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IAS (Indian Administrative Service) – How to become an IAS Officer?

IAS 😄: How to become an IAS Officer?

What is IAS? What is the full form of IAS? How to become an IAS officer? What is the salary of an IAS officer? Read to know more.

Getting into a top government job is the ambition of many in India.

Among the top bureaucratic jobs in India, IAS stands apart.

IAS is the dream career of millions of aspirants in the country.

What is Indian Administrative Service (IAS)?

IAS is one of the prestigious services among the 24 civil services like IPS, IFS etc for which the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Services Examination (CSE) to selecting the candidates.

An officer selected into the Indian Administrative Service gets exposure in very diverse roles like the collector, commissioner, head of public sector units, chief secretary, cabinet secretary etc.

Not only the experience and challenges but also the scope of making positive changes in the life of millions in India makes IAS a unique career choice.


The Six Stages of Becoming an IAS Officer

The following stages are necessary to pass in order to become an ideal IAS Officer:

Stage #1: Determining Your True Calling

  1. Assess Your True Desire: Before embarking on the civil services journey, it’s essential to assess your genuine aspirations. If your heart’s true desire is to contribute to your country and play a role in driving positive change, consider the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) as a career option.
  2. Recognize the Challenge and Reward: Preparing for civil services is a substantial commitment with multiple rounds and diverse dimensions. While it is challenging and demanding, it can also offer immense satisfaction and fulfillment. It’s not just about career prospects and perks; it’s about the possibility of leaving a legacy, joining the ranks of respected officers like T N Seshan, U Sagayam, S R Sankaran, Armstrong Pame, and others whose names inspire pride in every Indian heart. You can even aspire to become the Cabinet Secretary of India.

Stage #2: Conducting a recce

In this stage, you must gather information about the mountain you are going to conquer. Find out all about the IAS exam schedule and updates.

Round 1 – UPSC Prelims

This round consists of two papers. The following table gives details about the IAS prelims.

ExamTypeDurationTotal MarksNegative MarkingNumber of Questions
General Studies IMCQ2 hours200Yes100
General Studies I (CSAT)MCQ2 hours200Yes80

Check out the UPSC syllabus for prelims here. Only if you score 33% in the CSAT and the required cut-off in the GS Paper I, you will be eligible to sit for the UPSC mains exam.

Round 2 – UPSC Mains

Here, you have to give 9 descriptive papers. There are four General Studies papers, 2 optional papers, 2 language papers (one English and one Indian language) and one essay paper. Check the following table for details:

Paper AOne Indian Language300
Paper BEnglish300
Paper 1Essay250
Paper 2GS Paper 1250
Paper 3GS Paper 2250
Paper 4GS Paper 3250
Paper 5GS Paper 4250
Paper 6Optional Paper 1250
Paper 7Optional Paper 2250

Out of the 9 papers, the language papers (English and Indian language) are of qualifying nature and not counted for the merit ranking. You have to choose one optional subject out of the list given by the UPSC for both the optional papers. If you score the required cut-off in the mains exam, you will be called for the UPSC personality test.

Round 3 – UPSC Personality Test

  1. IAS Interview Assessment: During the final round of the IAS examination, you will face an interview conducted by the UPSC board. This assessment goes beyond testing your knowledge; it evaluates various facets of your personality. These include leadership qualities, the clarity of your thoughts and expressions, stress management abilities, presence of mind, and general awareness. A successful performance in this round secures your place in the UPSC’s final merit list.
  2. Service Allocation: Once you make it to the merit list, you will be assigned a specific service and cadre based on your rank, category, and the number of available vacancies in that category. It’s worth noting that achieving a high rank is particularly crucial for those aspiring to join the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), given its status as one of the most coveted services.
  3. Preparing for the IAS Exam: In Stage 2 of your preparation journey, it’s essential to thoroughly review the latest UPSC syllabus. This step will help you understand the subjects you need to study and the depth of knowledge required. Additionally, it’s advisable to review previous years’ UPSC question papers. This practice will familiarize you with the types of questions typically asked in the IAS exam. By combining your study of the syllabus with insights from past papers, you’ll discover that the UPSC tends to frame questions based on the syllabus but often incorporates current affairs perspectives.

Stage #3: Charting your IAS study plan

In this stage, you should break up the syllabus and make a realistic and time-bound study plan. Resolve yourself to stick to the plan no matter what.

Stage #4: Marching ahead

  1. Commencing Your Study Journey: This is the stage where your actual study journey commences. It involves dedicating long hours to your study desk, but it’s equally crucial to take periodic breaks to prevent burnout. A systematic approach is key to ensuring a smooth IAS preparation process. Develop a tailored strategy for each stage, including the UPSC prelims, the UPSC mains, and the UPSC interview. At IAS NEXT, we provide tested strategies and comprehensive subject notes to simplify your preparation.
  2. Emphasizing Current Affairs: To become a successful IAS officer, it’s essential to give special attention to current affairs. This section demands reading daily newspapers, staying updated with important journals like Yojana, monitoring updates on PIB, and comprehending and analyzing news of national significance from political, economic, and social perspectives. IAS NEXT offers dedicated sections to support your current affairs preparation, including Daily News Analysis, Gist of PIB, Gist of Yojana, Gist of Rajya Sabha TV, and Issues in News, among others.

Stage #5: Assessing your course

It is extremely important that you take periodic tests to assess your preparation. Taking mock tests both for the prelims and the mains helps you know your weak areas like whether it is a few topics that require extra attention or a particular subject, or whether you need to up your speed while answering the papers. This is one of the most important steps in knowing how to become an IAS officer.

Stage #6: Keeping the faith

Have faith in yourself and your abilities. Harbouring doubts about your strengths only diminishes them. If you have adopted the right strategy and combined it with intense and steadfast effort, you will get the desired results and find your way into the hallowed Indian civil services.

Read Also: UPSC Interview Marks and Score Analysis

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