Introduction on How to Become an IAS Officer?

The post of an Indian Administrative Services officer is considered to be a position in Category A list of officers for Indian Civil Services. Along IAS, IPS, and IFS are considered as the most prestigious and well-respected jobs in Indian Civil Services.

IAS officers hold positions that are considered to be the most respectable and strategic positions in the Union Government, State Government, and Public Sector Units.

How to become an IAS officer

The career of IAS officers begins at the sub-divisional level in the state administration and they also play many roles like a sub-divisional magistrate, or as an overseer in the administration/development of the particular area of work that has been assigned to them.

Different roles assigned to an IAS officer are that of a Commissioner, Chief Secretary, Public Sector Unit Head, Cabinet Secretary, and Collector. The profession is considered to be knowledge because apart from getting exposure, one will be able to help millions of lives with the powers vested in them.

In this article How to become an IAS officer, we have provided complete details on Duties and Responsibilities, Eligibility Criteria, Steps involves and the reference books. You can goto any of the topic by selecting it from the table below.

Sr. No.



Duties and Responsibilities of an IAS officer


How to become an IAS officer?


Eligibility criteria for becoming an IAS officer


Stages for becoming an IAS officer


Reference Books for the IAS exam

Duties and Responsibilities of an IAS Officer

  • An IAS officer is considered as a backbone structure to the government of India.

  • One plays an important role in the administration and decision-making of the matters of the population of the nation.

  • An IAS officer is in a position of power where they have the authority to take decisions within reason regarding the policies and regulations in which their area of work will function, hence, it is considered as a powerful and a prestigious position.

  • An IAS Officer is the designated person who has the power to allocate tasks regarding different administrative departments and their functions.

  • The role of an IAS officer is also inclusive of duties such as framing of policies, being an advisor to the ministers.

  • They are responsible for the efficient execution of designated duties in the administrative units. 

  • Functions like maintaining the law and order situation, supervising revenue administration and general administration fall under the jurisdiction of IAS officers.

  • They also play roles of a Chief Development Officer or District Development Commissioner, stipulated role of an Executive Magistrate, which includes overseeing and implementing of State level and Central Government policies, supervising the expenditure of Public Funds and more.

How to Become an IAS Officer?

  • In order to become an IAS officer one has to write the UPSC exam.

  • UPSC Exam is also known as the Civil Services Exam is an examination which  is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) 

  • Union Public Service Commission is the central agency for selecting civil servants in India.

  • The exam is conducted annually and millions appear for the exam and this makes it tough to clear the exam in the very attempt for many.

  • There are no restrictions placed on the candidate based on their financial, social or educational background, and anyone can apply for the IAS Exam and appear for the CSE depending on their preparation and potential.

Eligibility Criteria for Becoming an IAS Officer

Educational Qualifications

  • To be eligible for the exam one has to have a degree from an Indian University.

  • The university can be Central, State, Deemed University or an open university under the UGC act.

  • If attained through correspondence or distance education also, on is allowed to appear for the exam.

  • MBBS graduates can also appear for the exam, even if not completed the internship.

  • If you have cleared any of the final levels of any professional course from boards like the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI), ICSI and ICWAI, then you can appear for the UPSC.

  • If the candidate has completed the degree in a foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities, then that candidate can appear for the UPSC exam.

Age Requirements

  • While appearing the exam one has to ensure that they are not above the age of 32 if from the general category.

  • The candidates who are above 32 before August 1 in the year of appearing for the exam are not eligible.

  • The age will be relaxed up to 35 for the candidate from the OBC category and up to 37 years for candidates who belong to the SC/ST category.

  • Physically Handicapped Category


42 years


45 years


47 years

  •  J & K Domicile Candidates


37 years


40 years


42 years


50 years

  •  Ex-Servicemen Candidates 


37 years


40 years


42 years

  • Disabled Defence Services Personnel


37 years


40 years


42 years

Number of Attempts

  • The number of attempts for all the general category students is 6, OBC category students are 9 and for SC/ST category students is unlimited.

  • The number of attempts for physically handicapped candidates in all the categories is unlimited.

Stages for becoming an IAS Officer

Stage 1: Prelims Exam

  •  The Prelims exams of Civil Service Exam consists of two objective type papers.

  • One of the two general studies paper consists of general studies and the other paper consists of the aptitude test, which is also known as


    Service Aptitude Test (CSAT).

  • Paper 1 with general studies consists of topics like history of India, economy, social development, Indian and World geography, science & technology, polity and governance, environment & ecology, etc.  

  • Paper 2 of CSE prelims consists of questions in relation to logical reasoning, analytical ability, English language comprehension, data interpretation, basic numeracy or maths, etc.

  • Both the topics will be held on the same day and will be objective type.

  • The candidates will be notified about the CSE Prelims exam date in the month of February every year.

  • The application forms will also be made available in the month of February and the last date of submission will be in the month of March and that would be announced later.

  • The admit card can be downloaded three weeks before the exam.

  • The discretion to announce the date of the exams is with the UPSC, but the exams are usually held in the month of June.

  • The publication of the Answer key will be followed by the announcement of the UPSC results of that year.

  • The results of Prelims will be done in the month of August/ September.

Stage 2: Mains Exam

  • The second stage of the CSE exam is the mains and it consists of 9 descriptive exams.

  • The syllabus for each paper will be as follows

Paper number


Marks Allotted

Paper no. 1

In this paper, you need to write an essay in the language chosen by you

250 marks

Paper no. 2

General Studies 1: This paper consists of topics related to Indian Heritage, Indian Culture, Indian History, Local and World Geography.

250 marks

Paper no. 3

General Studies 2: This paper consists of topics in regard to Polity & Governance, Social Justice & International Relations, and Constitution.

250 marks

Paper no. 4

General Studies 3: This paper will test the candidates on the topics like Economic Development, Technology, Bio-diversity, Security & Disaster Management.

250 marks

Paper no. 5

General Studies 4: This paper will have topics such as Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude.

250 marks

Paper no. 6

This will be the first paper for the optional subject.

250 marks

Paper no. 7

This is the second paper for the optional subject.

250 marks

Paper no. 8

Indian Language Paper:  in this paper, the candidate is expected to select a language from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. If you are a candidate who belongs to the north-eastern states like Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim, you are exempted from this paper

300 marks

Paper no. 9

This is to test the knowledge of the candidate in the English language.

300 marks

  • The optional subjects for the CSE Main exams include subjects like agriculture, animal husbandry and Veterinary Science, anthropology, chemistry, civil engineering, commerce, statistics, political science and international relations economics, electrical engineering, geography, geology, history, law, botany, management, mathematics, mechanical engineering, medical science, philosophy, physics, , psychology, public administration, sociology, and zoology.

  • The students can choose from a wide range of languages for the Indian literature exam. The languages that are available are, Hindi, Kannada, Dogri, Bengali, Assamese, Gujarati, Bodo, Kashmiri, Telugu, Tamil, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, English, Urdu, Sanskrit, Oriya, Sindhi, Punjabi, Manipuri, Nepali, Marathi, and Santali.

  • The dates for CSE main will be notified in the month of August/ September

  • Application forms can be taken in the month of August/ September.

  • Admit Cards will be available before three months of the CSE Mains.

  • The Mains is usually in October, however, the date and the month of the exam can be changed by the UPSC.

  • The answer key will be released in the following year after the result is announced.

  • The results of CSE Main will be released in the month of January/ February of the following year.

Stage 3: Personal Interview

  • Out of millions who have appeared for the exam Union Public Service Commission selects an interview around 2500-3000 candidates approximately every year.

  • Many boards are created by the UPSC which work on an everyday basis and one member of the UPSC will be heading each of the many boards.

  • Every board set-up will have around 4-5 members who have different portfolios.

  • The duty of the members of the board is to ask questions that will help them select a candidate based on their mental agility.

  • Most of the questions asked will be related to national and international current affairs.

  • The board members can ask questions related to the personal profile submitted by them along with the application form.

Reference Books for the IAS exam

  • If you a Civil Service aspirant then there are certain books that will help you prepare better. More than the quantity of the books studied, it is the quality that can help you score better by giving the necessary knowledge.  

  • For the History subjects, books that might help are History of Modern India by Bipin Chandra and India’s Ancient Past by R.S Sharma. These books will help one to study the subject in detail. Other books that can be referred to are India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra and History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra.

  • For the subject of culture, the books- The Wonder That Was India by AL Basham and Indian Art and Culture authored by Nitin Singhania are considered as a necessity while preparing for the IAS exam.

  • Geography of India byMajid Husain and Oxford School Atlas by Oxford are the books that are most preferred for the subject of geography.

  • Indian Polity for Civil Services Examination by M Laxmikanth is referred for the polity.

  • For current affairs, refer to books like India Year Book and Manorama Year Book.

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