UPSC IAS Exam Previous Year Papers

IAS Exam Previous Year Papers

UPSC conducts IAS exam for selection in administrative posts. This blog gives you all the exam related details. You can also download IAS Exam Previous Year Papers from the link shared in the blog.

UPSC IAS Exam Previous Year Papers

One of the toughest exam conducted in India is Indian Administrative Services (IAS). IAS is also known as Imperial Civil Service (ICS). The exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission for recruitment of suitable candidates for officer level administrative posts. Among 24 posts under civil services, IAS is topmost administrative post designated. First IES exam was conducted in 1858 and IAS exam was first conducted in 1950. An IAS officer can be employed under any of the two government Union Government, the State Governments, and public-sector undertakings.

UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria

  • Nationality

    • Candidate must be an Indian/ Nepal citizen or subject of Bhutan.
    • A candidate could be a refugee from Tibet, shifted permanently to India before 1st January 1962.
    • A. Indian origin person migrated permanently to India from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, or Zambia is also eligible.
  • Educational Qualification

    • Bachelor’s degree from any recognized university.
    • Candidate’s whose result is still pending can appear for the preliminary exam. Such candidates must submit proof of passing the stated exam with Main Exam Application.
    • Aspirants having a Technical or professional degree from a university recognized by the government is also eligible.
    • Candidate with an MBBS degree but whose still have to finish Internship can appear for Mains Exam. They have to submit the passing certificate from their medical university.
  • Age Limit

    • A candidate should be a minimum of 21 years and maximum 32 years old as on  August 01, 2019. But he/she must have been born not earlier than August 02, 1987 and not later than August 01, 1998. Necessary action will take to make corresponding changes in respective Rules/Regulations pertaining to various services.
    • The upper age limit prescribed above is relaxable for the following candidates:
    • 5 Years – Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) 3 Years – Other Backward Classes (OBC)
    • 3 Years – Defence Services personnel
    • 5 Years – ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least
    • 5 years Military Service as on August 01, 2019
    • 5 Years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs 10 Years – Blind, deaf-mute, and orthopedically handicapped persons
    • 5 Years –  In the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service as on 1st August, 2019 and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months’ notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment 
  • Number of Attempts: An individual can attempt IAS exam only a limited number of times.
    • General Candidates: 7 attempts (Up to 32 Years)
    • Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Candidates (SC/ST) candidates: No Limits (Up to 37 Years)
    • Other Backward Classes (OBC): 9 attempts (Up to 35 Years)
    • Physically handicapped- 9 attempts for general and OBC, while unlimited for SC/ST

IAS Selection Process

There are 3 major stages that candidate have to clear for becoming an IAS officer. They are:

  1. IAS Prelims Exam
  2. IAS Mains Exam
  3. Interview

IAS Exam Pattern

 IAS Exam Pattern for Prelims

  • THere are 2 papers in IAM prelims i.e. General Ability Test (GAT) and Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT).
  • These tests test the analytical skills of the candidate.
  • Questions will be objective type.
  • Questions will be in Hindi as well as the English language.
  • Questions from English Reading comprehension will not be in Hindi.
  • Candidates have to score minimum 33% in prelims for qualifying for mains exam.
IAS Exam Pattern for Prelims
IAS Exam Pattern for Prelims
Exam Mode Offline
Number of Papers 2- General Ability Test (GAT) and Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)
Number of Questions Paper 1- 80; Paper 2-100
Question Paper Type Multiple Choice Questions
IAS Prelims Total Marks 400
Nature of Exam Qualifying
Exam Duration 2 hours each, +20 minutes for blind students
Exam Language English and Hindi

Marking Scheme for IAS Prelims

  • 2 marks are allocated to each question in general studies paper.
  • 2.5 marks to each question in Civil Service Aptitude Test paper
  • There is negative marking of 1/3rd of the weightage given to the question for every wrong answer.
  • In case a candidate give two answers for a question, it will be considered wrong and negative marking will be applied.
  •  There is no negative marking if a question is not attempted. 

IAS Mains Exam Pattern

  • Mains exam is conducted using pen-paper mode.
  • Each paper carries 250 marks.
  • 3 hours are allocated for each paper. for blind students extra 30 minutes are given.
  • There will be in all 7 papers in IAS Mains exam. Knowledge and understanding of the subject are tested by these papers.
  • Objective, as well as descriptive questions, will be there.
  • Paper will be in Hindi and English language.
  • There are two parts in IAS Mains exam- Qualifying Exam and Merit Exam. Candidates have to appear in both exams.
Qualifying Papers
  1. Paper A: Candidate has to select one Indian language included in the 6th schedule of Indian Constitution. Marks allocated is 300.
  2. Paper B: English – 300 Marks
Merit Exams- 
  • Minimum marks must be achieved by candidates in qualifying exam to qualify for Merit exam.
  • Intellectual and interpersonal skills of candidates will be tested in this exam.
  • Essay type questions will be there.
  • Candidate’s hold on any Indian language will be tested.
  • The option of two papers will be given to candidates.

Compulsory Papers in IAS Mains Exam

Paper Title of the Paper Marks Allotted
Paper 1 Essay writing 250 Marks
Paper 2 General Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society) 250 Marks
Paper 3 General Studies –II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250 Marks
Paper 4 General Studies –III  (Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250 Marks
Paper 5 General Studies –IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude) 250 Marks
Paper 6 Optional Subject – Paper 1 250 Marks
Paper 7 Optional Subject – Paper 2 250 Marks
  Sub Total in the written Test 1750 Marks
  Personal Interview 275 Marks
Grand Total ( for merit calculation) 2025 Marks

IAS Mains Marking Scheme

  • Total marks allocated to IAS Main are 1750.
  • 2.5 marks are allocated to each question.
  • Candidates will be marked on the basis of opinion, Content flow, understanding the problems/ situation, offering feasible solutions/strategies, presentation, and language
  • The option of choosing 2 optional subjects are given to the candidates. Questions are asked on those 2 subjects. 

Optional Subjects in IAS Mains Exam

List of Optional Subjects in IAS Mains
Agriculture Anthropology Chemistry
Geography History Political Science & International Relations
Commerce & Accountancy Economics Management
Mathematics Mechanical Engineering Psychology
Public Administration Sociology Electrical Engineering
Physics Zoology Medical Science
Animal Husbandry& Veterinary Science Botany Civil Engineering
Geology Law Philosophy

IAS Exam Pattern for Personality Test

  • After qualifying Mains exam, candidates will appear for Personality test.
  • There will be 3 types of test in Personality test i.e. Psychometric Test, Assessment Test and the Personal Interview.
  • The motive of the interview is to test candidates personal suitability for a public service profile. Questions will be asked on the general interest of the candidate.
  • Tests are to judge the mental ability of the candidate.
  • These tests are conducted to evaluate qualities in the candidate like mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgment, variety, and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
  • Tests will be taken in language candidate is comfortable in.
  • The interview is for 275 marks while total marks for IAS paper is 2025 marks.
  • Candidates will be ranked on basis of the grand total and called for the final interview.

Also read: UPSC CAPF AC Previous Year Question Papers

IAS Exam Syllabus

Preliminary Round

Paper 1 – General Awareness

This paper will test candidates’ knowledge and passion towards the country. The questions will be from various aspects like history, geography, economy, etc. Important topics in this paper will be: 

  • Events and Happening of National Importance
  • Impact of Geography in the country
  • Governance and Constitutional Structure
  • Current Issues faced by the country
  • Economic and Social Development
  • Research and Development
  • Scientific Developments
Paper 2 – English & General Aptitude

The candidate has to achieve a minimum 33% marks in this section to qualify for the exam. This section tests problem-solving skills, time management skills and agility of the candidate. The candidate has to focus on following areas for this paper:

  • Logical Reasoning
  • Problem Solving Capacity
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Numerical Ability
  • Analytical Skills
  • Comprehension
  • Antonyms  / Synonyms

Mains Round

Paper 3 – Essay Writing

In this paper, candidates will be asked to write an essay on the topic of their own choice.

Paper 4 – General Studies I

Questions asked will be related to ancient India like Indian History, Culture, Heritage, Geography etc. Major topics will be:

  • History of India – Ancient and Modern
  • Significant changes in Architecture, Literature, etc.
  • Geographical Significance
  • Notable events in World History
  • Diversity
  • Globalization
Paper 5 – General Studies II

Questions will be related with Indian reforms post-independence. Topics like:

  • Constitution of India
  • Constitutional Analysis of the world
  • Parliament and Legislatures
  • Key issues faced by the nation and solutions
  • Welfare Schemes by the Government
  • Department and Structures in Government
Paper 6 – General Studies III

Questions in this paper will be from Modern India and recent developments in India. Topics will be like:

  • Indian Economy
  • Farming
  • Science
  • Research and Development
  • Information Technology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Achievements in various fields
  • Security Challenges
  • Industrial Growth
  • Infrastructural developments 
Paper 7 – General Studies IV

Questions will be from Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. The topics will be:

  • Ethics in Public Administration
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Behavioral Analysis
  • Functional Values
Paper 8 & 9 – Candidates have to choose their preferred  subjects from the list of subjects shared below:
  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce and Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Indian History
  • Law
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Science
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

Note: One of the regional languages can also be selected by the candidate as an optional subject.

Preparation Tips for IAS Exam

  1. Candidates must read eligibility criteria carefully before sitting for IAS Exam.
  2. IAS Exam Papers tests knowledge of core subjects. Candidates have to focus on strengthening their knowledge of core subjects.
  3. Practice on IAS Exam Previous Year Papers as much as possible.
  4. Solve IAS Exam Previous Year Papers within the specified time limit of each paper and analyze your performance.
  5. Prepare with full focus and concentration. Keep your spirits high.
  6. Identify and attempt easier questions first.
  7. As there is negative marking, focus on answering questions you are confident about.
  8. Knowledge about Indian history, culture, and recent development are very crucial to crack IAS exam.
  9. Read newspaper daily and keep yourself updated with the latest developments.
  10. Practice is the Key.

All the Best!! 

UPSC IAS Exam Previous Year Papers

Practicing on IAS Exam Previous Year Papers is a very important part of IAS preparation. Solving IAS Exam Previous Year Papers will give you an idea of previous year exam pattern. Will help in time management in each paper. Candidate can build an exam strategy after going through IAS Exam Previous Year Papers. You can download IAS Exam Previous Year Papers  from the link shared below:



UPSC IAS (PRE) Exam 2018 General Studies Paper-1


UPSC IAS (PRE) Exam -2017-general-studies-paper-English
UPSC IAS (PRE) Exam -2017-CSAT

All the best!!


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