IAS Exam

Indian Administrative Service Exam

What is IAS Exam?

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was formerly known as the Imperial Civil Service (ICS) is the Civil Services Examination and one of the toughest competitive exams in India. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for the recruitment of officers for the All India Administrative Civil Service.


  • 1858 (as Imperial Civil Service)
  • January 26, 1950 (as Indian Administrative Service)

The Indian Administrative Service is the premier administrative civil service of the Government of India. Hierarchy-wise, IAS is the highest administrative post among the 24 services like IPS, IFS etc.

Popularly known as the IAS exam, officially it is called as Civil Services Examination (CSE), which is conducted every year by the central recruiting agency, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

IAS is the permanent bureaucracy in India and forms a part of the executive branch. It is one of the three All India Services, its cadre can be employed by both the Union Government, the State Governments and public-sector undertakings.

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) has been termed as one of the prestigious services among the 24 government services like IPS, IFS (Foreign), IFS (Forest), IP & TAFS, IAAS, IRS, IDAS, CMSE, IRTS, IRAS, IRPS, ITS, CAPF-AF to name a few.

All these examinations are conducted by UPSC in the form of Civil Services Examination (CSE) for selecting the appropriate candidates for the jobs. Every year lakhs of candidates appear for this examination, testing their lucks and hard work to get through one of these prestigious posts.

It is important to mention that any officer selected into the IAS can be employed by Union government, state governments and/or public-sector undertakings and gets exposure in numerous job roles like the collector, head of public sector units, commissioner, chief secretary, cabinet secretary to name a few.

When on deputation outside India, the IAS officer can be engaged in inter-governmental organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the United Nations (UN), or its agencies and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to name a few.

It is very important for aspirants to know and understand the requirements of the examination such as the UPSC  IAS syllabus, pattern, eligibility criteria, application procedure and other such significant details before kick-starting the registrations.

IAS Exam Highlights

Annually, the UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE) to shortlist the candidates for more than 20 services, such as IAS, IPS and IFS. On average, more than eight lakh candidates register for the IAS exam and around five lakh candidates appear for the examination. 

The selection of the candidates will be made through the preliminary exam, main examination and an interview/personality test. This year-long selection process will begin in the month of June and conclude in April. The final merit list for the CSE will be released in May.

Exam Civil Services Examination
Exam level National
Organising body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam type  Pen and paper-based (offline)
Number of services  24
Number of attempts  6 attempts
Number of Vacancies  Approximately 900
Admit card  online
Expected registrations More than 8 lakh

UPSC IAS Notification 2020

The UPSC has released the Civil Services Examination (CSE) 2020 notification on February 12, 2020. Candidates who are aiming for the All India Services along with other services can apply online between February 12 and March 3, 2020. The CSE notification was released for a total of 796 vacancies which include 24 vacancies for persons with benchmark disability category. Aspirants are advised to check the official notification for all the details. 

Click here to download UPSC IAS notification 2020

UPSC IAS Exam 2020 Important Dates  

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) notification will be released on February 12, 2020. Candidates can apply online until March 3, 2020. The preliminary exam will be held on May 31 and Main exam in the month of September.

Civil Services Examination (CSE) notification  February 12, 2020
IAS online application form February 12 to March 3, 2020
IAS Preliminary admit card  2nd week of May 
IAS exam date  May 31, 2020
IAS Preliminary result  July 
IAS Main exam date  September 18, 2020 (5 days)
IAS Main exam result  December 2020
IAS personality test/ interview  February/March 2021
IAS final result  April 2021

IAS 2020 Number Of Vacancies 

The total number of vacancies announced in the official notification is approximately 896, out of which 39 vacancies are reserved for Persons with Benchmark Disability Category. Aspirants should note that the list was prepared based on the previous year. The vacancies will be updated after the official notification. 

Total number of vacancies  796 (including 24 reserved vacancies)
Total reserved vacancies  24
Blindness and low vision 3
Deaf and hard of hearing 9
Locomotor disability 8
Multiple disabilities 4

Candidates have to note that the final number of vacancies may change after getting the firm number of vacancies from the Cadre Controlling Authorities. 

IAS Application Form 2020 

The UPSC has activated the IAS application form 2020 window on February 12. Interested candidates who meet all the eligibility conditions set by the Commission can register for IAS exam until March 3, 2020. 

Aspirants need to complete the application form of IAS with great attention. A single mistake in IAS application form 2020 would lead aspirants to wait for one more year. Hence, we suggest candidates to refer our UPSC online application form 2020 page for detailed steps. 

IAS Online Application Form 2020 Steps 

  • Visit the official site of UPSC – www.upsc.gov.in 
  • Go to ''Apply Online'' tab. 
  • Click on ''Online Application for Various Examinations'' 
  • Find the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 
  • Start IAS registration with Part-I. 
  • Fill-up the personal details, educational qualification and address. 
  • Pay the prescribed application fee (Rs 100)
  • Choose the exam centre 
  • Upload the photo, sign and photo identity card. 
  • Accept the declaration. 
  • Check the complete details and submit. 
  • Take a printout of IAS application form for future reference. 

UPSC IAS Main Exam Dates 2020 (Tentative)

The UPSC will release the Civil Services Main Exam dates on its official website. Aspirants who have passed with flying colours in Preliminary Exam are only eligible to appear for the Main Examination. The Commission conducts the Main Examination for a total of five days in the month of September. Candidates are advised to explore the Civil Services Main Exam dates 2020


Forenoon Session

(9.00 AM to 12.00 Noon)

Afternoon Session

(2.00 PM to 5.00 PM)

September 18, 2020




No Paper 

September 19, 2020



General Studies‐I


General Studies‐II

September 20, 2020



General Studies‐III


General Studies‐IV

September 26, 2020



Indian Language



September 27, 2020



Optional Paper-I


Optional Paper-II

Being an IAS Officer

An IAS officer is given administrative command of an entire district as a District Collector. IAS officers also represent the Government of India at the international level in bilateral and multilateral negotiations.

Given below is the detailed scenario like eligibility criteria, roles & responsibilities, etc. for the upcoming Civil Services Examination 2019:

  • Main Syllabus

  • Prelims Syllabus


Eligibility Criteria

  1. Nationality:

    • Candidate must be a citizen of India
    • Candidate must be a citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan
    • Candidate must be a Tibetan Refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, to be settled permanently in India
    • Candidate must be person of Indian Origin who has migrated from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, or Zambia with an intention of permanently settling in India
  2. Educational Qualification:

    Candidate applying for the Civil Services 2020 exam is required to fulfil the following criteria:

    • Candidate must hold a Bachelor's Degree from any of the recognized universities
    • Candidates who have appeared for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results or those who are yet to appear for the qualifying examination are also eligible for the Preliminary Examination. Such candidates have to produce proof of passing the said examination along with the application for the Main Examination
    • Candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government or its equivalent are also eligible to apply
    • Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However, they must submit a certificate from the concerned University that they have passed the final professional medical examination
  3. Age Limit :

    A candidate should be a minimum of 21 years and maximum 32 years old as on August 01, 2020. But he/she must have been born not earlier than August 02, 1988 and not later than August 01, 1999. Necessary action will take to make corresponding changes in respective Rules/Regulations pertaining to various services.

    The upper age limit prescribed above is relaxable for the following candidates:

    • 5 Years - Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST)
    • 3 Years - Other Backward Classes (OBC)
    • 3 Years - Defence Services personnel
    • 5 Years - ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least 5 years Military Service as on August 01, 2020.
    • 5 Years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs
    • 10 Years - Blind, deaf-mute, and orthopedically handicapped persons
    • 5 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, 2019 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 appointment
  4. Number of attempts:

    Restriction on the maximum number of attempts is effective since 1984:

    • For General Candidates: 6 attempts (Up to 32 Years)
    • Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Candidates (SC/ST): No Limits (Up to 37 Years)
    • Other Backward Classes (OBC): 9 attempts (Up to 35 Years)
    • Physically handicapped- 9 attempts for general and OBC, while unlimited for SC/ST

Roles and Responsibilities

The role of IAS officers is very venerable, demands a great deal of responsibility and reverence. It is also important that an officer is physically and mentally fit and healthy to handle the work pressure without giving in. The following are the roles and responsibilities that an IAS officer is deputed:

  • Handling affairs of government that involve framing and implementation of policy in consultation with the concerned Minister
  • Implementing policies through supervision and also traveling to the places where the approved policies will be implemented
  • Implementing policies comprises disbursement of funds through personal supervision
  • Answerable to the Parliament and State Legislatures for any violation of rules while on duty
  • Functions and responsibilities differ at different levels of career.
  • Initially, IAS officers join the state administration at the sub-divisional level, resuming their services as sub-divisional magistrates, and look after law and order, general administration and development work in the area assigned to them
  • The post of the District Officer also known as District Magistrate, District Collector or Deputy Commissioner is the highly respected and responsible post the IAS officers enjoy
  • At the district level, an IAS officer deals with district affairs, including implementation of developmental programs
  • The officers may also be appointed in the State Secretariat or they may serve as Heads of Departments or in Public Sector Undertakings
  • They may serve in different positions from the State to the Centre and vice versa. This happens through deputation.
  • At the Centre, IAS officers serve at the highest position as the Cabinet Secretaries, Secretaries/Additional Secretaries, Joint Secretaries, Directors, Deputy Secretaries and Under Secretaries. They are appointed to these posts based on seniority.
  • At the Centre, the IAS officers play a key role in formulation and implementation of policies related to a particular area; for instance, finance, commerce, etc.
  • During formulation of a policy and decision making, IAS officers serving at different levels i.e. joint secretary, deputy secretary give their valuable inputs
  • The policy takes its final shape through a final decision the minister concerned or the cabinet, depending on the seriousness of the situation

IAS Officer Salary 

With the roles and responsibilities of an IAS officer, aspirants might have understood that Civil Services is opted not for attractive salary or perks though the pay scale of an IAS officer is lucrative. Aspirants have to consider that IAS is neither a profession nor a career to earn more perks, indeed, they should think about they're a part of nation-building for the future. 

The salary structure of a Civil Servant increased drastically with the 6th Pay Commission and this was further increased in the 7th Pay Commission in 2016. Despite a whopping increase with the successive Central Pay Commission (CPC), many still debate that the salary offered to an IAS officer doesn't match to the perks offered by the private companies. However, aspirants give the least preference to the benefits and perks because of the powers and responsibilities of an IAS officer. 

Here, we display the current salary of an IAS Officer depending upon the post. The source of the below data is the 7th Pay Commission. 

Post Pay Scale  Grade Pay
Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) & SDO INR 50,000 to INR 1,50,000 INR 16,500
Sub-Collector (2 years after probation) INR 50,000 to INR 1,50,000 INR 16,500
District Magistrate (DM) INR 50,000 to INR 1,50,001 INR 20,000
Collector INR 50,000 to INR 1,50,001 INR 20,000
Joint Secretary (Government of India) INR 50,000 to INR 1,50,001 INR 20,000
Special Secretary  INR 50,000 to INR 1,50,002 INR 23,000
Head of Government Departments  INR 50,000 to INR 1,50,002 INR 23,000
Secretary (Minister) INR 1,00,000 to INR 2,00,000 INR 26,000
Principal Secretary INR 1,00,000 to INR 2,00,000 INR 30,000
Chief Secretary (States)  INR 2,25,000 -
Union Secretary (Ministries of Government)  INR 2,25,000 -
Cabinet Secretary of India INR 2,25,000 -

IAS Admit Card 2020

The UPSC is responsible for releasing the admit card. Aspirants who submitted their online applications successfully can download the admit card from the Commission's official website. The admit card will be released separately for preliminary and main examination. The admit card will be available on the website until the exam date. The admit card download process is similar to the preliminary and main examination. Check the steps to access IAS E-admission certificate. 

  • Aspirants need to visit the official website to download the IAS admit card. 
  • Visit the E-Admit Cards tab. 
  • Click on the ''E-Admit Cards for Various Examinations of UPSC''
  • Select the relevant link and enter login credentials. 
  • Download the IAS admit card from the official website of UPSC. 

Note: Aspirants should know what are the details mentioned on IAS admit card. Hence, we advise candidates to read our UPSC admit card page.

IAS Result 2020

The UPSC is responsible for releasing the Civil Services Prelims and Mains exam result. Aspirants who have qualified in the Preliminary exam are only eligible to appear for the Main exam. Candidates whose numbers were present in the list should fill up the Detailed Application Form-I (DAF) for the Main Examination. Every year, the Commission will conduct the Main exam in the month of September. Candidates who score above the cut-off set by the Commission have to appear for the Personality Test/Interview round, which will be held in February/March. The final merit results will be released in April on the UPSC's official website after the interview round. Candidates can access the UPSC Civil Services Result for Prelims and Mains here.

How To Become An IAS Officer 

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is one amongst the All India Services, which include Indian Foreign Services (IFS) and Indian Police Services (IPS). There are three ways to become an IAS officer: Through Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), promotion of State Civil Service officers to IAS and selection of non-State Civil Service officers. 

The best way to become an IAS officer is through clearing the CSE conducted by the UPSC because it will take you to the highest positions, such as Cabinet Secretary. The Civil Services is a common examination conducted every year to shortlist the candidates for various services, such as IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, IAAS, etc. To pass with flying colours in Civil Services, aspirants should know about the important stages to become an IAS officer. 

Stage 1: Civil Services Preliminary 

The preliminary examination is the first stage in the selection process of Civil Services Examination (CSE). This is considered as the screening round. The Civil Services preliminary is an objective-type exam consisting of two papers and carries a total of 400 marks. The Paper-I consists of general studies subjects, such as history, geography, polity, science, environment, etc. Paper-II is a Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), which consists of comprehension, interpersonal skills, decision making, basic numeracy, etc. The preliminary is a screening test meant only to shortlist the candidates for the main examination. 

Stage 2: Civil Services Main Examination 

Candidates who qualify in the preliminary examination and obtain minimum cut-off score are only eligible to appear for the main examination. The number of candidates eligible to appear for the main examination will be around twelve to thirteen times the total the approximate number of vacancies. 

The main examination is conducted to assess the overall intellectual traits of a candidate. It consists of nine papers that include two qualifying papers. However, the merit is counted only for an essay, general studies and optional papers. Candidates who obtain a minimum qualifying mark in the written examination fixed by the UPSC will be called for the interview/Personality Test. The total number of candidates called for the interview will be twice the number of vacancies. 

Stage 3: Personality Test 

The personality test will be conducted in Delhi at the Commission's headquarters. The interview is conducted for 275 marks. There will be no minimum qualifying marks for personality test. Marks obtained by the aspirants in the main examination and interview will be considered for the final ranking. Candidates will be allotted the services such as IAS, IPS, IRS, IFS, etc. based on their ranks and preferences. 

Aspirants should note that apart from the selection through Civil Services Examination, UPSC also promotes the state government officers to the rank of an IAS officer.

Common Mistakes To Avoid In Civil Services Main Exam

The Civil Services Main Exam is the second stage of the selection process after Preliminary. The UPSC will shortlist around 12,000 candidates for the Main exam and 2,500 candidates for the Personality Test, i.e., Interview. Aspirants should never go wrong with the Main exam after the success in Preliminary. Unfortunately, a few candidates commit mistakes unknowingly in the conventional exam. Hence, Careerindia has decided to list the common mistakes to avoid in the Civil Services Main Exam.

  • Aspirants should not write any irrelevant matters in the answer booklet.
  • They should remember that matters irrelevant to answers also not considered.
  • One should not disclose his/her own identity in any part of the answer booklet.
  • Candidates should avoid writing partly in ink and pencil.
  • An appeal to examiner should be avoided because it will impact all the parts of the paper.
  • Candidates’ handwriting should be in a readable way.

Aspirants are advised to avoid these points while preparing for the Civil Services Main Exam. They are also advised to explore the perfect way to cancel the attempted answers and correct way to fill a QSCAB first page in the Civil Services Main Exam.

IAS Notification 2020 Released

The UPSC has released the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) 2020 notification. Candidates who are aspiring for the pioneer government service in the country can register online through the official website. They can access the IAS notification 2020 on the official site. The Commission has released the Civil Services 2020 notification for a total of 796 vacancies. 

The online application for IAS will be available through Civil Services 2020. The last date to apply online is March 3, 2020. Aspirants should pay the application fee to complete the Civil Services 2020 registration process. 

The selection of the candidates will be based on the Civil Services' Preliminary, Mains and Interview. The first phase of the exam, i.e., Preliminary, will be held on May 31, 2020. Candidates will be allotted the IAS cadre based on their marks obtained in the Main examination and Interview. The Civil Services final result will be declared in April 2021. 

12 February 2020
IAS Notification 2020 To Be Released On February 12

The UPSC is likely to release the IAS notification 2020 on February 12. Candidates who are aspiring for the Civil Services can check the notification on the Commission's official website. 

Candidates should meet all the prerequisites set by the UPSC to register online for the exam. The upper age limit is 32 years for candidates belonging to General category. One can attempt the exam only for six times. 

Aspirants should pay the prescribed application fee to complete the registration process. The exam will be held on May 31, 2020. The online applications will be accepted until March 3, 2020. 

10 February 2020
UPSC Civil Services 2019 Interview Schedule Released

The UPSC has released the Civil Services 2019 interview schedule. Candidates who have qualified in the main examination can check the interview schedule on the official website. The sources suggest that the personality test will be conducted from February 17 to April 3, 2020.

The interview likely to be conducted in two shifts the first shift from 9 am and the second shift from 1 pm. Candidates who have to appear for the personality test can download the schedule below. 

Click here for UPSC Civil Services interview 2019 schedule

Earlier, the UPSC Civil Services Mains result 2019 was declared on January 15, 2020. The Personality Test carries 275 marks. The final result will be released in April 2020. 

23 January 2020
Civil Services (Main) 2019 DAF-II Form Active Now

The UPSC has released the Detailed Application Form-II (DAF II) for Civil Services on its official website. Candidates who stand out in the Civil Services Main Examination 2019 need to indicate the order of preferences for which they are interested to be allocated to, in the on-line Detailed Application Form-II, prior to the commencement of Personality Test. Candidates should upload the documents and certificates. The last date to submit DAF II is January 27, 2020.

The official notification reads “A candidate who wishes to be considered for Indian Administrative Service or Indian Police Service shall be required to indicate in his on-line Detailed Application Form-II his order of preferences for various Zones and Cadres for which he would like to be considered for allotment in case he is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or Indian Police Service and no change in preference of Zone and Cadre once indicated by a candidate would be permitted.”

18 January 2020
What Are IAS Main Exam 2019 Essay Questions

The UPSC has kick-started the Civil Services Main Examination 2019 today, i.e., September 20. The Main Examinations will be held for a total of five days. The first paper in Civil Services Mains 2019 is Essay, which held between 9 am to 12 noon. 

The Essay consists of a total of eight questions in two sections. Candidates have to choose one each from the sections. Each essay carries 125 marks and should be written in 1000-1200 words. Here, we have listed the eight questions asked in the IAS Mains 2019 Essay paper. 


  • Wisdom finds truth. 
  • Values are not what humanity is, but what humanity ought to be. 
  • Best for an individual is not necessarily best for the society. 
  • Courage to accept and dedication to improve are two keys to success. 


  • South Asian societies are woven not around the state, but around their plural cultures and plural identities. 
  • Neglect of primary health care and education in India are reasons for its backwardness. 
  • Biased media is a real threat to Indian democracy. 
  • Rise of artificial intelligence: the threat of jobless future or better job opportunities through reskilling and upskilling.

The Civil Services Main Exam will be held until September 29, 2019. The result is expected in the month of December. Candidates who qualify and score above cut-off will be called for the personality test. 

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