The Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS) and other Group I services form the major chunk in the steel frame of Indian bureaucracy running the nation. These careers offer a major opportunity in contributing to Nation building and its overall development in addition to the power, prestige and status that comes with it. Selection to these prestigious services is done by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) through a three stage process which spans almost an entire year. Any person from 21-30 yrs (age relaxation for selected categories of students) who has completed his Degree can write the Exams.
UPSC conducts Civil Services (Preliminary) Exams to screen and sift through the 4-5 lakh applicants and select the candidates eligible to write the CS (Mains) Examinations. Marks scored in the Preliminary exams are not counted for the final ranking.
Mains exams comprise of Nine papers which are descriptive in nature. Two of them - A Modern Indian Language (300 marks) and English (300 marks) are of qualifying nature and their score is not counted for deciding the final rank. The aggregate score from the rest of them comprising 4 General Studies papers of 250 marks each, 2 papers from one optional subject again of 250 marks each and an Essay paper (2 essays) of 250 marks are counted for the final ranking. A specific number of aspirants are selected for the Personality Test / Interview based on this aggregate score out of a total of 1750. The Interview marks (out of 275) are added to the Mains score to get the final score (out of 2025) for the final ranking.
The exams need wide reading and in depth understanding of various subjects, issues, policies and the latest in all fields of life. Ideally a 2 year dedicated study is mandated to completely cover the entire spectrum of subjects. The study plan and strategies are discussed in the Strategies section.