What is Indian Administrative Service (IAS)?
IAS is the short form of Indian Administrative Service. It is one of the prestigious services among the 24 services like IPS, IFS etc for the which the UPSC conducts Civil Services Examination (CSE) for 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.
Even though the exam to be undertaken is popularly known as IAS exam, it is officially called UPSC Civil Services Exam. The UPSC CSE consists of 3 stages – Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Getting into Indian Administrative Service is not easy considering the competition involved, but not impossible for a candidate with right attitude and approach. Interesting read: Salary of an Indian Administrative Service officer.
UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) is the government agency responsible for selecting the right candidates for this service. Every year only around 1000 candidates are selected for all the 24 services combined. The number of candidates who applied for UPSC Civil Service Exam was about 9 lakh in 2016, out of which around 4.5 lakh candidates appeared on the exam day.
This exam is widely considered as the toughest exam in the world, considering the exam duration (extends 1 year), depth of the syllabus and the competition involved. The first stage of the exam – Preliminary (objective) – is usually conducted around June, while the second stage, Mains (written), is conducted around October. Those who clear Mains will have to face interview/personality test during the March-May period. The final result usually comes in June.
To clear IAS Exam, aspirants are advised to have a long-term strategy. Though most of the serious candidates start preparation 9-12 months before the exam date, there are candidates who successfully achieve top ranks with only a few months of dedicated study. So what matters is not the duration of the preparation, but the quality of the same.
A disciplined and focused mind with a passion for learning and reading is the basic trait of all successful candidates. The UPSC Civil Services exam is more a test of the analytic and presentation skills along with knowledge gained by the candidate rather than a test which checks candidate’s mathematical or verbal skills. To clear IAS, we feel two entities as essential:
“ClearIAS” is a humble attempt to provide aspirants with these two basic entities giving stress to self-study.
The educational qualification needed to appear in UPSC CSE is a degree (graduation) in any subject. Final year students can also apply. Aspirants may go through the article to the eligibility criteria for writing UPSC CSE exam.
The number of attempts permissible for a general category candidate in UPSC CSE is 6. For OBC candidates the number of attempts permitted it 9. SC/ST category candidates will have unlimited attempts till they attain the upper age limit to appear for UPSC CSE.
The minimum age to appear for UPSC Civil Services Exam is 21 years. Upper age limit for General category is 32 years, for OBC it is 35 years while for SC/ST it is 37 years.
A good understanding of UPSC syllabus and exam pattern is the first step for all freshers. The Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II). The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for the main exam.
A candidate’s rank in UPSC Civil Service Exam depends only on the mark scored in Main and Interview. The written examination (main) will consist of the following nine papers, but only 7 papers will be counted for final merit ranking. For the rest two papers, the candidate should secure minimum marks prescribed by UPSC each year. The main exam has 1750 marks while interview has 275 marks.
Classroom coaching is adopted by many students for proper guidance and ease of materials for learning though it is not a must for clearing IAS. Now websites like ClearIAS.com provide guidance outside the classroom coaching and free online study materials for those who can’t afford it due to time/financial constraints. If the aspirant is dedicated and is properly guided, self-study is enough to clear UPSC CSE. Interesting read: Can I clear UPSC Civil Services exam without coaching classes?
As you may know, only when tested in an exam atmosphere with negative marking, you can improve the ability to deliver in the actual exam hall. Try for free the UPSC Prelims online mock exams by ClearIAS – in the new innovative platform which integrates learning with test-taking. You would be surprised to find how fast you can learn!
Indian Student Room has compiled a list of the best UPSC books available in the market:23 Years CSAT General Studies IAS Prelims Topic-wise Solved Papers (1995-2017)
Mission IAS – Prelim/ Main Exam, Trends, How to prepare, Strategies, Tips & Detailed Syllabus
Environment (5th Revised Edition March 2017) by Shankar IAS Academy
IAS Mains Chapterwise Solved Papers General Studies
IAS Mains General Studies – Set of 4 Books
Read our UPSC topper’s interviews to know strategies straights from the horse’s mouth.
If you have more questions, please go through our article on Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) about UPSC Civil Services Exam. We on a regular basis update clearias.com website and ClearIAS mobile app with free online study materials to equip the bright minds across India clear IAS exam by self-study. Make the best out of the study materials, preparation strategies, topper interview, mock tests etc. Wish you all the best!
Originally published in clearias.com