IFS/IFoS – Exam Overview

Before 2013, IFS/IFoS exam didn’t have any preliminary exam, but since 2013, Preliminary exam for Civil Services and IFoS were made common. Since then aspirants aspiring solely for IFS/IFOS also needs to take this common exam. It has been observed that cut off for this Exam is really high, in prelims stage, so a good score in prelims is a necessity.

The exam follows 3 steps process of preliminary, mains and interview, followed by a walking test. Schedule for Exam starts with formal notification by UPSC-

A) Tentative Schedule
(i) Notification of Examination12th February 2020
(ii) Conduct of Examination31st May  2020

B) PLAN OF EXAMINATION – The Indian Forest Service Examination will consist of two successive stages (i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination; and (ii) Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the Indian Forest Service

Age Limit21-32 Years on 1st July of the year of examination, with consequent relaxations to different communities.
Certain categories of persons as specified in the Notice are eligible for age relaxation i.e ST/SC/OBC.

Check the notification for that particular year -for 2020 it is as

(a) A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on 1st August 2020, i.e. he must have been born not earlier than 2nd August 1988 and not later than 1st August 1999.

(b) The upper age limit prescribed above will be relaxable:-

(i) up to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.

(ii) up to a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.

(iii) up to a maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof:

(iv) up to a maximum of five years in the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st August 2020 and have been released (i) on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1st August 2020) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or (ii) on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or (iii) on invalidment.

(v) Up to a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service as on 1st August 2020 and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three month’s notice on a selection from the date of receipt of an offer of appointment.

(vi) up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities viz. (a) low vision; (b) Partially deaf; (c) locomotor disability (Sub-category: leprosy cured and acid attack victims only).

Educational QualificationsThis is to be the most important part and kindly ensure that you are eligible for the examination as only science graduates can write the examination
A Bachelor’s degree with at least one of the subjects namely, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics and Zoology or a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture or Forestry or Engineering of a recognised university
Candidates appearing for their degree examination (with prescribed subjects) are also eligible to compete. Candidates qualifying after the result of the written part of the examination will be required to submit the proof of passing the requisite examination along with their detailed application form to be filled up at that stage.

Number of Attempts 

Every candidate appearing at the Examination, who is otherwise eligible, shall be permitted six attempts at the examination. Provided that this restriction on the number of attempts will not apply in the case of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates who are otherwise eligible. Provided further that the number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes, who are otherwise eligible, shall be nine.

A physically handicapped will get as many attempts as are available to other non-physically handicapped candidates of his or her community, subject to the condition that a physically handicapped candidate belonging to the General Category shall be eligible for nine attempts. Necessary action to make corresponding changes in respective Rules/ Regulations pertaining to Indian Forest Service is being taken separately. The relaxation will be available to the physically handicapped candidates who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.

NOTE : (i) An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be deemed to be an attempt at the Examination. (ii) If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, as a candidate for the Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination, he/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination. (iii) Notwithstanding the disqualification/ cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.

Written Examination – Conventional Essay Type 

  1. All question papers must be answered in English. Question papers will be set in English only.
  1. The scope of the syllabus for the optional subject papers for the examination is broadly of the Honours degree level i.e. a level higher than the Bachelors Degree and lower than the Masters Degree. In the case of engineering, corresponds to the Bachelors degree.
  1. There will be no practical examination in any of the subjects.
Paper I – General English300 Marks
Paper-II – General Knowledge300 Marks
Paper III, IV, V & VI – Any two subjects to be selected from the list of optional subjects set out below. Each subject will have two papers.200 Marks for each paper
Total marks for written examination1400 Marks

List of Optional Subjects 


Agricultural Engineering

Animal Husbandary & Veterinary Science



Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering




Mechanical Engineering




Provided  that  the  candidates  will  not  be allowed to offer the following combination of subjects :

(a) Agriculture and Agricultural Engg.

(b)  Agriculture  and  Animal  Husbandry & Veterinary Science.

(c) Agriculture and Forestry.

(d)  Chemistry and Chemical Engg.

(e) Mathematics and Statistics.

(f) Of  the  Engineering  subjects  viz. Agricultural  Engineering,  Chemical Engineering,  Civil  Engineering  and Mechanical  Engineering  not  more than one subject;

II. Interview for Personality Test300 Marks
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