How to become an IAS Officer?

If you have opened this article, I believe you know what an IAS is and why it a great career option. Job security, great house, subsidized bills, life-time pension are just very few of the benefits you get when you are an IAS officer.

But just getting these benefits shouldn’t be the only motive to be an IAS officer. With great benefits comes great responsibilities. By being an IAS officer you become a vital part of the Indian Government. You will have the power to change the life of millions and millions of Indians. And I am sure you want to do it, which is why I am going to tell you everything you need to know about becoming an IAS officer.

Who are IAS officers? What do they do?

IAS stands for Indian Administrative Services. IAS officers work hand-in-hand with the Indian Government to collect revenues, maintaining law and order, to implement different policies, handle different administrative tasks, etc.

How to become an IAS Officer?

To become an IAS officer you have to write an exam called Civil Services Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). After an exam is complete, you will get a rank and depending upon which, you will be hired into various services like IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS-IT, etc. There are 24 no. of services as such, where you will be hired after you clear an examination.

Am I eligible to be an IAS Officer?

Now, let us understand when are you eligible to sit for UPSC or CSE examination. Broadly there are 4 criteria:

  1. You need to be a citizen of India to be an IAS or IPS officer.
  2. There is an age limit depending upon the category you fall into:
CategoryAge limit
General Category21 – 32 Years
Other Backward Castes(OBC)21 – 35 Years
Scheduled Castes(SC)/Scheduled Tribes(ST)21 – 37 Years
Ex-Servicemen21 – 37 Years
Physically Different21 – 42 Years

3. You need to complete your graduation or equivalent qualification.
Note: Final year students can also apply

4. You are only eligible to sit for an exam till some no. of attempts:

CategoryNo. of Attempts
General Category6
Other Backward Castes(OBC)9
Scheduled Castes(SC)/Scheduled Tribes(ST)Unlimited
Physically Different9

Whats is CSE Examination format?

The CSE exam is conducted in 3 stages:

Stage I: Preliminary Examination

The preliminary stage examination is conducted in June each year. It contains 2 papers of two-hours duration and 200 marks each. Both papers have multiple-choice questions only.

Paper 1: It is based on General studies. It tests you on geography, history, current affairs, general science, etc.

Paper 2: It is based on Aptitude. It tests you on communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, problem-solving skill, etc.

Only after you qualify the preliminary examination, you will be eligible to write mains examination.

Stage II: Mains Examination

The mains stage examination is conducted around September-October. It is a written examination and consists of 9 papers. Each paper is of three-hours duration. The subject topics include Language, Technology, Indian Heritage, History, Geography, Environment, Economics, Ethics, Aptitude, etc. In total, it accounts for 1750 marks.
Only after you clear the mains stage examination you will be short-listed for the 3rd stage.

Stage III: Personal Interview

The personal interview is conducted around March-April. It is also called the Personality Test. An interview is mainly conducted to test a candidate’s intellectual qualities, leadership skills, judgment skills, etc. It accounts for 275 marks.

At the end of these 3 stages and your performance, the final rank will be prepared and based on which you will be posted to different services.

How to Prepare?

Usually, 10-12 months of preparation is advised before the preliminary examination. You should start by gaining in-depth knowledge on various topics according to the syllabus.

People also try to solve previous year question papers and try to give mock tests and interviews conducted by various institutes across India. You should be constantly aware of current affairs for which, you need to develop a habit of reading newspapers, magazines. You also need to work on communication skills so that you are more confident during interviews.

While preparing for IAS, the only thing which will save your ass is Time Management. Try to maintain a time-table and keep enough time for exercise and sleep. Because a healthy body will have a healthy mind.

For more details on eligibility, syllabus, exam dates keep checking the UPSC official website.

It’s just not the quantity but quality of time that matters.

How much does it cost to become an IAS officer?

The registration fees for these are:

  • Preliminary Examination: Rs.100/-
  • Mains Examination: Rs. 200/-

There are various coaching institutes across the country which costs you around 1.5-2 lakhs. New Delhi has become a major hub for such coaching institutes. If you plan to opt for coaching in metros like New Delhi, there might be an additional cost for food and accommodations which will costs you approximately 1-1.5 lakhs. There is various online IAS preparation course which costs you less than Rs.10,000 as well.

But the main thing to understand is, it costs more than just money. It will cost you your effort, your intellectual capital, but most importantly preparing for IAS costs you something that’s priceless and that’s.. your time.

Salary of an IAS Officer

The basic salary of an entry-level IAS officer is around Rs. 60,000 per month. But it also comes with a lot of perks like House Rent Allowance(HRA), Dearness Allowance(DA), Tavel Allowance(TA), etc. The salary increases as an when their experience and grade increase. Once you become a Senior Officer your salary is around Rs. 2.5 lakhs or more.

But again let me remind you, Civil Services should not just be attractive because of the salary. As the name suggests, it is a service to the nation.

I hope I was successful in giving you an idea about how to become an IAS officer. I am an engineer by profession myself. When I completed my school, I had limited guidance and idea in planning my career. But I hope you have a shot at different professions and chose the right career. It will be frustrating when you see your friends doing a job and earning well, where on the other hand, you are left alone to prepare for a year or more and that seclusion, is what gets to most people.

The road to becoming an IAS officer is filled with hard work and dedication. All of these molds you as a better person.And once you become an IAS officer, the responsibility to make the society better for all of us, falls on your shoulders! So if you think you can do it, then go for it because I believe in you. 🙂