IAS Exam Dates, Eligibility, Exam Pattern And Syllabus - IAS Exam 2024

The IAS exam (officially known as the Civil Services Examination) is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) annually. The official UPSC Notification for IAS Exam 2024 will be released on 14th February 2024. Currently, IAS Exam 2023 is underway. The IAS Exam for 2024 prelims phase will take place on 26 May 2024. IAS Mains 2024 will commence on 20 September 2024. Once the IAS 2023 will be in its final stage, – as in the interview stage – IAS 2024 will take place and details for the same will be updated in the article. Check the link for more details.

IAS 2023 results

Those who clear all the three stages of the IAS exam enter into the prestigious civil services of the country, and become officers in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and a host of other services. Although regarded as one of the toughest exams in the country, with the right approach and strategy, an aspirant can crack the IAS examination in the very first attempt. It is essential for aspirants to know and understand the requirements of the IAS exam 2024 such as the UPSC syllabus for the IAS Exam (Prelims and Mains), pattern, eligibility criteria, application procedure and other such significant details before kick-starting the preparations. Here, we present all the relevant UPSC Exam details for aspirants planning to crack the IAS Exam.

UPSC 2023

IAS Exam Date

IAS Exam Conducting Body


Mode of IAS exam


Number of times conducted

Once every year

Prescribed age limit

21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates)

IAS Exam – Prelims 2024

Sunday – 26th May 2024 (Prelims 2023 was on 28th May 2023)

IAS Exam – Mains 2024

20th September 2024 onwards (exams for five days)(Mains 2023 are from 15th September 2023 onwards)

BYJU’S IAS Tablet Course

Prepare for IAS, anytime, anywhere at your own pace!

IAS Exam Pattern

Prelims (MCQs), Mains (Descriptive papers)

Check UPSC Exam Date page for the details on Prelims, Mains and Interview dates.

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is one of the 20-odd services for which candidates are recruited by the UPSC via the Civil Services Exam. However, the CSE exam is commonly referred to as the UPSC IAS exam as well.

You can check the IAS Exam Calendar 2023 for details in the linked article:

Currently, the UPSC 2023 process is underway. For the latest details, refer to the links below:

For free study material and the latest current affairs for IAS Exam 2023, you can check our UPSC 2023 page.

IAS Exam Pattern

The IAS Exam pattern is:

  1. Stage I: Preliminary Examination (IAS Prelims)
  2. Stage II: Mains Examination (IAS Mains)
  3. Stage III: UPSC Personality Test (IAS Interview)

Updated IAS Exam Syllabus 2023 PDF:-Download Syllabus PDF

Stage I: IAS Exam – UPSC Prelims

Sl. No. Name of the Paper Nature of the Paper Duration of the Exam Questions Marks
1 IAS Exam Paper – I: General Studies Merit Ranking Nature 2 Hours 100 200 Marks
2 IAS Exam Paper – II: General Studies (CSAT) Qualifying Nature 2 Hours 80 200 Marks
  • The questions in the IAS Exam (Prelims) are of the objective type or Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • There is ‘Negative Marking’ in the IAS Exam for each incorrect answer but only in the Prelims stage. The negative marking for incorrect answers will be 1/3rd (0.66) of the allotted marks of that question.
  • The GS Paper II (CSAT) in IAS exam is of qualifying nature and candidates should score a minimum of 33 per cent in this paper to qualify to the next stage of the IAS exam i.e. the Mains.
  • Blind candidates are given an extra time of 20 minutes for each paper in the IAS Exam (Prelims).
  • It is mandatory for the candidates to appear in both the papers of civil services prelims exam for the evaluation.
  • The marks scored by the candidates in the preliminary examination are not counted for the final score. It is only a screening test where candidates not securing the cut-off marks are eliminated.

Aspirants can get compiled Topic-Wise UPSC Prelims Questions [2013-2021]at the linked article and prepare for the upcoming prelims examination.

Stage II: IAS Exam – UPSC Mains

The second stage of the IAS Exam is called the Mains Exam, which is a written descriptive examination and comprises 9 papers. The 9 papers in IAS Exam (Mains) are as follows: Paper-A (Compulsory Indian Language); Paper –B (English) which are qualifying in nature, while the other papers like Essay, General Studies Papers I, II, III, and IV, and Optional Papers I and II are considered for the final ranking.

Sl. No. IAS Exam Paper Name of the Paper Nature of the Paper Duration of the Exam Marks
1 Paper – A Compulsory Indian Language QUALIFYING NATURE 3 Hours 300 Marks
2 Paper – B English 3 Hours 300 Marks
3 Paper – I ESSAY MERIT RANKING NATURE 3 Hours 250 Marks
4 Paper – II General Studies I 3 Hours 250 Marks
5 Paper – III General Studies II 3 Hours 250 Marks
6 Paper – IV General Studies III 3 Hours 250 Marks
7 Paper – V General Studies IV 3 Hours 250 Marks
8 Paper – VI Optional Paper I 3 Hours 250 Marks
9 Paper – VII Optional Paper II 3 Hours 250 Marks
TOTAL 1750 Marks
Interview or Personality Test 275 Marks
GRAND TOTAL 2025 Marks


  • The candidates can select their medium of writing the UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains Exam as Hindi or English or any other language listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Indian Languages included in the IAS exam are as per languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  • The candidates who score above the prescribed cut-off marks in the IAS exam (Mains) will get the summons for the Personality Test (last stage of the IAS exam).
  • The final ranking of the candidates is on the basis of the marks obtained by them in the Main Examination and Personality Test/Interview Round of the IAS exam.

For a detailed IAS exam syllabus for prelims and mains, click on IAS Exam Syllabus 2023.
Refer to the links below for UPSC Mains topic-wise questions and prepare for the upcoming IAS exam:

Topic-Wise GS 1 Questions in UPSC Mains Topic-Wise GS 2 Questions for UPSC Mains
Topic-Wise GS 3 Questions for UPSC Mains Topic-Wise GS 4 Questions for UPSC Mains

Stage III: IAS Exam – UPSC Interview/Personality Test

Candidates who clear the Mains stage of the IAS exam with the required cut-off marks qualify for the final stage of the IAS exam i.e., the Personality Test or Interview round with the UPSC Board Members. The candidates who qualify to the final stage will be sent an e-summon by the Commission for a face-to-face discussion round with the board members. In this round, the board assesses the personality traits of the candidates and questions will be asked on their hobbies, current affairs, general knowledge, situation questions, etc. to evaluate if they are fit for a career in the civil services or not. The UPSC personality test will be held only in the UPSC Bhavan in New Delhi.

IAS Exam Age Limit and Attempts

There are conditions of nationality, age, number of attempts and educational qualification if candidates wish to take the IAS exam. For the general category aspirants, the candidate must be a citizen of India or a PIO, must have a graduate degree, must be between the ages of 21 and 32, and must not have attempted the IAS exam 6 times. But there are certain relaxations and other conditions to the above.

For details on the IAS Exam Eligibility, please check linked article.

IAS Exam Application Procedure

The application procedure for UPSC exams is online and UPSC Admit cards are also issued online, which IAS exam aspirants should download from the UPSC official website. For more, please read Apply Online for the IAS Exam 2023.

IAS Exam Preparation

Read on for IAS exam preparation strategy:

  1. Analysing the trend, more current affairs based questions are being asked in both, Prelims and Mains stage of the IAS exam. Select only credible sources like PIB, The Hindu, Yojana etc. and align the current events as per the IAS exam syllabus. For the IAS exam, current affairs usually comprise events of national and international importance in the last 10-12 months.
  2. Go through the previous years’ IAS exam questions to gauge the amount of preparation needed from your end.
  3. Read the NCERT books and make notes. You will have to make at least two sets of notes i.e. short notes for Prelims and descriptive notes for UPSC Mains.
  4. The preparation for Prelims and Mains must be done simultaneously until 1-2 months before the date of the Prelims exam. Identify the syllabus overlap between Prelims and Mains and focus on those areas first.
  5. Select an Optional subject for the IAS exam based on your aptitude, interest and experience. Few optional subjects have a significant overlap with the General Studies syllabus in Mains, however, their syllabi are rather vast so do your due diligence before finalising one.
  6. Go through the standard books for each subject. Find the IAS exam book list, Current Affairs notes, NCERT notes and other information in the links below.
  7. Do not take lightly the CSAT paper in Prelims and Ethics paper in Mains. Similarly, the two qualifying language papers in Mains are also important as failing to score at least 25% in them will automatically eliminate you from the IAS exam process notwithstanding your stellar performance in all the other papers.
  8. Take out time for MCQ solving practice for Prelims and answer writing practice for Mains.
  9. Revise multiple times, update your notes, and revise some more.

UPSC IAS Books List PDF: –Download PDF Here

Mistakes to Avoid in the IAS Exam Preparation

Some of the most common mistakes that must be avoided during the preparation of the IAS journey are:

  • Inadequate understanding of the IAS exam pattern and syllabus: Familiarise yourself with the structure of the exam, the number of papers, their weightage, and the marking scheme. 
  • Neglecting current affairs and General Knowledge preparation: Develop a habit of reading newspapers, magazines, and reliable online sources to stay informed about national and international news. Additionally, focus on diverse topics to broaden your knowledge base.
  • Lack of a systematic study plan and disciplined study routine: Break down the syllabus into smaller, manageable parts and allocate specific time slots for each topic. Stick to a disciplined study routine, ensuring regularity and consistency in your preparation.
  • Overemphasis on memorisation rather than understanding concepts: The IAS exam requires critical thinking and analytical skills. Focus on developing a deep understanding of the subjects, grasp the fundamental concepts, and apply them to real-world scenarios. 
  • Insufficient practice in answer writing and lack of time management skills during the exam: Regularly practice writing answers to previous years’ question papers and work on improving your writing style, structure, and coherence. Practice solving questions within the stipulated time to enhance your speed and efficiency.

IAS Exam Preparation

IAS Exam – Prelims 2023 IAS Exam – Mains
IAS Exam Pattern IAS Coaching
UPSC Books Daily News Analysis
IAS Previous Year Question Papers IAS Current Affairs
NCERT Notes For IAS Exam Daily Video Analysis: The Hindu
IAS Salary UPSC Full Form
List of Current Affairs Articles for UPSC