What is IAS?
IAS is the short form of Indian Administrative Service. It is one of the prestigious services among the 24 services like IPS, IFS etc for the which the UPSC conduct Civil Services Examination (CSE) for selecting the candidates. An officer selected into the Indian Administrative Service gets exposure in very diverse roles like the collector, commissioner, head of public sector units, chief secretary, cabinet secretary etc. Not only the experience and challenges, but also the scope of making positive changes in the life of millions in India makes IAS a unique career choice.
How to become an IAS officer?
Even though the exam to be undertaken is popularly known as IAS exam, it is officially called UPSC Civil Services Exam. The UPSC CSE consists of 3 stages - Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Getting into Indian Administrative Service is not easy considering the competition involved, but not impossible for a candidate with right attitude and approach. Interesting read: Salary of an IAS officer.
Civil Services Examination(CSE)
UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) is the government agency responsible for selecting the right candidates for this service. Every year only around 1000 candidates is selected for all the 24 services combined. The number of candidates who applied for UPSC Civil Service Exam was about 9 lakh in 2015, out of which around 4.5 lakh candidates appeared on the exam day. This exam is widely considered as the toughest exam in the world, considering the exam duration (extends 1 year), depth of the syllabus and the competition involved. The first stage of the exam - Preliminary (objective) - is usually conducted around August, while the second stage, Mains (written), is conducted around December. Those who clear Mains will have to face interview/personality test during April-May period. The final result usually comes in June.
How to Clear Civil Services Exam?
To clear IAS Exam, aspirants are advised to have a long-term strategy. Though most of the serious candidates start preparation 9-12 months before the exam date, there are candidates who successfully achieve top ranks with only a few months of dedicated study. So what matters is not the duration of the preparation, but the quality of the same. A disciplined and focused mind with a passion for learning and reading is the basic trait of all successful candidates. The UPSC Civil Services exam is more a test of the analytic and presentation skills along with knowledge gained by the candidate rather than a test which checks candidate's mathematical or verbal skills.