How to Become an IAS Officer

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Indian Administrative Services, or IAS, officers are government employees in India who work through the Union Public Service Commission. In India, these positions are considered prestigious and come with plenty of perks and benefits, such as job security, government discounts and free transportation. To become an IAS officer, you must pass a Union Public Service Commission civil services examination that consists of a combination of 11 essays and papers that must be submitted over the course of one year. Upon successful completion of the exam, the commission places chosen candidates into various posts according to their ranking on the test. The exam is considered competitive; you may have to take it multiple times before attaining a high-enough score to be chosen as an IAS officer.

Meet all eligibility requirements to become an IAS officer. All candidates are required to have a college degree, which can be from any discipline. Candidates must also be citizens of India and at least 21 years of age but under 30 years of age.

Obtain an application to take the civil services examination through your local post office. Fill it out and mail it to the Union Public Service Commission address on the form. Wait for your approval letter in the mail detailing your testing centers and dates.

Take the preliminary examination. The preliminary exam is taken in the months of May and June each year. This part consists of writing a general studies paper and an optional subject paper. The general studies paper is directed at answering questions regarding politics, budgeting, developmental programs and other areas of that nature. The optional subjects paper is on a topic of your choosing. Candidates usually select a topic from their area of expertise, such as what they majored in during college. In July and August, invitations go out to candidates who have successfully completed the preliminary exam and who are approved to move on to the main portion of the test. If you don't get invited back to take the main exam, you have to retake the preliminary exam the next year to try and achieve a higher score.

Take the main examination. The main portion of the exam consists of nine papers. These include one essay on the Indian language, one paper on the English language, one essay on general studies, two papers on general studies and four papers on optional subjects. Again, the general studies papers cover topics such as politics, budgeting and other governmental programs and policies, while the optional subject papers cover topics of your choosing from your area of expertise. Examples include law, medicine, economics and mathematics. If you successfully complete the main examination portion, you're invited to interview in person. Interview calls generally go out in March and April each year. If you don't successfully complete the main examination process, you need to start over again the next year.

Interview for an IAS officer position. During the interview, commission representatives take your personality, confidence and knowledge of world affairs into consideration. If you successfully complete the interview, you're notified that you're chosen for a post and can begin your career as an IAS officer. If you don't pass, you need to redo the entire examination process over again for another chance.


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