How to Apply for the IAS Exam?

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is popularly called the IAS exam. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Civil Services Exam is held once a year to recruit suitable candidates for various posts and Services like the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (Customs & Indirect Taxes) Group ‘A’ etc.

Aspirants who wish to prepare for the UPSC CSE can either rely on self-study or join a good IAS coaching centre. Before starting their preparation, candidates should understand the various stages of the examination, syllabus,  number of attempts, educational qualification, age limit and other eligibility criteria. All the information related to the UPSC Civil Services Examination can be easily found in the CSE notification released by the Union Public Service Commission on its official website (upsc.gov.in).

Candidates should go through the notification, syllabus and previous year’s question papers to understand the requirements of the examination. Generally, a year’s preparation is required for the examination, but it varies for each individual. Aspirants should start preparing for the examination at the earliest. After the release of the official notification, candidates may only get enough time to revise effectively for the examination. 

Candidates should apply for the Civil Services Exam after carefully going through the notification. The process of applying for the examination is explained in the next section.

UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) Application Process

The Civil Services Exam is divided into 3 phases, i.e. the Preliminary exam, Main exam and the Interview or Personality Test. The Preliminary exam is a screening test which comprises multiple-choice questions. On the other hand, the Main examination contains descriptive papers like GS 1, GS 2, GS 3, GS 4, essay etc. Those who pass the Main examination are eligible to take the Personality Test. Candidates should remember that they have to fill in separate online application forms for each phase of the UPSC CS Examination. 

An overview of the application process and important points to be considered while applying for the exam are given below.

  • Visit the upsconline.nic.in website to apply for the CSE. Before starting the application process, read the detailed instructions given on the website carefully.
  • Aspirants should ensure that they have a valid email ID and mobile number before filling in the online application form.
  • The online application process contains two parts. Fill in Part 1 of the online application form first. In Part 1 of the online application form, candidates have to give the following information:
    • Name of the candidate
    • Date of birth
    • Category
    • Gender
    • Name of parents
    • Contact number
    • Email ID
    • Permanent address
    • Community
    • Educational qualification etc.
  • A Registration ID (RID) will be generated by the system once Part I registration is completed. Candidates should note down the Registration ID as it is important for all the stages of the exam and for future reference.
  • After completing Part 1 registration, candidates should login again using the Registration ID to complete Part 2 of the online application form. In Part 2, candidates have to pay the fee, upload their photograph, signature and photo ID proof, and choose the exam centre.
  • Applicants have to pay a fee of Rs.100, except for those who are exempted from it. The SC, ST, female and Persons with Benchmark Disability candidates are exempted from payment of fee. The application fee can be paid by cash at any branch of the State Bank of India or by using the net banking facility of SBI. Candidates can also use any Visa/Master/RuPay Credit/ Debit Cards to pay the fee. Those who wish to pay the exam fee by cash through the SBI should download and print the bank challan generated by the system.
  • Candidates should ensure that they upload clear scanned copies of their photographs, signatures and photo ID proof. They should also adhere to the specifications given with regard to the type and size of the scanned images.
  • The following photo ID proofs can be used while applying for the exam:
    • Aadhar Card
    • Voter Card
    • PAN Card
    • Passport
    • Driving Licence
    • Any other photo ID card issued by the State or the Central Government.

Candidates should fill in the details of any one of the aforementioned photo ID proofs in the online application form.

  • Aspirants should choose their exam centres carefully as any requests related to changing the exam centre will not be entertained by the Commission. 
  • Candidates should submit the online application form as soon as possible to avoid any last-minute hassles. Applicants should remember that exam centres (except Chennai, Dispur, Kolkata and Nagpur) are allotted on a ‘first-apply-first allot’ basis. Therefore, they should apply for the exam at the earliest; otherwise, they may not be able to get the exam centre of their choice.
  • Multiple applications should not be submitted. However, due to unavoidable circumstances, if a candidate has submitted multiple applications, then the application with the higher Registration ID (RID) will be considered.
  • Applications will be rejected if candidates fail to fill in both Part 1 and Part 2 of the online application form.
  • Candidates should check the application form carefully before submitting it. 
  • After submitting the online application form, applicants should take a printout of the application form for future reference.
  • Applicants also have the option to withdraw their application if they do not wish to appear for the exam. They should make use of this facility within the time period mentioned in the official notification.

UPSC CSE is a long journey. For some aspirants, it may take a year, and for others, it can even take more than 3-4 years to crack the exam. Therefore, aspirants must have a clear goal in mind as well as the patience to persevere for the exam. Candidates can either make use of online resources and study at home or enrol themselves at IAS Coaching in Delhi, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, etc., to prepare for CSE. Nowadays, coaching centres even conduct online classes; therefore, aspirants have many options, and they should choose wisely.

The Civil Services Exam is highly competitive, and hence, it is a tough nut to crack. Aspirants who decided to ace this exam should remain patient and consistent throughout their journey. Hard work, dedication, and time management skills are essential to crack the IAS exam.

About Megan B. Schulze