IAS Selection Process and Eligibility Criteria.

IAS Selection Process

An IAS Candidate wants to make a career in civil services, then he/she has to clear the three phases of civil services examination (CSE) i.e. preliminary, mains and personality tests. However, the marks of the preliminary stage i.e. UPSC IAS Prelims Exam does not consider the final merit list of the civil service exam while it includes the marks of IAS Mains and Personality Test (PT). Here, in this article, we will discuss the whole procedure for the selection in IAS Exam in detail and also the ways through which an IAS aspirant can crack this coveted exam without wasting a number of attempts allocated for a particular category of IAS aspirants.

Significant changes have been witnessed in the scheme of the UPSC IAS Exam and the selection process in the last few years. An IAS aspirant must have an understanding of the whole process involved in the selection procedure in the IAS Exam which is around seven stages from applying until the allocation of services for the selected IAS aspirants. Here are the seven stages of IAS selection procedure:

1.Notification for the exam

2.Applying for the exam

3.Appearing in the preliminary exam

4.Appearing in mains exam

5.Appearing in interview exam

6.Final Result

7.Cut-off Marks


1.Notification for the exam

Generally, the notification for the IAS Exam comes in the month of February for the respective year. As per the UPSC’s calendar for the year 2019, the notification for the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2019 was published on 19 February 2019. UPSC’s notification for IAS Exam has been always a great buzz among the IAS aspirant fraternity just because of the changes in the IAS syllabus and the minimum eligibility criteria for the IAS Exam. The notification for UPSC IAS Exam uses to publish in the Gazette of India and in the Employment News. Also, the abridged version of UPSC’s notification for IAS Exam used to publish in the major 5 newspapers in terms of circulation throughout the country including regional language newspapers. The copies of the same notification are also sent to all Employment Exchanges and Universities, etc.

2.Applying for the Exam

The IAS aspirants can apply for the UPSC IAS Exam only through the UPSC’s website https://upsconline.nic.in/ as the offline mode has been discontinued in all forms the Government’s recruitment process. Before applying, the IAS aspirants must go through the whole notification in order to get clarification regarding the vacancies and to know about the necessary documents required.  The IAS aspirants will get around 25 to 30 days from the day of notification release to register and apply for the UPSC IAS Exam. For the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2019, 19 March 2019 was the last date for receipt of applications has been notified by the UPSC in their calendar for 2019.

3.Appearing in IAS Preliminary Exam

The IAS aspirants will get around three months of a period after the closing date of application form for the preparation for the IAS Prelims Exam. The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2019 will be conducted on 2 June 2019 (Sunday) and it will have two papers i.e. General Studies Paper 1 and General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT) each carrying 200 marks and duration of 2 hours respectively in morning and afternoon sessions. The multiple-choice questions will be asked in both the papers, the General Studies Paper 1 will have 100 questions while the General Studies Paper 2 will have 80 questions only. General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT) has been made qualifying means that an IAS aspirant has to score a minimum of 33% marks (around 27 answers must be correct excluding incorrect answers) to qualify the CSAT paper otherwise the General Studies Paper 1 will not be evaluated. There will be negative marking also and an IAS aspirant will be penalized 1/3rd for each wrong answers. On the basis of marks in General Studies Paper 1, the recommended list of IAS aspirants for the next phase i.e. IAS Mains Exam will be prepared.

4.Appearing in IAS Mains Exam

IAS Mains Exam is one of the most difficult phases of the IAS Exam and the performance of an IAS aspirant in IAS Mains can be a deciding factor for his/her success in IAS Exam. IAS Mains Exam comprises of total 8 Papers such as Compulsory Indian Language (only qualifying), Essay Paper, General Studies Paper 1, General Studies Paper 2, General Studies Paper 3, General Studies Paper 4 and 2 Optional Papers (Optional Paper 1 & Optional Paper 2). Marks of Compulsory Indian Language (300 Marks) does not consider making the merit list of the IAS Exam. While the marks of Essay Paper, remaining 4 General Studies Papers and 2 Optional Papers each carrying 250 marks are considered in the making the merit list of the UPSC IAS Exam. As per the result of last few years, an IAS aspirant wants to reserve a berth among Top Ten Toppers of IAS Exam, then he/she has to score more than 900 marks out of 1750 marks in IAS Mains Exam provided that he/she also performs well in the next phase of IAS Exam i.e. Personality Test (IAS Interview).

5.Appearing in the interview (PT)

The IAS aspirants will be interviewed by a panel appointed by UPSC who will have before them a record of IAS aspirants’ career know as DAF (Detailed Application Form). The panel will ask questions mostly from the DAF filled by the IAS aspirants and questions on matters of general interest. The main objective of the IAS interview is to analyze not only the intellectual qualities but also the social traits and interests of the IAS aspirants and their suitability for the career in civil services. The interview panel will consist of competent officers and unbiased observers who will test the mental caliber of an IAS aspirant.

6.Final Result

Generally, the final result of the UPSC IAS Exam of the previous year comes in the month of May. The IAS aspirants who do not expect positive results should stick to their IAS preparation for the next IAS Prelims Exam because the IAS Prelims Exam of that year to be conducted in the next month (June) of the release of the final result of the preceding year.

7.Cut-off Marks

Cut-off marks for the three phases of the IAS Exam are solely decided by the UPSC. Here, we have provided the cut-off marks released by UPSC for the Civil Services Exam 2016 (CSE 2016). It will help IAS aspirants to understand the dynamics of cut-off marks under various categories.


  • Cut off marks on the basis of  GS paper-1 only. However, GS Paper-II was Qualifying with 33% (66.66 marks) (Rule-15 of Civil Services Examination, 2016)
  • Subject to 10% marks in each of the seven competitive paper i.e essay, GS-II, GS-II, GS-III GS-IV, Optional-I and Optional-II


However, the ranks IAS aspirants completely depend upon the total marks obtained by the respective IAS aspirants in IAS Mains Exam and the marks obtained in Personality Test (PT). For better ranks in the IAS Exam, an IAS aspirant has to perform better in both the phases of the IAS Exam. Here, we have provided the marks of the IAS Mains Exam and Personality Test (PT) of IAS Topper’s rank 1 to 10 of the Civil Services Exam 2016 (CSE 2016). It will help IAS aspirants to understand the dynamics of the rank of IAS Toppers.

Eligibility Criteria


Exam NameUPSC Civil Services Examination
Exam LevelNational
Conducting BodyUnion Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Official Websitehttps://upsconline.nic.in/
Exam PeriodicityYearly
Exam ModeOffline (Pen-Paper Mode) 
No. of VacanciesNearly 900


Age Limit & Educational Qualifications for IAS

Candidates have to fulfill the eligibility criteria set by the authorities to take the exam. The eligibility parameters are set on the basis of Nationality, Age Limit, Educational Qualifications, Number of Attempts and Physical Standards. Given below are the IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria:


  • For IAS and IPS, applicants must be a citizen of India.
  • Other services require candidates to be either,
  1. Citizen of India
  2. Subject of Nepal
  3. Subject of Bhutan
  4. Tibetan refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, to settle permanently.
  5. An Indian origin migrant from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam who came to permanently settle in India.

Age Limit

  • The lower age limit for IAS Exam 2019 is 21 years as on August 1, 2019, while the upper age limit is 32 years.
  • There is upper age relaxation for reserved category candidates, which is as follows:
    1. SC/ST- Up to 5 years
    2. OBC- Up to 3 years
    3. Defense Services Personnel disabled in operations during hostilities- Up to 3 years
    4. Ex-servicemen- Up to 5 years
    5. ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service- Up to 5 years
    6. PwD candidates- Up to 10 years
    7. Domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir from January 1, 1980, to December 31, 1989- Up to 5 years. Check IAS 2019 Eligibility

Educational Qualifications

  • Applicants must hold a graduate degree or equivalent qualification from a recognized university

Number of Attempts

  • Only six attempts are allowed for a candidate to clear IAS Exam 2019.

UPSC IAS 2019 Detailed Application Form

Candidates who have qualified the preliminary exam are required to register again for IAS Main examination by filling Detailed Application Form (DAF) from August 1 till August 16, 2019, at the official website.



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