UPSC IAS (Union Public Service Commission): [Ultimate Guide]

UPSC is India’s central recruiting agency. UPSC is responsible for appointments to and examinations for All India services and group A & group B of Central services.

UPSC conducts exams like CSE (civil service exam) to recruit candidates into top Government services like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, etc.

The commission is mandated by the Constitution for appointments to the services of the Union and All India Services.

It is also required to be consulted by the govt. in matters regarding the appointment, transfer, promotion and disciplinary matters.

The commission reports directly to the President and can advise the Government through him. Although, such advice is not binding on the Government. 

The commission is headquartered at Dholpur House, in New Delhi and functions through its own secretariat.

Arvind Saxena has been appointed as chairman of the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC).

UPSC CSE (Civil Services Examination)

CSE (Civil Service Examination) is one of the most popular exams conducted by UPSC. CSE is widely known as IAS Exam and CSE recruit candidates to 24 top government services like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, etc.

List Of Services In UPSC [IAS]

All India Services

  1. Indian Administrative Service
  2. Indian Police Service 
  3. Indian Foreign Service    

Group ‘A’ Services 

  1. Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service   
  2. Indian Audit and Accounts Service   
  3. Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
  4. Indian Defence Accounts Service
  5. Indian Revenue Service (I.T.)    
  6. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
  7. Indian Postal Service   
  8. Indian Civil Accounts Service
  9. Indian Railway Traffic Service   
  10. Indian Railway Accounts Service   
  11. Indian Railway Personnel Service   
  12. Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force
  13. Indian Defence Estates Service   
  14. Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)    
  15. Indian Trade Service   
  16. Indian Corporate Law Service 

Group ‘B’ Service   

  1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer′s Grade)
  2. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
  3. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’  
  4. . Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’   
  5. Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’ 

UPSC CSE is conducted in three phases-

  1. Preliminary Exam
  2. Mains Exam
  3. Interview{Personality test}
upsc syllabus

UPSC Eligibility Criteria

For All India Services (IAS and IPS), the candidate must be a citizen of India.

For Other Services like IRS, IAAS, IRTS, etc. the candidate must be either

1. a Citizen of India, or

2. a Citizen of Nepal, or

3. a Subject of Bhutan, or

4. a Tibetan refugee, who came over to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or

5. a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Note 1: Provided that a candidate belongs to categories (2), (3), (4) or (5), he/she must have a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India.

Note 2: Further, candidates belonging to categories (2), (3) or (4) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.

Note 3A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.

1. Educational Qualification for UPSC

To be eligible to apply for an IAS officer post, a candidate must have at least one of the following education degree or qualification:

  • An education grade/degree from a Central, State or a Deemed University under the UGC Act.
  • An education grade/degree attained through correspondence or distance education course.
  • An education grade/degree on completion of the course from an open university.
  • An education grade/degree/qualification granted recognition by the Government of India in consideration of standing equivalent to one of the above.
  • An education grade/degree identified as applicable by an Act of Parliament.

Obtaining the right education degree should be the basic objective for an IAS Officer aspirant.

Candidates meeting the below criteria can also appear for the UPSC CSE:

  • Individuals who have given the graduation exam or the equivalent (relevant as per the Government of India) exam or higher examinations, and are still waiting for the exam results scheduled to appear in the same year of the IAS exam, can sit for the paper.
  • Individuals who have cleared the final MBBS degree exam but may not have finished their MBBS internship.
  • Individuals who have cleared the final paper of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI), ICSI and ICWAI.
  • Only candidates who possess a degree from a private university meeting the set conditions as specified above.
  • Only candidates who have a degree from a foreign university granted recognition by the Association of Indian Universities.

The aspirant needs to submit the proof of eligibility from the designated or practicing authority or representative from the university or institution they pursued the course from at the time of appearing for the UPSC Main Exam.

Candidates who are not able to furnish the proof will not be allowed to appear for the examination.

Any candidate who has appeared or intends to take the CSE exam and is waiting for their results is considered eligible to take the IAS preliminary exam.

They are still required to submit proof of clearing the final (education qualification) exam alongside the Detailed Application Form (DAF) submission for the UPSC CSE Mains.     

2. Age limit for UPSC IAS

The regulated age criteria for individuals who wish to take the written UPSC CSE exam is subject to many important related conditions.

Applicants should have attained a minimum age of 21 years and a maximum age permissible age of 32 years as on 1st August 2019, as per the official age criteria. This means candidates should not have been born earlier than 2nd August 1987 or after 1st August 1998.

The following table indicates the maximum age limit and the number of attempts allowed for all the categories:

CategoryAge LimitNumber of Attempts
General CategoryUpper age limit is 32 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is 6
OBC CategoryUpper age limit is 35 yearsNumber of attempts allowed is 9
SC / ST CategoryUpper age limit is 37 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is Unlimited
Physically Handicapped CategoryUpper age limit for General Category Candidates is 42 Years OBC Category Candidates is 45 Years SC/ST Category Candidates is 47 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is Unlimited in all the cases
J & K Domicile CandidatesUpper age limit for General Category Candidates is 37 Years Upper age limit for OBC Category Candidates is 40 Years Upper age limit for SC/ST Category Candidates is 42 Years Upper age limit for Physically Handicapped Candidates is 50 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is the same as specified above for the General, OBC, SC/ST, Physically Handicapped category students
Ex-Servicemen CandidatesUpper age limit for General category is 37 Years Upper age limit for OBC category is 40 Years Upper age limit for SC/ST category is 42 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is the same as specified above for the General, OBC, SC/ST, Physically Handicapped category students
Disabled Defence Services Personnel* conditionalUpper age limit for General category is 37 Years Upper age limit for OBC category is 40 Years Upper age limit for SC/ST category is 42 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is the same as specified above for the General, OBC, SC/ST, Physically Handicapped category students
Important Links for UPSC

UPSC Syllabus in English  Click Here

UPSC Syllabus in Hindi  Click Here

Booklist for UPSC Prelims and Mains  Click Here

UPSC Online Application, Exam Dates, and Exam Results

Do You want to know about how to do online application for UPSC IAS Exam?

Here is step by step guide –

First of all type this URL ( ) on your brouser.

upsc online application
upsc online application website

Once the application window for an exam opens (usually in Feb for UPSC CSE), you can apply online.

UPSC Exam Dates – Usually, UPSC conducts the Preliminary Exam in June. The Mains Exam is usually conducted in September, and the Personality Test takes almost 3 months to finish. UPSC conducts the CSE interview (or personality test) in the months February – April.

UPSC Exam Results – Results of all exams which is conducted by UPSC as well as notifications for future exams will be published on the homepage of the official website itself.

Note Making Strategy for IAS Preparation

First of all you should need to know, why notes making is so important for your UPSC preparation.

These are  few benefits of notes making:-

  1. Revise maximum in minimum time
  2. Consolidate everything at one place
  3. Align what you read to the Exam
  4. Build your answer writing skills
  5. It should help you remember things easily and for long duration.

How to make Notes ?

Many aspirants thinking about how to make notes for UPSC CSE i.e. Online or Offline. That is up to you, you can make notes online or offline but i will suggest you use both platform (online and offline) for Note Making.

Online resources for Note Making:

  1. Evernote or
  2. OneNote

Offline resources:

  1. Register (not recommended)
  2. A4 sized blank sheets (recommended)

Few basic guidelines for Note Making

  • Use A4 sized blank sheets for notes preparation whereby you can add extra content or information if you want in future.
  • Write only keyword in notes, don’t use full length sentences.
  • Go absolutely rough – no complete sentences, grammar, neat handwriting.
  • Be precise – use short forms, symbols, flowcharts, points, diagrams, table, etc.
  • Always keep the syllabus and previous year papers with you.
  • Make common notes for prelims and mains
  • Make Subjectwise Notes.
  • Don’t use premade notes by any students, use only selfmade notes.

How to prepare for Current Affairs?

Newspaper for IAS

newspaper is the most crucial aspect of your preparation. Almost 70-75% of the portion coming from current based therefore current affairs preparation is very important and it can be possible through Newspaper, AIR News, and RSTVPIB News and more online resources.

I suggest you follow THE HINDU Newspaper blindly and if possible The Indian express.

Magazine for IAS Exam

  • Yojana
  • Kurukshetra
Government Sources for current affairs :
  • Press Information Bureau(PIB)
  • India Year Book 
  • Economic survey
  • Ministry Websites (RBI website, CSO website, ministry of rural development, ministry of external affairs, etc.)

Important websites for UPSC IAS

Best IAS Websites for UPSC Civil Services Exam Online Preparation:

Useful Government Websites For IAS

  • – Download NCERT Texts as PDF.
  • – Download NIOS Online Materials.
  • – Download IGNOU Books.
  • – Download Yojana and Kurukshetra Magazines.
  • – Official Website of UPSC.
  • – Press Information Bureau Website, for government updates.
  • – PRS Website for tracking bills in Parliament.
  • – IDSA website for Defense and Foreign relations.
  • – Indian Council for Global relations.
  • – Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  • – Ministry of External Affairs.
  • – Download Budget and Economic Survey.
  • – Press Trust of India.
  • – for Art and Culture

Important UPSC preparation Apps

Internet and smartphones are indispensable for UPSC IAS exam preparation. There are a lot of apps under the Sun for IAS preparation but don’t try to install all Apps because You have not time to use all apps everyday therefore install only selective apps in your mobile and save your precious time.

Here are the list of some important Apps for your UPSC CSE preparation-

  • epathshala
  • The Hindu & IE
  • PIB
  • Wikipedia
  • Vision IAS
  • IAS Baba
  • Afe IAS
  • Unacademy
  • Clear IAS
  • Civils Daily
  • Online Taiyari
  • Telegram
  • Youtube
  • Orai – for interview Preparation

Note: Install only Bold Apps.

upsc preparation app

Top 19 IAS coaching in Delhi

Here are the list of best IAS coaching in Delhi –

  • Vajiram and Ravi IAS Coaching Institution

  • Vision IAS

  • Elite IAS Academy

  • Unique Shiksha IAS Institute

  • ALS Coaching

  • Sriram IAS Academy

  • Raus IAS Coaching

  • Chanakya IAS Academy

  • Drishti IAS

  • Vedanta IAS Academy

  • Khan Study Group

  • Insight IAS Academy

  • Chronicle IAS Academy

  • Sri Chaitanya IAS Academy

  • Samkalp

  • Destination IAS Academy

  • Dhyeya IAS Academy

  • Plutus IAS Coaching Delhi

  • Next IAS

Study Materials for IAS Exam

Previous Year Papers – Click here

Download NCERT Books – Click here

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