Things to know before starting preparations for IAS Exam 2021

  • utkarsh
  • Mar 11, 2021
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  • Blog English, UPSC,
Things to know before starting preparations for IAS Exam 2021

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services Exam for the recruitment of candidates for various posts in the government of India. Indian Administrative Services is one of the most prestigious sectors in the government, and every candidate dreams of working for it. 

CSE is very challenging and requires a lot of hard work and dedication from the candidates. Apart from that, it also has some prerequisites; there are many aspects that a candidate must know before starting their preparation for the exam. 

In this article, we will be discussing all the important aspects that a candidate must keep in mind before beginning their preparation for the IAS 2021 exam. 

  1. Know about the conducting authority

The first and foremost step before starting your preparation is to know who conducts the examination. Knowing about the conducting authority is as important as knowing about the exam. UPSC or the Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services Exam every year, and the authority keeps a check on every stage of the exam. The exam notification, dates, syllabus, paper pattern, and everything else related to the exam are regulated by the UPSC. 

  1. Be alert for the UPSC Notification.

The conducting authority, i.eUPSC releases the notification for the IAS exam every year. This notification comprises information such as the dates of registration, date of exam, eligibility criteria, fee structure, paper pattern, detailed syllabus, and every other information about the exam. Going through the notification thoroughly is imperative before beginning with the exam preparations. 

  1. Keep an eye on the Exam Schedule.

The candidates must be conscientious about the exam dates; the dates are released along with the exam notification, and the candidates can check it on the official website of the conducting authority. The important dates that all IAS aspirants must keep an eye on are:

  • Date of release of the CSE Notification
  • Starting Date of Online Registration
  • Last Date for Online Registration
  • Civil Services (prelims) Exam Date
  • The date for the release of the CSE (prelims) Admit Card
  • Civil Services (Mains) Exam Date
  • The date for the release of the CSE (Mains) Admit Card

The schedule for CSE 2021 is given below:

Name of Examination
Date of Notification

Last Date for Receipt of Application
Date ofExamination
Duration of Exam
Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 202110th February 20212nd March 202127th June 20211 DAY
Indian Forest Service (Preliminary) Examination, 2021 (through CS(P) Examination 2021)
Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2021To be notified soonTo be notified soon17th September 2021
Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination, 2021To be notified soonTo be notified soon21st November 2021
  1. Know about the CSE Eligibility Criteria

Before you apply for the CSE, you must check the eligibility criteria as only the candidates who meet the eligibility criteria can appear in the exam. The candidates who fail to meet will be considered ineligible for the exam, and their candidature will be cancelled in case they have applied for the exam. The eligibility criteria for the exam are given below: 

IAS Age Limit21 to 32 years
Age RelaxationAs per category (mentioned below)
Educational Qualification for IASGraduation
NationalityIndian citizens only
  1. Know the CSE Paper Pattern

The exam pattern consists of information such as the number of questions asked in the exam, the weightage of each section, the total duration of the exam, negative marking, etc. It will be very beneficial for the aspirants if they go through the paper pattern thoroughly before starting with their preparations. The CSE exam consists of three stages – prelims, mains, and interview. The pattern of each stage is given below:


PaperTypeNo. of questionsMarksDurationMarking SchemeNegative marks
General Studies IObjective1002002 hoursPaper 1: +2 marksYes, One-third of the marks allotted to each question
General Studies II (CSAT)Objective802002 hoursPaper 2: +2.5 marksYes, One-third of the marks allotted to each question


Title of the PaperMarks Allotted
Essay writing250 Marks
General Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)250 Marks
General Studies –II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)250 Marks
General Studies –III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)250 Marks
General Studies –IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)250 Marks
Optional Subject – Paper 1250 Marks
Optional Subject – Paper 2250 Marks
Sub Total in the written Test1750 Marks
Personal Interview275 Marks
Grand Total ( for merit calculation)2025 Marks


A personal interview assesses the candidates’ suitability for civil services and associated responsibilities. The maximum mark allotted for the interview stage is 275.

  1. Know the Syllabus

The syllabus is the most crucial part of any examination as it describes the curriculum from which the questions will be formed in the examination. Knowing the IAS syllabus makes it very easy for the candidates to plan their preparation strategy and then study accordingly. There are many IAS Online Courses that can help you cover your entire syllabus while sitting in the comfort of your home.

You can click here to know the complete syllabus from the official website of UPSC. 

If you have the knowledge of the points mentioned above before starting with your IAS preparations, you can surely succeed in the exam. Being thorough with these points helps you get in the right mindset required to ace the exam. IAS can be a difficult exam to pass, but with the right preparation strategy, even this can be achieved with ease. There are many IAS Online Coachings available, which can help you realize your dream of becoming an IAS officer.  

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