Eligibility Conditions

IAS Exam Eligibility: Number of Attempts and Age Limit Permitted

How many attempts are permitted in the UPSC CSE? What is the upper age limit for the IAS exam? Know the IAS exam eligibility details by reading this article.

IAS Exam eligibility as per the latest notification of UPSC is discussed here.

Minimum Educational Qualifications to appear for UPSC Civil Services Exam | IAS Exam Eligibility

Any degree (graduation). From:

  1. any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India.
  2.  or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament.
  3.  or declared to be deemed as a University Under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956.
  4.  or possess an equivalent qualification.

Note: Final year students can also apply.

Minimum age to appear for UPSC IAS Exam | IAS Exam Eligibility

The minimum age to appear for IAS Exam is 21 years. This means that the candidate must have at least 21 years of age on 1st August of that given year when the exam is held. For example, if the candidate is appearing for 2021 prelims, he/she should be above 21 years of age by Aug 1, 2021.

Upper age limit to appear for UPSC IAS Exam | IAS Exam Eligibility


Upper age limit is also calculated on the date Aug 1. This means if the candidate is appearing for 2020 prelims, he/she should be below the mentioned maximum limit by Aug 1, 2020. Upper age limit is fixed different for different categories, which is as given below.

  1. Upper age limit for General category: 32 years.
  2. Upper age limit for OBC: 35 years.
  3. Upper age limit for SC/ST: 37 Years.
  4. Upper age limit for Defense Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof: 35 years.
  5. Upper age limit for Ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service: 37 years.
  6. Upper age limit for blind, deaf-mute and Orthopaedically handicapped persons (general category): 42 years.

Apart from the mentioned limits, OBC/ SC/ ST candidates will get the benefit of cumulative age relaxation. This means age relaxations gets added in special cases, say, for example, if the person is OBC + Ex-servicemen, he will get an extension of 3 + 5 = 8 years, ie his upper age limit now stands at 40 years.

How many attempts are allowed for UPSC Civil Services Exam?

A general category candidate has an age limit of 32 years, but that doesn’t mean that he can write this exam as many times as he wishes. There are some restrictions on the number of times this exam can be taken, which again is different for different categories.

  1. The number of attempts for IAS exam: General Category: 6 attempts till 32 years of age.
  2. The number of attempts for IAS exam: OBC: 9 attempts till 35 years of age.
  3. The number of attempts for IAS exam: SC/ST: unlimited attempts till 37 years of age.

NB: Physically Handicapped /disabled candidates belonging to General category will get the benefit of 9 attempts till the age prescribed by UPSC – 42 years.

How are attempts for Civil Service Exam calculated?

If you appear for any of the papers of the Civil Services Preliminary Exam, your attempt is counted. If you fill-up the UPSC application form but didn’t go to take the Preliminary Exam, your attempt will NOT BE COUNTED.

UPSC Civil Services Exam Syllabus

Read IAS Exam Syllabus to know more about the UPSC exam pattern.

UPSC Civil Services Exam Notification

ClearIAS always recommend aspirants to clarify your queries regarding IAS/IPS exam eligibility from the official UPSC Civil Services Exam notification.

The UPSC CSE Exam notification has all the details you are looking for. This includes further details of relaxation, medical requirements for various services like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS etc, and even the entire UPSC syllabus.


When did UPSC relax the age and number of attempt, for the last time?

It was in 2014.

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