How to Become an IAS Officer: Step By Step Process of Becoming an IAS

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : December 13th, 2022

How to Become an IAS Officer is one of the foremost questions in a student’s mind when he/she decides to sit for the UPSC Examination. The UPSC Civil Services Examination is conducted by the UPSC and is arguably the toughest exam in India. Lakhs of aspirants from across the country study and prepare for the IAS Exam yearly. The UPSC examines a three-level exam consisting of UPSC Prelims, Mains, and Interviews/ Personality Test.

The IAS, or the Indian Administrative Services, is the administrative arm of the All India Services under the Government of India. IAS is one of the three arms of the All India Services, along with the Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service. The IAS is a part of India's permanent bureaucracy and an inseparable part of the Executive.

This article will focus on answering How to Become an IAS Officer, along with a step-by-step preparation strategy.

Table of Content

How to Become IAS Officer?

To become an IAS Officer, one needs to clear the UPSC Exam. The UPSC Exam consists of three stages, UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains, and Interview. The service allocation to the IAS is done based on category reservations allocated during the specified year.

To become an IAS Officer, one must first go through the UPSC Syllabus in detail and understand it. The UPSC Prelims Syllabus and the UPSC Mains Syllabus, though integrated in nature, require a separate approach while preparing. A robust UPSC Preparation Strategy helps in preparation for becoming an IAS Officer.

How to Become an IAS Officer after the 12th?

The preparation for becoming an IAS Officer after the 12th starts with the basic necessary reading of the NCERT Books for UPSC. The NCERT books form the basis of most subjects' preparation in the UPSC Preparation Strategy. To read the NCERTs for UPSC, always move from class 6th level to 12th level. The NCERT Books do not cover the entire civil service syllabus, but it does cover most of the fundamentals.

Once an aspiring candidate passes the intermediate level or class 12th, decide your area of interest in terms of an optional subject. Go through the List of Optional Subjects for UPSC, and pursue your graduation in that subject. Even if you do not choose an Arts background during graduation, you can still develop a habit of reading books related to Optional Subject and UPSC during your grad days.

Read How to Become an IAS Officer after 12th?

History of Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

With the passing of the Government of India Act 1919, the Indian civil service was split into two arms, the All India Services and the Central Services. The Indian Civil Service was one of the ten All-India Services. When India was partitioned in 1947, the Indian Civil Service was divided between the new dominions of India and Pakistan. The Indian remnant of the ICS was named the Indian Administrative Service. The modern Indian Administrative Service was created under Article 312(2) in part XIV of the Constitution of India and the All India Services Act, 1951.

How to Become an IAS Officer: Step by Step Guidelines

To become an IAS Officer, one needs sheer determination, perseverance, and a desire to do hard work, even in extreme circumstances. The IAS Exam teaches one patience and the importance of hard work, coupled with smart work.

Below we will discuss the steps that a serious aspiring IAS candidate should adopt to achieve success. These step-by-step processes include:

Clear your Basics

As an aspiring IAS Officer, one must be clear with the basics and the syllabus. The basics lay the foundation of the subject. It is always advised to get a hand with the detailed UPSC Syllabus before starting the preparation. Limited resources with exhaustive revision play a crucial role in selecting the IAS Exam. One should pay detailed attention to the UPSC Prelims Syllabus, UPSC Mains Syllabus, and CSAT Syllabus to better understand the UPSC Exam Pattern.

Read NCERTs and Choose Basic Books

Once accustomed to the syllabus, move forward with the books. An aspiring UPSC candidate needs to go through the NCERT Books for UPSC and revise them thoroughly atleast 3-to 4 times before the UPSC Exam. Post completing the NCERT Books, pick up the standard recommended UPSC Books for all the subjects mentioned in the UPSC Syllabus.

One should always use IAS Notes when studying, as it helps in easy revision at the last moment.

☛ Also Read: How to Study NCERT for UPSC

Practice UPSC Question Papers

By solving the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers, one gets conceptual clarity about the IAS Exam and the level of difficulty. Solving PYQs also helps in time management and allows a candidate to get an idea of what areas to focus on to clear the UPSC Exam.

Focus on Current Affairs

Current Affairs is an integral part of the UPSC Civil Service Examination. The relevance of current affairs in the UPSC Exam can be accessed from the fact that it is an indispensable part of the preparation. To score well, one needs to have a basic understanding and conceptual clarity of news events nationally and internationally. One should always prefer quality over quantity; for that, a candidate can consider reading The Hindu or The Indian Express.

☛ Click Here To Watch Daily Current Affairs Video for UPSC Exam

Attempt Mocks

Attempting timely mocks helps in accessing the performance of the candidate preparing to become an IAS officer. One should always attempt sectional, substantive, and full-length mocks from time to time.


Revision is the key to cracking the UPSC Exam in First Attempt. Keep your resources limited but revise them multiple times. This helps in retaining the knowledge and understanding the subject or the topic in a much better way. Micro-manage your study timetable accordingly and segregate weekly, monthly, and quarterly targets.

How to Fill IAS Officer Form?

To become IAS Officer, the very first step is to fill the application form released by the Commission every year. UPSC releases the application form for IAS every year, and the candidates interested in appearing for IAS 2023 can fill up the UPSC Application Form on the official website in February 2023. UPSC will release the IAS 2023 application form on 1st February 2023, and interested candidates must apply before the last filing date. It is advised for the candidates to go through all the necessary details before filling up the IAS Prelims exam form online.

To fill the IAS Officer Form online, follow these steps:

  • Visit the official website of UPSC
  • Then go to the CSE section
  • Click on the “Apply” option
  • Fill in all the required information and upload your latest photo and signature.
  • Check your application preview and Submit it

Exam Pattern for IAS Exam

To qualify as an IAS Officer, one must sit for the UPSC Exam. The UPSC Exam consists of three stages, Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Failure, even at any stage, leads back to ground zero. The UPSC Prelims consist of two objective MCQs paper-set (General Studies and CSAT) with a maximum score of 400 points (200 each). The UPSC Prelims are for screening purposes only; scores obtained in the UPSC Prelims are not considered for determining the candidate's final rank.

The number of candidates admitted to the UPSC Mains Exam is approximately twelve to thirteen times the number of vacancies estimated to be filled during the notification year. Only applicants declared qualified by the Commission for the UPSC Prelims are admitted to the UPSC Mains examination.

For the UPSC Interview, only two to three times the allotted number of vacancies notified that year are called. The UPSC has the right to choose how many vacancies it wants to fill, i.e., how many candidates it feels fit for joining the Central Group A and B services.

Selection and Training of an IAS Officer

After the UPSC Results are declared and the years UPSC Cut off are out, the selected candidates through the UPSC are called in for training at various centers across the country. The foundation course training is the same for all the services, such as IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, IFoS, etc., and is done at LBSNAA. LBSNAA is the National Academy of Administration for the recruits of the IAS. The job-specific training, i.e., Phase 1 and Phase 2 of training of the IAS Officers, along with the Bharat Darshan, commences from LBSNAA.

☛ Study LBSNAA - Full Form, Mission, Training

Roles and Duties After Becoming an IAS Officer

The role and responsibilities of an IAS Officer in India includes:

  • To collect revenue and function as court officials in matters of revenue and crime, to maintain law and order, to implement union and state government policies at the grass-roots level when posted to field positions as Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Additional District Magistrate, District Magistrate, and Divisional Commissioner, and to act as an agent of the government in the field, i.e., to act as an intermediary between the public and the government.
  • To handle the administration and daily proceedings of the government, including the formulation and implementation of policy in consultation with the minister-in-charge of a specific ministry or department.
  • To contribute to policy formulation and to make a final decision in certain matters, with the agreement of the minister concerned or the council of ministers, when posted at the higher level in the Government of India.

☛ Know about the Life of an IAS Officer


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How to Become an IAS Officer FAQs

  • To become an IAS Officer, one needs to clear the three stages of the UPSC Exam- Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Before applying to be an IAS Officer, one must thoroughly read and comprehend the UPSC Syllabus. Having a solid UPSC preparation strategy is quite helpful at this time.

  • To appear for the IAS Officer Exam, the candidate must have a Bachelor's degree from a recognized university. Additionally, candidates who are in their final year and waiting for the final results are also eligible for the IAS Exam. 

  • The allotment of IAS depends on the category of the candidate. Generally, for general category candidates, ranks between 78-80 are the last to be allotted with the IAS.

  • The IAS Officers are one of the highest-paid employees in the country, where their salary ranges from ₹56,100 to ₹2,50,000, which is one of the highest pay scales offered in the country. 

  • Years of challenging work, sleepless nights and making books your best pals are some of the prerequisites for the journey of becoming an IAS officer. The famous IAS Officers, who the nation is proud of, include the name Armstrong Pame, Aruna Sundararajan, Hari Chandana Dasari, Vinod Rai, Smita Sabharwal, Anil Swarup, etc.

  • To become an IAS officer, one needs to clear the UPSC Exam. The minimum eligibility to appear for the exam is to have a graduation degree from a recognized university or institution. So, one needs ideally 3 years to become an IAS officer after the 12th; and 5 years after the 10th to become an IAS Officer.

  • The best way to improve your chances of clearing the UPSC exam in the first attempt is to remain consistent, follow a well-planned study schedule, revise frequently, and test your level of preparation. One of the foremost things before starting the preparation for the UPSC Exam is to get acquainted with the syllabus which includes UPSC Prelims Syllabus and UPSC Mains Syllabus. For more details, candidates can go through the article How to Crack UPSC in First Attempt?

  • To become an IAS officer after MBBS, do smart study with smart work. With all the resources available with a single click on the device, you have an assembled class, i.e., a blend of all good lecturers from different sources. To start with, candidates must be well versed with the IAS Syllabus and the UPSC Books to study. 

  • To become an IAS Officer in India, one must first go through the NCERT Books and understand the subjects. Post this; the aspirants must proceed with recommended UPSC Books and go through, while referring to the UPSC Previous year Papers to understand the pattern well. For optional subjects, one must choose it according to his/her interest and the past trends related to the subject.

  • Anything that is done with full dedication and determination is always easy. Being an IAS Officer is itself a prestigious position in India. The right approach and a strategized study plan make the path to IAS a cakewalk.

  • After clearing the tenth grade, select your favourite topics if you want to become an IAS officer. Due to the overlap with general studies and high scoring nature of history and politics, they are essential for the UPSC exam. By keeping the civil services preparation in mind, gain mastery of the topics studied. Choose the graduation course, which includes your selected optional subject, once you have completed senior secondary school.

    ☛ Read Why Do You Want to Become an IAS Officer?

  • You must pass the UPSC Civil Service Exam to join the Indian Administrative Services as an IAS officer. One of India's most difficult examinations, and it is almost impossible to pass this one. To qualify for the role of an IAS officer, you must pass each of the three phases of the UPSC exam. Preparation of Prelims and Mains go hand in hand and are integrated into the approach.

  • You must pass the Civil Services Examination held by the UPSC every year to become an IAS officer. The exam is held to select candidates for roughly 25 civil service positions, including those in the IAS, IPS, IFS, and other affiliated central government services. According to the previous year's results, female aspirants do better than male ones, even though the Commission never discriminates based on gender. 

    ☛ Know the First Woman IAS Officer in India

  • According to the UPSC Eligibility, one must graduate from an accredited university in India to become an IAS Officer. Aspirants from different backgrounds having degrees other than B.A. have performed very well. But, if the sole aim of the candidate is to become an IAS Officer, he/she can opt for a combination of history, polity and economics subjects at the graduation level. These subjects have a higher weightage in the UPSC Exam.

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