An Overview of the UPSC Cut-Off and UPSC IAS Examination

UPSC IAS Examination

UPSC IAS exam is conducted in offline mode every year. The prescribed age limit is 21 – 32 years (upper age relaxation for reserved candidates). The UPSC IAS 2021 Prelims exam was conducted on 10th October, 2021. The UPSC IAS Mains exam is scheduled from 7th January 2022. The UPSC IAS exam has two papers – General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II. General Studies Paper II will have 80 questions whereas General Studies Paper I will have 100 questions.

UPSC IAS prelims examination will be conducted in Multiple Choice Questions format. For each incorrect answer there will be negative marking. The negative marks will be 1/3rd of the marks allotted to that question. In GS Paper II of UPSC IAS prelims examination, candidates will have to score a minimum of 33 percent. This paper is of qualifying nature. 

The UPSC cut-off for the UPSC IAS prelims examination in 2020 was 92.51. In the prelims, the UPSC cut-off is based on General Studies Paper – I only as the General Studies Paper – II is of qualifying nature. It is not counted for merit ranking. The UPSC cut-off marks indicate the marks of the last candidate who was selected based on the number of vacancies in a particular category. 

The UPSC cut-off is decided based on different criteria when the cases that arise are different. As per Case 1, if two candidates score equal aggregate marks, then the candidate who has scored higher marks in interview stage and compulsory paper (put together), will receive the higher rank. If a case arises where both candidates have equal marks in interview and compulsory papers then the candidate who will be senior in age will be allotted higher rank. In the case three scenario, if both the candidates have scored equally in both interview stage and compulsory paper, and they both are of same age, then the candidate who has secured more marks only in compulsory paper will be allotted higher rank.

Certain conditions are in place if a candidate has to appear for the UPSC IAS exam. The educational qualification required is that the person has to be a graduate. The aspirants have to be citizens of India. For General category candidates, the age limit is minimum 21 years and a maximum of 32 years. For different categories there is relaxation in the upper age limit. For OBC candidates the age limit is 35 years, for SC/ST candidates, the age limit is 37 years, for Economically Weaker Section candidates, the age limit is 32 years. The UPSC cut-off is decided based on different criteria when the cases that arise are different. As per Case 1, if two candidates score equal aggregate marks, then the candidate who has scored higher marks in interview stage and compulsory paper (put together), will receive the higher rank.

Aspirants have to note that the limit on number of attempts is different for different categories. For Ex-servicemen the upper age limit is 37 years and the number of attempts allowed is 9. For Disabled Defence Services Personnel, the upper age limit is 35 years and the number of attempts is 9. For SC/ST candidates the number of attempts is unlimited until they reach the age of 37. For OBC candidates the number of attempts permitted is 9 and for General category students the number of attempts permitted is 6.

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By Michael Caine

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