Unveiling UPSC Exams Details: A Step-by-Step Guide to Success

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s premier central recruiting agency responsible for conducting civil service examinations to select eligible candidates for various positions in the Indian administrative services, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and many others. 

The UPSC exam is considered one of the toughest and most prestigious exams in India, attracting thousands of aspirants every year. With the UPSC 2023 examination just around the corner, it is never too early to start preparing for the next exam, UPSC 2024. Around lakhs of candidates apply for the exam but only a hundred qualify for the UPSC Exam.

In this article, let’s get all the details about UPSC 2024 and start preparing for one of the toughest competitive exams in India.

UPSC Notification

The UPSC 2024 exam calendar was published on May 10, 2023. The Union Public Service Commission generally publishes the UPSC Notification in February. Aspirants must note that the UPSC 2024 exam notification will be released on 14 February 2024, and the Prelims exam is scheduled for 26 May 2024.

The UPSC notification comprises all important information related to exam dates, posts, vacancies, eligibility criteria, age relaxation, application form, the process of filling out the application form, exam centres, exam pattern, syllabus, etc.

Candidates can download the previous year’s UPSC notification for their reference and can gear up the exam preparation early to score well in the exam.

UPSC Posts & Vacancies

There are two categories of posts for which UPSC conducts the civil service examination. They are Group A and Group B. The list of some important Group A & Group B posts is given below.

  1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  2. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  3. Indian Police Service (IPS)
  4. Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’
  5. Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  6. Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’
  7. Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
  8. Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’
  9. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade)
  10. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’
  11. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’

For detailed information on all key UPSC posts, check the linked article.

UPSC 2024 Exam dates

The UPSC 2024 exam calendar was published on May 10, 2023. The exam dates for UPSC 2024 exam are as follows:

UPSC Exam Calendar 2024May 10, 2023
UPSC 2024 exam notification14 February 2024
UPSC 2024 exam application form 14 February 2024 to 5 March 2024
UPSC 2024 admit cardTo be released
UPSC 2024 Civil Services Prelims exam26 May 2024
UPSC 2024 Civil Services Mains exam20 September 2024

Candidates can check the UPSC 2023 exam dates to know the tentative dates for the UPSC 2024 exam.

UPSC 2024 vacancies

UPSC will release the 2024 vacancy details and the official Notification. Candidates must note that lakhs of candidates applied for the 2023 Civil Services exam, which had a provision of 1105 vacancies. Candidates must now have an idea about the competition involved in the exam. For detailed information on UPSC vacancies, candidates can refer to the official notification of the respective exam.

UPSC Eligibility

The UPSC IAS eligibility criteria are decided by the Commission. Let’s check the UPSC IAS 2024 eligibility criteria in this section.

UPSC IAS Exam 2024 Eligibility – Nationality

Candidates planning to appear for the Indian Administrative Services must be a citizen of India. For other posts, candidates can check the nationality details on the official notification by the Commission.

Age Limit for IAS 2024

The candidates must have attained 21 years of age and be less than 32 years of age as of 1st August 2024 i.e., the candidate must have been born not earlier than 2nd August 1992 and not later than 1st August 2003.

Candidates must also be aware of the minimum age limit and maximum age limit for different categories. The details are given below.

CategoryMinimum Age Limit for UPSCMaximum Age Limit for UPSC
IAS exam Age Limit for General Category2132
IAS OBC Age Limit2135

UPSC IAS Exam 2024 – Number of attempts

The number of attempts for various categories of candidates planning to appear for UPSC IAS 2024 is given below.

Number of attempts6unlimited909 for General/EWS/OBC Unlimited for SC/ST

Candidates can check the detailed UPSC eligibility criteria in the linked article.

UPSC Online Application

UPSC 2024 Online application process will start once the official notification is released. The UPSC online application form needs to be filled out carefully as a minor mistake or error might lead to the rejection of the candidature. 

The online UPSC application registration process has 2 parts:

  • Part 1 comprises basic details such as name, age, address etc.
  • Part 2 registration comprises the selection of the UPSC exam centre, payment of fees and uploading the photo, signature and ID proof.

Candidates can check the details of the UPSC online application process in the linked article.

UPSC application fee

Candidates are required to pay a fee of Rs. 100/- as the UPSC online application fee either by remitting the money in any Branch of the State Bank of India by cash or by using the Net Banking facility of any bank or by using Visa/Master/RuPay/Credit/Debit Card/UPI Payment. The categories of candidates exempted from fee payment are Female/SC/ST/Persons with Benchmark Disability Candidates.

UPSC Exam Pattern

The UPSC exam consists of three stages: the Preliminary examination, the Main examination, and the Personality Test. 

UPSC Prelims: The UPSC Preliminary examination is an objective type test consisting of two papers, namely the General Studies Paper I and the General Studies Paper II, also known as the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). 

UPSC Mains: The Main examination is a subjective type test consisting of nine papers, including an Essay paper, four General Studies papers, two optional papers, and two language papers. Candidates who clear the UPSC Mains examination are eligible for the final round, i.e UPSC interview.

UPSC Interview: The Personality Test, also known as the Interview, is conducted for the candidates who have qualified for the Main examination. This part of the examination assesses a candidate’s personality, behaviour, response to situations, knowledge of surroundings,  mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, a balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, and other aspects. Candidates who are selected in this round finally get to attend the training for different posts and services based on preferences and ranks. 

The exam pattern for UPSC 2024 Prelims is as follows:

UPSC Civil Service Exam Pattern – Prelims
PaperTypeNo. of questionsUPSC Total MarksDurationNegative marks
General Studies IObjective1002002 hoursYes
General Studies II (CSAT)Objective802002 hoursYes
Total Marks400 (where GS Paper II is qualifying in nature with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%)

The exam pattern for UPSC 2024 Mains is as follows:

UPSC CSE Exam Pattern – Mains
PaperSubjectDurationIAS Total marks
Paper ACompulsory Indian language3 hours300
Paper BEnglish3 hours300
Paper IEssay3 hours250
Paper IIGeneral Studies I3 hours250
Paper IIIGeneral Studies II3 hours250
Paper IVGeneral Studies III3 hours250
Paper VGeneral Studies IV3 hours250
Paper VIOptional I3 hours250
Paper VIIOptional II3 hours250

UPSC Interview – The UPSC interview is of 275 marks, thus bringing the total marks for UPSC Mains and Interview for the merit list consideration to 2025.

Candidates can check the detailed UPSC exam pattern in the linked article.

UPSC Syllabus

The UPSC syllabus is vast and comprehensive as it has a lot of topics for Prelims and Mains.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

The UPSC Prelims syllabus has two major subjects:

  1. General Studies
  2. CSAT

General studies is the first paper of the UPSC Prelims Exam. It carries 200 marks and comprises topics related to  Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, and International Relations.

CSAT paper is 200 marks and has Reasoning and Analytical, ‘Reading Comprehension and the seldom asked Decision Making questions.

The important topics in the UPSC syllabus for Prelims (General Studies – paper 1) are given below.

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation.
  • General Science

The important topics in the UPSC syllabus for Prelims (CSAT – paper 2) are given below.

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills, including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability

Candidates can download the detailed UPSC Prelims syllabus from the linked article.

UPSC Mains Syllabus

The UPSC IAS mains exam comprises 9 theory papers, and the marks of 7 of those papers are considered for preparing the final merit list. The other two papers, English and Indian Language, are qualifying in nature.

The important topics in the UPSC IAS Mains syllabus are

  1. Compulsory Indian Language – paper A
  2. Paper B – English
  3. Essay
  4. General Studies I – Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society
  5. General Studies II – Governance, Constitution, Welfare Initiatives, Social Justice & International Relations
  6. General Studies III – Technology, Economic Development, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management
  7. General Studies IV – Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude
  8. Optional Subject – Paper I
  9. Optional Subject – Paper II

Candidates can download the detailed UPSC Mains syllabus from the linked article.

UPSC 2024 Admit Card

Aspirants appearing for UPSC 2024 will be issued an e-admit card by the UPSC three weeks before the commencement of the examination. Candidates can download the e-admit card from the official website.

UPSC 2024 admit card will contain information as below:

  1. Name of candidate
  2. Roll Number
  3. Photograph of the candidate
  4. Venue of examination
  5. Exam timings and shift details
  6. Subject and subject code
  7. Important instructions

Candidates must note that they cannot be allowed to take the examination if they do not carry their e-Admit Card for the examination. On downloading of UPSC e-Admit Card, candidates must check all the data on the admit card, and in case of any discrepancies/errors, they must notify the Commission immediately. 

Steps to download the UPSC e-admit card

Here are the steps to download the UPSC e-admit card 2024

Step 1: Visit the official website

Step 2: Click on the e-Admit Card link

Step 3: Click on e-Admit Cards for various examinations of UPSC

Step 4: Enter the Roll number or Registration number

Step 5: Download the prelims/mains admit card and print a copy of the same to carry to the exam venue

UPSC 2024 Exam Preparation

The UPSC 2024 exam will be highly competitive, and aspirants must start their preparation early to achieve success. To begin the UPSC 2024 preparation, candidates must first understand the exam pattern and syllabus and then build their knowledge base. 

Regular practice and revision are essential, and candidates can attend online coaching from BYJU’S or use the relevant resources by subject matter experts for self-study to enhance their preparation. 

Given below are the detailed preparation strategies for the UPSC 2024 Exam Preparation.

  1. Aspirants must have a strong grasp of the marking scheme, exam pattern and syllabus to begin their exam preparation and plan out a strategy for an ace-level exam.
  2. Aspirants must note that the preparation strategy for the UPSC Exam will vary from level to level. Therefore, aspirants must get to know the exam pattern better and understand the needs and expectations of the UPSC Exam at three different levels – Prelims, Mains & the Interview.
  3. The Prelims exam of UPSC 2024 will analyze the analytical and aptitude skills of candidates. Therefore, candidates need to be updated with all minor and major information related to topics in the UPSC syllabus.
  4. UPSC Mains exam analyses the descriptive knowledge of candidates on each topic in the syllabus. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of topics is crucial for UPSC 2024 Mains exam. 
  5. Candidates should refer to good study material for a better understanding of concepts and develop a sound knowledge of topics from the basics. NCERT can be of great help for the same.
  6. Candidates should make notes on topics and refer to notes during revision. This helps in the easy recalling of concepts when required. The notes are a great way of organizing and studying concepts in a sequence from the vast UPSC syllabus. To know about Making Notes For UPSC IAS Exam, check the linked article. 
  7. Reading newspapers on a daily basis is a non-negotiable part of the UPSC exam preparation. This helps to stay updated with the current affairs section and helps in all 3 stages of the exam.

UPSC books

UPSC exam syllabus is vast in nature and requires a lot of resourceful study material for preparation. However, NCERT books are one of the sought-after resources for UPSC Exam preparation due to how the concepts are explained, making it easier to grasp the basics.

The list of important UPSC books is as follows:

UPSC Prelims Books 

HistoryIndia’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan ChandraIndian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
GeographyCertificate Physical Geography – G C LeongWorld Atlas (Orient Black Swan)
Indian PolityIndian Polity – M Laxmikanth
EconomicsIndian Economy by Nitin SinghaniaEconomic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri
International RelationsCurrent Affairs
CSATTata McGraw Hill CSAT ManualVerbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal

UPSC Mains Books

SubjectUPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture[GS Paper 1]Indian Art and Culture by Nitin SinghaniaIndia’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
Geography[GS Paper 1]Geography of India by Majid HusainWorld Geography by Majid HusainFundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations[GS Paper 2]Indian Polity by M. LaxmikanthIntroduction to the Constitution of India by DD BasuInternational Relations: Pushpesh Pant
Economy[GS Paper 3]Indian Economy – Nitin SinghaniaEnvironment and Disaster Management – Tata McGraw HillChallenges to Internal Security of India – Ashok Kumar
Ethics[GS Paper 4]Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudhary

This table has some of the important UPSC books for UPSC 2024 exam preparation. Candidates can check the linked article for a detailed list of books for the exam.

UPSC Previous year Question Papers

Practising the previous year’s question papers is an important stage in UPSC 2024 civil services test preparation. To comprehend the nature of UPSC questions asked in the civil services examination.

Previous years’ UPSC question papers will provide insight into the type and grade of questions asked in the Civil Services Examination. As a result, hopefuls may aim their efforts in the proper path. It aids in determining the candidates’ weaker and stronger academic areas. Aspirants would be able better to coordinate their exam preparation as a result of this.

Candidates can download UPSC’s previous years’ question papers in the linked article. Practising previous years’ papers give aspiring candidates an edge over competitors.

UPSC 2024 exam is a highly sought-after exam, and aspirants must start their preparation early to crack it. With determination, hard work, and the right strategy, candidates can achieve success in the exam and secure their dream position in Indian administrative services.

Frequently Asked Questions on UPSC 2024 Exam


When is UPSC 2024 Civil services exam scheduled?

UPSC 2024 Exam calendar was released on 10th May 2023. The Prelims exam is scheduled for 26th May 2024 and the Mains exam will start from 20th September onwards.


Can a candidate modify their date of birth that has already been submitted in the online application?

No, UPSC does not have any provision for modifying date of birth details that has already been submitted. Candidates must know that submitting wrong/false information on the DAF can lead to the rejection of candidature.


When will the UPSC 2024 exam admit card be issued?

Candidates can download their UPSC 2024 e-admit card three weeks before the scheduled exam. Once notified on the official website, aspiring candidates can get details about it.


Are requests for a change of Centre/ Venue accepted?

No, UPSC doesn’t entertain the request of candidates for a change of venue/centres.


What is the procedure for allotment of roll numbers and venues to eligible candidates?

Allotment of Roll Numbers and Venues to the eligible candidates is carried out through a computer in a random manner without manual intervention. The Commission uses the method of “first-apply-first allot” basis to provide the preferred venue/exam centres to candidates. However, Commission may change the Centres of the candidates at its discretion.

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