I want to pursue a career in the IAS

I am a student of Class 9 and I want to take Arts in Class 11 as I want to pursue my career in the IAS, but my school doesn’t have Arts stream. I thought of leaving my school, but my school is one of the best schools in West Delhi. What is the solution to this?
Samarth Chawla / St Francis De Sales School, Janakpuri

I am a student of Class 8 and soon will be a student of Class 9. Should I choose Economics or Computers as I want to do UPSC? Please help me with a list of institutions and courses related to my future steps.
Rashmi Mehta / St Joseph’s Convent High School, Patna

Entry into the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is through the Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC. The basic eligibility for appearing is graduation in any stream. So, Rashmi and Samarth, do not worry about the subjects and institutes. Rather focus on subjects which you like and do your best.

This is truly an intense competitive examination and requires at least one year of dedicated preparation. The standard of questions is usually an inter-mix of both graduate and post-graduate level of study. Even now you can start preparing by reading at least two good magazines and two newspapers that deal with Indian and international affairs, political, economic and business issues, and other current events, thoroughly. Buy guide books on the IAS exams to practise and prepare.

The examination consists of three levels: Preliminary Examination (two papers of multiple-choice questions), Main Examination (nine papers of essay type questions) and Interview. Preliminary examination consists of two question papers. General Studies (GS) test contains questions on the constitution of India, history, geography, economics, science, and current affairs. It is just a screening test to shortlist candidates for the further selection process.

Those who qualify Prelims are required to re-register for IAS Mains, which assesses a candidate’s academic expertise in his specialized subject. Further, selected candidates will appear for the personal interview round.

The marks obtained in the Main Examination and Interview determines the final ranking. The candidates are then allotted to various services on the basis of their ranks and the preferences expressed by them. Roughly 800-900 candidates make it through the final selection every year. The top ranking 100 or so candidates are inducted into the IAS.

Dr Vibha Gupta
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Dr Vibha Gupta

Dr Vibha Gupta is a Ph.D. in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee. A feature writer, her book Careers: A Pathfinder and articles in various publications attempt to guide students in choosing a career according to their natural strengths, talents and skills.