Indian Forest Service (IFoS): Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Age Limit, Optional Subjects

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Indian Forest Service(IFoS) is one of three All-Indian Services of the Union Government. The other two services include Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS). The Indian Forest Service exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) every year to recruit officers at the All India Level by the Indian Government to manage its forests.

Indian Forest Service was constituted in 1966, and now to belongs to the apex All India Services group. To become an Indian Forest Service officer, candidates must clear three stages of CSE- Preliminary, Mains, and Personality Test. The commission has released the Indian Forest Service Exam dates for 2023, so candidates preparing for the upcoming IFoS exam must go through the latest syllabus and prepare accordingly.

What is Indian Forest Service?

IFoS Full form is Indian Forest Service, is one of three All Indian Services that deals with the forestry services of India. IFoS is one of the Civil Services of India and it is a part of the apex All India Services group. Those who clear all three stages of the IFoS exam will be placed under various State UPSC cadres and joint cadres though they have the command to service both state and central governments.

The main goal of the IFoS is the proper implementation of the National Forest Policy, which has been established to ensure environmental stability and maintain the ecological balance. Below we have provided information on Indian Forest Service Exam.

Indian Forest Service Exam

The IFoS Prelims exam 2023 is scheduled for 28 May 2023. The IFoS 2023 mains exam will be conducted from 26 November 2023 onwards. Aspirants can download the latest UPSC calendar 2023 to plan their preparation better.

Note– The Prelims exam for both IFoS Exam and IAS Exam is the same, but the Mains exam for IFoS is different for UPSC CSE. Candidates need to mention it in the UPSC application form while applying if they are taking Civil Services or the Indian Forest Service exam or both exams.

Indian Forest Service Exam
IFoS Full Form Indian Forest Service
IFoS exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Number of Attempts 6
Number of Vacancies To be announced
IFoS Exam Pattern Prelims exam, Mains exam, Personality test

Indian Forest Service Exam 2023

The dates for the Indian Forest Service have been declared along with the UPSC Notification on 1st Feb 2023. Candidates preparing for the upcoming IFoS exam must go through the notification to mark all the important dates. Below we have provided all the important dates

UPSC IFoS Exam 2023 Events Exam Dates
IFoS Notification 2023 Release Date 01 February 2023
Application Start Date 2023 01 February 2023
Last date to apply for UPSC IFoS Exam 2023 21 February 2023
IFoS Prelims Admit Card Release Date 2023 08 May 2023
IFoS 2023 Prelims Exam Date 28 May 2023
IFoS Mains Exam Date 2023 26 November 2023
IFoS 2023- Interview Dates 2023 to be announced
UPSC IAS Result 2023 (Final list of selected candidates) to be announced

Indian Forest Service Exam Date

As per the latest UPSC exam date 2023, the notification will be published in February 2023, and the IFoS prelims exam date 2023 is 28 May 2023. Note all the important IFoS Exam dates in 2023 below.

IFoS Exam 2023 Important Dates
IFoS Exam Notification 2023 1 February 2023
Last date to apply for the Indian Forest Service Exam 2023 21 February 2023
IFoS Prelims Date 2023 28 May 2023
IFoS Mains Exam Date 2023 26 November 2023
IFoS Exam Final Result Will be announced

Indian Forest Service Eligibility

Candidates who are applying for the Indian Forest Service need to satisfy the IFoS Eligibility as mentioned in the official notification. Those who don’t meet the UPSC Eligibility criteria won’t be able to appear for the IFoS exam. The eligibility for the Indian forest service includes educational qualification, age limit, and other requirements.

IFoS Eligibility Criteria – Nationality

As per the nationality eligibility for IFoS, the candidate must be

  1. A citizen of India, or
  2. The Subject of Bhutan, or
  3. The Subject of Nepal
  4. Tibetan refugees who came to India before 1 January 1962 to settle in India permanently, or
  5. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Burma, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and East African countries like Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Zaire, United Republic of Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zaire, and Vietnam to settle in India permanently.

Candidates who belong to 2,3,4, and 5 categories need to provide a certificate of eligibility, which the Indian government has issued.

Indian Forest Service Eligibility – Educational

The IFoS Eligibility Criteria 2023 in the educational qualification section remains the same.

  • Candidates need to have a bachelor’s degree in at least one of the subjects from Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Chemistry, Botany, Geology, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, and Zoology or a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry or Agriculture or Engineering from a recognized university or equivalent.
  • Additionally, final-year students can also apply for the UPSC exam. However, they must have opted for prescribed subjects in their graduation. However, they must submit proof of passing that exam, with all valid UPSC documents with their detailed application form in the last stage of the Indian Forest Service Exam.

Indian Forest Service Age Limit

Candidates applying for the IFoS exam 2023 should be a minimum of 21 years and a maximum of 32 years on 1st August 2023. However, upper age limit relaxation is applicable for the following categories.

  • Candidates from SC/ST category get an age relaxation of 5 years
  • OBC and Defence Services Personnel candidates get 3 years of age relaxation.
  • Ex-servicemen, including commissioned officers and SSOs/ECOs who have rendered at least 5 years of Military Service as on and have been released, get 5 years of relaxation
  • Deaf-mute, Blind, and Orthopaedically handicapped persons get 10 years of relaxation within the upper age limit.
Age Eligibility for Indian Forest Service
IFoS Reservation Category Upper Age Limit for IFoS
General 32
SC/ST 37
OBC 35
Ex-servicemen 37
Defence Services Personnel 35

Indian Forest Service Physical Eligibility

As per Indian Forest Service physical eligibility, the height of male candidates should be 163 cm minimum with 5cm relaxation for reserved categories. For women, the minimum height should be 150 cm with 5cm relaxation for reserved categories. The male candidates’ chests should be at least 84 cm with an expansion of 5 cm. The chest should be 79 cm for female candidates with a 5 cm expansion. In addition, candidates shouldn’t stammer while talking.

Number of Attempts in the Indian Forest Service Exam

Every candidate gets a fixed number of attempts for the Indian Forest Service exam. Here is the number of attempts allowed for candidates from each category.

Category Number of Attempts in IFoS Exam
General 9
SC/ST No Restriction
Physically Handicapped 9 for General and OBC, Unlimited for SC/ST

Indian Forest Service Application Form

Candidates who are aspiring to become an Indian Forest Service need to apply for Civil Service Prelims exam. There is no separate application form for IFoS, but candidates must keep a few important things in mind before applying. The UPSC application form 2023 will be released soon.

  • Candidates must meet the IFoS eligibility set by UPSC.
  • To appear in the IFoS Mains exam, candidates must crack the IFoS Prelims exam.

How to Apply for Indian Forest Service Exam?

  • The application process for the Indian forest service exam is online, so candidates are required to apply online at the official website of UPSC.
  • Applicants have to submit a single application only.
  • If there is more than one application made, then the candidate needs to ensure that the application with a higher Registration ID is properly completed in all respects.
  • Candidates who are already in government service, government-owned industrial undertakings, or any private employment or similar organization should submit their applications directly to the commission.
  • Candidates must remember that if, in any case, a communication is received from their employers by the UPSC withholds permission to candidates appearing/applying for the exam, their application will be rejected.

IFoS Exam Application Fee

The application fee for the Indian Forest Service exam can be paid in both offline and online modes. Candidates can use debit, credit, Rupay cards, and internet banking for online payment. Those who want to make offline payments must download the E-challan and submit the fee in cash at SBI bank.

  • For male candidates from the general and OBC categories, the fee is INR 100
  • SC/ST/PH and female candidates are exempted from paying the fee.

Indian Forest Service Exam Pattern

The main goal of the Indian forest service exam pattern is to test the academic expertise of the candidates. It examines if a candidate can present himself/herself coherently and systematically. Below we have covered the IFoS exam pattern for both Prelims and Mains. Those who are going to appear for the Indian Forest Service must understand the UPSC exam pattern before beginning their preparation for effective results.

IFoS Exam Pattern for Prelims

As we have mentioned above, the UPSC Prelims exam for IFoS and Civil Services is the same. The IFoS Pattern for Prelims consists of two papers, each with 200 marks.

  • Both of these papers are MCQ, and the time duration will be two hours each.
  • The two papers are General Studies-1 and General Studies-2 (CSAT).
  • The CSAT paper is qualifying in nature, and candidates must score at least 33% to qualify.
UPSC Forest Service Exam Pattern
Papers in IFoS Pattern Question Marks
General Studies-1 100 200
CSAT 80 200

IFoS Mains Pattern

Candidates who clear the Preliminary stage of the Indian Forest Service exam will be called for the Mains examination. Candidates must know the IFoS exam pattern to develop an effective preparation strategy. The Mains exam is very crucial for the candidates, as the marks scored in the Mains exam and interview sum up to produce the final result.

  • There are a total of 6 papers in the IFoS Mains exam, and all of them are descriptive in nature.
  • The total marks of IFoS Mains would be 1400.
  • Candidates need to choose two Indian forest service optional subjects for the Mains exam.

Check out the exam pattern of the IFoS Mains below.

Indian Forest Service Mains Exam Pattern
Paper Subject Total marks Time Duration
Paper I General English 300 3 Hours
Paper II General Knowledge 300 3 Hours
Paper III IFoS Optional 1 200 3 Hours
Paper IV
Paper V IFoS Optional 2 200 3 Hours
Paper VI

Indian Forest Service Personality Test

Those candidates who crack the IFoS Mains exam will get e-summon letters for the Personality test round.

  • The personality test is the last stage of the IFoS Exam and carries 300 marks.
  • The personality test aims to assess the candidate’s suitability for the service.
  • The marks scored in the IFoS Mains, and Interview round will be taken into consideration for the preparation for the Final result of the Indian Forest Service Exam.

Indian Forest Service Syllabus

Candidates preparing for the IFoS Exam need to have an in-depth understanding of the IFoS syllabus for both prelims and mains. The Indian Forest Service Syllabus covers a wide range of topics. Below we will be covering the entire syllabus of the IFoS Prelims and Mains exam.

IFoS Syllabus for Prelims

The Indian Forest Service Syllabus for prelims is the same as that of the IAS prelims syllabus. The Prelims syllabus consists of two papers- General Studies-1 and General Studies-2 (CSAT). Candidates can check the entire UPSC Prelims Syllabus below.

IFoS Exam Syllabus for Prelims
UPSC IFoS Syllabus for Prelims Paper 1 Current events of national and international importance, History of India and Indian National Movement, Indian and World Geography, Indian Polity and Governance, Economic and Social Development, General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change, General Science
CSAT Syllabus Comprehension, Logical reasoning, and analytical ability. Decision-making, Interpersonal skills including communication skills and problem-solving, General mental ability, Basic numeracy – Class X level), and Data interpretation.

Indian Forest Service Syllabus for Mains

After clearing the IFoS Prelims exam, candidates have to appear for IFoS Mains which would be different from the IAS Mains exam. The IFoS Mains syllabus is totally different from the IAS Mains Syllabus.

  • In the IFoS exam syllabus for mains, there is a total of 6 papers, and candidates need to pick two IFoS optional subjects as well.
  • Each Indian forest service optional subject includes two papers, so there will be four optional papers.

Let’s check out the syllabus of each paper below.

IFoS Syllabus for Mains
Paper Name of the Paper IFoS Syllabus for Mains Marks
Paper-1 General English Comprehension of given passages, Precis Writing, Usage and Vocabulary, Short Essay 300
Paper-2 General Knowledge Current events, Political system, the constitution of India, History, geography, etc. 300
Paper-3 Optional Paper-1 Depending on the chosen subject from the IFoS optional subjects 400
Paper-5 Optional Paper-2 Depending on the chosen subject from the IFoS optional list. 400

Indian Forest Service Optional Subjects

As you can see above, candidates need to pick two optional subjects. Each optional subject will have two papers which means there will be four optional papers. That’s why candidates need to carefully choose the IFoS optional paper.

IFoS Optional Subjects

List of UPSC Optional Subjects (two to be chosen) available for the IFoS main exam:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Agricultural Engineering
  3. Civil Engineering
  4. Forestry
  5. Mathematics
  6. Mechanical Engineering
  7. Physics
  8. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  9. Botany
  10. Chemical Engineering
  11. Statistics
  12. Zoology
  13. Geology
  14. Chemistry

The candidates will not be allowed to have the following combination of optional subjects:

  • Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  • Of the Engineering subjects, namely, Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering – not more than one subject.

How to Become an Indian Forest Service Officer?

To become an Indian Forest Service officer, candidates need to meet the UPSC eligibility criteria first. After that, the candidate can apply for the IFoS exam UPSC conducts. There are three stages for the IFoS exam: Prelims, Mains, and Personality Test.

  • The exam preparation for the Indian Forest Service exam usually takes almost a year, and candidates must begin by downloading the IFoS syllabus.
  • Choose the IFoS optional subject and prepare for both UPSC IFoS prelims and mains simultaneously.
  • After completing each topic, aspirants must solve the previous year’s IFoS questions for practice and revision.


Indian Forest Service Ranks

The roles and responsibilities of IFoS officers change with their ranks. Below we have mentioned the ranks of IFoS officers and the roles & responsibilities associated with their position.

  • Principal Chief Conservator of Forest– it is also called the head of forest force, and the major responsibility of this rank is to manage the forest, wildlife issues, and environment of a state in India. This is the highest position of an IFoS officer.
  • Additional Chief Conservator of Forest– this officer assists the Principal Chief Conservator of the Forest. The officer is directly answerable to the principal chief.
  • Deputy Conservator of Forest– this officer is a deputy conservator of the forest and is also known as a divisional forest officer. The major responsibility of this officer is to manage the forest, environment, and wildlife of a forest division of a state.
  • Assistant Conservator of Forest– this officer assists the higher-level officials in the department, and he/she has to complete the tasks assigned by them.
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