UPSC: 2021 & General

Exam & The Conducting Body

Civil Services Exam or CSE is a national level exam adorned with the title of “Most Difficult Exam to Crack”. It is conducted by UPSC – Union Public Service Commission and sometimes referred as just UPSC exam. UPSC CSE fills for 24 services ranging between 700-1400 annually. The top most All India service is that of an IAS officer and since most aspirants aim for this top post, it is simply known as IAS exam too. Although UPSC conducts several government exams every year in a variety of streams but only CSE gets the prestige of being this difficult for the level of position it bestows upon the officers. UPSC CSE or UPSC is a three-level exam which are: Preliminary (Two objective papers), Mains (Total nine papers) and a personality test (Interview). One sits for a total of 32 hours of examination to qualify the exam. On an average, the number of students that pass the first stage of exam is 11 to 12 times more than the number of vacancies. This demonstrates the competition & hype of UPSC among students. And this all hype is not inexplicable for the later highly respectful, well paying government job which the aspirants fancy for at the end of their struggle.

Examination News & Notifications

Such is the popularity and reputation of UPSC CSE exam that the news sources are not limited. There are n number of websites, portals, newspapers, coaching institutes’ sites, YouTube Channels, and several other offline & online sources that provide the news and notifications of UPSC exam without any cost. The official website of UPSC is . UPSC Aspirants and other interested students can visit the above given official website regularly to keep a check on the latest updates and notifications regarding the exam. The first notification regarding UPSC 2021 was issued on the official website on 4th march, 2021 along with the release of application form for the same.  The notification also informed the aspirants to fill the CSE 2021 application form by 23rd of March,2021 latest. Later, another notification was issued stating some changes in the exam dates caused due to novel Coronavirus. It is also given accompanying the updated schedule that even this date sheet can be subject to alterations in future if required. Keeping this in mind, students are advised to visit the official website regularly to not miss any news or announcements in future regarding the exam.

Examination Dates

Earlier the date for CSE exam phase 1 i.e., Preliminary exam was 27th of June, 2021. It seems COVID-19 like all other fields, affected UPSC CSE dates this year too and hence the date for the Preliminary exam that was scheduled to be conducted on June 27th will now be conducted on Oct. 10, 2021. Also, the Mains exam of UPSC Civil Services Exam will be held on the dates 7th, 8th, 9th, 15th & 16th of January, 2022. Apart from the form filling dates, UPSC has announced form withdrawal dates. Candidates who have filled the form can withdraw the form between 31st March, 2021 to 6th of April, 2021.

Application Fee

If we talk about the fees of the exam, it can be concluded that the fees asked for form filling in UPSC CSE exam is not as much as compared to other competitive exams, reasons being the conducting body and the difficulty level of the exam. The General Category, OBC & EWS belonging male candidates are required to pay a sum of Rs. 100 for Preliminary exam and Rs. 200 for the Mains exam. It must be clear that all category females, Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (PwBD) and SC/ST Candidates are exempted to pay fees at any phase of the examination.

Eligibility Criteria

For an UPSC aspirant, given below is the eligibility criteria based on various factors that make her/him eligible to appear in the most prestigious and India’s toughest government exam:

1.    Nationality

  • A person willing to sit for UPSC exam with the intention of getting into Indian Administrative Service or Indian Police Service must be a citizen of India.
  • Apart from IAS & IPS all other services require the candidate to be:
    • An Indian citizen.
      • A subject of Bhutan or a citizen of Nepal.
      • A refugee from Tibet who is living for permanent purpose in India before Jan. 1st, 1962.
      • A person of Indian Origin with a desire for permanent settlement in India from, Pakistan, Myanmar, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zaire & Zambia.

2.    Educational Qualifications

  • A candidate must have earned a graduation degree in any discipline from any open/private/central/deemed/state University.
  • A graduation degree from any foreign university that is recognized by Indian Association of Universities.
  • Graduation degree can be completed on a regular mode or through distance education.
  • A special recognition by the Govt, of India for a qualification as equivalent as above-mentioned graduation degree.

3.    Age

  • A person (male/female) is eligible to sit for the exam with a minimum age of 21 years as calculated on 1st of August, in the respective year of exam.
  • Age limits vary for different categories. The different upper age limits:
    •  For General category & EWS is 32 years.
      • For OBCs is 35 years.
      • For SCs/STs/PwDs is 37 years.
      • For Defence Services Personnel disabled in operations during hostilities, it is 40 years.

4.    Attempts

  • The number of attempts allowed to candidates (male/female) vary for different categories, which is as follows:
    • 6 attempts for General Category.
      • 9 attempts for OBCs.
      • Unlimited number of attempts for SCs/STs.


The vacancies for posts to be filled by UPSC through CSE exam is not fixed. The number of vacant positions is released by the Commission prior to the exam every year which vary in number. The vacant positions vary from minimum 700 to maximum 1500 approximately. Past data shows this sharp variation with exact number of vacancies. For instance, year 2018 saw a total vacancy of 759 and in 2014 vacancies were as much as 1364. This variation occurs every year. The number of vacant posts released by UPSC this year, i.e., 2021 is 712 which shows a decrease of 84 vacancies as in 2020, which was 796.


The salary offered by The Government of India to officers chosen through UPSC varies from post to post and service to service. The tag of government job and such a reputation that comes with the job, generally overshadow the salary question. For instance, the salary range of two top most services are given below:

  • For the top service like IAS, the salary range is 56,000 to 2,50,000 INR.
  • IPS officer’s salary ranges between 39,000 to 2,12,000 INR.

This trend of such large difference between the ranges of salaries is due to difference in posts, rank & no. of years in the service completed by the candidate.

Exam Pattern

As stated above, the UPSC conducts the Civil Services Exam in three stages. A detailed brief of the three stages is as follows:

A.    Preliminary or Prelims:

The first stage of this grand marathon kickstarts with Prelims exam. Prelims consists of two objective exams- General Studies I & General Studies II (CSAT). Both the papers involve negative marking. GS I is of 200 marks containing 100 MCQs, whereas GS II is of 200 marks containing 80 questions. One who clears both, qualifies for the second stage which is Mains exam.

B.    Mains:

The second stage has nine subjective type papers which are conducted approximately for a week.  The nine papers can be detailed as:

  1. Paper A – Compulsory Indian Language – 300 marks.
  2. Paper B – English – 300 marks.
  3. Paper I – Essay – 250 marks (till last)
  4. Paper II – General Studies I
  5. Paper III – General Studies II
  6. Paper IV – General Studies III
  7. Paper V – General Studies IV
  8. Paper VI – Optional I
  9. Paper VII – Optional II

All the nine papers mentioned above are of 3 hours each.

C.    Personality Test

The final stage of UPSC CSE exam is personality test or Interview of 275 marks.

Admit Card

Admit Card is the candidature document that students need to carry to the exam hall at the chosen exam center. Any student found without the admit card is not allowed to sit for the UPSC CSE. Admit card contain the name, picture, roll number and things allowed and not allowed to be carried on the day of the examination. Students can download the admit cards from the official website of UPSC . Generally, UPSC releases the admit cards for CSE exam four weeks prior to the exam scheduled to be held so that students get plenty of time in their hands to download & print the admit cards and also some might want to visit the exam center before the exam to avoid any kind of errors on the day of exam.


Like every other information, UPSC releases the results of the exams conducted by it on the official website . Students can check the results by following the below given procedure:

  • Visit the official website of UPSC .
  • Scroll down to find the tag “FINAL RESULT”.
  • Look for the result link you are looking for.
  • Enter the roll no. and tap for search result.
  • Download and save the print for future requirements.

The marksheets of the students who haven’t qualified the last stage will be uploaded on the website within fifteen days of announcement of final result and will appear on the website for approximately 30 days. This is to help students to evaluate their weak subjects and to understand that where have they lost points.

How to Apply

Aspirants can visit the official website and fill out the forms.

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