Indian Administrative Service or Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is considered to be the highest government service or government job in India. IAS officers are posted from the highest post of any central government department or state government department in India to the highest post in the districts as District Magistrate. Therefore, the higher the post, the more difficult is the recruitment process and the more preparation is required. To get appointed to the post of IAS in India, you have to apply for the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and successfully pass all its stages. If you also want to become an IAS officer and want to know how to prepare for IAS, then you are going to get complete information related to it here. Let us know how to prepare for IAS.

Civil Services Exam Pattern (Format):

The Civil Services Exam conducted by UPSC is conducted in total 3 phases. The first stage is called the Preliminary Exam, the second stage is called the Mains Exam and the third stage is of Interview or Personality Test. To go to any next stage of Civil Services Examination, you have to qualify the previous stage. Here we will tell about the nature of all three phases.

Preliminary Examination:

The pattern of the first stage of Civil Services Examination i.e. Preliminary Examination is as follows:

Paper No of Question Max Marks Duration Type Of Exam
General Studies-1 100 200 2 Hours Multiple Choice Questions (With Negative Marking)
Civil Services Aptitude Test)- CSAT 80 200 2 Hours Multiple Choice Questions (With Negative Marking)
Total 180 400

Current events of the candidates in Paper 1: Indian History and National Movement, Geography of India and the World, Indian Political Science, Panchayati Raj System, Economic and Social Development, Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, Climate Change and General Science, Art and Culture etc. Or knowledge is tested.

In Paper 2: the candidates are tested in English language skills like comprehension, interpersonal skills, communication, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision making, problem solving, basic numeracy, data interpretation, English language comprehension skills and mental ability.

Main Exam:

The nature of the main examination of the Civil Services Examination is as follows:

Paper Subject Marks
Paper A Any one of the 18 languages written in the 8th scheduled language of the Indian Constitution (qualifying) 300
Paper B English (qualifying) 300
Paper I Essay (Proposal) 250
Paper II General Studies I (Indian Heritage and Culture, World History and Geography) 250
Paper III General Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations) 250
Paper IV General Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250
Paper V General Studies IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250
Paper VI Optional Subject Paper-I 250
Paper VII Optional Subject Paper-I 250
  • The time duration of each of the above written 9 exams is 3 hours.
  • All these 9 exams are descriptive and in these exams candidates have to answer in writing.
  • Out of the above 9 examinations, the first 2 examinations only have to be passed and their marks are not added to the final select list.
  • The final list to be prepared for interview is made on the basis of marks obtained in above written test-I to exam-VII.
  • Candidates have to choose any one of the following subjects in the above written Examination-VI and Examination-VII:
Agriculture Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science Anthropology Botany Chemistry
Civil Engineering Commerce & Accountancy Economics Electrical Engineering Geography
Geology History Mathematics Management Law
Mechanical Engineering Medical Science Philosophy Political Science & International Relations Physics
Psychology Public Administration Sociology Zoology Statistics

Literature of any one of these languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.

In Paper A of Main Examination, candidates can choose any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu.

On the basis of qualifying the first 2 papers of the main examination and the marks obtained in the above written Paper-I to Paper-VII, the candidates are called for the interview.

Interview For IAS Exam:

  • The interview for the Civil Services Examination is for a total of 275 marks.
  • The final selection list of the candidates is prepared on the basis of merit list prepared by adding the marks obtained in main examination and interview.

Best Books for IAS Preparation: For the preparation of important exams like civil services exam, candidates need to study from the best books. Here we will discuss about some important books mentioned by the toppers of Civil Services Examination. General Studies or General Studies examinations have an important place in the Civil Services Examination because there are examinations of 200 marks in the Preliminary Examination and 1000 marks in the Main Examination on this subject. So first of all we will try to tell the best books for General Studies or General Studies subject of Civil Services Examination. Along with this, we will also tell about some important books for CSAT paper of preliminary exam.

Important Books for Preliminary Exam:

Subject Important/ Best Books
History 1. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
2. Facets of Indian Culture (Spectrum)
3. NCERT XI & XII
Geography 1. Certificate Physical Geography (Goh Cheng Leong) / Oxford Physical and Human Geography (Hindi)
2. NCERT VI – XII
3. World Atlas (Orient Black Swan) / Oxford Student Atlas (Hindi or English)
Indian Polity 1. Indian Polity  (M. Laxmikanth)
2. NCERT IX-XII
Economics 1. Indian Economy  – Nitin Singhania
2. Economic Development & Policies in India (Jain & Ohri)
3. NCERT XI & XII.
International Relations 1. NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics )
Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 1. Tata McGraw Hill (CSAT Manual)
2. CSAT II (Arihant)
3. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning (R S Aggarwal)

Note: Most of the above books are available in the market in both English and Hindi languages.

Important books for Main Exam:

विषय महत्वपूर्ण/ श्रेष्ठ किताबें
General Studies (Paper-1) (Indian Heritage and Culture, World History) 1. India’s Struggle for Independence
2. India after Independence
3. History of Medieval India / History of Medieval India – Satish Chandra
Ancient India / Ancient India – Ramsharan Sharma
General Studies (Paper-1) (Geography) 1. Geography of India / Geography of India – Majid Husain
2. World Geography / World Geography – Majid Husain
3. World Atlas – Orient Black Swan
General Studies (Paper-2) (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations) 1. Indian Polity / Polity of India – M. Lakshmikanth
2. Introduction to the Constitution of India
3. International Relations / International Relations in the 21st Century – Pushpesh Pant
General Studies (Paper-3) (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) Indian Economy – Nitin Singhania
General Studies (Paper-4) (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Exam (Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary)

Note: Most of the above books are available in the market in both English and Hindi languages.

  • Here we have given the important books of all the four examinations of both the subjects of Preliminary Examination and General Studies subject of Main Examination.
  • Apart from the above books, the candidates should read monthly magazines like Yojna, Pratiyogita Darpan etc. and any newspaper regularly for current affairs (current events, facts, news and data etc.) and make their notes and repeat them from time to time.
  • In the series ‘How to prepare for IAS’, we have told about important books related to optional subjects of Mains Civil Services Examination in our other articles. You can get information about the best books of that optional subject for the main examination by clicking on the link of any optional subject written above.

Other things to do for IAS preparation:

  • You need hard work and well-planned study to get appointed to IAS through Civil Services exam conducted by UPSC.
  • Every year lakhs of candidates apply for this exam, but only those successful are those who have prepared in a systematic way after working hard.
  • Civil Services Exam is not a one day endeavor but it is a journey which may take many years to taste the success. So there is a need to plan seriously before starting the preparation for this exam.
  • Some good coaching institutes also exist for civil services exam. So it is up to you whether you would like to study on your own or prepare through coaching to prepare for this exam.
  • Choosing optional subject in this exam is also an important part of this exam. Every candidate should choose such an optional subject in which the candidate is also interested and which he can prepare easily and with confidence in a better way than other optional subjects.
  • The subjects studied in your graduation are also important in the choice of optional subject. But if you feel that you can prepare better and easily by choosing a subject other than your graduation subjects, then you can also choose any optional subject other than your graduation subjects.
  • If you want to get more information related to civil services exam apart from ‘How to prepare for IAS’ then you can read our article “How to become an IAS”.
  • Interview also plays an important role in Civil Services Examination. Therefore, you can read our article “How to Prepare for Interview” for information related to interview preparation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Question 1: What is the full form of IAS?

Answer: Full form of IAS is- Indian Administrative Service (Indian Administrative Service)

Question 2: What is the salary of IAS?

Answer: According to the pay scale of 7th Pay Commission of India, the starting basic pay of a new IAS officer is Rs 56100/-. Apart from this, all due allowances are also given to an IAS officer.

Question 3: What is the qualification for IAS?

Answer: To apply for the civil services exam conducted by UPSC to become an IAS, the candidate must be a graduate in any discipline from any recognized university in India.

Question 4: What are the main subjects for IAS?

Answer: General Studies is a main and important subject in the Civil Services Examination. The preliminary stage of this exam consists of one paper of General Studies and the main stage consists of four papers of General Studies. Apart from this, Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) in the Preliminary Examination and Science / Arts / Commerce / Engineering / Medical Science / Language Literature etc. in the Main Examination, one has to choose any one optional subject from the options.

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