Is there something more than just a job you are looking for? A work profile which will let you acquire dignity along with the power to take constructive decisions towards your community and country. If you are young, energetic, smart and believe in participating in productive things, then UPSC exams can be the pool between you and your goal. Become an IAS officer and serve the society. This article is a stepping stone which will help you guide on how to take preparation for IAS.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts examinations for appointment to various services of the Union and the All India Services. Every year UPSC conducts IAS (Indian Administration Services). Qualified UPSC candidates are selected as IAS/Civil servants who serve as a Central & State Government Administrator. Various roles of IAS officers include – Collectors, District Magistrate & Chief and Cabinet Secretary.

You must be thinking that IAS exam sounds like barging into space. Yes, definitely it is one of the toughest exams on the nation but – having a proper goal, stepping towards it systematically with a proper guidance – are few simple steps which will make the journey easier for you.

IAS Exam

UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) is popularly known as Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam. This exam consists of three stages – Preliminary Exam, Mains Exam & Personality Test or Interview.

Know all the UPSC exam dates beforehand so that you can plan your study calendar according to the time available for the exam. UPSC IAS Exam Notification will be available in the official portal of UPSC from April 2016, and the CSAT exam (CSE Prelims or IAS Prelims) will be conducted in August 2016.

Don’t tend to ignore the third phase of the examination process i.e. Personality Test. Aspirants often concentrate more on Preliminary Exam & Mains Exam. Before stepping into the preparation of one of the toughest exams in the nation, do take a step back and ask yourself why and how strong is your PI quotient. Take a personal interview to evaluate your PI quotient. This notion would help you have a clearer mindset throughout your preparation.

IAS Exam Pattern:

The IAS Preliminary exam (objective / multiple choice questions type) has two papers:

  • Paper – I (General Studies: duration – 2 hours; Marks – 200)
  • Paper – II (Civil Services Aptitude Test duration – 2 hours; Marks – 200)

The IAS Mains Exam consists of nine descriptive papers. Each paper is of descriptive type. There are two qualifying papers 1) any modern Indian language 2) English and are of 300 marks each. Anyhow, these marks are not counted in the main examination.

The candidate can choose any one language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the examination.

According to the new UPSC Exam Pattern, there are ‘Four General Studies Papers’ each of 250 Marks with a total of 1000 Marks. The mains syllabus of General Studies is of degree level.


  • The minimum qualifying marks for Paper II is 33 percent.
  • In both Paper I and Paper II for each wrong answer, there is a negative marking of 1/3rd of the allotted marks for that question.

IAS Prelims Syllabus:

Mains Syllabus –

Paper A – Language – 300 Marks

Paper B – English – 300 Marks

Paper I – Essay – 250 Marks

Paper II – General Studies 1 – 250 Marks (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

Paper III – General Studies 2 – 250 Marks (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations)

Paper IV – General Studies 3 – 250 Marks (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

Paper V – General Studies 4 – 250 Marks (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

Paper VI – Optional Subject – Paper 1 – 250 Marks

Paper VII – Optional Subject – Paper 2 – 250 Marks

Click here for detailed IAS mains syllabus.

Books for IAS Exam

You can find plenty of lists of books to be read while preparing for IAS exam but most of them are bloated lists, meant to scare you into thinking there is too much to study!

BYJU’s academic experts have listed most important books for IAS and briefly described why they are a must-read book for your preparation. Also included is a brief guide on how to make maximum use of the book. The books are listed in the recommended order in which they should be read once you start your preparation.

After UPSC changed the exam pattern of civil services and included the CSAT paper, many candidates found it difficult to crack the UPSC prelims exam. In this scenario, a candidate started giving more importance to Prelims GS Paper I. As the competition became tough, scoring good marks in GS Paper I of civil services exam became significant to move to the next stage. IAS Exam Preparation needs guidance at every step and to gauge your preparation. BYJU’s tablet learning is one such innovative way of study which helps a candidate understand all concepts from grass-root levels and thus helps candidates to assess their preparation level. The online test series helps to minimize their mistakes, and also counter check their areas of strengths and weaknesses so that they can relook and rework on their preparation.

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