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UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021

Exam Dates, Eligibility, Exam Pattern & Online Application

What is UPSC Exam?

UPSC CSE is a competitive examination held across our country; it is conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) to recruit some of the finest candidates eligible for various Civil Services posts in India. The conducting body UPSC is India's central recruitment agency for candidates willing to serve the Nation as government public servants. UPSC is one of the mandated agencies in our constitution for candidate recruitment in Unions and All India Services. Since UPSC is mandated in the constitution and one of the institutions that function with autonomy, it holds a vital role in the appointment, promotion, and transfer of candidates who the Government counsels.

For UPSC Exam 2021 Official Notification:

The UPSC Civil Services Exam is generally held to recruit citizens who can be trained to serve in All India Services (IAS, IPS, and IFS) and other Central Services. The Civil Services exam is conducted every year, and it has been going on since the British era, where it was referred to as the Imperial Civil Service test. It is considered one of the most competitive and most challenging exams in India. The average number of applications received by UPSC ranges from 9 lakh to 11 lakh candidates, and it obtains the most prestigious and coveted positions in the Government of India. You will require sheer dedication and years of preparation to crack the Civil Services Exam and gain glory.

UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 Highlights

UPSC had rolled out the recruitment forms on 4th March 2021 for 712 vacancies. Due to the pandemic, the Prelims date got shifted to 10th October 2021, and the dates for mains and interviews have yet to be announced. Follow the official site for more updates:

Here are some key highlights and information for the upcoming Civil Services exam:

Exam Name UPSC Civil Service Examination
Conducting Body UPSC
Mode of Exam Offline
Exam Level National
Exam Frequency Once Every Year
Exam Stages 3 (Prelims, Mains and Interview)
UPSC Vacancies 712 (2021)
Language English and Hindi (Prelims)
Test Centers PAN India
Application Fee 100 (Prelims)
Official Website

UPSC Civil Service Exam Posts

The UPSC Civil Service examination is broadly categorized into 'Group A' and 'Group B,' whose recruitments are done through various civil services examinations. Generally, the President of India's appointment of 'Group A' candidates is made, whereas the exams for Group B are conducted by SSC (Staff Selection Commission) and are appointed by authorities specified by the President of India in a generalized order. The list of services in ‘Group A’ and ‘Group B’ services are specified below:

Group A Group B
Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service
Indian Audit and Accounts Service Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service
Indian Customs & Central Excise Service Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service
Indian Defence Accounts Service Pondicherry Civil Service
Indian Revenue Service (I.T.) Pondicherry Police Service
Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
Indian Postal Service
Indian Civil Accounts Service
Indian Railway Traffic Service
Indian Railway Accounts Service
Indian Railway Personnel Service
Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection
Indian Defence Estates Service
Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
Indian Trade Service
Indian Corporate Law Service

UPSC Exam 2021 Dates

UPSC notification was released on 4th March 2021 for the commencement of registration for the Civil Services examination. However, due to the pandemic, there were specific changes in the examination dates. Key highlights of UPSC exam dates and the schedule of 2021 have been provided below:

Date of Notification 4th March 2021
Last date for applications 24th March 2021
Prelims Exam Date 10th October 2021 (Prelims)
Duration of the exam (Prelims) 1 day
Mains Exam Date To be announced
Interview Date To be announced
Tentative Result Date To be announced

Eligibility Criteria of UPSC Exam 2021

There are certain guidelines and eligibility criteria set by the UPSC, which have to be thoroughly followed by a candidate to qualify to appear for the Civil Services exam. The eligibility criteria are generally categorized based on nationality, age, number of attempts, and educational candidates. To check certain relaxations and specific eligibility criteria, follow the table below:

Criteria Eligibility
  • All India Services - Indian Citizenship

  • Central Services –

    1. A citizen of India

    2. A subject of Nepal

    3. A subject of Bhutan

    4. A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, to permanently settle in 1962 with India.

    5. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, and Vietnam permanently settling in India.


21-32 years

Age Relaxations for specific categories

Criteria Eligibility
SC/ ST 5 years
OBC 3 Years
Defence Services Personnel, disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof. 3 Years
Ex-servicemen including commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years of military service as of 1st August 2021, and have been released. 5 Years
  1. blindness and low vision;
  2. deaf and hard of hearing;
  3. locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims, and muscular dystrophy;
  4. autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness;
  5. multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (1) to (4) including deaf-blindness
10 Years
Number of attempts
Category Number of allowed attempts
General/Economically Weaker Section (EWS) 6
Other Backward Classes 9
SC/ST Unlimited - till the age limit
Person with Disabilities Unlimited - till the age limit
Educational Qualification
  • Candidates must be a graduate from a recognized university.
  • There is no minimum percentage or qualifying marks specified for appearing in the examination.
  • Condition for Doctors: Candidates who are MBBS graduates and are yet to complete their internship by filling the UPSC application can provisionally appear for the exam with a prerequisite letter approved and given by the university authority stating that the candidate is the candidate has passed their final exams.

UPSC Exam 2021 Exam Pattern and Selection Process

The UPSC Civil Services exam has been primarily divided into two stages Prelims (Objective type paper) and Mains (Descriptive type paper). The preliminary exam is considered as the screening test where the marks secured by a candidate are not included in the IAS final results. At the same time, the mains examination is conducted to generate a merit list according to the marks secured by the candidate.

UPSC Preliminary Examination

The preliminary stage has two phases comprised of 2 papers:

Phases Exams Pattern Questions Total Marks Duration
Paper 1 General Studies -I MCQ 100 200 2 hours
Paper 2 General Studies–II (CSAT) MCQ 80 200 2 hours
Total 400 4 hours

Both the papers are conducted on the same day. Paper I is aimed to assign a merit rank for the candidates. In contrast, Paper-II, called CSAT, has qualifying marks where a candidate has to score 33% of the total marks in Paper-II to qualify for the UPSC mains examination.

UPSC Mains Examination

The Mains Examination involves a certain number of stages. It has 9 papers, and it reaches out as long as 9 days of testing competitors based on their constancy and learning throughout their range of readiness, which differs from each candidate appearing for the examination.

S.No Papers Total Marks Duration Significance
1 Indian Language (Compulsory) 300 3 hours Qualifying
2 English 300 3 hours Qualifying
3 Paper-I | Essay Writing 250 3 hours Allocation of Merit Rank
4 Paper-II | General Studies-I 250 3 hours Allocation of Merit Rank
5 Paper-II | General Studies-II 250 3 hours Allocation of Merit Rank
6 Paper-III | General Studies-III 250 3 hours Allocation of Merit Rank
7 Paper-IV | General Studies-IV 250 3 hours Allocation of Merit Rank
8 Optional-I 250 3 hours Allocation of Merit Rank
9 Optional-II 250 3 hours Allocation of Merit Rank
Total 1750   Allocation of Merit Rank

Candidates who clear both the examinations then become eligible for the UPSC Personality test, a personal interview taken up by a panel of experts recruited by the UPSC board. The Personality test aims to identify a candidate's personality traits to gauge if they are fit for the coveted roles. You can also read more about the UPSC Exam Pattern.

UPSC Exam 2021 Online Application

UPSC Civil Services examination forms were released on 4th March 2021, and the registration closed on 24th March 2021 at 6 PM. ORA (Online Recruitment Application) was floated for the recruitment in various posts. Before filling up the form, the candidates must go through the eligibility criteria given on the website and follow them diligently to avoid getting debarred from the examination. The UPSC forms are non-editable, and the candidates must fill in the details correctly in the form. At the same time, the last date for the withdrawal of the application was 3rd April 2021.

For a new registration, applicants are required to visit the official website of UPSC:

After filling in the application form's basic information, the candidates will be asked to upload certain documents such as signature, photograph, and photo I.D. card. Completion of all the requirements will then lead the candidate to the payment portal.

UPSC Exam application fee

Applicants can pay the fees in online and offline mode.

  • Online mode: Payment can be made through the payment gateway that will be provided on the website.

  • Offline mode: The candidates who are willing to pay the application fees through cash must visit the official website and visit the section of Applicants who opt for 'Pay by Cash' Mode, which will generate a slip. The generated slip is then supposed to be deposited at any nearby SBI branch by paying cash to complete the registration process.

    Application Fee

    Category Preliminary Exam Fee Mains Exam Fee
    General/ OBC Rs 100 Rs 200
    Females/ SC/ ST/ Persons with Benchmark Disability Nil Nil
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