YOU TOO Can Be IAS Officer

Sometimes in your childhood you would have dreamt of taking up a service, through which you can leave a lasting impression in the life of many people. The civil service is one such service that gives you such an opportunity. But you do not know the ways and means of joining the IAS. You may be seeking answers to questions like, what are the eligibility criteria, what is the competitive examination and what is the plan of examination. Sometimes you would have been discouraged by the fear that the competitive examination is too difficult to pass. You would have hesitated to write the exam on the suspicion that this service is meant for men and women of high social status, economic background and political connections. Shall clarify all these doubts of yours right now.

In order to become an IAS officer you should pass the civil Service Examination, which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. This examination is conducted every year to select candidates for IAS and 21 other services, such as Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Audit and Account Service (IAAS), Indian Customs and central Exercise Service, Indian Revenue Service, Group A, Indian Postal Service, Indian Railway Traffic, Account or Personal Service, Indian Information Service. The number of Vacancies to be filled up each year in all the above service would be around 350 and that of the IAS is around 50.

Eligibility Criteria:

a.     You should be a citizen of India.

b.     You must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 30. The 1st of August of the year is the reference date to calculate your exact age.

c.      You should hold a degree of any University, However to appear for Aptitude test (CASAT),you are eligible if you are appearing for the final examination. You are eligible, if you are degree holder in a professional course like MBBS, BDS, BE etc. In the case of MBBS, even if you are doing the Internship you are eligible for writing the Civil Service Examination.


You don’t have to pay a large sum of fee. It is only Rs.50/-

How to Apply

The application form developed by the UPSC is available in the Head Post Office. The filled in application from should be submitted directly to the Secretary, Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi. You should write on top of the envelope the name of the examination.


Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). Last date for receipt of application for the examination would usually be the first week of January.








Plan of Examination

The competitive examination comprises two successive stages:

1.      Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination

2.      Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.

The preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks in the subjects set out in subsection (A) of Section II. This examination is
meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit. The number of Candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination. Only those candidates who are declared by the Commission to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year provided they are otherwise eligible for admission, to the Main Examination.

The new exam pattern provides equal opportunity to all the candidates irrespective of the fact that they belong to Arts, Science or Commerce stream.

The new Syllabus of IAS Prelim  exam is given as following:-

Paper 1

• Current events of national and international importance

• History of India and Indian National Movement

• Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic

• 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, Bio-Diversity and Climate Change that do not require subject specialization

• General Science

 Paper 2

• 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)

• English language comprehension skills( Class X level)


The Civil Services Main examination is designed to test the academic talent of the aspirant, also his/her ability to present his/ her knowledge in a clear and coherent manner. The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

The UPSC has revised the pattern of Civil Services Main examination from 2013.

Now there are 7 + 2 = 9 papers to be answered in the main examination and all of them are of descriptive type. There are two qualifying papers of 300 marks each 1) any modern Indian language 2) English, whose marks will not be counted in the main examination.

The total marks of the written examination will be 1750 Marks.

The Interview/Personality Test will be of 275 marks.

The Grand Total 2025 Marks

The candidate is allowed to use any one language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the examination.

There is only "ONE" optional subject to choose from the list of subjects. It comprises of two papers each of 250 marks with a total of 500 marks.

Candidate is allowed to take up literature as an optional subject "without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that language’s literature.

The scope of the syllabus of optional paper is higher than the bachelor’s degree but lower than the master’s level.

According to the new pattern there are "FOUR" General Studies paper each comprising of 250 Marks with a total of 1000 Marks. So the weight-age of General Study papers is increased.

The scope of the syllabus of General Studies is of degree level.


Summary of the Latest Pattern of Civil Services (Mains) Examination



Essay - 250 Marks

Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice

Language -300 Marks 
Candidate can take any Modern Indian language but this paper is of qualifying nature

English -300 Marks 

This paper is of qualifying nature

General Studies-I 250 Marks (Indian Heritage and Culture, 
History and Geography of the World and Society)

General Studies -II: 250 Marks
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

General Studies -III 250 Marks 
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

General Studies -IV 250 Marks 
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Marks carried by General Studies was 4X 250=1000

Optional Subject - Paper 1 -250 Marks

Optional Subject - Paper II -250 Marks

Candidate is allowed to take up literature as an optional subject "without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that language’s literature.

Sub Total (Written test) 2350 Marks

Marks of English and Language will not be counted so total marks for Written exam will be 2350 MINUS 600 = 1750 Marks

Interview/Personality Test - 275 marks

Grand Total 2025 Marks 

A candidate is allowed to use any one language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the examination.


Civil Services Mains Exam 2013 Syllabus

The written examination will consist of the following papers:


Paper A - English -300 marks - Qualifying nature - Marks not counted- Passing mandatory

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian Language concerned.

The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows:-

(i) Comprehension of given passages

(ii) Precise Writing

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary

(iv) Short Essay.

Paper B - A - Modern Indian language 300 Marks - Qualifying nature - Marks not counted - Passing mandatory-

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precise Writing

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essay

(v) Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.

Note 1: The Papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2 : The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).


Essay - 250 Marks - To be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice - Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.


General Studies-I 250Marks (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Effects of globalization on Indian society

Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

Salient features of world’s physical geography.

Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.





General Studies -II: 250 Marks (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries

Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the

Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional


Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and

Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Issues relating to poverty and hunger.


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Fr J B Saldanha