UPSC Exam 2024: Overview, Dates, Eligibility, Exam Pattern, Preparation | Tips & Guidance for IAS Aspirants

UPSC Exam 2024: Overview, Dates, Eligibility, Exam Pattern, Preparation | Tips & Guidance for IAS Aspirants

UPSC Exam 2024

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam is one of the most difficult and competitive exams in India. It is conducted by the  Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Recently on 14 February 2024, UPSC released a notification about the IAS Exam 2024. Right now, the IAS Exam 2023 is underway and the IAS Exam for 2024 prelims phase was rescheduled to  16 June 2024 due to the general election. It is expected, IAS Mains 2024 will commence on 20 September 2024.

Let’s know About UPSC in detail-

India is said to be the world’s largest democracy. The system for national unification was the bureaucracy, and the central role was played by the All India Services (AIS) and especially the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). The IAS is an elite group with a status that is probably unprecedented in the world. The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is a representative civil service job in India. It is one of the occupations in the All India Services (AIS) system and is an elite group of only 50 to 100 people selected from more than 300,000 examinees every year through a highly competitive examination. It is a nationwide competitive exam, known for its rigorous selection process and high level of competition.

UPSC Exam Pattern

The UPSC exam consists of three stages:

  • Preliminary Examination (Prelims)

  • Main Examination (Mains)

  • Personality Test/Interview

Stage 1 – Preliminary Examination (IAS Prelims)

  • It is the first exam conducted in the IAS. It is an objective type exam. The Preliminary examination contains two papers, both objective type or multiple-choice question papers. Remember there is a negative marking on every incorrect answer.

  • Paper I (General Studies): It covers subjects like Indian Polity, Economy, History, Geography, Environment, Science & Technology, Current Affairs, etc

  • Paper II (CSAT – Civil Services Aptitude Test): It covers the candidate’s comprehension, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision-making, general mental ability, basic numeracy, and English language comprehension skills.

Stage 2 – Mains Examination (IAS Mains)

  • It is the second exam conducted by the IAS if you clear both papers of IAS Prelims. It is a description-type exam. The Main Examination consists of nine papers, all of which are descriptive or essay-type based.

  • Its paper pattern is that the first two papers are in English or any Indian language chosen by the candidate. Compulsory Papers- Essay, General Studies (four papers), and Optional Subject (two papers). Optional Subject – Candidates can choose one optional subject from the UPSC’s list of optional subjects.

  • Candidates have 3 hours to complete each paper. The main examination was conducted for a total of 1750 marks.

Stage 3 – UPSC Personality Test (IAS Interview)

  • It is the final exam to become an IAS officer. It is a personality test or interview exam. Candidates who qualify for the Prelims and Main will be eligible for the Personality Test.

  • There is a panel that takes the candidate interview and analyses the candidate’s personality, communication skills, leadership qualities, logical and analytical ability, Mental acuity, Critical thinking, Risk assessment skills, Crisis management skills, Ability to become a leader, Intellectual and moral integrity, etc.

  • This interview exam is conducted for 275 marks

UPSC Selection Process

The selection process for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam is very rigorous.

  • At first, candidates need to qualify for both Preliminary and Main Examinations to be eligible for the Personality Test.

  • The final selection is based on the Main exam and Personality Test. Marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination are not considered in the final selection. It is just a stage for appearing in the Main Exam

  • A merit list is prepared based on the total marks obtained in the Main Examination (written test) and the Interview.

  • Candidates get selected with the result of the Merit List

  • Candidates who are recommended for appointment to the civil services undergo a medical examination to verify their physical fitness.

  • Candidates who successfully clear all the stages of the IAS Exam, undergo training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie or other designated training institutes. There are multiple centres for training for IAS.

The UPSC Selection process is not easy. It is highly competitive and aims to select candidates who possess the requisite skills, knowledge, and aptitude to serve as effective civil servants in various capacities. If you want to be an IAS officer, you need to require hard preparation, dedication and commitment to clear all the stages of the exam with better physical and mental health.

UPSC Exam Eligibility Criteria

Let’s check whether you are eligible for the IAS Exam or not-

  • Nationality: To sit in the IAS Exam, the candidate must be an Indian.

  • Age Limit: The candidate must be at least 21 years and the maximum is 32 years. There is some relaxation in the age limit for certain categories. For OBC (Other Backward Classes), the maximum age limit is relaxable by 3 years. For SC/ST (Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes), the maximum age limit is relaxable by 5 years. For Ex-servicemen, the maximum age limit is relaxable by 5 years. For Persons with Benchmark Disability, the maximum age limit is relaxable by 10 years. For ECOs/SSCOs, the maximum age limit is relaxable by 5 years.

  • Educational Qualification: The candidate must hold a degree from any recognized university or institute. Candidates who are in the final exam and waiting for the result also apply for the IAS Preliminary Examination, but in the main exam, they have to submit the mark sheet with a passing result.

  • Number of Attempts: The number of attempts is restricted for the IAS Exam by the central government. Since 1984, the maximum number of attempts has been 6 for general candidates. It varies with the category. For the General Category, there are 6 attempts till the age of 32. For the OBC Category, there are 9 attempts till the age of 35. For the SC/ST Category, there are Unlimited attempts till the age of 37.

  • Aspiring candidates must be physically and mentally fit as per the standards of the UPSC.

  • The candidates must not have been convicted of any crime or offence of government rules or services.

  • Candidates must follow all the conditions of eligibility specified by the UPSC in the official notification.

How To Apply For the UPSC Exam 2024?

If you want to apply for the IAS Exam this year, then here is the step-by-step guide to apply for it-

  • First, check that you meet all the eligibility criteria or not as specified by the UPSC like age, education, nationality, etc.

  • If you are eligible, visit the official website of the UPSC by clicking on the

  • On the homepage, navigate to the “Apply Online” Section. Now, click on the Civil Services Examination, and select the “Part I Registration” option. Well, you can find the “UPSC IAS Application Form” on the homepage when registration begins.

  • Now, register yourself by filling in all the required details like personal information, educational qualifications, address, etc and submit the application form.

  • After successful registration, a unique Registration ID will be generated, which will be used for all future communications with the UPSC.

  • After Part I registration, proceed to Part II registration. Here, you need to pay the application fee through online mode. You can choose debit/credit card, net banking, etc.

  • Now, choose the preferred examination centre from all the listed UPSC centres.

  • Check all the details carefully, you cannot make any changes later.

  • Now, provide your required document. Upload a scanned copy of a recent passport-size photograph and signature in the required format.

  • Now, fill out the Detailed Application Form (DAF) with additional details such as preference for services, cadre, languages, etc.

  • After filling in all the required details, check everything and submit the application form.

  • Make sure to take a printout of the submitted application form to use in future if required.

  • Your IAS Exam Registration is done.

  • Now, start preparation and wait for the UPSC Admit Card.

  • The UPSC released the IAS Admit Card three weeks before the exam date. You can download the IAS Admit Card by logging in to the official website with Registration ID and Password.

UPSC Exam Preparation

To clear the IAS exam, you require planning, effective time management, and consistent effort. Here is a simple guide from us-

  • Understand Exam Pattern: As we already mentioned everything above, IAS has three stages: Preliminary Examination (Prelims), Main Examination (Mains), and Personality Test (Interview). Download the syllabus for each stage online

  • Create a Study Plan: Develop a strategic study plan for the entire syllabus. You can divide your study schedule into daily, weekly, and monthly targets. Allocate sufficient time to each subject. Do not Just focus on one subject at once.

  • Study material selection: Choose the right study material. Check online resources for books and paper. Build a strong foundation in History, Geography, Economics, and Polity by NCERT book. Read newspaper or online news portals for daily current affairs,

  • Mock Paper & Previous Year Paper: Solve a mock paper or the previous year’s paper weekly to judge your preparation level.  You can analyse your performance, mistakes and speed.

  • Subject-Wise Preparation: History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Environment & Ecology, and Science & Technology are important subjects for the IAS Exam. Divide your time into each subject in a day or week. try to refer to maximum books or online portals to study each subject. You need to cover everything.

  • Practice Essay Writing: It is important to practise essay writing by writing itself. Just thinking and learning is not enough. Try to write at least one diverse topic every day to check and improve your writing skills and develop more clarity in writing. Try to focus on structuring your essays logically, presenting arguments coherently, etc.

  • Time Management: Time management is the key to clearing the IAS Exam. Try to manage your time effectively by allocating special time to each subject. Time management is also important while solving the mock paper. You can’t spend several minutes on just one question. You need to be quick and accurate on every question.

  • Physical and Mental Well-being: While studying for the IAS Exam, it is also important to maintain better physical and mental health through regular exercise, proper diet, and adequate sleep in your routine. Do not compromise any of them. If you are stressed, try to add some meditation or yoga to your routine.

  • Seek Guidance: Seek guidance and mentorship are also important for such difficult examinations. You can join some reputable coaching institutes or online platforms for professional guidance. Their experienced mentors and faculty members can solve your queries and motivate you better. Moreover, you can not Participate in group discussions, peer-to-peer learning, and doubt-solving sessions to gain insights for the IAS Exam.

Remember, the UPSC  Exam is your aim and it is very difficult. Hence, consistency and perseverance are key to success in the IAS exam. You need to stay motivated, and focused and believe in your abilities to clear the IAS Exam.

Also Read:-



Q: What is the UPSC exam and why is it significant?

A: The UPSC exam is conducted for recruitment to various civil services in India and is known for its competitive nature.


Q: What are the stages of the UPSC exam?

A: The UPSC exam consists of three stages: Preliminary Examination (Prelims), Main Examination (Mains), and Personality Test/Interview.


Q: What is the eligibility criteria for the UPSC exam?

A: Candidates must be Indian nationals, aged between 21 and 32, hold a degree from a recognized university, and meet certain physical and mental fitness standards.


Q: How many attempts are allowed for the UPSC exam?

A: The number of attempts varies based on the candidate’s category, with a maximum of 6 attempts for general candidates and varying limits for other categories.


Q: What is the exam pattern for the UPSC Prelims and Mains?

A: Prelims consist of two objective-type papers, while Mains consists of nine descriptive papers covering various subjects.


Q: How can I prepare effectively for the UPSC exam?

A: Effective preparation involves understanding the syllabus, creating a study plan, choosing the right study material, practicing mock papers, and maintaining physical and mental well-being.


Q: What is the selection process for the UPSC exam?

A: Candidates must qualify for both Prelims and Mains, followed by a Personality Test. Final selection is based on the Main exam and Personality Test.


Q: How do I apply for the UPSC exam?

A: Candidates can apply online through the UPSC official website, following the specified guidelines, filling out the application form, and paying the application fee.


Q: What are the key skills and qualities assessed in the Personality Test?

A: The Personality Test evaluates candidates on aspects like communication skills, leadership qualities, logical and analytical ability, and moral integrity.


Q: What is the significance of the IAS exam in India?

A: The IAS exam selects candidates for one of the most prestigious civil services positions in India, playing a vital role in the country’s governance and administration.


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