How to Become an IAS Officer After 12th?

By K Balaji|Updated : September 4th, 2022

How to Become an IAS Officer After 12th? This is one of the most trending questions among the candidates who have decided to be a part of the elite civil service from a very young age. The minimum qualification required to become an IAS officer is graduation. Candidates need to have a degree from a recognized university to appear for the IAS exam. However, starting the preparation after the 12th is the right decision if you have made up your mind to become a civil servant.

If you start IAS preparation early, then there is a big chance that you can crack the exam on your very first attempt. In addition, clearing the IAS exam at an early age will take you a long way in your career, and you may become the Cabinet Secretary. For those who don’t know, Cabinet Secretary is the highest among UPSC posts in India. In this article, we will explain How to Become an IAS Officer After 12th and be a part of the most prestigious service in the country.

How to Become IAS Officer After 12th? ( Eligibility Criteria)

Before beginning your IAS Exam preparation, candidates should take note of UPSC Eligibility criteria.


A candidate must be an Indian citizen and or a person of the origin or a subject of Bhutan, Nepal, or Tibet settled in India before January 1962.

IAS Age Limit

The candidate must be a minimum of 21 years of age and must not be more than 32 years of age. Age relaxation is applicable to candidates from OBC, SC/ST categories. Category-wise, UPSC age limit, relaxation, and maximum attempts are given below.

  • The General Category maximum age limit is 32 years, and 6 attempts
  • OBC Category maximum age limit is 35 years, and 9 attempts
  • SC/ST Category maximum age limit is 37 years, and unlimited attempts till the upper age limit are reached.

Educational Qualification for IAS Exam

The candidate must have a graduation degree from a government-recognized university. Additionally, candidates in their final year awaiting results are also eligible to appear for the UPSC Prelims exam.

How Can I Become an IAS Officer After 12th? (Tips from Experts )

The path to becoming an IAS officer can be filled with challenges and struggles, but having an effective strategy and the right approach can make everything simpler. Here we will cover some tips and tricks that will definitely make the process easier for you.

  • Get to know more about civil services. Get involved in how the life of a civil servant or diplomat. If you have the upper hand to talk to an IAS officer, then take full advantage of that. Ask yourself if this is what you truly crave; if the answer is yes, then read further.
  • Go through the UPSC Syllabus, and choose a graduation course that involves polity or history. These subjects will be a great help while covering the General Studies paper. However, it is crucial that you find interest in these subjects as well.
  • You must check out all Optional Subjects for UPSC and decide what would be your optional subject in the UPSC Mains Exam.
  • Start reading the public administration, economics, and other subjects that hold massive importance in UPSC Exam.
  • Be in touch with the basics of Maths that you have learned in school. Maths will be required for CSAT preparation in the IAS Prelims.
  • Take advantage of the college library. Make a list of all the UPSC Books, and cover all the NCERT Books for UPSC to strengthen your basic knowledge.
  • Read the Best Newspaper for UPSC, and keep along with the latest happenings in the country and the world.
  • For the UPSC interview, which is the 3rd stage of the UPSC Exam, you will require strong communication skills. Try to develop a good personality that would help you during this round.
  • Ace the art of making notes, and go through the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to test where you stand in terms of level, and then prepare accordingly.

How to Become IAS Officer After 12th? (Step-By-Step Process )

After completion of the 12th, candidates can choose a course to get their graduation degree. It would be better if the course is relevant to the subjects covered in UPSC Syllabus. However, in the past, many IAS toppers have come from an educational background that wasn’t relevant from the UPSC Exam perspective. So choose a subject that you are interested in, and along with that, keep preparing for IAS Exam.

Step 1 Apply for UPSC

First, the candidates need to apply for the UPSC Civil Services Exam after completing their graduation. UPSC organizes Civil Services Examination every year, and candidates need to apply for UPSC Prelims when the application form is out.

Step-2 Appear for UPSC Prelims

UPSC Prelims is the first stage of the UPSC Exam, and it is based on objective types of multiple questions. There are two papers in Prelims- General Studies 1 and CSAT. Each paper carries 200 marks. General Studies 1 will be merit ranking in nature, and CSAT is qualifying in nature. Candidates are advised to go through UPSC Prelims Syllabus and prepare accordingly.

Step-3 Appear for UPSC Mains

UPSC Mains is the second stage of the IAS Exam. Those who clear the UPSC Prelims exam will be eligible to appear for the UPSC Mains exam. UPSC Mains has a total of 9 papers, of which two are optional papers. IAS Mains carries total marks of 1750. Candidates can choose any one optional subject from the list of 48 optional subjects. Candidates must go through UPSC Exam Pattern and UPSC Mains Syllabus before beginning their preparation for the Mains exam.

Step-4 Personality Test

Those who clear the UPSC Mains will be shortlisted for the Personality Test round. The Interview will be taken place in UPSC Office at Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi. Here the Board members will test the personality of the candidates, and this round carries 275 marks.

Step-5 IAS Training

The candidates who clear all three stages of the IAS Exam will be recruited as IAS Officer Trainees. The training period of the IAS officer is of 2 years. The first four months will be a foundation course at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA). After completion of the IAS training period, the candidates will be recruited as IAS officers.


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FAQs on How to Become IAS Officer After 12th

  • As per the UPSC eligibility criteria, candidates must hold a graduation degree from a government-recognized university to be eligible for the IAS exam. So candidates must finish their graduation after completion of their 12th to become an IAS officer.

  • After the 12th, candidates must go through the UPSC Syllabus and choose a course for their graduation that would be helpful in their preparation. The candidate must read the daily newspaper and be aware of the current events happening in the country as well as in the world. Additionally, he/she must go through the UPSC previous year’s question papers to understand the paper pattern and prepare accordingly.

  • There is no right answer to this question. A candidate should pick a course as per his/her area of interest. However, picking a course that is relevant to the IAS syllabus would be helpful during the preparation.

  • IAS Exam is one of the toughest exams in the country as it contains a diverse range of subejctss, unlike other exams. The success rate of candidates in this exam is low; however, with the right preparation strategy and study plan, one can crack this exam.

  • Yes, absolutely, one can surely start the preparation for the IAS exam at their home. However, he/she must have access to the right UPSC books and study material.

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