How to Become an IAS Officer? – Detailed Guide to Clear IAS Exam

In India, the day to day problems faced by the common man is addressed by bureaucrats. Bureaucrats play a major role in the Indian Administrative system, in that, the top-notch position is District Magistrate (Popularly known as District Collector), IAS Officers. 

IAS officers play a major role when it comes to the district administration, who look after the policy implementation, addressing the demands and problems faced by the community under his district. Such a powerful post in India, people in India have due respect to the IAS officers.

The charisma, the IAS officers hold is a big inspiration among youth in India. That drives them to prepare for IAS exam. Every year, roughly over 10 lakh aspirants apply for the civil services exam, with an aim to become IAS, IPS, IRS and other elite Group A and B services included in civil services exam.

To become an IAS officer, one has to prepare and clear the civil services exam conducted by UPSC. The UPSC exam is conducted in three phases - Prelims, Mains and Interview. Aspirants preparing for UPSC, need minimum one year of preparation and the exam process itself take around one year, so overall, if all goes positively candidates need minimum 2 to 2.5 years to become IAS officer.

In this article, we have provided the historical background, eligibility criteria and how to become IAS officer details are mentioned below for your reference.

Introduction to Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is an All India Service which also includes Indian Foreign Services and Indian Police Services.
IAS is the premier Government service which was constituted in 1946. Prior to that, the Indian Imperial Service (1893-1946) was in force.
The Civil Services have been a hallmark of governance in India. They represent the essential spirit of our nation - unity in diversity.
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How to Become an IAS Officer?

At present, there are three modes of recruitment to IAS viz
  1. Through the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC every year.
  2. Through the promotion of State Civil Service officers to IAS.
  3. Through the selection of non-State Civil Service officers.
Roughly, 66 (2/3rd) posts are meant for Direct Recruitment and 33 (1/3rd) posts are meant for promotion quota.
So, cracking the UPSC Civil Service Exam is the best opportunity for you to realize your dream of becoming an IAS officer. Further, becoming an IAS officer at an early age will give you an advantage in the promotions and a chance to become Cabinet Secretary who is the Top-most executive official and senior-most civil servant of Government of India.
How to become an IAS officer

Details about UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE)

UPSC conducts Civil Services Examination for the recruitment of IAS/IPS/IRS and other Group A and Group B services. It is held every year and UPSC usually releases official notification in February or March. The examination is held in three stages, namely Prelims, Mains, and Interview.
UPSC Prelims exam is an objective type question paper. It consists of two papers, namely, GS Paper 1 and CSAT for 400 marks. Based on the student's marks in GS Paper 1, candidates are shortlisted for the Mains examination (Note: CSAT Paper is qualifying in nature 66.67 marks out of 200 needed to qualify).
IAS Mains examination is usually held in September/October for those students who qualified in their Prelims examination. In Mains examination, UPSC conducts a descriptive exam to test the candidate's analytical and understanding ability on various topics. Mains examination has 9 papers, in which 7 papers are included for merit (1 Essay, 4-GS, and 2-optional Papers) and 2 papers (English and Language Paper) are qualifying in nature.
Based on the written marks, students are shortlisted for Interviews. The Final Selection list is prepared based on Students Mains and Interview marks.

UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria to become an IAS officer is that a candidate should be of an Indian Nationality and should have a degree from a recognized university.

Number of Attempts in IAS Exam

The maximum number of attempts in the UPSC Civil Services exam is 6 attempts and relaxation is given to the OBC category for 9 attempts. There is no restriction on the number of attempts for SC/ST.
Category No of attempts
General 6
SC/ST Unlimited

An attempt is counted if a student appears for one of the papers in the prelims examination. The attempt is not counted if he/she doesn't appear for prelims exams even if he/she applies for UPSC Civil Services Preliminary exam.
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UPSC Civil Services Age Limit

Age limit for IAS exam is that a candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years.

Upper IAS Exam Age Limit

Category Upper Age Limit for UPSC Number of Attempts
General 32 years 6
OBC 35 years 9
SC/ST 37 years No limit

Upper UPSC Age Limit Is Relaxed For

  • OBC category: Relaxation for three years
  • SC/ST category: Relaxation for five years
  • Jammu and Kashmir domicile: Relaxation for five years
  • Defence Security Personnel: Relaxation for three years

How to Clear Civil Services Exam?

With Proper dedication and hard work, anyone can crack the UPSC Civil Services Exam for becoming an IAS officer. Candidates preparing for IAS exam should understand the demand for UPSC exam pattern and syllabus.

Apart from this, students should also have a proper study plan and preparation strategy as Civil Services Exam is one of the toughest exams in India. It demands a dedicated study. Students planning to prepare for IAS exam should start their preparation at least one year before the Prelims exam date because the UPSC syllabus is vast and it takes time to understand the subject topics.

Candidates also need the right guidance and assistance to achieve their dream of becoming an IAS officer.

UPSC Civil Services Exam Syllabus

UPSC Conducts Civil Services Exam with three stages, namely, Prelims, Mains, and Interview. The nature of the Prelims exam is objective type questions and is comprised of GS and CSAT paper. Mains examination is of descriptive type. The detailed UPSC syllabus is provided by the UPSC for the respective exams.

Books List for IAS Preparation

Candidates should always refer standard and authentic UPSC textbooks for Civil Services preparation as many of the UPSC questions are asked based on NCERT textbooks, government and ministry websites, PIB, publication division, and finally from news dailies.

Functions of IAS Officer

An IAS officer is responsible for maintenance of law and order, revenue administration, and general administration in the area under him.
His functions broadly include:
  • Collection of revenue and function as Courts in revenue matters.
  • Maintenance of law and order.
  • Function as Executive Magistrate.
  • Function as Chief Development Officer (CDO)/District Development Commissioner.
  • Supervision of the implementation of policies of the State Government and Central Government.
  • In the process of policy formulation and decision making.

Importance of Coaching

Due to the complex exam procedure, the coaching assumes a crucial role. There are about ten lakh applications and 50% really appear in the exam for merely 1000 seats (in general). Everyone knows things but don't know how to present it. Here comes, the role of Coaching Institute and Portals.

Coaching in Delhi and other hubs are expensive as the cost of living is huge in these areas. NeoStencil has brought Coaching Institutes of Delhi and other hubs to the comfort of your home. You can now access the same classes which the teacher is teaching in the famous coaching institutes of Delhi, just with a click.

Importance of Mock Tests

The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle--Norman Schwarzkopf
  • UPSC Mock tests help the candidates to evaluate their preparation level. They give them a feel of the real exam. For most of the candidates about to take a major exam for the first time in their lives, mock tests provide a trial run.
  • They also help them revise the entire syllabus in the simulated setting of the actual exam. This way they remember what they have learned and perform well on the final day.
  • Lastly and most importantly, mock tests are important because of the practice they provide. Mock tests make students familiar with the style and scope of the question paper.

UPSC Topper's Strategy

It is always better to follow the successful personalities to achieve the goal.
(Remember: Get inspiration from the toppers and follow only those strategies which suit you the best).
IAS Toppers preparation strategy, the books, and materials they referred for cracking the exams will be helpful for the IAS aspirants, most importantly in the initial days.

Important Links related to IAS Exam Preparation

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