UPSC Reveals Minimum Cut Off Marks for IAS Exam

UPSC has for the firs time revealed the minimum qualifying marks for the Civil Services exam in a welcome move to bring in greater transparency in the exam process. Although these marks are only for the Civil Services Exam 2013, it is still very important information for IAS aspirants since UPSC has also disclosed the minimum marks mandatory for Prelims and Mains papers.

Total Marks40017502025

* Subject to minimum of 30 marks in Paper-I and 70 marks in Paper-II

# Subject to 10% marks in each of the seven competitive papers i.e Essay, GS-I, GS-II, GS-III, GS-IV, Optional-I and Optional-II

What’s interesting is the fact that minimum qualifying marks exist not just for Prelims papers but also Mains papers including optional and Essay paper. Remember that minimum qualifying marks already exist for the language papers in Mains i.e. English and Indian language papers but now we know for the first time that UPSC has kept minimum 10% qualifying marks for the other scoring papers as well.

What Does This Mean?

This simply means you fail to obtain the minimum marks in any paper Prelims or Mains you will not be considered for the next stage even though your total marks may be more than minimum qualifying marks.

So let’s say you score 180 marks in Prelims paper 1 out of total 200 marks but scored just 65 marks in paper 2 out of 200 marks. This makes your total score 245 out of 400. So even though you obtained more marks than the minimum qualifying marks (241) in General category, you still do not qualify for the Mains since you failed to achieve the minimum mandatory score of 70 marks in Paper 2.

The same holds true for Mains papers.

Are These Marks Set in Stone?

No they are not. Nowhere does UPSC mention that qualifying marks for Prelims will remain the same every year. Rather they are dynamic depending upon the vacancies that year, difficulty level of papers and scores obtained by different categories of candidates.

What is fixed, however, is the minimum mandatory marks for Mains. These are as follows:

English (compulsory paper) – 75 marks out of 300

Indian language (compulsory paper) – 90 marks out of 300

All 4 GS papers and 2 Optional papers – 25 marks out of 250 each

Note that minimum qualifying marks for languages has been declared by UPSC in the 2014 notification.

How Can This Help You?

Absolutely. This information is a boon for civil service aspirants. Now the picture becomes much clearer. It is now confirmed that there are separate minimum mandatory marks for Paper 1 and Paper 2 in prelims. Also there are minimum mandatory marks for each paper of Mains.

Also we know that the cut-off for Prelims was pretty high in 2013. This is in line with the fact that paper 2 of 2013 Prelims was quite easy and as expected the cut-off score went quite high.

You can also see that while cut-off in Prelims was pretty high at 60%, it was quite low for Mains at just 32.2%! This implies that candidates are finding the new pattern consisting of 4 GS papers quite difficult since the old pattern focused on optional subjects whereas the new pattern has turned the spotlight on general studies and many candidates tend to neglect GS because it requires constant updation. It follows then that if your GS preparation is even OK and you can write decent answers in Mains, you stand a good chance of making it to the Interview stage.

You can download the cut-off scores here.

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  1. Sir thanks for suggesting cut off mark knowledge but what 2014 pre is having same cut off mark as 2014 pls suggest

  2. Hi, I am Preeti appearing in upsc prelim 2014. I m feeling very low due to phobia of exam. Though I have studied for 10 months, but still not very confident about the exams and the type of questions expected. Please help me.

  3. Hello sir….i have completed graduation in science background…which subject should I chose for my optional subject???plz help me….

    1. Hello Rasak,

      The qualifying marks differs for different categories in the Mains exam. There is no fixed qualifying mark except for Paper 2 of Prelims for which it is 33%.

  4. Dear Sir
    Thanks for the article. This time really paper was unpredictable.Aspirants are nervous. Your article will help them to make further strategy.

  5. Sir I have completed my degree under science graduation which subject should I select for optional paper? pls guide me sir

  6. i have a question if i dont study well for paper 1 and focus more on paper 2 and score good in that so will i be able to clear prelims?

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