Number of Attempts for UPSC IAS Exam | Age Limits

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Number of attempts, age limits, qualification requirements etc are among the frequently asked questions about UPSC Civil Services Exam. Are you too confused about the number of attempts for UPSC IAS Exam and the age limits? This article may clear your doubts about the eligibility criteria for Civil Services Exam.

Minimum age to appear for UPSC IAS Exam?

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 2013 prelims on May, he/she should be above 21 years of age by Aug 1, 2013.

Upper age-limit to appear for UPSC IAS Exam?

Upper age limit is also calculated on the date Aug 1. This means if the candidate is appearing for 2013 prelims on May, he/she should be below the mentioned maximum limit by Aug 1, 2013. 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 Citizens of Jammu and Kashmir : 37 years
  5. 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
  6. Upper age limit for Ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service : 37 years
  7. 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-service men, he will get an extension of 5 + 7 = 12 years, ie his upper age limit now stands at 42 years.
Update : Central Government has recently issued a notification giving relaxation in number of attempts and age limits for UPSC Civil Services Exam. The page is updated after the official clarification from UPSC with details.

How many attempts are allowed for UPSC Civil Services Exam?

Even if you have an age limit of around 37 years, that doesn’t mean that you can write this exam as many times as you wish. There are some restrictions on the number of times this exam can be written, which again is different for different categories.

  1. Number of attempts for IAS exam : General Category : 6
  2. Number of attempts for IAS exam : OBC : 9
  3. Number of attempts for IAS exam : SC/ST : unlimited till they reach the upper age limit set by UPSC.

NB: Physically Handicapped /disabled candidates belonging to General category will get the benefit of 9 attempts.

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 filled up the UPSC application form but didn’t go to take the Preliminary Exam, your attempt will NOT BE COUNTED.

Minimum Educational Qualifications for Civil Services Exam


  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.

UPSC Civil Services Exam Syllabus

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

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