IAS Examination is termed as “mother of all examination”. IAS exam examines candidate’s overall personality. Personality of a candidate comprises of his knowledge, aptitude, attitude, ethical premises, emotions intelligence, view towards oppressed people, integrity etc. Therefore, holistic approach is required to prepare and finally succeed in ias examination.
Every year, Union Public Service Commission issues a notification which declares ias examination schedules and number of vacancies. The ias examination consists of three stages – Preliminary, Main & Interview. Over nine lakh candidates appear for the ias preliminary stage of this examination every year on various examination centers scattered across the country.
First stage of the IAS Examination is of the preliminary exam. In this examination, candidates have to appear for two compulsory papers. These are:
(I) General Studies
(II) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
Each ias paper consists of 200 marks and the questions asked are of objective type. In CSAT paper, a candidate has to score more than 33.3% to qualify the paper. Selection in ias preliminary examination is solely depends upon the marks obtained in General Studies paper. In both the preliminary papers there is negative mark of one third for every wrong answer. The purpose of ias preliminary exam is to weed out non-serious candidates and to allow only serious candidates to write the ias main examination.
Of the candidates who appear in the ias preliminary examination, candidates numbering about 12 to 13 times of number of seats are declared by the UPSC as qualified the ias preliminary examination. Only those candidates who have qualified the IAS preliminary examination are eligible to appear for the IAS Main examination conducted by the UPSC.
Second Stage of IAS examination is of Main. This stage is descriptive. The candidates have to answer subjective questions. All the questions are to be answered within prescribed words limit or as per instruction provided in the question paper.
At main stage, there are two language papers. Paper are- (1) English * (2) One Regional language mentioned in 8th Schedule. The papers on Indian language and English will be of matriculation (10th Standard) and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
Thereafter, IAS Main examination consists of seven papers. These are-
1. Essay paper,
2. General Studies-I [Indian Heritage and Culture, History and World & Indian Geography, and Indian Society].
3. General Studies II [Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and Inter-National relations].
4. General Studies IIII [Technology, Economic development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management].
5. General Studies IV [Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude].
6. Optional Subject Paper I.
7. Optional Subject Paper II.
Each paper is of 250 marks. Aggregate of marks in ias main examination is 1750. Marks obtained by the candidates for all papers (paper 1 to 7) will be counted for determining merit. However, the commission will have the discretion to fix minimum qualifying marks in any or all papers of the ias examination.
The aspirants can take the test in English, Hindi or any other language mentioned in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India. Papers however will be set only in two languages which are English and Hindi.
After the main ias examination, candidates numbering about 2-3 times of the total number of the vacancies as declared as qualified for the Interview/ personality test by the UPSC.
IAS Interview consists of 275 marks. The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of their career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest and the optional subject of the candidate.
The objective of the IAS Interview is to assess the personality of the candidate for suitability in a career in Public Services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.
After IAS Interview is over, UPSC declares a list of successful candidates on the basic of their performance in the main ias examination and IAS Interview. Rank of a candidate depends upon his/her aggregate marks of both IAS main and IAS Interview. Allocation of Services is depended upon his/her rank in merit list and preferences opted by the candidate.