 2020 Notification be released?

Ans. UPSC will release IAS 2020 Notification and Application Form on February 12, 2020. 

Ques. I have studied at an Open University? Am I eligible to apply for IAS?

Ans. Yes, you can apply only if it is a recognized university and you possess the educational qualifications prescribed for the exam.

Ques. How many times can I appear for IAS?

Ans. A candidate from General Category can sit for IAS a maximum of 6 times. Candidates from reserved categories can sit as many times as they want. There is no restriction.

Ques. I don’t have my class X and XII Marksheet. Can I still sit for IAS?

Ans. Yes, provided the graduation has been completed from a recognized University and you possess the educational qualifications prescribed for the exam.

Ques. How and when will the students be able to fill the IAS 2020 application form?

Ans. Students will be able to fill the IAS 2020 Application form from February 12, 2020 to March 3, 2020, in online mode only.

Ques. When and what are the different phases in which the IAS 2020 exam conducted?

Ans. The IAS 2020 exam will be held in two different phases i.e. Prelims and main followed by an interview round. Prelims will be conducted on May 31, 2020 and the main exam will be held on September 18, 2020.

Ques. If students are unable to clear the Phase II exam can they able to appear for the interview round?

Ans. No, students qualifying IAS main exam will only be called for interview round.

Ques. Are 12th pass candidates eligible to appear for the IAS 2020 examination?

Ans. No, for appearing in the IAS 2020 Exam, the student must possess graduation degree from a recognized college or university.

Ques. What should be the students maximum and minimum age required to fill the IAS 2020 Application form?

Ans. Student’s minimum age should be 21 years and maximum age should be 32 years as on August 1, 2020.

Ques. In which year students must be born so that they are able to fill the application form.

Ans. Students must have been born not earlier than August 2, 1987, and not later than August 1, 1998.

The age limit for different categories is as:

Category Upper age limit
General 32 years
OBC 35 years
SC/ ST 37 years
PWD 42 years
J & K Domicile Gen = 37 years, OBC = 40 years, SC/ ST = 40 years, PH = 50 year
Disabled Servicemen Gen = 37 years, OBC = 40 years, SC/ ST = 40 years

Ques. Other than Indian students who else can apply for the IAS 2020 exam.

Ans. Except for Indian Students, a citizen of Nepal or Bhutan or a Refugee from any other country can apply for IAS 2020 Exam but they must have a permanent plan to settle in India

Ques. What are the important details that students need to provide while filling the application form?

Ans. The details that students need to provide while filling the application form are applicants name, father's name, mother's name, address, contact no., and email ID, etc.

Ques. What are the documents that students need to bring along with them on the exam day?

Ans. On the examination day, students need to bring their admit card and ID proof along with them.

Ques. How much is the IAS 2020 Application fee and what are the methods to pay the fees?

Ans. For the general category, male candidates have to pay INR 100/- as application fees and SC/ ST/ PWD/ Female candidates don’t have to pay the application fees. Online or offline are both the mode to pay the application fees.

Ques. Other than Visa Card/ Debit Card or Credit card is there any other method for paying the online application fees.

Ans. No, online application fees can only be paid via Visa Card/ Credit Card or Debit card through net banking of SBI branches throughout India.

Ques. Except for the branches of SBI bank can students pay the application fees to other banks?

Ans. No, the application fees can only be paid at SBI branches.

Ques. Name the subjects from which the questions will be asked in IAS 2020 Prelims exam?

Ans. In IAS 2020 Prelims exam, the questions will be asked from the subjects namely General Studies and Aptitude Test.

Ques. In how many sections the IAS 2020 main exams is divided and name the subjects from which the questions will be asked.

Ans. The IAS 2020 Main exam is divided into 9 sections and the subjects from which the questions asked are Modern Indian Language Skills, English Language Skills, Essay Writing, General Studies – I, General Studies – II, General Studies – III, General Studies – IV, Optional Subject Paper – 1, and Optional Subject Paper – 2.

Ques. In which medium the exam is conducted and what is the total time duration to complete the paper?

Ans. The exam is conducted in both the English and Hindi medium. For the prelims exam, the total time duration given to complete per paper is 2 hours and for Main, to complete per paper 3 hours will be given.

Ques. What are the types of questions asked in both the Prelims and main exam?

Ans. The questions in the prelim exam are of objective type and for the main exam; the questions are of both objective and subjective type.

Ques. What is the marking scheme of the IAS 2020 Prelims exam? Is there is any marks deduction for wrong answers?

Ans. In IAS 2020 Prelims exam, each question in general studies carries 2 marks, and the civil service aptitude test carries 2.5 marks. For every incorrect answer, 0.33 marks will be deducted as penalty.

Ques. How many marks will students get for every correct answer in IAS 2020 main exam? Will the marks have deducted for wrong answers?

Ans. For every correct answer, students will get 2.5 marks. While 0.33 marks will only be deducted for every wrong objective type answer.

Ques. If students are unable to submit the filled-in application form, will they be able to download the admit card?

Ans. No, only those students are able to download the admit card who have successfully submitted their application form

Ques. When and who will release the IAS 2020 Admit card and what is the mode to download it?

Ans. The admit card will be released on the official website in the last week of May 2020. It can download through online mode only.

Ques. What if students did not bring the admit card on the examination day?

Ans. Those who did not bring the admit card will not be able to sit for the exam.

Ques. What information do students need to enter for downloading the admit card?

Ans. Students need to enter their registration number and date of birth for downloading the admit card

Ques. Where to report if the students found any discrepancy in the admit card?

Ans. In the case of any discrepancy in the admit card, students have to instantly report the higher authorities.

Ques. Why the cut off marks are so important in the recruiting process and who will consider it?

Ans. Cut off are important in the recruiting process for shortlisting the students. UPSC board will consider the cut off marks.

Ques. List down the impact of cut off marks in all the stages while shortlisting the candidates?

Ans. At the time of the prelims exam, cut off marks is applicable to shortlist the candidates for IAS main exam Cut off of the main exam helps to select students for the personal interview

Ques. When is the result of the IAS 2020 Prelims exam announced? Who is responsible for declaring it?

Ans. The IAS 2020 Prelims result will be announced in July and it will be declared by Commission on the official website.

Ques. How many rounds that students have to clear for their final selection?

Ans. For the student’s final selection they have to clear the three rounds i.e. Preliminary exam, Main Exam and Personal Interview round.

Ques. How will the final merit list be prepared and when is the merit list declared?

Ans. For preparing the final merit list, both the marks of written test and final interview will be taken into consideration and the merit list will be prepared after the declaration of the result.

Ques. How many times can students appear for an IAS exam? Is there any kind of restriction that students need to face for appearing in the exam?

Ans. General category candidates can sit for the exam for a maximum 6 times. There is no restriction for reserved category candidates (OBC- NCL category- 9 attempts), they can appear as many times as they want.

Ques. What is the total number of vacancies available for IAS and who will release it?

Ans. The total number of vacancies released by the UPSC every year for civil services is 782.

Ques. If a student writes the exam in English can they interview in Hindi or any other language?

Ans. No, if a student writes the exam in the English language they can give the interview in the same language only.

Ques. Can final year students of graduation apply for IAS 2020 examination?

Ans. Yes, final year students of graduation can apply for IAS 2020 but they have to give their passing proof.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.


What action is taken by the Commission in case of submission of false information by the candidates?
kavita rani

Hi Pradeepraj. Candidate will be immediately rejected and will not be considered further.

After the written examination, on what criterion is the answer books sent for evaluation? Is it on Roll No. basis or based on centre of examination? That is, will a particular examiner/ set of examiners get to evaluate answer books only of a particular centre or a particular group of Roll Nos.?
kavita rani

Hi Pradeepraj. Mixing of the answer books obtained from different venues is carried before actually sending them forward for evaluation. Computer-based randomized fictitious code number is given to each answer-book before evaluations

Hello Sir, This is SreeRam , I born on 13th Jun 1985 and OBC candidate please let me know if I'm eligible to apply 2021 UPSC?

Hello Sreevas,

Unfortunately, you can not apply for UPSC as an eligible OBC candidate for UPSC should not be born before 2nd August 1985. For more information, kindly visit – UPSC CSE Eligibility

I have completed my Btech in the field of IC inspite of that, can i choose Geography as my desired subject for paper 8 and 9 ??
arvind kumar

Hi Samad, you can choose geography as your optional subject. For more details visit: IAS EXAM

sourajit mukherjee
Is it necessary to have a graduate degree before applying for the AFCAT or assistant commandant UPSC?


Candidates should mandatorily have a three years degree course in any discipline from a recognized University with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent.

ujjwal priya
Tell me which subject is ideal for a biotechnology students to prepare for mains optional ??


For biotechnology students, Botany, Chemistry or Medical Sciences would be a good optional subject

madhusudana t n
how to apply
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Madhusudana, you can check the procedure to apply for this exam from here: IAS Application Process
rahul bharai
what is eligibility of st candidate?
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Rahul, for general candidates, age limit is 32 years to appear in this exam while ST students are given relaxation of 5 years in this criterion. Thus, they can apply up to 37 years of age. You can check other eligibility criteria in detail from here: IAS Eligibility Criteria

aman kumar
i am doing btech and i am in second year of college in fourth semester i want to appear in upsc 2021-22 do i will we eligible for that during the time of registration
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Aman, you can apply for this exam only if you are in your last semester of graduation and waiting for result or you have finished UG degree. Thus, you ill not be eligible to apply for the exam in 2021. You can check other eligibility criteria for this exam from here: Eligibility Criteria of IAS Pre Exam

divya r
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Divya, registration process for this exam is expected to start from Feb 12, 2020. Candidates can apply for it till Mar 3, 2020.
rohit mudliar
If we score well in the exams, do they assign us jobs or can we pick where we want to go? (IFS for me)
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Rohit, posting are allotted on the basis of your overall performance in Pre, Mains, Interview and also on the vacancies in respective cadres. You can go through the selection process in detail from below:

  • IAS Selection Process has three stages. First is IAS prelims exam, those who qualify this have to register again for IAS Main exam.
  • Marks scored in IAS Prelims is only considered to select candidates to main exam and not for final merit list.
  • IAS Main Exam will be conducted on September 20, 2019, those who qualify this will be called for the final round – IAS Interview Round.
  • IAS Interview round is conducted in the month of February to March. Final merit list is prepared based on the main exam and interview.
tanshi singh
boks for maains exam
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Tanshi, you can refer to the Suggested Books and practice papers for the exam from here.

ankush verma
my height is 5.5 ,can i apply for ips
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Ankush, you can check the Eligibility Criteria for this exam from here to know whether you are eligible or not.

thandlam divya
Now I am studying 2 year in University in computer science and I have complete by 2022 .being I am cse student which subject I have to take while preparing of preliams related to my subjects
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Divya, generally people with engineering background go for subjects like mathematics, geography, botany, agriculture,zoology etc. It would be advised that you choose the subject as per your interest and comfort level.
shaik seema
no comments. i want to know when the IAS notifications was annouced.
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Seema, notification for IAS prelims exam was released in month of April, 2019.
salim shaikh
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Salim, you can check the Preparation Tips for this exam from here.

vikas chauhan
How can a science student prepare for IAS exam ?how can he/she prepare for interview (science student)
shobhna chaturvedi

Hi Vikas, you can refer the Preparation Tips for the exam from here.

What is fees for this exam
manish arya
Can I know where is interview conducted
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Manish, visit the official website of UPSC for relevant details.
saurav rai
Is 2 vocational agriculture result is valid for upsc?though I am graduate from ignou in BA sociology.
shobhna chaturvedi
Hi Saurav, you are eligible to apply for the exam.