How to Become an IAS Officer in India?

To become an IAS officer in India, you must qualify for the Civil Services Exam that UPSC takes every year. IAS is given the highest status in our country.

How to Become an IAS Officer in India?

Every student has a dream that they too become something in their life by working hard like a lawyer, doctor, engineer, or anything else, then after all these careers, there are some students who want to serve their country by becoming an IAS officer. An IAS student is given the highest status in our country because it is very difficult to qualify for an IAS officer, only a handful of students out of lakhs eventually become an IAS officer.

You all must also know that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) organizes the Civil Services Examination which is very difficult. After this lakhs of students come every year from every corner of the country to give and prepare for this exam in the hope that he too becomes an IAS officer. Every year around 10 lakh students appear for the civil services exams for IAS, IPS, IRS, and the rest of the elite services.

IAS Officer Meaning

IAS is an All-India Service that also includes Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Services in its own right. The full form/meaning of IAS is Indian Administrative Service. It is called Indian Administrative Service. UPSC conducts the IAS exam, along with it, UPSC also conducts different exams like NDA, CDS, IES, etc. An IAS officer plays a very important role in the administration of any district because it is they who see all the important things related to a district.

IAS was formed in 1946 before our country was known as Indian Imperial Services (1893-1946).

An IAS officer has a lot of duties but mainly his responsibility is to maintain law and order, collection of revenue, and all other administration which is under him.

Some examples of functions/duties of an IAS officer:

  • revenue collection
  • executive magistrate
  • CDO – (Chief Development Officer) / DDC – District Development Commissioner
  • Implementation of central and state government policies
  • Help with policy making and decision making
  • District planning and decision making
  • many more duties

IAS Officer Qualification

1) Citizenship: The first and most important thing that happens to become an IAS officer is that the candidate who wants to become an IAS is an Indian citizen. Candidates or Students who do not hold Indian citizenship cannot apply for this IAS Officer post.

2) Educational Qualification: To be eligible for an IAS officer, it is also very important for a candidate to have a degree from a recognized Indian University. This means a University that is incorporated in the ‘Act of Parliament’ or a University which is a Deemed University, by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Apart from this, the final year students of graduation can also apply for the preliminary examination. The rest of the eligibility criteria are as below:

  • Candidates having professional and technical degrees recognized by the Government of India, these candidates will also be eligible to apply for the IAS exam.
  • IAS will also admit some candidates on a provisional basis who have MBBS degrees or candidates who have passed any other medical examination without completing their internship. For this, candidates will have to submit a copy of their university certificate along with the online application of IAS.

3) Age: The minimum age limit for general category students or candidates who wish to appear for the exam cannot be less than 21 years and their upper age limit cannot exceed 32 years. This means the candidates for IAS 2019 cannot be born earlier than 02 Aug 1987 and cannot be born after 01 Aug 1998. Apart from this, there are some other criteria in the age limit:-

  • Candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) get a relaxation of 5 years in the maximum age limit.
  • Other Backward Caste (OBC) candidates get a relaxation of up to 3 years.
  • Candidates who lived in Jammu from January 1, 1981, to December 31, 1990, get relaxation for 5 years.
  • Relaxation of 3 years is available to those candidates who are Defense Service Personnel and who become disabled during service in the enemy country or in any disturbed area of ​​the country.
  • Relaxation of 5 years is available to those candidates who are Ex-Servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs with at least 5 years of Military Service as of August 01, 2019, and who are released because:
  • He has finished his assignment.
  • Those who have any physical disability due to military service.
  • Or because of invalidation.
  • In UPSC CSE, there is a provision of age relaxation up to a maximum of five years for ex-servicemen (including commissioned offer and SSCO/ECO) who have been released from service and provided they have rendered a minimum of five years of military service As of August 1, 2019.
  • PWD candidates get age relaxation up to a maximum of ten years.

4) Physical Standards: Candidates who want to take employment along with All India Services have to clear the physical tests which are prepared by the Government of India.

  • Being in good physical shape is very important to perform services.
  • Along with this, it is also very important for the candidates to be mentally fit.
  • Those candidates who do not clear the mental and physical fitness test will not get an appointment.

Hospitals that can take the medical test for civil services exam:

There are 7 colleges assigned in Delhi to take the Civil Services Medical Test, and they are:

  • Safdarjung Hospital
  • Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital
  • Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital
  • Sucheta Kriplani Hospital
  • Guru Tej Bahadur Hospital
  • Sean Dayal Upadhyay Hospital
  • BR Ambedkar Hospital

In these colleges, along with male candidates, female candidates are also examined. Apart from this, gen candidates have physical disabilities, their medical exam is conducted by other colleges, according to their IAS prelims, and those colleges are:

  • Safdarjung Hospital
  • Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital
  • LHMC
  • Guru Tej Bahadur Hospital
  • Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital

Apart from this, candidates who need Appellate Specialized Medical Board for their eye conditions are sent to Guru Nanak Eyes Centre, New Delhi for medical examination.

5) English: English is mandatory for every candidate for any civil services profession, good command of English is a very big eligibility criterion to work in public services.

IAS Officer Selection Process

The first and most important step in the application form, candidates have to fill the IS application form to appear in the IS paper. This form is available at, click here for the form. You can get the last date to fill this form on the site as the last date of this year was March 18.

  • Candidates are advised to check their eligibility first before filling the application form, as UPSC cancels the ineligible candidates.
  • To avoid any difficulty, candidates are advised to fill/complete the IAS exam application form before the last date.
  • The application forms for IAS Prelims and IAS Mains are different and have to be filled separately.
  • IAS Prelims (Step 1)
  • IAS Mains (Step 2)
  • Personality Test (Step 3)

IAS Prelims (Step 1)

Before the Mains Examination of IAS, there is a preliminary examination which is called IAS Prelims. IAS Prelims consists of two parts: General Ability Test (GAT) and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

Program & Dates

  • IAS Notification Released – March 04, 2021
  • Last Date to Apply for IAS Exam – March 24, 2021
  • IAS Prelims Exam Date – October 10, 2021
  • IAS Main Exam – September 17, 2021 – January 07, 2022

IAS Prelims Registration

The IAS form is out on the official website (click) by the month of February, candidates are advised to start the online application process along with their required documents as soon as possible.

Required Documents

  • 10th class mark sheet
  • Class twelfth mark sheet
  • Graduation mark sheet
  • Medical certificate
  • Category certificate
  • Scanned photograph
  • Scanned signature
  • IAS Prelims 2021 Admit Card: The admit card for 2021 prelims will be available to the candidates two weeks before the IAS exam, candidates can download this admit card from the official website of UPSC. The admit card contains important details such as the name of the candidate, roll number, photo, date, and venue.

Online Registration Process:

1) Registration:

  • Go to the official website and click on the link to Apply for UPSC Civil Services.
  • There, fill in your name, gender, category, nationality, and other details.
  • After that click on submit button.

2) Payment of Fees:

  • Choose between online and offline payment methods
  • Offline Mode – Cash Payment at the nearest branch of SBI and Pay-in-slip which is given on the page
  • Online Mode – Debit Card / Credit Card or Net Banking
  • Then click on Pay Now Button

(This step is not for candidates who are exempt from paying fees.)

Category – IAS Prelims Exam Fee

  • General and OBC candidates only for men – Rs.100
  • All Female Candidate – Free
  • SC/ ST/ PH Candidates – Free

3) Continue Registration

  • After paying the fee, fill in the rest of the details of the application form.
  • Choose your IAS Exam Centre.
  • Fill in the qualification and communication details carefully.
  • After verifying click on submit.

4) Upload photo

  • Click on the link or in the blank space where the photo has to be uploaded.
  • Select Image.
  • After that click on upload.
  • Verify whether your photo is opening correctly or not.
  • Repeat these steps again to upload your signature image.
  • At last click on “I Agree”, submit the complete IAS Online Form.

IAS Prelims Exam Pattern

Exam Mode Offline
Number of Papers 2- Common Aptitude Test (GAT) and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
No. of Questions Paper 1- 80; Paper 2-100
Question Paper Type Multiple Choice Questions
IAS Prelims Total Marks 400
Nature of Exam Qualifying
The duration of the exam 2 hours each (meaning two hours for both the papers) and 20 minutes extra for blind students
Language of examination English and Hindi

Marking Scheme of IAS Prelims

  • Each question in the General Studies paper is of 2 marks.
  • Each question in Civil Services Aptitude Test Paper is 2.5 marks.
  • For each question for which the candidate has given an incorrect/wrong answer, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as a penalty.
  • If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers is correct and the penalty will be the same as stated above for that question.
  • If a question is left blank, i.e. no answer is given by the students/candidate, there will be no penalty for that question.
  • Candidates have to secure a minimum of 33% marks to qualify in the exam.


Course Covered Books
Current Events of National and International Importance Newspapers The Hindu / Indian Express, India Yearbook, Yojna Magazine
History of India and Indian National Movement New NCERT History Text Books (6-12 Class) Old NCERT Books Ancient India RS Sharma Medieval India Satish Chandra Bipan Chandra of Modern India Brief History of Modern India (Spectrum Publications)
Indian Polity and Governance Constitution, Political System, Public Policy, Panchayat Raj, Rights Issues, etc. Constitution of India (M.Lashmikant) Introduction to the Constitution of India (DD Basu)
Economic and Social Development, Sustainable Development, Social Sector Initiatives, Poverty, Inclusion, Demography, etc. Class 11 NCERT – Indian Economic Development Class 12 NCERT – Introductory Microeconomics Class 12 NCERT – Introductory Macroeconomics Indian Economy (Ramesh Singh)
Indian and World Geography The physical, social, economic geography of India and the world Class 11 NCERT – Fundamentals of Physical Geography 11 NCERT – India Physical Environment Cluster 12 NCERT – Fundamental of Human Geography 12 NCERT – People of India and Economics Certificate Physical and Human Geography (Goh Cheng Rong) Oxford School Atlas / Orient Black swan School Atlas.
General topics on environmental ecology, biodiversity, and climate change that do not require experience in the subject. NCERT Book for Class 12 Biology – Final Four Chapters (Chapters 13 to 16) Shankar IAS Environment Booklet.
General Science Class 9 & 10 Science NCERT Books Hindu – Sunday Science and Technology Page Science Reporter Magazine.

 Books for UPSC CSAT (Paper-II) Paper

Course Covered Books
Comprehension logical reasoning and analytical ability and decision-making and problem-solving interpersonal skills including communication skills. CSAT Manual/ Handbook: General Studies for Civil Services Preliminary Paper-2 (TMH-Tata McGraw-Hill)
Basic numeracy/ arithmetic (numbers and their relationships, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. Class X level). General mental ability.

 IAS Mains (Step 2)

Candidates qualify for IAS Mains after giving prelims. The candidates who clear the IAS Prelims with 33% or more marks are qualified to appear in the IAS Mains. There are two types of papers in mains one is a qualifying paper and the other is a merit paper.

The qualifying paper consists of two language exams, one for the language of the candidate’s choice and the other for English.

There are 7 papers in the merit paper, all of which are of 250 marks.

In IAS Mains, there are two Essay Writing and Objective Type questions, the scores of all the papers as well as the result of the direct interview together give a candidate’s ranking.

Exam Pattern

  • Each paper is of 250 marks.
  • Every paper is of 3 hours, and blind students get extra 30 minutes.
  • There will be 7 papers in the mains exam where candidates are tested on their knowledge and understanding.
  • The questions in this paper are of both objective and subjective types. The questions are made in both Hindi and English languages.
  • IAS Mains is divided into two compulsory papers- first qualifying paper and second merit paper.

Qualifying paper

Paper A is 250 marks and this paper is given by the candidates in their selected language, which should be from the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

Paper: This paper is given by the candidates in English and the paper is also of 250 marks.

Merit exam

This paper is intended to test the candidate’s intellectual and interpersonal skills. The essay-type questions of this paper test the candidates on their understanding of their subjects.

Paper Paper Title Allotted Marks
Paper 1 Essay Writing 250 marks
Paper 2


General Studies I – History and Geography of the World and Society, Indian Heritage and Indian Culture. 250 marks


Paper 3


General Studies II – Constitution of India, Social Justice, Governance, Politics, and International Relations. 250 marks


Paper 4


General Studies III – Economic Development, Technology, Biodiversity III, Environment, Security and Disaster Management. 250 marks


Paper 5 General Studies IV – Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. 250 marks
Paper 6 Optional Subject – Paper 1 250 marks
Paper 7 Optional Subject – Paper 2 250 marks
Sum of Written Exam 1750 points

IAS Mains Marking Scheme

  • There is a total of 1750 marks in Mains.
  • Each question is of 2.5 marks.
  • Candidates will be evaluated on their basic concepts, understanding the problem/situation, its solution, presentation, and language.
  • Apart from this, candidates will also have to select two optional papers.


History and Geography of the World and Society, Indian Heritage and Culture. General Studies Paper-I History: Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania. India’s Struggle for Freedom (Bipin Chandra) Post-Independence India (Bipin Chandra) Indian and World Geography- Majid Hussain Indian Society Class 11 NCERT Book – Introduction to Sociology Class 12 NCERT Book – Understanding Society
Governance, Constitution, Politics, Social Justice and International Relations General Studies Paper-II Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu. Constitution of India – PM Bakshi second ARC report. Indian Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri. The Ministry of External Affairs’ Annual Reports
Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management General Studies Paper-III Budget Document Economic Survey of India Disaster Management – Second ARC Report Security – Ministry of Home Affairs Annual Report
Ethics, integrity, and competence General Studies Paper-IV Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity, and Merit (Civil Service Chronicle)

 IAS Preparation

IS paper is considered to be one of the toughest papers in India and with this about 10 lakh candidates appear in this paper for some 1000 seats. This means a student or a candidate has only a 0.1% chance to clear IAS. From this information, we can get an idea of ​​how high the competition is in IS.

So to clear this paper a candidate has to do his/her preparation very well. Only after years of hard work and studies, a student or a candidate can clear the IAS exam. Candidates do self-study but at the same time they also take help from outside such as:

Coaching Institutes: In these institutes, subject experts of IS teach students and prepare them for their exams. Examples of coaching institutes:

  • Chanakya IAS Academy
  • Sathya IAS Academy
  • ALS IAS Academy
  • Elite Academy

Online Coaching: In today’s time we have access to so much advanced technology that now we can prepare for IAS sitting at home. Online coaching is a very economical and convenient option for studying from home. Examples of online coaching applications are Byju’s, Unacademy, and there is more, etc.

Mock Exam: Giving mock paper is considered very well before any exam because it:

  • Candidates get an idea of ​​the real exam.
  • To know how their exam preparation is going.
  • The entire syllabus gets revised.
  • The trial run of the real exam is done and
  • Candidates also know about time management.

IAS Personality Test (Step 3)

For this test, those candidates qualify those candidates who clear or qualify for the IAS Mains exam. Personality tests comprised of Psychometric tests, Assessment tests, and Personal Interviews.

Exam Pattern

  • Candidates who qualify in Mains are eligible for Personality Test.
  • The purpose of this test is to test the suitability of the candidates for a career in public services. This suitability conducts a board test that is made up of an unbiased and competitive observer.
  • The purpose of this test is to test the mental caliber of the candidate.
  • The qualities that judge the candidates are mental alertness, critical power of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgment, diversity, and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
  • This test is conducted in the language of the candidate’s choice.
  • This interview is graded on 275 marks. With this, the total marks of IAS becomes 1,750 (Mains) + 275 (Personality Test) = 2,025 marks.
  • Based on this grand total, the candidates are graded and then called for the final interview.

Exam Centre

IAS Prelims Exam Center

Agartala Coimbatore Indore Mysore Siliguri
Agra Cuttack Itanagar Nagpur Srinagar
Ajmer Dehradun Jabalpur Navi Mumbai Thane
Delhi Jaipur Ahmedabad Gautam Buddha Nagar Thiruvananthapuram
Aizawl Dharwad Jammu Panaji (Goa) Tiruchirappalli
Aligarh Dispur Jodhpur Patna Tirupati
Prayagraj Faridabad Jorhat Port Blair Udaipur
Anantapur Gangtok Kochi Puducherry Varanasi
Aurangabad Gaya Kohima Pune Vellore
Bangalore Ghaziabad Kolkata Raipur Vijayawada
Bareilly Gorakhpur Kozhikode Rajkot Visakhapatnam
Bhopal Gurugram Lucknow Ranchi Warangal
Bilaspur Gwalior Ludhiana Sambalpur Chandigarh
Hyderabad Madurai Shillong Chennai Imphal
Mumbai Shimla      

 IAS Mains Centre

Ahmedabad Dehradun Mumbai Aizawl
Delhi Patna Prayagraj Dispur
Raipur Bangalore Hyderabad Ranchi
Bhopal Jaipur Shillong Chandigarh
Jammu Shimla Chennai Kolkata
Thiruvananthapuram Cuttack Lucknow Vijayawada

Exam Center Allocation

  • The allotment of the exam center is done on the basis of “first-apply-first-allot”.
  • When the capacity of a center becomes full then its allocation stops.
  • It is advised that the candidates apply early so that they can get to the exam center of their choice.
  • Any subsequent request of the candidate for a change of center will not be considered at all.

IAS Officer Job Options

IAS officers are at two levels, one is the Central Level and the second is the State Level.

Central Level Pay Sequence in IAS (Hierarchy)

Post Period of service
Under Secretary 4 years
Deputy Secretary 9 years
Director 12 years
Joint Secretary 20 years
Additional Secretary 30 years
Secretary 34 years

 State Level Pay Sequence in IAS (Hierarchy)

Post Period of service
Deputy Secretary / Additional District Magistrate At the entry-level of services
Joint Secretary / Deputy Commissioner / District Magistrate 6 years
Special Secretary 9 years
Secretary 16 years
Principal Secretary / Finance Commissioner 24 years
Chief Secretary 30 years

IAS Officer Salary

Indian Government has fixed the salary grades of Civil Servants. But this grade varies according to each drink commission. The current salary range is:

 6th pay commission & 7th pay commission
Grade On Scale Grade Pay Pay Scale Grade Pay Years of Service Requirement Post
Junior Scale 15,600 – 39,100 5,400


50,000 – 150,000 16,500




SDM (Sub Divisional Magistrate), SDO or Sub Collector (After 2 Years’ Probation)
Senior Time Scale


15,600 – 39,100




50,000 – 1,50,001




5 years


DM (District Magistrate) or Collector or Joint Secretary of Government Ministries
Junior Administrative Grade


15,600 – 39,100




50,000 – 1,50,002




9 years


Special Secretary or Head of Various Government Departments


Selection Grade


37,400 – 67,000




1,00,000 – 2,00,000




12 to 15 years


Secretary of the Ministry


Super Time Scale


37,400 – 67,000




1,00,000 – 2,00,000




17 to 20 years


Principal Chief Secretary of a Major Government Department
Above Super Time Scale 37,400 – 67,000 12,000


1,00,000 – 2,00,000 30,000






Highest Scale 80,000 (fixed) NA 2,40,000 (fixed) NA Different Principal Secretary of State, India

Apart from salary, civil servants get a lot of allowances from the government such as dearness allowance, city compensation allowance, leave travel allowance, medical and subsidized housing, and many more.

Some Important Instructions for Exam Day

  • Candidates cannot carry any extra rough sheet, it will be provided at the center itself.
  • Examples of items that cannot be carried to the Candidate Centre are log tables, calculators, maps, electronics, notes, loose sheets, books, etc. If any of these is found with any candidate, then the paper of that candidate gets canceled.
  • Abuse of any kind is not tolerated inside the exam hall.
  • Candidates should carry a black ballpoint pen with them.
  • Candidates should carry there IS admit cards with the memorandum.
  • IS admit card should be kept safe till IS recruitment.
  • Candidates should reach the exam center well in time.
  • The form for Civil Services Exam 2020 is not out yet.

Read Also: What is BPSC? How to prepare for BPSC?

Through this article, it was an effort from our side to tell you everything that will help you to become a good and successful civil servant. If you want to know any other thing or have any other questions which are related to your becoming an IAS officer, then you can ask us by writing in the comments section below.

We will be very happy to answer your answers, and we hope It is that you clear the civil services exam as soon as possible and become a successful IAS officer. Thank you so much for giving us your valuable time.


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