UPSC » UPSC Prelims – Exam Pattern, Syllabus

UPSC Prelims – Exam Pattern, Syllabus

UPSC Prelims: Check prelims exam date, latest notifications, eligibility criteria, exam pattern, expected result announcement and more.

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UPSC Prelims 2024

One of India’s most demanding competitive tests is the examination of Civil Services, also recognized as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), originally named the Imperial Civil Service (ICS). It was founded in 1858 and named Imperial Civil Service and, further renamed on January 26, 1950, to Indian Administrative Service. The Union Public Service Commission manages all India Administrative Civil Service officer selection processes.

The Indian Administrative Service is the highest executive branch of the Indian government. IAS is the top administrative position in the 24 agencies, including IPS, IFS, and others, in terms of hierarchy.

The Civil Services Examination (CSE), sometimes regarded as the IAS exam informally, is held annually by the primary hiring body, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

The executive branch’s permanent bureaucracy in India is termed the IAS. One of the three All India Services, its personnel can be used by the federal government, state legislatures, and non-profit organizations.

Undoubtedly one of the most prominent services amongst 24 state services, including IPS, IFS (Forest), IFS (Foreign), IP & TAFS, IRS, IAAS, CMSE, IDAS, IRTS, IRPS, ITS, IRAS, and CAPF-AF, to cite a few, is the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

The UPSC conducts all of these tests under the Civil Services Examination (CSE) guise to choose qualified applicants for the open positions. Every year, thousands of applicants show up for this exam to try their luck and work ethic in the hope of being selected for one of these lucrative jobs.

Before initiating the enrolment process, candidates must know and comprehend the examination’s prerequisites, including the UPSC IAS pattern, syllabus, eligibility conditions, procedures, and other critical information.

UPSC Prelims Exam Highlights

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a biennial test that the UPSC administers to select applicants for more than 20 positions, including IPS, IFS, and IAS. The IAS exam has an average of over eight lakh applicants, with about five lakh showing up to take the test.

Beginning in June and ending in April, so far this year, recruitment will be conducted. Three exams—the preliminary, the main, and a questionnaire test—will be used to choose the applicants. In May, the CSE’s shortlisted candidates list will be made public.

Exam Level National
Exam Civil Services Examination
Exam type Pen and paper-based (offline)
Organizing body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Number of attempts 6 attempts
Number of services 24
Admit card Online
Number of Vacancies Approximately 720
Expected registrations More than 8 lakh

UPSC Prelims Important Exam Dates

Civil Services Examination (CSE) notification February 14, 2024
Last Date for Receipt of Applications March 5, 2024
IAS Preliminary Admit card One week before Prelims exam
IAS Preliminary Exam Date June 16, 2024
IAS Preliminary Result July 2024 first week (tentative)
IAS Main Exam Date September 20, 2024 (5 days)
IAS Main Exam Result December 2024
IAS Final Result April 2025

Vacancies (Tentative)

Around 712 positions are up for grabs, 22 of which are set aside for those in the baseline disability category. This information is contained in the official notification. The list was compiled based on the prior session, so aspirants should take heed. After the formal notice, the positions will be revised.

Total reserved vacancies 22
Total number of vacancies 796 (including 22 reserved vacancies)
Low vision and Blindness 5
Hard of hearing or Deaf 6
Disability of Locomotor 6
Multiple disabilities 5

UPSC Prelims 2024 Eligibility Criteria


  • Indian citizenship is required to apply for the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, and Indian Police Service.
  • An aspirant must be born in India.
  • Both Bhutanese or Nepalese nationality is required for the position.
  • For someone to be firmly settled in India, they must have arrived in India as a Tibetan Refugee before January 1, 1962.
  • The nominee must be an individual of Indian descent who has immigrated to India from one of the following countries: Zambia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Malawi, Myanmar, Kenya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Zaire, or Tanzania.

Educational Qualification

In order to apply for the civil service examination, the candidate must be eligible in the following makings;

  • A bachelor’s degree from a reputable university is required for the position.
  • Candidates who have taken the qualifying test and are awaiting results and those who have not yet taken the competency test are also eligible to take the preliminary examination. To be considered for the Main Examination, such candidates must provide documentation that they passed the relevant test.
  • Candidates with technical and professional backgrounds that the government has acknowledged, or their equivalents, are also permitted for consideration.
  • Applicants who have completed the MBBS final year exam or any other medical exam but have not yet finished their internship are also eligible to sit for the main exam. To prove they have cleared the primary specialized medical assessment, they must obtain a certificate from the relevant institution.

Age Limit

As of August 1, 2022, an applicant should be no older than 21 and no older than 32. However, they must have been born between August 2, 1990, and August 2, 2001, inclusive. The necessary action will be taken to adjust the relevant Guidelines applicable to different services.

For the following applicants, the upper age limit specified above may be relaxed:

  • Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) 5 Years
  • Other Backward Classes for 3 Years (OBC)
  • 3 Years – Personnel in the Defense Services
  • Ex-service members with at least five years of military service as of August 1, 2022, including Commissioned Officers, ECOs, and SSCOs.
  • In the case of ECOs/SSCOs, five years
  • Blind, deaf, and orthopedically challenged individuals aged 10
  • 5 Years – In the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have accomplished an interim phase of assessment of five years of military service as of August 1, 2022, whose task has been prolonged beyond five years, and in for whom the case the Defense Ministry aspects a confirmation letter that they can pertain for the civil workforce and that they will be issued on three months’ notice upon shortlisting from the date of acceptance of the proposal of appointment.

Roles and Responsibilities of an IAS Officer

IAS officials play a very reverend and demanding profession that demands significant responsibility and respect. To withstand the pressure of the job without giving in, an officer must be both physically and mentally well.

An IAS officer is assigned the roles and responsibilities listed below:

  • Handling governmental activities that entail formulating and enforcing policy in cooperation with the Minister in question
  • Supervising the implementation of policies and visiting the locations where the adopted policies will be put into practice
  • Disbursing monies under personal supervision is part of implementing policies.
  • Functions and obligations vary depending on the stage of a person’s career. If they are broken while on duty, they are accountable to the State and Federal Legislatures and the Parliament.

Salary of an IAS Officer

The responsibilities and duties of an IAS officer may have helped candidates understand that, despite the wealthy pay scale, joining the Civil Service is not a decision based on attractive benefits or a high starting salary. Aspirants must remember that the IAS is not a vocation or a way to gain more benefits; instead, they should consider themselves contributing to the nation’s long-term development.

Depending on the position, we show the IAS Officer’s current pay here.

The 7th Pay Commission is the source of the data listed below:

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Prelims.

What is UPSC Prelims?

Answer: UPSC Prelims refers to the preliminary examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India. It is the first stage ...Read full

Name the number of comprehensive exams held in UPSC Prelims.

Answer: There are two complete preliminary examinations, namely GS paper 1 and GS paper 2 (CSAT). These papers have...Read full

What degree of education is required to enroll for the preliminary exam for civil services?

Answer: A Bachelor’s degree in any major is the minimal requirement for applicants for the civil services exa...Read full

Is the UPSC Prelims test simply qualifying in nature?

Answer: Yes, the IAS preliminary examination is purely qualifying. The cutoff for the General Studies Paper-1 varie...Read full

How many attempts are allowed for UPSC Prelims?

Answer: Candidates belonging to the general category can attempt the UPSC Prelims exam a maximum of six times. However, there are relaxations in th...Read full

What is the syllabus for UPSC Prelims?

Answer: The syllabus for UPSC Prelims includes topics such as current events, history, geography, Indian polity, economics, general science, enviro...Read full

Is there negative marking in UPSC Prelims?

Answer: Yes, there is a negative marking in UPSC Prelims. For every incorrect answer, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question are d...Read full