How to Become an IAS Officer?

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To become an IAS Officer, candidates have to clear all three stages of the UPSC CSE exam, followed by training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA). Many students aspire to become IAS Officers, which is one of the most prestigious services in India. If an Indian citizen is at least 21 years old and completed his/her graduation from a recognised university, he/she is eligible to appear for the UPSC Civil Services Exam.

Becoming an IAS officer is a prestigious and challenging career path that requires dedication, hard work, and preparation. One has to clear Prelims, Mains, and Interview and get more than the required cut-off marks to become an Indian Administrative Service officer.

Steps to Become an IAS Officer

The IAS is one of the most sought-after civil service positions in India. Here are the general steps to become an IAS officer:

Check the Eligibility Criteria

  • Nationality: You must be a citizen of India.
  • Age Limit: The minimum age is 21 years, and the maximum age limit varies based on category.
  • Educational Qualification: A bachelor's degree from a recognised university is required. There is no specific stream or subject requirement.

Be Familiar with CSE Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services Examination annually, which is the gateway to becoming an IAS officer.

The CSE consists of three stages:

  • Preliminary Examination: It comprises two objective-type papers - General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II (Civil Services Aptitude Test - CSAT). This stage serves as a screening test, and the marks obtained in the CSAT are not counted for ranking.
  • Mains Examination: This stage consists of nine papers, which are subjective/essay-type questions on various subjects like General Studies, Indian languages, English, and an optional subject (you can choose from a list of subjects).
  • IAS Interview: Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Examination are called for a personal interview, also known as the Personality Test. It assesses the candidate's personality, attitude, and general awareness.

Choose an Optional Subject

In the Main Examination, you will need to choose an optional subject for UPSC from the list provided by the Commission. It is advisable to choose a subject that you are comfortable with and have a genuine interest in.

UPSC Exam Preparation

  • Prepare a comprehensive study plan that covers all the subjects and topics for both the Preliminary and Main Examinations.
  • Refer to standard textbooks and study materials for each subject.
  • Stay updated with current affairs, national, and international events.
  • Practice answer writing for the Main Examination and work on time management.
  • Join Vajiram and Ravi coaching institute or self-study if you are confident in your preparation skills.

Application and Examination

  • Apply for the Civil Services Examination through the UPSC website when the notification is released (usually in February).
  • Appear for the Prelims Examination, which is usually conducted in May/June.
  • If you qualify for the Mains Examination, take the nine papers as per the schedule provided by UPSC.
  • If you clear the Mains Examination, you will be called for the Personality Test (interview).

Interview Preparation

  • Brush up on your general knowledge and current affairs.
  • Practice mock interviews to gain confidence and improve communication skills.
  • Be prepared to answer questions related to your background, interests, and the optional subject you have chosen.

Final Selection

  • The final merit list is prepared based on the marks obtained in the Main Examination and the Interview.
  • Candidates with high ranks in the merit list get selected for the IAS and other civil services based on their preferences and available vacancies.

Remember that the journey to becoming an IAS officer is competitive and can be mentally and emotionally challenging. It requires perseverance, determination, and a strong will to serve the nation.

How to Become an IAS Officer after 12th?

To become an IAS officer, one needs to complete a bachelor's degree from a recognised university. There is no direct entry into the IAS right after the 12th standard. Some of the expert preparation tips for becoming an IAS Officer after 12th are as follows:

  • Finish your 10+2 education from any recognised board with any stream (Science, Commerce, Arts, etc.). However, the UPSC syllabus somewhat overlaps with the subjects studied in the Arts stream.
  • Along with high school studies, make a habit of reading the newspaper every day to become aware of the current events happening all over the world.
  • Be aware of the complete UPSC exam pattern and syllabus and try to explore online study materials or join a library to study concepts asked in the previous year's papers of Prelims and Mains.
  • Choose a bachelor's degree course from any recognised university. There is no specific subject requirement, so you can choose any field that interests you. It is recommended to opt for subjects that are part of the UPSC syllabus, like history, geography, economics, political science, public administration, etc. However, this is not mandatory.

Can Commerce Students become IAS Officers?

Commerce students who aspire to become IAS officers should focus on a well-rounded preparation strategy. It is crucial to have a good grasp of subjects like economics, finance, and accounting, which are covered under the commerce stream. However, they should also pay attention to other subjects like history, geography, polity, current affairs, and general studies, as these are equally important for the Civil Services Exam.

Moreover, choosing the right optional subject can significantly impact one's chances of success. While commerce is not an optional subject, commerce graduates can select subjects like economics, public administration, or any other subject they have a keen interest in and are comfortable with.

FAQs on Tips to Become IAS Officer

How to Become an IAS Officer?

To become an IAS officer, you must qualify the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC. The process involves three stages: Preliminary Examination, Mains Examination, and Interview. Prepare thoroughly with dedication, covering subjects like history, polity, and current affairs, and opt for an optional subject wisely to succeed.

Which degree is best to become an IAS Officer?

There is no best degree for becoming an IAS officer. Any bachelor's degree from a recognised university is acceptable. However, subjects like history, public administration, political science, or economics can be advantageous for CSE preparation due to their relevance to the exam syllabus.

What to Study after 10th to become an IAS Officer?

After 10th, focus on completing your high school with any stream. Choose subjects like history, political science, economics, geography, or public administration for a better understanding of topics covered in the Civil Services Examination. Pursue a bachelor's degree and prepare for the CSE.

Can a Doctor become an IAS?

Yes, a doctor can become an IAS officer. There is no specific restriction based on one's profession. Doctors can appear for the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC, and if successful, they can become IAS officers like candidates from other backgrounds.

How to become an IAS with Science Stream?

Students of any stream, whether it's Science, Commerce, or Arts, can become IAS Officers by clearing the 3 stages of the UPSC CSE exam: Prelims, Mains, and Interview. They have to complete their graduation and apply for the Prelims exam, the notification for which is usually released in the month of February every year.

What is the age limit to become an IAS Officer?

The age limit to become an IAS officer is generally between 21 and 32 years. Age relaxation is provided for candidates from certain categories as per government rules.