Frequently Asked Questions

Can a candidate take up CSE Mains Examination in English and interview in any other regional language?

IAS aspirants can take the UPSC interview either in English or any other regional language as per the 8th Schedule of the Indian constitution. This is irrespective of the medium opted for the written exam, which is CSE Mains. Only those IAS candidates who exempted from taking up the mandatory Indian language paper should give the interview in either Hindi or English. While many people think this to be an advantage, in reality, there is no such benefit of choosing any language for the interview. It is meant to make the candidate comfortable in answering the questions asked. Even UPSC interview toppers have given the interview in regional languages.

Is it necessary to spend 16 hours a day to prepare for UPSC CSE examination?

UPSC is one of the toughest exams in India. While several thousands of users appear for the examination, only a few hundreds of them get postings. So, to crack the examination, many people recommend studying almost 15 to 16 hours a day. In reality, it is not the number of hours that you study that matters, but the quality of study. There is no ideal answer to this widely asked question as it depends on the candidates grasping ability and attention to studies. Also, you need to be motivated all throughout the preparation phase to crack the exam.

What is the minimum qualification to take up IAS exam?

To be eligible to take up UPSC CSE examination, you should have a degree or any equivalent qualification from a Government recognized university. Even final year students and those waiting their final results can appear for the Prelims examination. It is mandatory to provide proof of passing the final examination along with the application for the CSE Mains examination. Even MBBS graduates who have passed the final year and yet to finish internship can appear for IAS Prelims exam. Even MBBS students should produce the course completion certification along with internship completion before taking up the Mains examination.

Should an IAS candidate choose the same optional subject in the CSE Mains exam as in the Degree?

It is not mandatory to choose the same subject that you chose for the graduation while taking up UPSC CSE examination. Graduation is done based on your preferences. You could have specialized in any stream such as humanities, engineering, science, management, or literature. Usually, these are either three or four year courses. Irrespective of this, you can choose any subject for the UPSC examination. There are a slew of factors you need to consider before choosing an optional subject for the UPSC CSE examination. There are a slew of subjects suggested by the UPSC board and these fall between graduation and PG level.

What is the age limit and how many attempts can you give to UPSC Civil Services Exam?

In general, to appear for the UPSC CSE exam, a candidate must be 21 years of age and should not exceed 32 years of age as of the date of examination. The upper limit varies depending on the category of the candidates. The OBC candidates can appear for the exam until 35 years while the same is 37 years for SC/ST candidates. For the Defence Services personnel who were injured during operations, the age limit is 35 years.

The number of attempts for the General category is six until 32 years of age, and that of OBC categories is nine until reaching their upper age limit. However, SC/ST candidates get unlimited attempts until they reach 37 years of age.

If a candidate applies for CSE Prelims exam and did not appear for it, will it be considered an attempt?

Given that the general candidates have only six attempts, there is a lot of seriousness among candidates appearing for the UPSC CSE exam. If a candidate who has applied for the Prelims examination and could not appear for the examination, then it is not considered as an attempt. So, candidates who skip the exam can be relieved. It will be considered an attempt only when the candidate has appeared at least for one paper in the Prelims examination. Well, it looks like the UPSC has proposed to consider the situation wherein a candidate who has applied for the exam skips appearing for it. However, the Union Government is yet to make a decision.

How much does an IAS officer earn?

Many candidates opt for UPSC CSE examination as they get attracted to the benefits and perks provided by the government. The salary structure of IAS officers differs depending on the seniority level and the pay scale. As of 2017, the entry-level IAS officers earn a basic pay of Rs. 56,100. Also, they get other allowances such as House Rent Allowance (HRA), Dearness Allowance, and Travel Allowance. There will be an increase in salary with increased experience. Previously, there was another component dubbed grade pay for the government officers but the same has been removed now.

Is there an individual cut-off for two CSE Prelims Exam?

There is an individual cut-off for both the CSE Prelims examinations. For Paper 2, the cut-off is 33%. The UPSC will also come up with a minimum cut-off for the Paper 1 as well. The cut-off will be set by the commission depending on the difficulty level of the paper. Both the papers will be conducted at different timings in the offline format. There will be negative marking for wrong answers in Paper 1 and only those who obtain the minimum marks in this paper will be qualified to take up the Paper 2 of UPSC CSE exam.

Is there negative marking for UPSC CSE Prelims exam?

UPSC CSE examination comprises of Prelims, Mains and interview. During the first stage, which is IAS Prelims, the questions will be of objective type and will have negative marking. It comprises General Studies Paper 1 and Paper 2 with 100 questions and 80 questions respectively. Both the papers will have a fixed time of two hours and each question will have four options for candidates to choose from. In the UPSC CSE Prelims, there will be 1/3rd negative marking of the total marks of the question for each incorrect answer that is given. So, it is important to avoid giving the wrong answers.

Will bad handwriting affect one’s performance in UPSC CSE exam?

UPSC does not deduct marks for bad writing. But the handwriting of the candidate should be easily legible. If it is not understandable, then the board might deduct a specific number of marks from the total marks secured by the candidate. The reason is that the Prelims exams has objective type questions and there is no writing in the interview. Legible handwriting is not only for UPSC CSE examination but also for other examinations and daily practices. There are some exams wherein handwriting helps the candidate score more. So, developing good and legible handwriting is always important for a candidate.