Joining the civil services and becoming an IAS officer is one of the most sought after dream. Unfortunately, only a few manage to clear the hurdles and achieve their dream job. Clearing the Mains exam is the all-important hurdle, which opens pathways to the most prestigious job in the country's bureaucratic setup. For that, one has to begin preparations early, be thorough about the subjects and be dedicated towards one's goal of becoming an IAS officer. To begin with, one has to first get qualified for the Mains, through the Civil Services Preliminary exam.
Eligibility for Mains
An undergraduate degree in any stream from a recognised university. Not less than 21 years and not more than 32 years. Number of attempts are 6. Should have qualified in the Prelims. In case belonging to reserved category, relaxation in age and attempts.
More about Mains
One gets to sit in the Mains only after qualifying in the Prelims. To qualify in the Prelims you need more than 33% marks in paper 2 of Prelims and get a ranking high up in the order of merit in paper 1. Unlike Prelims, the papers in Mains are of descriptive type. Interview or personality test also forms part of Mains. Marks for the written papers sum up to 1750. Interview is conducted for 275 marks. So grand total 2025. It's worth remembering that Prelim marks are in no way responsible in final selection of the candidate. Marks in Mains is the deciding factor.
The Mains consists of 9 papers, but only 7 are counted for final ranking. In the remaining 2, you need only qualifying marks. Each paper is of 250 marks and thus sum up to 1750. The papers not counted for final ranking are based on English language and any one of the Indian languages. Among the 7 papers counted for final ranking, 5 are compulsory and the remaining 2 to be selected from the optionals. The compulsory papers are based on Indian heritage, culture, history, politics, governance, constitution, economy, environment, bio-diversity, geography, ethics and integrity. The optionals are from one's field of specialisation.
Even with only 275 marks the interview can be instrumental in getting into the final merit. It judges a candidate's suitability for the civil services by getting to know the details of his/her career and from the responses to the questions asked by the interview board.
I.A.S. Mains Admissions for 2020 - 2021 Academic Year
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