IAS Brains

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Every UPSC aspirant has one thought that always troubles them, that is, which is the best degree to become an IAS officer in India? Or How to start preparing for UPSC while in college? In case you are pursuing your graduation and aim to sit for a UPSC exam, don’t overthink it. Now is the apt time for you to start preparing for the country’s most difficult competitive examination.

Points to keep in mind at the time of preparing for UPSC while Graduating:

Utilize Your Resources Smartly: Make optimal use of your college library to earn access to more knowledge that might be valuable for the exam.

Read Daily Newspapers: Install news applications like ZEE news on your mobile phone. Current affairs are very much important for UPSC; start going through The Hindu and their editorials section. Discuss current affairs with your college buddies; the exchange of knowledge is always worth it.

NCERT for the Base: NCERT is the base for civil service and the root to cracking UPSC, read your school time NCERT books for classes 6th to 12th.

Previous Year Papers and Mock Tests: Flip through the previous year’s question papers, and recognize the format of the exam and the nature of the question for better learning and preparation. Examine your progress by frequently giving mock tests.

Stick to a Timetable: Smartly apportion your study hours: List one half for college studies and another half for UPSC preparation. A timetable is the easiest method to keep a check on your progress rate.

Choose Your Optional Subject Carefully: Attempt to select a subject you are already studying. This will aid you to save time and give you a head start on your UPSC preparation.

12th Grade Completed

Young aspirants who have just finished their 12th are often confused; about which is the best degree for IAS and how to pursue aspire of becoming an IAS officer. It is always wise to list down your graduation options to help a student prepare for the UPSC exam.

Aspirants’ choice of graduation subject can make a massive difference in the UPSC exam and assist them to crack the exam in one go.

Selecting subjects in Graduation

The best trend that has been followed in opting for a graduation subject is based on the optional subject list offered by UPSC. In the UPSC IAS Mains examination, there is an account of 26 optional subjects along with 22 literature languages. Flip through the list and select the subject of your liking and interest.

Subsequently, narrow down colleges that offer your favored subject; this will help you boost your knowledge and aid you in the exam preparation. Always remember to choose a subject of interest or it may impact your performance in graduation and even in the UPSC exam.

Basic Strategies for IAS Preparation during Graduation

Making the Right Acceleration

Make a slow acceleration if you’re starting your preparations during graduation. To gain insight and view the shifting pattern of the exam, speak with CSE trainers and toppers. Understand the level of competition and the seriousness needed to succeed. Simultaneously, begin studying NCERT books for grades 6 to 12 to lay a solid foundation.

Clarity of Thought

There are some things you should be clear on from the beginning. Determine what drives you to pursue a career being a civil servant. In case you’re blindly following the rat race or in case money/power appeals to you, reconsider your selection because that’s a pretty shortsighted view. And whether you’re driven by a desire to assist others, why not enroll in a career in social services?

Once you are persuaded, nail down the service you want– Police services, foreign services, Revenue services, Forest services, Administrative services. On top of all, bear in mind that the competition is fierce: over 10 lakh aspirants compete for 700 to 800 slots.

Age Criteria

IAS has a limit to an age bar for aspirants who can appear for the exam. The age limit restricts candidates to appear for the exam before the age of 21. This implies that candidates should be at least 21 years old to sit for the UPSC exam. The upper age restriction for the GEN category is 32 years, for OBC is 35 years, for SC/ST it goes up to 37 years, and for handicapped students, the age bar is set to 42 years.

Number of Attempts

Candidates don’t get countless re-tries for the UPSC exam; the number of attempts for general category students is normally six times. For Other Backward Classes (OBC), physically handicapped and disabled candidates are nine times. However, SC/ST can attempt the exam unlimited times until they turn 37.

Other UPSC Eligibility Criteria

The candidate should carry Indian nationality. The minimum academic qualification required for IAS is graduation or students who are waiting for their final semester result from a deemed university. The aspirant has to clear a physical test conducted by the commission following rules and regulations laid down by the Government of India to establish the candidate is mentally strong and efficient to take up their IAS responsibilities.

Is IGNOU Degree Valid for UPSC?

Yes, candidates who have completed their graduation or awaiting graduation results from IGNOU, i.e., Indira Gandhi National Open University, are recognized for Civil Service Examination as IGNOU is run by the central government of India.

Now, let’s discuss how much an IAS gets paid by the government of India? IAS officers get a handsome salary range varying from INR 56,000 per month to 2,50,000 per month for a cabinet minister position. Besides that, they are very well respected and honored for their position.


IAS posts come with great power that aids to formulate government policies; they’re well respected and carry great prestige. As well, people of this status are offered with loads of perks like an apartment, reduction in utility bills i.e, water and electricity bills, medical expenses, abroad study options, transportation rebate, pension, and retirement perks, and much more.

Best Subject for IAS

There are many aspects to consider by an aspirant before selecting the best optional subject for the IAS exam like interest in the subject, time, syllabus, and preparation course. The IAS Mains examination provides 26 optional subjects and 22 literature languages from which the aspirant can select their favored subject. As per the UPSC CSE year report, we have created an infographic that showcases different optional subjects’ success rates, including the literary subjects.

The infographic represents students opting for literature subjects such as Assamese Lit. It has the greatest rate of success, i.e., 40%, and following the trail Punjab Lit. Comes in the second position with a 26.30% success rate. In the account of optional subjects: Agriculture holds the first rank and is the highest rate of success with 18.60%, closely adhered by Medical Sciences with 16.30%, Animal husbandry, and veterinary science at 12.30%, and Economics at 11.30%.

Keeping these data in mind, don’t forget what work for someone might not work out the same for you. Keep your interest and focus lined up with your subject’s choice and continue to work towards giving your overall best output.

Regardless of trends followed and seen in the past, what is much more, crucial is cracking the IAS exams through the right selection of career options after 12th and graduating in your field of subject.

Concluding Thoughts

No doubt, there happens several doubts throughout the journey, and having a personal mentor will not just improve the learning process; but will as well make your journey towards the goal clearer and smoother. IAS Brains provides personal guidance through professional mentors with years of experience and 1200+ successful and satisfied students. They are also providing a free demo class for which you can opt and experience the teaching methodology aiming towards the betterment of the candidates.

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Blog by Ms.Smrithi Ramanan, Director IAS BRAINS,

About the Author:

IAS brains institute for civil services offers PSIR optional which is imparted by our brilliant mentor  –Ms.Smrithi  Ramanan – who is a Social Science enthusiast and a research scholar. 

She has a vast experience in guiding several UPSC aspirants and has a reputation of taking them closer to their dreams of becoming a successful bureaucrat with her in-depth knowledge of the subject.

She also makes students to articulate in a batter manner so as to inculcate in them the analytical and rational thinking ability that would help them in the run long and as required for the UPSC exams.

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