How To Become An IAS Officer In India

IAS officer is one of the most lucrative job & dream of thousands of aspirants in India.

In this post, you will learn the exact process of how to become an IAS officer in India & getting your dream job (step by step).

In other words, if you are looking for complete information about IAS officer’s eligibility criteria, required skills, UPSC exam procedure etc…

…then you’ll love this in-depth guide.

Let’s dive right in. 🙂

Table Of Contents:

To become an IAS officer, one needs to fulfil the eligibility criteria put down by the UPSC and must qualify the Union Public Service Commission Civil Services Exam (CSE).

Step #1: Fulfilling The Eligibility Criteria

We are starting the journey with the most basic yet very important thing i.e “the eligibility criteria.”

No matter how much passionate & hardworking person you are, if you simply fail to pass the eligibility criteria then you’ll never get a chance to become an IAS officer.

So, let’s talk about some basic qualification requirements like education, nationality, age restriction etc.

Eligibility Criteria For Becoming An IAS Officer

  1. Education: Graduation
  2. Age Limit: 21 to 32 years
  3. Citizenship: Indian citizens only

1. Education Qualifications

As you may already aware that the IAS is the most sought after service in India…the desire to become an IAS officer generates at an early stage in most of the aspirants.

In simple words, some students want to become an IAS officer after 10th (SSC) and some after completing 12th (HSC).

But, it is not possible for you to become an IAS officer right after completing your 10th or 12th standard.


In order to move forward, first, you need to apply for CSE exam which is conducted by UPSC…and the basic requirement to apply for CSE examination is “getting a graduate degree from any recognized university.”

One more thing to note down that…there is no minimum graduation percentage required for IAS eligibility.

Note: If you’re in your final year and waiting for results, you’re still eligible to appear for UPSC Preliminary Examination by producing proof of having passed the said examination along with the application for the main IAS examination.

2. Age Limit

Civil services age limit is one of the most important factors in IAS eligibility criteria.

As per civil services age limit, if you are a general category candidate then your age must be between 21 to 32 years.

And, the age is calculated as on 31 August of the year of notification.


For other category candidates like OBC, SC, ST, or for physically handicapped aspirants, age relaxation does exist in the rules.

  • For Other Backward Castes (OBC), the age limit is 21 to 35 years.
  • For Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), the age limit is 21 to 37 years
  • Finally, if an aspirant is physically not stable then the age limit is 21 to 35 years

3. Citizenship

Whether you want to become an Indian Administrative Service officer or Indian Police Service officer this criteria remains the same.

You must a citizen of India…that’s it !!

Step #2: Developing Relevant Skill Set

The most suitable person for this prestigious job profile is the one who has certain qualities that are above the normal qualification criteria by UPSC.

And, in this section, we’ll talk about some key qualities or skills that you should definitely have in order to stand out from the crowd.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Patriotism

Being an IAS officer you need to keep country before your and one’s personal interest.

In other words, as a foremost social worker, you need to become more patriotic including giving first priority to the tasks that will benefit the country as well as citizens.

The moment you become an IAS officer, you will be having great powers to bring change…and if you follow patriotism, your all actions direct towards society growth & success.

This will also lead to a better India. 🙂

2. Leadership

Majority of aspirants have good IQ, strong physic and even mindblowing decision-making skills but still many of them fail to lead and influence others.

And, I don’t want you to be the part of such category where no one likes to agree with your planned strategy.

So, I highly recommend you to start working on your leadership skills as you need to guide others towards a unified goal of developing India.

3. Perseverance

Clearing the UPSC exam in the first attempt is a very difficult but not impossible task. Right?

But, if we considered the worst scenario, then you should be mentally prepared to deal with that failure even if it happens multiple times in a row.

Perseverance is all about to keep trying until one achieves his/her goals.

So, you should be stubborn enough to keep trying until you get succeed.

4. Patience & Focus

Patience & focus is more important than anything for a student preparing for UPSC exams.

You will take at least 2 years to prepare and complete the examination if you manage to clear that exam in the first attempt.

This long way journey requires a high level of patience and focus in order to reach the destination.

The best part?

Patience and focus are the skills that not only benefit you before the examination but also help you after you become an IAS officer.

5. Work ethics

Mark my words,

“It’s all starts with YOU.”

You will be working for the betterment of people…hence first, you need to become better !!

And, one of the simple methods to become a better person in your workplace is by following all the work ethics.

No matter how big or small the task is, you should always be responsible and show enthusiasm while doing that particular task.

6. Honesty

You, me, in fact, everybody in this world HATE fake guru culture.

And I don’t think I need to explain to you about how much corruption flows around us every year, every week and every day.

So, you must have a high sense of personal integrity and honesty to deal with corruption and to cut down from its roots. 

“Trust is like a glass, once broken it will never be the same again.”

7. Critical Thinking

Right from the beginning to the end of your career, you’ll face many tricky situations on a frequent basis.

At that time your ability to “think out of the box” will decide how much time you’ll gonna remain stuck in that situation.

P.S.  start practising critical thinking from now…it will surely help you to devise solutions that will result in solving complicated problems in an efficient way.

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Step #3: Preparing For UPSC Exams

UPSC exams are tough for those who think it’s TOUGH.

Nearly, 10 lakhs people apply for this exam every year and out of which 5 lakhs actually attend the examination.

The positive part?

Out of those 5 lakhs aspirants, almost 1,000 to 1,200 people get successful in getting selected.

Remember, if just one person has ever cracked this exam in the first attempt, then trust me you can also do it very easily.

All you need to do is try focusing more on the positive side so that all the negativities and distraction will get automatically blurred.

With that, in order to start preparing for this exciting journey…first, you must be aware of each and everything about the CSE examination.

So, basically the CSE exam has three stages:

  1. UPSC Prelims
  2. UPSC Mains
  3. UPSC  Interview

1. UPSC Prelims

Talking about the first stage i.e Prelims…in this round, you need to face 2 papers of 200 marks each.

Both will be objective type paper and the duration will be 120 minutes for each of them.

When you qualify the preliminary examination, you can head over to the second stage (i.e Mains).

Generally, preliminary exams are conducted in the month of June every year by UPSC.

ExamTypeDurationNo. Of QuestionsSyllabusMarks
General Studies IMCQ2 hours100Current Topics, History, Geography, Politics, etc200
General Studies I (CSAT)MCQ2 hours80
Comprehension and Analytical Ability

Note: You need to score 33% in the CSAT and the required cut-off in the GS Paper I, in order to sit for the UPSC mains exam.

2. UPSC Mains

In this stage, you need to give 9 papers out of which 2 will be language & one essay paper, 4 will be general studies paper & 2 will be optional.

Mains exams are conducted in the month of September & October every year by UPSC.

You’ll be only called for the third stage (i.e Personality test or interview) when you score the required cut-off in the Mains Exam.

PaperSubjectTotal Marks
Paper AIndian language selected by the candidate from the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.300
Paper BEnglish300
Paper IEssay250
Paper IIGeneral Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)250
Paper IIIGeneral Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations)250
Paper IVGeneral Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)250
Paper VGeneral Studies IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)250
Paper VIOptional Subject – Paper I250
Paper VIIOptional Subject – Paper II250

3. UPSC Interview

The third and the final stage is UPSC personal interview or personality test.

The interview round is by far the toughest round to clear…but again! For those who think it’s tough.

In this round, you’ll be judged on various aspects of your personality like your thought process, ability to express and overcome stress level, general knowledge, patience level etc.

UPSC conducts the interview round in the month of March or April every year and…

…When you finally clear this round, your name will appear on the final merit list put out by the UPSC in the month of MAY.

CategoryNo. Of Attempts Allowed
General Category6 (till the age of 32 years)
OBC/NCL & OBC NCL PwD9 (till the age of 35 years)
General PwD9 (till the age of 32 years)
SC/STUnlimited (till the age of 37 years)

As it is one of the year-long exams, I highly recommend you to start the preparation for 10 to 12 months in advance especially if you are a beginner.

With that here are some quick BONUS tips to crack IAS.

  • Get rid of all the useless applications that are installed on your device. For example, Social Media or Entertainment Apps, Addictive Mobile Games etc.
  • Stay up to date with current affairs by reading, watching and listening to the news.
  • Just like we take a bath every day, make sure you take a daily dose of motivation. It can be anything like reading 5 to 10 motivational quotes every morning or watching a motivational video.
  • Write down your weak points on a piece of paper and take actions to overcome that issue. For example, If you are weak in speaking English then you need to start working on it ASAP.
  • You are not a machine that can work 24/7…do not forget to take enough rest, eat healthy stuff and practice meditation.

Step #4: Applying For UPSC Exams

From 2015 onwards, the application procedure for the Civil Services Examination has been changed.

As per rules applications for UPSC exams can be submitted online only and no other mode of application is allowed.

In short, if you want to submit an application for any UPSC exams then you need to apply online on the following website –

UPSC releases the notifications for civil services preliminary examinations every year in the month of february.

To grab that information first you need to visit their official website i.e

You will also get details about the number of vacancies in the listed department.

Steps To Submit UPSC Online Application Form

  1. First, head over to the official website of UPSC –
  2. Simply click on the “Apply Online” tab
  3. Then click on ”Online Application for Various Examinations”
  4. Find civil services preliminary examinations and start with IAS registration part-I
  5. Fill up all the required details and pay the prescribed application fee of ₹100
  6. Next, choose the exam centre and upload the photo, sign & photo identity card
  7. Finally, accept the declaration, check the complete details and click SUBMIT

Note: Make sure you take a printout of IAS application form for future reference.

Now It’s Your Turn

First of all BEST WISHES from my side if you are preparing of IAS or want to apply in future.

Hope you might learn something new from this article.

Specifically, I want to answer your queries if you have any.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now! 🙂

3 thoughts on “How To Become An IAS Officer In India”

    1. I’m impressed with your dedication and the way you’re passionate about becoming an IAS officer. Remember, UPSC tests your all-around personality…so start taking action from now. You can begin with reading newspapers & NCERT books or you should definitely invest in some good courses and books that can enhance your personality.

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