IAS Selection Process for UPSC Civil Services Examination

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has announced the official release date for the IAS notification 2023 as February 1, 2023. The recruitment notification will include information about the exam pattern, eligibility, and syllabus for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam. In this article, we will take a closer look at the IAS selection process as outlined in the UPSC CSE 2023 notification.

The IAS Selection Process

The IAS selection process is conducted in three stages, each designed to eliminate candidates who do not meet the required standards. Starting with a few lakh candidates at the preliminary stage, only about a thousand candidates are chosen into the service each year.

Stage 1: UPSC Prelims Exam

The first stage of the IAS selection process is the UPSC Prelims exam. This stage consists of two objective type-papers: the General Studies Paper I and the General Studies Paper II. To clear this stage and move on to the next stage, candidates must secure the minimum required marks for both papers. The minimum required score for GS Paper II (a.k.a CSAT) is 33%, while the minimum required score for GS Paper I is the cut-off prescribed by the UPSC. In the CSAT paper, candidates only have to clear it by scoring the minimum required marks; the marks obtained do not count for the rank list for the mains qualifier. The results of the prelims exam are generally announced within one to two months of the exam.

Stage 2: UPSC Mains Exam

The second stage of the IAS selection process is the UPSC Mains exam. This stage consists of nine papers, all of which are descriptive in nature. The papers include:

  1. Essay paper (250 marks)
  2. Compulsory Indian language (300 marks)
  3. Compulsory English language (300 marks)
  4. General studies paper 1 (250 marks)
  5. General studies paper 2 (250 marks)
  6. General studies paper 3 (250 marks)
  7. General studies paper 4 (250 marks)
  8. Optional paper 1 (250 marks)
  9. Optional paper 2 (250 marks)

In order to clear the mains exam, candidates must score the required cut-off marks in total. The cut-off marks prescribed for both the prelims and the mains will be revealed only after the entire process of the UPSC CSE is over, i.e., after the final results are out. Candidates who clear the mains exam and score the required cut-off will be summoned for the UPSC Personality test, which is the final stage of the civil services exam.

Stage 3: UPSC Personality Test

The final stage of the IAS selection process is the UPSC Personality Test. In this stage, candidates will be subject to a panel interview by the UPSC board. The board will assess candidates on various parameters such as overall personality, presence of mind, mental toughness, and ability to stay calm under pressure. Essentially, the board will evaluate whether a person is 'civil servant material' or not. There is no syllabus for this round and candidates will have to go prepared on various aspects like current affairs, their subjects of interest, general awareness, social issues, etc. The final result of the UPSC exam is generally announced a few days after the final day of the personality test.

Cadre and Service Allocation

When candidates apply for the mains exam, they must give their preference of cadre and service. The cadre indicates the places where they will work. Based on the vacancies in each cadre for all the categories, and their rank obtained, candidates will be allocated a cadre and a service after the final result. It is important to note that the UPSC Prelims exam is the same for those wishing to take the Indian Forest Services also. Hence, while applying for the prelims exam, candidates can opt for taking the CSE and/or the forest service.


IAS selection process is a rigorous and challenging one, but with the right preparation, candidates can increase their chances of success. The key is to be well-versed in the exam pattern, eligibility, and syllabus, and to stay updated on current affairs and social issues. Additionally, candidates should also be aware of the cadre and service allocation process, and make informed choices about their preferences. With hard work and determination, candidates can clear the IAS selection process and join the Indian Administrative Service, a prestigious and rewarding career path.

Written by IAS POINT

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