A Brief Overview of IAS Exam and IAS Interview

One of the toughest and most prestigious examinations in India is the IAS Exam. This examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). This article gives a brief overview of the IAS Exam and the IAS Interview, which is one of the toughest interviews in India.

As per the pattern, the IAS exam has 3 different and rigorous stages of selection. The first stage of the IAS Exam is the Preliminary examination, followed by the Mains examination which culminates with the Interview of the candidates who are able to successfully clear the Mains stage of the IAS Exam. The IAS Interview stage is also known as the Personality Test. The Preliminary stage of the IAS Exam contains Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and the Mains stage of the IAS Exam contains the questions which need to be answered in descriptive format.

IAS 2021 Prelims examination was conducted on 10th October 2021 and the IAS Mains examination is scheduled on 7th January 2021. The Mains examination is held over a period of 5 days. Prospective candidates must note that the UPSC Civil Service exam is used to not only fill vacancies in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), but this examination is conducted to fill vacancies in a total of 24 different services. The 24 different services can be bifurcated as All India Service, Group ‘A’ Civil Services, and Group ‘B’ Civil Services. There are a total of 16 Group ‘A’ Civil Services, 5 Group ‘B’ Civil Services and 3 of them are All India Services.

The minimum and maximum age limit criteria for the IAS Exam is 21 years and 32 years respectively for the general category students, but there are relaxations for candidates belonging to different categories. For complete information on the IAS Exam age limit, candidates can visit the given link.

The Mains stage of the IAS Exam consists of 2 optional papers, but candidates have to choose only 1 optional subject out of 48 different optional subjects. English Language is covered in Paper B of the Mains examination, and Paper A covers one of the Compulsory Indian Languages. Candidates have to choose 1 Language paper out of the list of languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.  The other 4 papers are General Studies Paper – I, General Studies Paper – II, General Studies Paper – III, and General Studies Paper – IV. In the IAS Mains Examination, a total of 6 papers are merit ranking in nature, in other words, the marks obtained in them are used while determining the final ranks of the students. These 6 papers are 4 General Studies Papers and 2 Optional Papers. The duration of all the 9 papers are 3 hours each. Paper I to Paper VII are evaluated for a maximum of 250 marks each, whereas Paper A and Paper B are evaluated for a maximum of 300 marks each. The Paper A and Paper B are qualifying in nature.

Only candidates who have successfully cleared the UPSC Mains examination are eligible to attend the IAS Interview. The candidates will be evaluated for a maximum of 275 marks in the UPSC Civil Service examination. The final ranking list of the IAS Exam is published based on the marks obtained by the students in both, the Mains Examination and the Interview, for a grand total of 2025 marks.

The IAS Interview for 2020 was held between 2 August and 22 September 2021. The IAS Interview for 2021 is further delayed due to Covid pandemic. While preparing for the IAS Interview, the candidates will have to be broadly prepared on questions related to brief introduction of oneself, questions related to one’s education, work profile, hobbies, current affairs, and the chosen optional subjects. Candidates must always remember that, taking into consideration the cumulative experience of the panelists, candidates will always face questions which could be complicated and difficult to answer. Hence, it is important that candidates not only prepare for the probable questions that could be asked in the interview but also learn the skill of maintaining calm demeanor when tough questions are posed to them by the Interview panel.

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