How to Become IAS Officer Completed Details

By | March 19, 2022

Hello Friends!! Now traditional blue and yellow lights from the vehicle of IAS officer is no longer exist but the craziness for becoming an IAS officer is still popular in our country. 

The main reason for the craziness, this service is the biggest government job in India. 

Through this article, we are going to cover the most popular topics “How to become an IAS Officer“. It will include how to become an IAS Officer, What are the qualification required to be eligible for this post, the Percentage required for appearing in this examination, when to fill the examination form, what are all stages of examination, How many attempts are allowed, expected cut-off for this exam?

How to Become IAS Officer 

We will also cover what to study for clearing this examination. In short, we will explain complete steps from filling up the examination form to the interview process.

Friends! If you are aspirants of IAS and want to clear IAS Examination then it’s completely wrong!! In fact, it’s a civil service examination that includes IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS totaling around 24 different types of services for selection. Civil Service Examination is conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). UPSC is a constitutional body. 

 Details How to Become IAS 
  Exam For IAS UPSC

People usually think of all the candidates who clear Civil Service Examination and become IAS, IPS, etc. what kind of job they do? In which department they work?

So the answer is, all the DM, Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Head of Various Departments are all IAS Officers!

 More Tips for Better your Educational Life 

Secretary of Department, Prime Minister Secretary are all comes from the IAS batch. Similarly, IPS Cadre persons become head in the respective Police department.

Civil Services Exam calendar released by UPSC on the official website detailing about every information related to Civil Service Exam. Usually, Exam Calendar is published one year before the examination. Through the exam calendar, you understand when to fill up the exam, what will the last date to filling up the exam form. 

Age Criteria for becoming IAS 

We have seen most of the students are having confusion regarding Age Criteria. Have a Look at Age Criteria for different categories. 

Category Upper Age Limit

General 32 Years

Other Backward Caste (OBC) 32 Years with the relaxation of 3 years = 35 years

Scheduled Caste (SC)/ Scheduled Tribe (ST) 32 Years with the relaxation of 5 years = 37 years

Physically Disabled Candidates 32 Years with the relaxation of 10 years= 42 years

Jammu & Kashmir Domicile General ( 37 Years ) Other Backward Caste (OBC 40 years) SC/ST = 40 years Physically Handicapped = 50 Years

Disabled Servicemen disabled from duty General 37 Years OBC 38 Years SC/ST = 40 years


The best Part about civil service examination is their academic qualification criteria. You don’t need to hold a degree from prestigious colleges such as IIT, IIM, or other top-notch colleges. You don’t need to be a topper from a college or University. In fact, you don’t need to be a highly-skilled professional such as a Doctor, Engineer, Lawyer, etc. 

how to become ias

how to become ias

Simply, you have to be a graduate from any stream, any language, any profession. No specific Percentage of Marks is required, you have to be passed in the respective exam. 

If you are a final year graduation student still you are eligible for appearing in the Civil Service Exam. 

Delete this perception from your mind that Only toppers can qualify for Civil Service Examination. 


It is important to note that to become an IAS officer candidate should be a citizen of India. 

For Becoming IAS and IPS Officer, it is mandatory to be Indian National. But for other services apart from IAS and IAS such as IRS, IFS, etc. candidates should be either: 

  • A citizen of India
  • A subject of Nepal
  • A subject of Bhutan 
  • A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling to India. 
  • A person of Indian origin who migrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Eastern African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, The United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India. 

Is in India other country citizens can become IAS Officier, Hope the above points clear about it. 

Number of Attempts

Having clarity of how many times you can attempt in the IAS Examination is vital. The maximum no of attempts allowed to candidates is different in various categories. 

Category Maximum Number of Attempts

 General / Unreserved  6 
 Other Backward Caste (OBC)  9 
 Scheduled Caste(SC)/Scheduled Tribe (ST)   Unlimited  Attempts 

(Highlight It) Note: 

The most popular confusion among IAS Aspirants is what if I filled up civil service examination and not appearing? Whether my number of attempts will count? 

Answer:   The most straightforward answer is NO. By just filling up an application form doesn’t count as your attempts. You should appear in the civil services preliminary exams to make it a count as an attempt. 

Chance of Selection

The probability of getting a selection in the Civil Service Examination is 0.15%. This year around 11 Lakh students applied for Civil Services Prelim Examination from PAN India. 

But just around 5 Lakh students attempted for preliminary (First Stage Civil Services Examination). Just over 10 thousand candidates qualified for the Civil Services Mains Examination (Second Stage Civil Services Exam). Around 2000 students are called for an interview (Third Stage Civil Service Examination). Finally, 758 candidates were selected for various services including IAS, IPS, etc. 

The above numbers are not encouraging for any IAS aspirants like you who are reading and getting complete information about how to become IAS Officer. But if you look at the data of SSC or IBPS Exams then you will notice a similar set of chances in getting selection in those exams as well. 

You just need One seat to secure!! That’s All !! No need to think much beyond. 

Course Pattern for Civil Services Exam 

To qualify for any examination, the candidate should be thorough and well aware of the course pattern. In such a hugely competitive examination i.e Civil Service Examination, you should know every detail about course pattern. 

Civil Service Examination is conducted in three stages: 

  1. First Stage (Preliminary Examination)
  2. Second Stage (Mains Examination)
  3. Third Stage (Interview)
First Stage (Preliminary Examination)

There will be 2 papers in the Civil Services Preliminary Examination. 

First Paper will be on General Studies while Second Paper will of CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test). Each Paper will be of 2 hours duration for 200 marks each. 

Paper, I will check candidates’ knowledge on current events, Indian history, Indian Polity Panchayati Raj and Governance, Economical and social development, General Science, Art, and Culture. 

Paper-I contains 100 questions. 

Paper, II will test candidates’ analytical ability, logical reasoning, communication, decision making, problem-solving, mental ability, language comprehension, etc. 

Paper-II contains 80 questions. 

  • Candidates can attempt the Civil Services Examination in both Hindi and English as per the convenience. 
  • Paper I and Paper will be of Objective Type Questions. 

Note: It is mandatory for candidates to appear in both Paper I and Paper II of the civil services preliminary examination. 

Question: What is the difference between Paper I and Paper II of Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Stage I)?

Answer: Paper II is qualifying in nature, Candidates need to just secure 33% marks of the paper i.e 66 marks out of a total of 200 marks.  

While Paper I is merit-based and based on the marks scored in Paper I, candidates qualify for the Civil Services Main Examination. 

Question: Since the Civil Service Examination is one of the most difficult examinations to clear so questions will be difficult too?

Answer: No, This is a common misconception that questions asked in Civil Services Examination are too difficult.

Features about Civil Service Preliminary Examination

  • Questions asked in Civil Service Preliminary Examination are objective type questions. 
  • Paper I and Paper II of preliminary exam questions are based on class 10th, 11th, and 12th only. 
  • A significant part of the question paper will be from current affairs. The candidate should be completely updated with all important events around the world. 
  • Preparing from the NCERT books along with many good books on Current Affairs and Aptitude will lay the solid foundation for learning the Civil Service Examination. 
  • Read Daily good newspapers such as The Hindu. Reading once in a while previous months newspapers will not help you much. 

Civil Services Preliminary Examination Syllabus

Before discussing the UPSC syllabus, we should have lighter moments because trust me it’s not encouraging. There are lots of memes and jokes are floating around UPSC Syllabus. 

Some of them are: 

When IAS Aspirant trying to complete UPSC Syllabus before attempting UPSC Mock Tests

UPSC Syllabus: Hum koi film Nahi hai, Hum toh Ekta Kapoor ka serial hain.

In short, it is difficult to give you a complete syllabus for the civil services preliminary examination but we can cover important topics of the UPSC Syllabus. 

Civil Services Preliminary Examination Paper I (General Studies) Syllabus

    • Current events of national and international importance.
    • History of India and Indian National Movement.
    • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
    • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
    • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
    • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
    • General Science

Civil Services Preliminary Examination Paper I (CSAT) Syllabus

    • Comprehension
    • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
    • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
    • Decision-making and problem solving
    • General mental ability
    • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

Prelims Cut Off

Civil Service Prelim Exam Cut off for different categories varies. Last year Prelims Cut Off for different categories are: 

Category Cut Off Marks

General 98

Other Backward Caste (OBC) 96.66

Scheduled Caste (SC) 84

Scheduled Tribe (ST) 83.34

Note: Prelims Cut Off marks have not included the Civil Services Prelims Paper-II exam as Paper-II Exam is qualifying in nature. 

Marks scored in Prelims Exam doesn’t count in the final merit list. Prelims Cut Off gives you an opportunity to appear in the Second Stage of the civil service examination. 

Second Stage (Mains Examination)

The Second Stage (Mains Examination) will decide your future. Performance in Civil Services Mains Examination plays a huge role in candidates selection in civil services examination. 

The main purpose of the Mains Exam is to test candidates’ academic knowledge in depth. 

In Civil Services Mains Examination, candidates will have to attempt a total of 9 papers which sums a total of 1750 marks. 

Out of these 9 papers candidates should focus mainly on 7 papers. 

Apart from these 7 papers, there are 2 Qualifying papers. Qualifying Paper marks will not count in the final merit list but still, candidates have to qualify these 2 papers by securing at least 33% marks in the qualifying paper. 

Details of Qualifying Paper

Qualifying Paper A

One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the Candidates from the languages included in the eighth schedule of the constitution. 

Qualifying Paper B

English Language Paper 

Structure of Qualifying Paper : 

Qualifying Paper will be structured in different sections. 

  • Essay Writing (100 Marks) 
  • Translation from English to Hindi and Hindi to English (40 Marks)
  • Grammar and Basic Language Usage (40 Marks)
  • Reading Comprehension (60 Marks)
  • Precis Writing (60 Marks)

Note: Qualifying Paper will carry a total of 300 Marks. 

Details of Main Examination Papers

Most of the candidate preparing for the civil service examination gets confused with the syllabus of different papers. We are simplifying the syllabus for such aspirants. You can check the official website of UPSC to get more details related to UPSC Mains Exam Syllabus. 

Paper I: Essay  

As the name suggests, you are asked to write essays on multiple topics (Politics, Society, Technology). Candidates are expected to write concisely about the subject of the essay topic while giving their idea.

Tip: Try to be as precise and exact as possible. 

Paper-II: (General Studies) Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the world and Society

  • Indian Culture covers literature and architecture from ancient to modern times. 
  • Modern Indian History
  • Freedom Struggle (Various Stages)
  • Post Independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
  • World History

Paper-III: (General Studies II) Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations

  • Indian Constitution 
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and States, issues and challenges related to the federal structure
  • Separation of Powers
  • Comparison of Indian Constitutional Scheme with other countries
  •  Parliament and State Legislature
  • Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues
  • Welfare scheme for vulnerable sections of the population by the state and the center. 

Paper-IV : (General Studies III) Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Indian Economy and issues related to planning, mobilization of resources, growth development, and employment
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
  • Government Budgeting 
  • The major crops-cropping pattern in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation system storage, transport, and marketing of agricultural produce
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices
  • Land reforms in India
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy

Paper-V (General Studies-IV) Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude

  • Ethics and Human Interface
  • Attitude: Content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality, and non-partisanship. 
  • Emotional Intelligence-concepts and their utilities and application in administration and governance
  • Probity in Governance


Optional Subject- Paper 1

250 Marks


Optional Subject- Paper 2  

250 Marks

Mains Cut-Off

Civil Service Mains Exam Cut off for different categories varies. Last year Mains Cut Off for different categories are: 

Category Cut Off Marks

  • General 774
  • Other Backward Caste (OBC) 732
  • Scheduled Caste (SC) 719
  • Scheduled Tribe (ST) 719

Note: By looking at Civil Services Mains Cut-Off Marks you may wonder that it is easy to score Mains Cut-Off Marks in the civil services examination but the reality is It is quite difficult to score even 1 mark in the civil services examination. 

Third Stage (Interview) 

After qualifying for the Second Stage of the Civil Services Examination, Candidates will have to appear in the third stage of the UPSC Exam.

The third stage of the UPSC Exam is for Personality Test, also known as the Interview Stage.  

The maximum no of students gets rejected at the third stage of the examination. After talking to many successful candidates we analyzed that lack of confidence, way of talking (Communication) plays a significant role in the rejection of candidates. 

Interview Stage will carry a maximum of 300 Marks. 

Final Cut-Off for Civil Service Exam released out of a total of 2050 Marks. 

Category Cut Off Marks

General 982

Other Backward Caste (OBC) 938

Scheduled Caste (SC) 912

Scheduled Tribe (ST) 912

Total Selection

If we analyze the UPSC Exam Selection, then it is around 1000 candidates get selected each year for various services. To become IAS Officer candidates will have to secure the top 100 ranks in the respective category. 

IAS, IPS, IFS collectively also called All India Services. While Other services come under Central Services. 


Now, the interesting question comes into the mind of UPSC Aspirants that after devoting such hard work and finally getting selection into UPSC. What will be the salary for giving services under UPSC?

Salary will differ grade-wise, rank, and nature of the job. 

Some of the UPSC posts salary 

Post Salary 

SDM:  Rs. 50,000-150,000

District Megistrate Rs. 50,000-Rs. 150,000

Principal Secretary to the very important department of the Government Rs. 100,000- Rs. 200,000

Chief Secretary of States, Union Terrioriteries Rs. 225,000 

Chief Secretary of India Rs. 250,000 

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