I.A.S., formerly ICS (Indian Civil Service) stands Indian Administrative Service and and IAS exam is nothing but UPSC CSE (Civil Services Examination). The Government of India has authorized the UPSC to conduct Civil Services Examination (CSE) for selecting the aspirants to the 24 major posts in India, three most important and prestigious all India service posts are IAS, IPS, and IFS. Focusing on IAS and IAS Exam, exposure in this very field is in diverse roles like the Collector, Commissioner, Head of Public Sector units, Chief Secretary, Cabinet Secretary etc. It is not just because of its adventurous nature, but also the opportunity of making positive changes in the life of millions in India makes IAS a unique career choice to opt for.
The educational qualification needed to appear in UPSC CSE is a degree (graduation) in any subject. Final year students can also apply. The number of attempts permissible for a general category candidate is 6. For OBC candidates the number of attempts permitted it 9. SC/ST category candidates will have unlimited attempts till they attain the upper age limit to appear for UPSC CSE.
A good understanding of UPSC syllabus and exam pattern is the first step for all aspirants. Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II). The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for main exam. A candidate’s rank in UPSC Civil Service Exam depends only on the mark scored in Main and Interview. The written examination (main) will consist of the following nine papers, but only 7 papers will be counted for final merit ranking. For the rest two papers, the candidate should secure minimum marks prescribed by UPSC each year. The main exam has 1750 marks while interview has 275 marks.
Civil Service Exam is conducted in three phases.
Phase I: Civil Services examination – Preliminary is organized every year in the month of August, whose results are normally declared in mid-October.
Phase II: Civil Services Mains examination is organized every year in the month of December for those who has passed the Civil Services Preliminary exam. The result for the Civil Services Mains examination is generally declared in the month of March.
Phase III: Civil Services Personality Test (Interview) is the last stage normally organized in the month of May every year. Notifications for the forms are normally notified by April.
IAS officers are recruited from the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. They are also promoted from State Civil Services. Unlike candidates selected for other civil services, a person once appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or Indian Foreign Service (IFS) becomes ineligible to reappear in Civil Services Examination. After getting selected, candidates undergo training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie.
Every year only around 1000 candidates are selected for all the 24 services combined. The number of candidates who applied for UPSC Civil Service Exam was about 9 lakh in 2015, out of which around 4.5 lakh candidates appeared on the exam day.
IAS topper Kumar Harsh shares his journey as an IAS aspirant. He says an aspirant should focus more on writing as that is the only thing you have to do in your answer sheet. The only thing is you understand the basic and rest is to play with expression.The syllabus has become more dynamic in the past 5 years. The basic here in GS 2 includes Executive Judiciary, Legislature. Since its dynamic the question may come why Judiciary is taking power in its hand. NGO topics are also there so if you sit to study the history of NGOs you are on the wrong side. Just get the basic and work for presentation and writing. For the current affairs a structural study is very important.
Facing the interview board is not at all difficult as said by Shri R.P. Agarwal , IAS(retd) , former interview board member. As per Manoj K Jha personality test is about understanding yourself and more about your psychological makeup. According to them IAS board does not want to see what all you do not know, they want to know how much you know and whether you know well enough? The board members hit those who tries to bluff around. The dressing also matters before the NQ board. While answering you must address to all the members of the board. You may be asked about economy of the nation and your views. The topics vary just to get a clear idea about your knowledge.
To clear IAS Exam, aspirants are advised to have a long-term strategy. Though most of the serious candidates start preparation 9-12 months before the exam date, there are candidates who successfully achieve top ranks with only a few months of dedicated study. So what matters is not the duration of the preparation, but the quality of the same.