The first step for aspirants should be to go through the exam pattern and the UPSC Syllabus.

The syllabus for the IAS Exam is quite detailed and yet because of the wide range of knowledge being tested, aspirants should go through the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to gauge the level of questions being asked in the exam.

Aspirants should think of UPSC Preparation as a marathon and not a sprint. For efficient and effective preparation, candidates should divide the reading material (UPSC Books) and revision time according to the date sheet given by the commission.

For reference, the important UPSC exam dates for the year 2020 are given in the table below:

Date of UPSC Notification February 12, 2020
Last Date for receipt of application March 03, 2020
UPSC Admit Card 3 Weeks before Prelims Exam Date
UPSC Prelims Exam Date
  • Sunday, May 31, 2020 [Postponed]
  • Revised Date – To be announced
UPSC Prelims Result (tentative) 1st week of July 2020
UPSC Mains Admit Card (tentative) 1st week of September 2020
UPSC Mains Exam Date September 18, 2020, onwards (5 days)
UPSC Mains Result (tentative) November 2020
IAS Interview (tentative) December 2020 – January 2021

Every year, the Union Public Service Commission releases the official notification for the Civil Services Exam.

The UPSC Notification lists the following information:

  1. Posts and Vacancies – The number of vacancies varies each year. For UPSC 2019, the official notification stated 896 vacancies
  2. UPSC Eligibility – Age limit, Educational Qualification and Physical Fitness
  3. UPSC Online Application – How to Apply and Application Fee
  4. Exam Pattern and Syllabus for Prelims and Mains

For General Category aspirants, the UPSC Age Limit is 21-32 years and maximum 6 attempts are allowed. An attempt is counted only when a candidate appears for at least one paper in the UPSC Prelims.

Aspirants who are in their last year of graduation can also take the exam but they will have to submit the proof of passing before they can appear for the Mains stage of the UPSC 2020 exam.