IAS Exam| Examination Pattern, Age Limit & Eligibility Criteria

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Indian Administrative Services (IAS Exam), is a highly prestigious career option for talented people in India for all the students who want to do something different from other professions by serving the nation and its people by becoming and IAS officer.

An IAS Officer

An IAS officer has the administrative command as a District Collector of the entire district. IAS officers does represent the (GOI) Government of India at international level in the multilateral as well as the bilateral negotiations. 

IAS post is the highest post among all the 24 posts in India i.e., IPS, IP & TAFS, IRPS, IFS (Foreign), IPS, IRTS, IFS (Forest), IAAS, IRS, IDAS, CAPF-AF, CMSE, IRAS, ITS, and all these post deserving candidates selected based on examination at national level conducted by UPSC.

Eligibility criteria in UPSC Exam

ias exams age limit

To become an IAS officer, one needs to clear an exam conducted by UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION(UPSC). It is the panel that takes all government services exams issued in the public interest. 


  •  Indian citizen
  • A subject of Bhutan or a citizen of Nepal.
  • A Tibetan Refugee settled in India before 1962, as a permanent resident.
  • Indian Migrants with permanent resident intention from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and East African countries. 

Educational Qualification

  • A Bachelor’s Degree.
  •  Candidates who appeared for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results or those who are yet to look for the qualifying examination are also eligible for the Preliminary Examination.
  • The candidates who are awaiting for results of qualifying exams are eligible to sit in the Preliminary Examination.

Age Limit

Here we have mentioned what is IAS exams age limit. IAS exams age limit vary for different categories.

  • Minimum age: 21 years 
  • Maximum age: 32 years

Age Relaxation

There is IAS exams age limit relaxation for some as mentioned below.

  • (SC/ST) Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe: 5 Years
  • (OBC) Other Backward Classes: 3 Years
  • Defense Services personnel: 3 Years
  • Physically disabled: 10 years

No. of Attempts

The no. of attempts varies in different categories. 


6 attempts 

(OBC) Other backward castes

9 attempts 

(EWS) Economically weaker section

6 attempts 


Unlimited attempts till age limit

If physically damaged


9 attempts 


Unlimited attempts 

UPSC/IAS examination pattern

UPSC exam pattern

Every year, the Civil Services Examination (CSE) or IAS exam is conducted under UPSC by India’s government and lakhs of candidates who are preparing for it apply for their dream job. Let us answer what is IAS exam pattern.

The exam includes three steps after which a person can qualify for this post i.e.

  1.  IAS Preliminary exam          
  2.  Main exam 
  3.  IAS personality test/ interview 

The candidate who clears all three steps is selected for a post assigned by the government.

IAS Preliminary exam 

There are total 2 exams in prelims

General studies paper 1

200 marks

CSAT paper 2

200 marks

Once you clear preliminary exam, you become eligible for Main exam.

IAS Main exam 

There are a total of 9 exams in mains. Here is the list of them.

Paper 1

Essay: 250 marks

Paper 2

General studies 1: 250 marks

(History, geography, Indian culture)

Paper 3

General studies 2: 250 marks

(Policy, governance, constitution, international relations and social justice)

Paper 4

General studies 3: 250 marks

(Bio diversity, technology, security, disaster management, economic development and security)

Paper 5

General studies 4: 250 marks

(Aptitude, integrity and ethics)

Paper 6

Optional subject 1: 250 marks

Paper 7

Optional subject 2: 250 marks

IAS personality test/ interview 

This is the final step and it covers 275 marks in total.

(First year)Duration of IAS Training

After selection, a candidate goes into the training process of his/her post, which is as follows.

The duration is two years. The training starts in September. For 3 months, the IAS officer trainees train with other services like IPS, IFS, IFoS at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie.

Do IAS Officers get paid for training?

The pay band is 15600–39100 with 5400-grade pay. But during training, the trainee officers do not get any salary. Still, they mare provided with some pay advances, which in general term are equated to stipend or, in other words, is basic salary along with some allowance.

IAS Officers selection 

180 IAS Officers are Appointed Every Year.

After analyzing the IAS results, it is clear that around 180 candidates are selected in the Indian Administrative Services every year. However, despite the increasing or decreasing number of vacancies of other services, only 180 IAS officers are recruited every year.

The best course to pursue IAS

To pursue IAS, the best Undergraduate courses would be in humanities. Courses like BA in political science, sociology, economics, etc are a good option. These are optional subjects available in UPSC, which can be beneficial for UPSC preparation, and easily scoring well in all those subjects.

Salary of an IAS Officer

Salary Structure of IAS Officers and IAS Career Path – 7th Pay Commission

Level Basic PayTotal IAS Salary
Entry level (starting salary)5610056100 – 132000
Maximum Pay (cabinet secretary level) 250000250000

Job roles of an IAS Officer

Job roles in UPSC exam

Below are mentioned job profiles for IAS officers from which you can choose one that suits you the most. 

District Magistrate/ Collector

He/she runs the district administration accurately in the smoothest way possible.

  • A District Magistrate/ Collector makes the necessary coordination for the proper functioning of the district’s official agencies.
  • It is responsibility of a Collector to collect the revenue from the overall district.

Sub Divisional Officer

There are various activities in the sub division part of which a Sub Division Officer is in-charge.

Divisional Commissioner

Coordination is needed for various activities which are connected with revenue, order, administration included in general administration at divisional level.

Cabinet Secretary

In the Central government, he/ she is the chief coordinator. Their is a link between the civil services and political system, which is a Cabinet Secretary.

Chief Secretary

He/she ensures proper co-ordination in inter department. A Chief Secretary is also the chairmen of this committee.

Pros and cons

Pros of becoming an IAS Officer

  • It is one of the most respected jobs in the nation.
  • There are many privileges in this career.
  • The duty involves political leadership and serving the nation.
  • In IAS(Indian Administrative Service) a person a serve the society.

Cons of becoming an IAS Officer

  • IAS officers have to deal with corruption in their works, even if they are honest.
  • A lot of work pressure is there as you will be answerable to different departments regarding many issues.
  • Political pressure plays a vital role in this field.
  • Dealing with corruption is the biggest con in this service.

Preparation Materials


For History

  • Bipan Chandra: India’s Struggle for Independence
  • Spectrum: Facets of Indian Culture
  • (Ancient & Medieval) NCERT XI
  • (Modern Indian History) NCERT XII

Indian Polity

  • Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth


  • G C Leong Certificate Physical Geography
  • (Old Syllabus) NCERT VI – X
  • (New Syllabus) NCERT XI, XII
  • World Atlas

International Relations

  • NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
  • Current Affairs (last 1.5-2 years)


  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh.
  • Economic Development NCERTXI


  • Ramesh Singh (Economy): Indian Economy
  • Current Affairs: India Year Book
  • Oxford Publishers (Geography): Oxford School Atlas
  • Rajiv Ahir (Modern India): A Brief History of Modern India
  • M. Laxmikanth (Polity): Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations
  • NCERT Books
  • MHE (CSAT): General Studies Paper 2 Manual
  • Nitin Singhania (Culture): Indian Art and Culture

That’s everything you need to know about what is IAS exam (Indian administrative service). We have mentioned much asked questions such as what is IAS exam, IAS exams age limit, salary of IAS officer and many more.

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