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The Indian Administrative Services was used to be known as the Imperial Civil Services during the British rule and till quite a long time. It is famous for being one of the toughest competitive exams in the world. However, we have covered everything that you need to know about IAS Exam. From role and benefits to how to become an IAS officer, we have got it all covered. Union Public Service Commission is the central agency that conducts this exam. Founded in the year 1858, it was named the Imperial Civil Service. However, it changed to Indian Administrative Service on 26 January 1950, on the occasion of the Republic Day. Also, the highest post among the 24 other posts is that of an IAS officer. The 24 posts include IFS, IPS, IRS among many others. We bring forward to you everything that you need to know about the IAS exam.

IAS full Form

Table of Contents

  1. What is IAS?
  2. Everything about IAS Exam includes the Number of Attempts too
  3. Role of an IAS Officer
  4. How to Become an IAS officer?
  5. How to Clear the Civil Service Exam
  6. Passing Percentage
  7. Tips and Tricks to Crack IAS Exam
  8. Eligibility Criteria
  9. Benefits of an IAS Officer
  10. IAS Exam Syllabus
  11. Conclusion
  12. FAQ Regarding IAS Full Form

What is IAS?

All About IAS Exam

Indian Administrative Services is the job that almost everyone in India dreams of. It is on the top of the hierarchy among the other 24 services. IAS has a solid bureaucracy in India. The selected candidate is employed in the Union Government, State government, and even in the Public sector. You must be wondering what are the roles and benefits and how to become an IAS officer. But before jumping to that, you must know what IAS is. On the other hand, lakhs of students try their luck and work hard to pass this exam. Jobs offered to IAS candidates are the post of Collector, Commissioner, Chief secretary, Cabinet secretary and many more. It is important to understand the seriousness of the job.

Everything about IAS Exam includes the Number of Attempts too

The attempts offered to candidates are based on categories. The general category can attempt up to 6 times. The OBC can attempt up to 9 times. However, SC/ST can attempt for any number of times. On the other hand, SC/ST can attempt it until their maximum age is reached. The limited attempts make it more difficult and the toughest exam in India. Also, the minimum age to appear for the exam is 21 years. But the age varies on the basis of category too. The General Category can attempt till 32 years, OBC can attempt til 35 years whereas SC/ST can attempt up to 37 years.

Role of an IAS officer

The role of an IAS officer depends on the assignment they get. The assignments are categorized into 3 types.
  • Field
  • State Secretariat
  • Central Secrerariat

Field assignment is the most difficult task among all. That's why the Civil Service Exam is so tough. On the other hand, functions of Civil Services include:
  • Managing Government affairs like framing, implementing, and revising policies.
  • Meeting various representatives for the stated functions.
  • Distribution of funds of Central Government allocated for various schemes.
  • Supervision of the implemented schemes and policies of the government.
  • Immediately handling emergencies like natural disasters, accidents, riots and acting upon relief policies.

The role of a Civil Servant is discussed below:

  • Field Assignments : The Role of an IAS officer includes field management too. However, the levels are quite complicated.
  • Sub-divisonal Functions : The sub-divisional magistrate manages law and order and looks after the development activities in the sub-divisional department.
  • District-level Functions : The collector or deputy commissioner have the same functions as the sub-divisional ones. They also look after all the activities in the District-level department.

However, the role of an IAS officer ends at the district level. But many of them work at the State Secretariat too.
  • State Secretariat : The position involves advising the representative policies and make decisions for the government by using the experience of field assignments.
  • Public Sector Undertakings : Firstly, officers get a job at Public Sector Undertakings and are a part of higher management. Secondly, the undertakings include power stations, industrial units and many more.
  • Central Secretarial Assignment : These appointed officers tackle the review of policies and formulate their implementation for various ministries.
These duties are very difficult to manage and need a candidate with the utmost intelligence. That's why the exams are so difficult to crack. Prepare for the exam at home.

How to Become an IAS officer?

Everything about the IAS exam has to include the process of how to become an IAS officer. To be at this prestigious position, you have to clear the UPSC exam. Moreover, it consists of 3 stages: Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Every year, less than 1000 candidates are selected for the overall 24 posts. Let's dive into the details of the process.
  • Preliminary Examination : It is well known as Prelims. Also, it has 2 papers, Paper 1 is of General Studies and has 100 questions. Whereas, paper 2 is CSAT - It is an aptitude test and has 80 questions. However, both papers are of 2 hours and are of 200 marks.
  • Mains Examination : This exam has a total of 9 papers. The marks of only 7 papers are calculated to rank the candidate and the rest 2 are qualifying in nature.
The results are declared towards the end of May. And from there, the training begins of the chosen candidates at different training centres. Candidates who clear the IAS exam are trained at LBSNAA, located in Mussorie. Duties are allocated after that.

How to Clear the Civil Service Exam

There are a number of benefits of an IAS officer. But before that, you need to clear the UPSC exam which is not an easy task. Firstly, candidates should have a long term strategy. Secondly, goal-oriented students start preparing for the exam 12 months before the date. However, there are students who have been ranked at the top by only a few months of preparation. The quality of your study matters the most. IAS exam is much more than the verbal and written exam. It showcases the personality and the hard work of the candidate. Further, you may also choose the best institute to prepare for the exam. But don't forget that you have to be extremely hard working and focused to be an IAS officer. The exam is the reflection of where you stand. Extreme hard work will do wonders for you.

Passing Percentage

Every year, lakhs of people attempt the Civil Service Exam but only a few can pass it. Due to the benefits of an IAS officer, everyone wants this prestigious position. But not everyone clears it, only 26% of the total candidates clear the first exam. Moreover, the test isn't easy the percentage of the exam matters the most. If you don't already know, only 15% of candidates reach the interview stage. Shockingly, only 1% crack the last round and get selected. Only proper guidance and hard work can help you. This is the reason why it is the toughest exam in India. On the other hand, the preparation of the exam is time-consuming. But it entirely depends on the candidate's intelligence - some can prepare it in months but some take 2 years also.

Tips and Tricks to Crack IAS Exam

Here are the few tips to crack the IAS Exam fast. Follow these and do the hard work.
  • Read the Syllabus thoroughly : Planning is the key for you because to cover the entire syllabus, you must plan accordingly. Divide the syllabus on the basis of easy, medium, and difficult.
  • Previous Year Question Papers : You will get to know the exam pattern and understand what to read and what to exclude. So, do not skip on these.
  • Discussion is key : To remember each and everything, you must develop the habit of discussing current affairs on a daily basis.
  • Mock Paper : Also, develop a habit of solving mock papers regularly. This will make your mind sharp.
  • Newspaper : UPSC is keen on the dynamic portion of the syllabus for all the three stages of the exam especially Prelims. Therefore, develop daily newspaper reading habit and make notes out of them.
  • Diet and Sleep : You must follow a healthy diet and have a sleeping pattern too. Ensure that you sleep for at least 7-8 hours. You can have dry fruits to sharpen your memory.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The candidates should have a degree from a recognized University.
  • Degree of correspondence or distance education.
  • Finally, the degree must be recognized by the Indian Government.

The mentioned candidates are also eligible but must submit the required documents of their institute at the time of the Mains examination.
  • Students who have graduated in MBBS but have not completed their internship.
  • Students who have passed ICAI, ICSI, and ICWAI.
  • A private University degree.
  • A foreign university recognized by Indian University.

Benefits of an IAS Officer

Firstly, there are a number of benefits of an IAS officer. Secondly, let us look at the benefits and powers of an IAS officer.
  • The Indian Penal Code's criminal procedure Section- 107,108, 109, 110, 144 and 176 empowers the IAS officer for maintaining law and order.
  • Law of tenancy regarding revenue powers the collector.
  • Also, Arm, Drug License, essential commodities act is in the hands of an IAS officer.
These are the main powers of the IAS officer. However, there are around 300 laws on the basis of the case. Also, the department of personnel and training keeps updating the manual. Moreover, the civil servants are answerable to the State and Central government.

Salary of an IAS Officer, IAS-Salary

The Civil Service officer works hard for years and years not for the IAS salary but for the nation. However, these big responsibilities come with great pay too. Firstly, the salary of the IAS officer is quite high to meet his/her daily needs. Secondly, from house help to medical benefits, they get additional perks. They get perks because the exam is really tough to crack and a lot of patience and hard work. It takes years of focus and hard work. Also, IAS officers have great responsibility too. They present the nation at the international level for negotiation. Moreover, many IAS officers leave their private jobs and a high salary to enter Civil Services

IAS Salary According to 7th Pay Comisssion

The government of India elects a Pay Commission to finalize the salary of central government employees. Moreover, the government of India finalizes whether to choose it or reject it. Also, the inflation rate affects salary. To sum up, it means that the salary keeps fluctuating according to the economy. However, the salary keeps on increasing with time. And from transport to house help, everything is under government expense.


Salary structure

The 7th Pay Commission was approved by the cabinet on 29th June 2018. Moreover, the IAS officer gets 56,100 as the basic pay at the entry-level. Then 16,500 is the grade pay. Also, the maximum salary of a senior IAS officer is 2,70,000. And the additional allowances are:
  • Dearness Allowance
  • House Rent Allowance
  • Travel Allowance
  • Transport Allowance
  • Medical Allowance

These are a few out of many allowances that are given to the IAS officer. So, the final estimated salary is:
Gross Salary = Basic Pay + Grade Pay + DA + HRA + CA + other allowances
The HRA is generally 8-24% of both pays, the calculation is according to the city. Moreover, IAS salary for class A cities is 24%. For class B it is 16% and for class C cities it is 8%. However, accommodation is provided but without HRA. The IAS salary can fulfill all the basic needs. Since most of the basic expenditure is taken care of, they can save quite an amount till the retirement age.

IAS Salary during Training

The IAS officers get paid too during the training. But officially it is not salary, it is termed as Special Pay Advance. However, the amount is 45,000 per month that they get during the entire period. In other words, at the end of the day, they get 38,500 because 10,000 is deducted as a bill of mess food, uniform, tracksuit, horse riding costumes, etc. It also includes other miscellaneous expenses.

Basic Pay and Grade Pay of IAS on the Basis of Rank

The whole IAS cadre is divided into 8 Ranks or grades. Moreover, the basic pay keeps on increasing time to time as they keep getting promotions. Also, the promotion is on a service record basis and happens every 4-5 years. On the other hand, the IAS salary depends upon his/her experience, ranks, and pay grade. Also, The retirement package includes benefits like service vehicles, house help, security for the family. In other words, these benefits and salaries of the IAS officer can never be offered by the private sector. Though the salary at a private firm can be high, the respect that an IAS officer receives is incomparable.
Pay Grade Grade Basic Pay Grade Pay Service Period Post
10 Junior Scale ₹50,000 - ₹1,50,000 ₹16,500 0-4 years SDM, SDO, ADM (after 2 years probation period)
11 Senior Time Scale ₹50,000 - ₹1,50,001 ₹20,000 5 years DM, DC, Joint Secretary
12 Junior Administrative Grade ₹50,000 - ₹1,50,002 ₹23,000 9 years Special Secretary, State Government Department Heads
13 Selection Grade ₹1,00,000 - ₹2,00,000 ₹26,000 12-15 years Ministry Department Head
14 Super Time Scale ₹1,00,000 - ₹2,00,000 ₹30,000 17-20 Director of any Ministry
15 Above Super Time Scale ₹1,00,000 - ₹2,00,000 ₹30,000 Not Fixed Commissioner, Additional Secretary
16 Apex Scale ₹2,40,000(fixed) NA Not Fixed Chief Secretary in Ministries
17 Cabinet Secretary Grade ₹2,70,000 NA Not Fixed Cabinet Secretary
The IAS post is much more than its salary. Many people don't know how much hard work it goes to become an IAS officer. Moreover, some don't even have the idea of how strong and powerful the position is. This what makes the UPSC exam so difficult to crack. In short, if you are thinking to be an IAS officer, do prepare thoroughly at home.

Perks and Allowances other than IAS Salary

There are a number of perks and allowances given to an IAS officer. Also, the government offers much more than the private sector. Here are some of the benefits other than IAS salary:
  • Accommodation - IAS officers get big houses as accommodation by the government. Moreover, it is free of cost and get additional services as well. It includes house help, gardener, cook, security guard, and security for the family as well. Also, they don't have to lift a finger as the basic small chores are done by servants too.
  • Transport - Government vehicles and chauffeurs are provided to them. Also, more than one vehicle can be provided too.
  • Security - IAS is the highest position in civil service and so danger is a part of the job. However, security for the officer and his/her family is provided to protect them. Also in emergencies, STF commandoes are provided for extra protection.
  • Bills - The bills are usually free or highly subsidized. In short, it includes electricity, water, phone, and gas connections.
  • Trips - IAS officers get highly subsidized accommodation in government bungalows. Moreover, the trip can be official or non-official - it doesn't matter. However, when they visit Delhi, they can stay in State Bhavans.
  • Study Leaves - Firstly, an IAS officer can get study leaves for 2 years. Secondly, they can also apply to prestigious foreign universities. The government will bear the expenses but there are restrictions too. Officers who have served for 7 years can apply for this facility. Also, they have to sign the bond stating that after returning they will serve as IAS for a certain number of years.
  • Job Security - An IAS officer enjoys a great sense of job security. Because, it is not easy to fire an IAS officer. If an IAS officer is found guilty, there is proper investigation before any decision is finalized.

Retirement Benefits

  • Lifetime Pension - An IAS officer enjoys lifetime pension and other retirement benefits too.
  • Post Retirement - After retirement officers can easily be appointed to commissions. Moreover, their services can be availed in other government departments.

Power of IAS Officer

Other than IAS salary, the officer has great power and responsibilities. Also, even if the IAS salary gets matched or sometimes less than the private sector, the power and command are unmatched by other professions.
  1. Firstly, the IAS officer holds the administration charge of the entire district/state/department/ministry.
  2. Secondly, many people depend on them for working efficiently and smoothly.
  3. Moreover, they have the authority for bringing positive changes in society. Education, health, and economy policies are influenced by them. In other words, the unmatched power to serve the country is unique.

This position is much more than that of IAS Salary. Only an IAS officer can actively take part in the country's betterment. To clarify, the combination of IAS Salary and the power is unique and impressive. So, one has to put in 100% hard work and keep the motivation alive to clear the final stage of selection. Above all, it takes years of focus, and patriotism to be the one.

IAS Exam Syllabus

It is very important to look at the syllabus before starting the preparation. Because nothing should be left behind. The prelims is an objective type paper, The mains is a subjective exam and the Interview is a viva- exam. The candidate is chosen on the basis of the marks of the Main exam and Interview. The total marks for the Mains exam is 1750. The total marks for the Interview is 275. Therefore, the student should prepare wisely. The syllabus has questions from many subjects. On the other hand, other exams don't have these many subjects.

The first paper of Prelims (General Studies) covers the following topics:

  • Current Affairs
  • Indian National Movement
  • History of India
  • Geography
  • Social and Economic Development
  • Climate Change
  • Art
  • Culture
  • General Knowledge of Science
  • Environment

The second paper of Prelims (CSAT) covers the following topics:

  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • English
  • Comprehension
  • Data Interpretation
  • Basic Maths

The Mains exam covers the following subjects-

  • Compulsory Indian Language
  • English
  • Essay
  • Current Affairs
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art and Culture
  • Polity
  • Governance
  • Social and Economic Development
  • Economy
  • Science and Technology
  • Ethics
  • Optional paper - There are 26 subjects that you can choose your optional from.

Number of Attempts

  • The general category has 7 attempts.
  • However, there is no limit for SC/ST
  • But, for other backward classes there are 9 attempts.

Interview Stage:

UPSC wishes to test your personality and not merely your knowledge. So, relax and read as much as you can about the happenings around the world to brush up your knowledge. Consequently, you will perform well.


IAS exam is not easy at all. So, lots of hard work and focus is required. Also, you must focus on the syllabus properly. Apart from hard work, pay attention to your health. Indulge in regular exercise, sleep well, and also maintain a balanced diet. Moreover, follow the rules properly and be attentive. On the other hand, be aware of what is happening around you. In other words, you have to know everything. Don't forget to read the newspaper daily. Also, divide the syllabus wisely and focus on your goal.
The position of the IAS officer includes responsibilities and power. However, the IAS salary is just a small part of a prestigious position. The position of the IAS officer is much more than that. Moreover, the command is unique and unmatchable. Also, the high profile job includes various types of perks and allowances. In other words, an IAS officer doesn't have to lift a finger even for small chores. On the other hand, they enjoy a high level of respect and aura. Since they work for the nation, the government of India makes sure that they are provided with the best of facilities. A government official does not get such perks in any other department. This is because the IAS position is attained through unwavering focus and years of hard work.

FAQ Regarding IAS Full Form

1. Is there any negative marking for wrong answers?
Only the Prelims paper is objective in nature and has negative marking. For every wrong answer. 0.66 marks will be deducted.
2. What is the cut-off of the prelims?
The cut off for paper 1 is set by UPSC. But for paper 2 the cut off is 33%.
3. How many papers are there in the main exam?
The main exam has 9 papers. However, 7 papers are used for ranking. And 2 papers are qualifying in nature. You have to secure minimum marks to qualify.
4. What are the other duties of IAS officer?
Apart from the above-mentioned duties, an IAS officer also has to represent the nation on an International level for negotiation.
5. What is the starting salary of IAS officer?
56,100 is the approximate starting salary of an IAS officer. However, it fluctuates and can go high after a few years of experience.
6. What are the additional perks for IAS officer?
The additional perks include transport, travel, accommodation, and many other facilities. Moreover, these are just a few perks out of many. IAS officers also get subsidized rates in many foreign countries.
7. What is the maximum salary of an IAS officer?
2,70,000 is the maximum salary of an IAS officer. An IAS officer can reach up to the top to become a Cabinet Secretary - the highest position for Civil Servants in the government of India. But it fluctuates according to inflation of the economy. Also, the officer gets a promotion every 4-5 years.
8. What is Special Pay Advance?
Special pay advance is a term for the amount that IAS officers receive during training. It is the salary that they get on behalf of their cadre. It is supposed to be 45000/- But the final amount received is 38,500 after deducting 10,000 for miscellaneous expenses.