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IAS Exam 2019-20: Dates, Eligibility, Exam Pattern, Syllabus & Preparation

Diksha Nautiyal
Diksha NautiyalUpdated On: September 13, 2019 02:48 pm IST | UPSC Civil Services

IAS Exam is one of the most popular exams in India. After qualifying the various daunting rounds of IAS exam, candidates are selected for this prestigious position in the administration sector. 

IAS Exam 2019/20: IAS Prelim, IAS Mains

Becoming an IAS Officer is a dream that many people in India aspire to achieve. A career that provides people with high stature in society coupled with respect and a number of perks, there is no doubt that this is one of the most popular jobs in India. It is the popularity of this profession that causes a cut-throat competition to achieve the goal of becoming an IAS officer. Every year, more than 10,00,000 candidates apply for the IAS exam, out of which, less than even one percent aspirants get selected for the post. Huge competition and unpredictability of the exam make it one of the toughest exam in the country. Therefore, it is very important to have a thorough understanding of IAS syllabus.

Given the competition, IAS preparation is not an easy task. In order to crack the IAS exam, candidates have to go through a rigorous preparation process. In order to cover the whole IAS exam syllabus, it is important that candidates prepare for it well before the IAS exam. For this, they can take help of IAS preparation books that include best books for Prelims and Mains. In fact, accessing IAS coaching institutes have become easy for students nowadays as there are a number of IAS online coaching institutes available. This opens up a lot of opportunities for the aspirants for whom, being present for the offline coaching institutes is a constraint.

This article deals with all students need to know about the IAS exam. From IAS exam syllabus to how to become an IAS officer, this article will provide candidates with all the information.

About IAS Exam 2019

IAS officer, also known by the full form Indian Administrative Services, is an A-Grade officer. In order to become an IAS officer, candidates have to qualify UPSC Civil Services Examination. It is a national-level examination conducted on an annual basis by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). Through this exam, candidates are recruited for civil services like IAS (Indian Administrative Services), IRS (Indian Revenue Service), IFS (Indian Forest Services), IPS (Indian Police Service), IES (Indian Engineering Services), CAPF-AF (Central Armed Police Forces), IDAS (Indian Defence Accounts Service), etc.

Every year, a single exam is conducted by the conducting authority for all the mentioned services. After the completion of the final selection process, different positions are filled on the basis of candidates’ scores in different written exams and interview round. IAS exam is conducted across the nation in an offline mode. The number of vacancies varies every year. It may range from 700 to 900. The UPSC IAS exam consists of two rounds. The first round is called UPSC Prelims (popularly goes by the name IAS Prelims) and the other round is called UPSC Mains (IAS Mains). Upon qualifying both the rounds, candidates are shortlisted for the final and interview round.

The UPSC civil services final selection process involves the marks scored by candidates in all three rounds. This year, IAS Prelims was conducted on 2nd June 2019. IAS prelim result 2019 was declared on 12th July. IAS Mains will be conducted from 20th to 29th September 2019.

IAS Exam 2019 Important Dates

The IAS 2019 exam dates have been mentioned in the table below. While the preliminary round of IAS Exam 2019 has been conducted, the Mains round is yet to be held.



IAS Prelim Exam 2019

2nd June 2019

IAS Prelims Result 2019

12th Jule 2019

IAS Mains Exam 2019

20th, 21st, 22nd, 28th, 29th September 2019

IAS Mains Result 2019

January 2020 (Tentative)

IAS Exam 2020 Important Dates

The IAS exam for 2020 is set to be held in the month of June and September. Candidates can check out the table below to get IAS Exam 2020 dates.

IAS Exam Round

Notification Date

Last Date of Application

Exam Date

Exam Duration

IAS Prelim 2020

12th February 2020

3rd March 2020

31st June 2020

1 Day

IAS Mains 2020



18th September 2020

5 Days

IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria 2019

In order to become an IAS officer, candidates will have to meet the following eligibility criteria laid down by the UPSC.

  • The minimum education qualification for IAS is that a candidate must hold a bachelors degree in any discipline.

  • The UPSC age limit, which is the age criteria for IAS exam is 32 years. Although, this limit can be exceeded for SC/ST candidates for up to 5 years and up to three years for OBC candidates.

  • The minimum age requirement to sit in the exam is 21 years.

  • Candidate must be of Indian nationality.

IAS Exam Pattern 2019

By comprehending the IAS exam pattern, candidates will get to know about the distribution of questions asked in IAS Prelims or Mains, their marking scheme, the duration of the IAS exam and more. The IAS exam is conducted in three stages. The stages are:

  • IAS Preliminary Examination (UPSC Prelim)

  • IAS Main Examination (UPSC Mains)

  • IAS Personality Test (IAS interview)

Let’s discuss the exam pattern and marking scheme of all the three stages in detail.

IAS Prelims Exam Pattern

IAS Prelims exam pattern is as follows:

  • IAS Prelim stage of the exam tests the analytical skills of the candidates.

  • It comprises two compulsory papers, the first one being GAT (General Ability Test) and the second one is called CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test).

  • Candidates are given four choices of answers for every question that makes the questions objective type.

  • In paper 1 i.e., GAT, a total of 100 questions are asked.

  • Paper 2 comprises 80 questions.

  • Candidates are given two hours for each paper to complete the exam.

  • The IAS Prelims round carries a weightage of 400 marks.

  • IAS prelims exam is set in both English and Hindi language.

  • The IAS Prelim Merit is based on the scores of paper 1. Depending upon the difficulty level of the paper, it may range from 100 to 125.

  • The nature of Paper 2 is the qualifying type, which means that in order to qualify for IAS Mains, candidates will have to score at least 33% in the paper.

IAS Prelim Marking Scheme

The given table shows the marking scheme for the IAS Prelim examination.


Total Number of Questions

Marks Per Question

Total Weightage

Negative Marking for Each Incorrect Answer

Paper 1




One-third of the weightage of the question

Paper 2







Also Read: UPSC Civil Services Selection Process

IAS Mains Exam Pattern

The IAS Mains exam pattern is given in detail below:

  • IAS Main Exam is a descriptive type.

  • The exam comprises nine papers, each of which carries 250 marks.

  • The exam is conducted in offline mode and candidates get 3 hours to every paper to complete.

  • The exam is conducted in 5 days.

  • The papers in the IAS Mains exam are of two types, qualifying types and merit exams. The following table shows the IAS Mains exam pattern in a simplified manner.

Nature of Paper


Paper Name


Qualifying Papers (Language)

Paper 1

Any Indian Language of Candidate’s Choice as per 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution


Paper 2



Merit Exams

Paper 3

Essay Writing


Paper 4

GS (General Studies) Paper 1


Paper 5

GS Paper 2


Paper 6

GS Paper 3


Paper 7

GS Paper 4


Paper 8

Optional Subject Paper 1


Paper 9

Optional Subject Paper 2


Total Scores in the Merit Papers


IAS Mains Marking Scheme

  • Each qualifying exam in IAS Main carries a weightage of 300 marks.

  • Candidates will have to score a minimum of 25% marks in both the papers.

  • All the seven merit exams in IAS Mains carry a weightage of 250 each, making it a total of 1750.

  • Since the papers are of descriptive type, there is no negative marking in the exam.

IAS Exam Pattern for Personality Test (Interview)

  • The IAS Interview carries a weightage of 275 marks.

  • Candidates who qualify the IAS Mains examination are called for the interview round.

  • The Personality test round includes Assessment Test, Psychometric Test, and Personal Interview.

  • It is used to judge the mental caliber of a candidate to see if she/he is fit for the position in all aspects or not.

  • This test is carried out in a language that is preferred by the candidates.

  • The weightage of this round and IAS Mains round make it a grand total of 2025 marks.

  • The final selection is done on the basis of this grand total.

Also Read: Things You Need to Know About UPSC Exam

IAS Exam Syllabus 20219

The IAS exam syllabus for every round is different. There is no doubt that IAS syllabus is vast and needs proper time for the preparation. Candidates can find the syllabus of IAS Exam for 2020 below.

IAS Prelim Syllabus

Since the IAS Prelim round comprises two papers, the syllabus for these papers also vary.

IAS Prelim Syllabus for Paper 1 (GAT)

Scientific Developments

Economic and Social Development

Impact of Geography in the Country

Governance and Constitutional Structure

Events and Happening of National Importance

Research and Development

General Science

Indian Polity

Current Issues Faced by the Country

International Relations

IAS Prelim Syllabus for Paper 2 (CSAT)

Logical Reasoning

Interpersonal Skills


Analytical Skills

Numerical Ability

Problem Solving Capacity

Antonyms and Synonyms

Data Interpretation

IAS Main Syllabus

Here is a table that shows the IAS Main Syllabus Paper-Wise.


Paper Title

Areas of Relevance

Paper 1

Essay Writing

  • The essays could be from any subject. It can vary from the education system to judiciary. They can be opinionated as well.

Paper 2

GS Paper 1

  • Indian Heritage and Culture, Geography and History of the Society and World

Paper 3

GS Paper 2

  • International Relations, Social Justice, Constitution and Governance

Paper 4

GS Paper 3

  • Disaster and Security Management, Environment, Bio-diversity, Economic Development, Technology, etc

Paper 5

GS Paper 4

  • Aptitude, Integrity, and Ethics

Topics for Optional Subject Papers for IAS Mains

The following table includes a list of IAS Mains optional subjects. Candidates are given the liberty to choose any one of the choices by the conducting authority i.e., UPSC.


Political Science & International Relations



Commerce & Accountancy



Mechanical Engineering



Animal Husbandry& Veterinary Science




Electrical Engineering



Civil Engineering






Medical Science

Public Administration

Also Read:List of UPSC Toppers for 2018

IAS Preparation Tips

The preparation for IAS exam and UPSC Civil Services go parallel to each other as every IAS aspirant sits for this exam only. Looking at the UPSC Civil Services Exam’s syllabus and exam pattern, the question that comes in every aspirant’s mind is ‘How to prepare for IAS Exam?’. Here are some tips and tricks to crack the IAS exam 2020.

  • Practice regularly.

  • Get a good grip over the IAS syllabus as students often tend to get confused with the topics.

  • Make notes as they help in revision a lot.

  • Prefer only the best books for IAS preparation.

  • Solve as much previous years’ IAS question papers as one can.

  • Stay determined. An exam as competitive as this can take a lot of time in preparation. Candidates must be continuous with their preparation.

  • Prepare a strategy and follow the same.

Candidates can also get to know the preparation process for UPSC Civil Services examination here.

IAS Preparation Books

Selecting the best books for IAS exam is one of the most important tasks in the IAS preparation process. From finding out how to select the best books for IAS exam to learning time management for IAS exam, it all takes aspirants one step closure to the aim.

here is a list of preparation books for IAS exam 2020 that are preferred by the toppers.

IAS Prelim Preparation Books

The best books for the preparation for IAS Preliminary exams are:

Indian Economy (Economy) by Ramesh Singh

History Of Medieval India (History) by Satish Chandra

History of Modern India (History) by Bipin Chandra

India’s Struggle For Independence (History) by Bipin Chandra

Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations (Polity) by M. Laxmikanth

Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains (Environment) by Khuller

Manorama Yearbook for Current Affairs

Pratyogita Darpan

Oxford School Atlas (Geography)

Indian Art and Culture (Culture) by Nitin Singhania

IAS Mains Preparation Books

The best books for the preparation for IAS Main exams are:

India After Gandhi (History – GS1) by Ramachandra Guha

IAS Mains General Studies Paper 2 (Manual – GS2) by Arihant

Essays for Civil Services (Essay Paper) by Pulkit Khare

Selected Contemporary Essays (Essay Paper) by Saumitra Mohan

Pax Indica (Foreign Policy – GS2) by Shashi Tharoor

IAS Mains General Studies – Ethics. (Manual – GS4) by Arihant

Interested candidates can also get the information on the best books for UPSC Civil Services exam here. Other than the best books, IAS coaching institutes are also a great help in the preparation for IAS. Candidates can also check the IAS paper analysis of 2019 to understand the exam better.

IAS Result 2019

The IAS Result 2019 for prelims have been announced in the month of July this year. The second round of the exam, which is IAS Mains will be conducted in September 2019. The IAS Mains Result 2019 is due till January. As soon as the dates are declared by the UPSC, Collegedekho will update the dates here.

All the Best!

Stay tuned to CollegeDekho for more updates and details on IAS exam 2019 and IAS exam 2020.

UPSC Civil Services Previous Year Question Paper

UPSC CS Zoology Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Zoology Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Statistics Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Statistics Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Statistics Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Sociology Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Sociology Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Psychology Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Psychology Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Physics Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Physics Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Mathematics Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Mathematics Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Mechanical Eng Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Mechanical Eng Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Civil Eng Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Civil Eng Paper-2 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Agriculture Paper-1 (Main) 2018

UPSC CS Agriculture Paper-2 (Main) 2018


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