Joining the Indian Administrative Services is more of a responsibility towards the entire nation, rather than being a mere career option. It’s so because the Indian society looks upon an IAS officer in awe. He enjoys power and is respected tremendously. No wonder, joining IAS happens to be the most cherished ambition of the Indian youth and has always been so!

The journey an aspirant goes through from filling in the form to joining IAS

Be it a city, district or the State Government, you would find IAS officers at the topmost positions of every important department. If you are an IAS aspirant, you would be required to undertake the journey as given below before you actually join the Indian Administrative Services.


There is an annual notification issued by UPSC for the Civil Services Exam. It comprises the advertisement for all the prominent Central Civil Services, apart from the Indian Administrative Services as well.  It’s only being realistic to keep in mind that huge numbers of the aspirants fill in the form every year. However, only a few, say around 1000 are finally selected by UPSC to join the Civil Services.

Eligibility Requirements


The candidate should be an Indian National. However, the people of Indian Origin and those living in the neighboring countries should better read the provisions carefully as prescribed by UPSC in the advertisement.

Educational Qualification

The candidate should be a graduate from a recognized Indian university.  However, your score during the graduation does not make a difference. The subjects you have been studying during graduation also make no difference. You should be simply a graduate.

It’s only your score in the Civil Services Exam that will finally matter to UPSC. However, if you are in the Final Year of graduation, you may still apply for the Civil Services Exam, but produce your marksheet before UPSC asks you to join IAS or the cadre of your choice, depending on your rank.

Age Criteria

You should be 21, at least. The upper age limit varies for various categories.


In case, you have already been selected for the IAS, or IFS and still continue to serve, you may not fill the CSE form again.

The Relevant Details

The candidate would be required to provide the names of both of his parents. The Exam center needs also to be specified. The Optional Subject is to be opted for. The candidate also has to choose the medium of answering the Exam that might be either English or Hindi.

IAS Form

Also, the candidates also have to specify their preference for the Service, i.e., the cadre IAS/IPS etc., and the state they would like to serve in.

The Maximum Number of Attempts

Candidates from the General category may clear the Exam in the maximum of 6attempts. The maximum number of the attempts varies for each category.

Various Stages

The Civil Services Exam is conducted in three stages. The first one is the Exam for Prelims. It’s the qualifying Exam. Your score is not added in the results to decide your rank in the merit list that includes the names of the successful candidates when CSE result is declared.

However, the CSAT Paper in the Prelims plays a decisive role. If a candidate does not qualify it, his Paper I answer sheet will not be evaluated.

Next is the Mains. Here, your score would matter. Thus, your performance in the Mains would decide your rank and UPSC would allow you to join IAS (which is the most chosen cadre by most) accordingly.

The Prelims

The Prelims of the Civil Services Exam comprises a Paper of General Studies and the CSAT Paper. The GS Paper includes various topics comprising History, Geography, Current Events, Environment, General Science, Indian Polity, Governance, Technology etc.

CSAT, the second Paper comprises comprehension, reasoning etc. However, it’s this Paper that will pave the way for your march towards IAS. If you qualify CSAT, GS Paper would be evaluated and clearing that would allow you to appear for the Mains.

The Mains Examination

It’s here that UPSC assesses your capabilities as a future IAS officer. Your writing skills should be highly well developed. It’s what you write to answer the question papers during the Mains, be it the Essay Paper or the Optional Subject Papers, (or for that matter, whatever Papers you are answering) that helps UPSC judge if you can administer the society well or not. And your answers are marked accordingly.

Your answers should convey you as an aware, alert and also unbiased individual who would be able to administer the society, doing justice to all, as required in a suitable manner.

And it’s your score in the Mains that would set the stage further for your success. You are required to clear the Mains. But, as you know, it is not just a qualifying Exam, prepare thoroughly so that you score higher than your competitors in the papers for the mains. Your score will count finally for only the highest of the rank holders are asked by UPSC to join IAS.

The Interview

It’s the last and the final stage. However, it’s a great irony that a great many candidates are declared unsuccessful in the Interview. The truth is that most of the IAS aspirants still follow the traditional ways to prepare for the IAS Exam. They are more focused on gaining the knowledge. Thus, they fail to realize that it’s the overall personality that will count in the long run. It’s true not only while competing to join the Indian administrative Services, but also when you actually have to administer the society.

However. It would do well to remember that it is not just the form that you fill in for the IAS Exam that describes you. It’s your overall personality that counts when it comes to administer the society in a successful manner. (No wonder, the IAS Interview is actually the Personality Test). So, all the aspirants, beginning their journey by filling in the form, need to focus to develop their overall personality so that their journey finally ends as an IAS officer.