UPSC conducts the Indian Forest Service or IFoS every year to recruit officers for the different departments in the Forest department. This is a very coveted position and a number of aspirants every year apply for this position. These positions are the apex of the Indian civil service and every year there are a handful of vacancies which makes the competition very tough. The exam is conducted in three phases- the prelims, mains and the interview round. Only by acquiring the minimum cut-off marks, you will be able to qualify every step of the exam.
The UPSC IFoS 2020 exam date was postponed and after the new date has been declared, aspirants should keep in mind a few important factors. The following table has all the important and relevant dates as well as data which you should know about-
|UPSC IFoS 2020- Important facts and dates|
|Organized by||Union Public Service Commission|
|Number of attempts||6|
|Number of vacancies||90 approximately|
|Exam centers||80 cities approx.|
|Start date of IFoS application form||February 12, 2020|
|End date of IFoS 2020 application form||March 3, 2020|
|IFoS Prelims admit card||September 2020|
|Prelims exam date||October 4, 2020|
|IFoS Prelims Result||October 23, 2020|
|IFoS Mains Application Process||November 16-27, 2020|
|IFoS Mains Exam||February 28, 2021 onwards|
|IFoS Mains Result||March 2021|
|IFoS Interview||April 2021|
|IFoS Final Result||May 2021|
The UPSC IFoS exam being postponed to October is a very good opportunity for aspirants as they will be getting more time for preparation. However, this is only feasible when you have a proper preparation plan and dedicatedly follow a routine.
Before you go to fill up the forms, you must check whether you meet all the requirements for the eligibility criteria. All the criteria is mentioned in the notification PDF that is shared by the conducting body. We have listed them in a gist for your reference and you can always check the entire details from the official notification-
The first criteria that is considered is the nationality of the aspirant.
The candidates can be minimum of 21 years and maximum of 32 years on August 1, 2020 on the year of examination. This means the candidate should not be born before August 2, 1988 and not after August 1, 1999.
However, there is age relaxation for the reserved categories to a certain extent which are discussed below:
Unlike IAS, when you are applying for IFoS, the educational criteria is very specific. Only graduates in the following subjects are eligible to apply-
Candidates who are appearing in their degree exam for any of the prescribed subjects are also eligible to apply for the exam. However, if they qualify the prelims, they have to submit the details of passing the exam in the application form for the next stage to be eligible.
This is another criteria that one should keep in mind before applying. The number of times you are applying for the exam is restricted which means, every time you are unable to crack the exam, one attempt is lost. The maximum number of attempts that candidates may have are as follows-
|Category||Number of attempts|
|PWD||9 for OBC/general, unlimited for SC/ST|
There are some basic height, weight requirements for the candidates and they all have to undergo a physical fitness test who have to be qualified to make it to the final merit list.
|Height||163 cm minimum with 5cm relaxation for reserved categories.||150 cm with 5cm relaxation for reserved categories|
|Chest expansion||Chest expansion- minimum 84 cm with expansion of 5 cm.||Minimum of 79 cm with 5 cm expansion|
|Eyesight||6/6 or 6/9 distant vision for good eyes and 6/12 or 6/9 for worst eyes.|
|Ears||Good listening with normal ear cavity- 1000-4000 hearing frequency. Impairment should not be more than 30 decibels.|
|Nasal||Candidates should not have stammering issues while talking|
|Blood pressure||Age 22-34- 122- 127|
There is a common application for UPSC IAS and IFoS Prelims. If you qualify the prelims exam, you will have to apply once more for the mains exam for which the application procedure is separate for both the exams. The prelims application procedure for IFoS 2020 exam started from February 12, 2020 and ended on March 3, 2020.
The application procedure is easy but you must make sure that there is no mistake while entering the required data in the fields as they are unchangeable once the form is submitted. Before you start filling the application form, keep the following handy-
After the fees have been successfully paid, you can download the copy of the application form and keep a print-out. It will be useful later in case there is any dispute with the admit card.
There are 80 cities from all over the countries which have exam centres for IFS prelims 2020.
|UPSC IFoS Exam Centres|
|Gautam Buddh Nagar||Nagpur||Visakhapatnam|
Owing to the unique situation this year, UPSC has taken the decision to reconsider appeals for change in exam centres. Candidates will get an opportunity to select a new exam centre for the postponed IFoS prelims. The following are few things that the notice mentions:
The admit card is the key to entering the exam hall and without it, no candidates will be allowed. Generally, it is published 3weeks before the exam date. This time, the IFoS 2020 admit card is expected to be released in September 2020. Once you get the admit card, make sure to check whether all the information is correct. In case there is any mistake, you have to contact the exam conducting body at the earliest and get it corrected. You will have to share a proof of submitting the right information which is the copy of your application form to get the correction done at the earliest. During the exam, apart from the admit card, you must also have a valid photo ID proof like the adhaar card or voter card or Pan Card. Without it, even if you have the admit card, you will be denied entry.
Do note that the allotted centre cannot be changed and no appeal for reconsidering and changing the exam centre will be entertained. If you turn up at a different exam centre, you will not be allowed. Candidates can only appear for the exam from the designated centre that has been allotted to them.
The UPSC IFoS have three stages of the exam. There are the prelims, mains and the interview round. You have to qualify each stage to be eligible for the next. The final merit list is however prepared based on the marks acquired in the mains along with the marks from the interview. The prelims marks is not considered though it is an important determinant on whether you qualify for Mains at all.
The interview is conducted for those candidates who qualify the mains exam. The interview carries 300 marks and mainly the candidates’ aptitude in administrative work and subject-wise knowledge is judged here. The IFoS interview is usually generic with trick questions to analyse your ability to make impromptu decisions. The duration can be anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour and the candidate is evaluated by a panel of experts and officers in this field.
The syllabus for UPSC IFoS is vast and comprises all subjects that you can think of. However, unlike IAS, in the mains, the syllabus gets limited and focused on the knowledge solely required for the job of an IFoS officer. Hence, one can say the syllabus is slightly smaller than that for IAS. However, in prelims, since the exam is common for IAS and IFoS, the syllabus is also the same.
The prelims exam syllabus covers almost everything that you have studied in 10+2 level.
General Paper-1, 200 marks, 2hours
General paper-2, 200 marks, 2 hours
The mains exam comprises 6 papers which are dedicated to the knowledge required for IFoS officer job profile. The candidates are allowed to use scientific calculators for papers in which it is required. However programmable calculators are not allowed and using any equivalent device will be considered resorting to unfair means. Exchanging or loaning calculators in the exam halls is also considered violation of the unfair means rule. The papers are set in English only and are conventional written exams in pen and paper mode.
|Animal husbandry and veterinary science||Physics|
The candidates have to write an essay in English in this paper. The other questions are set to test the candidates’ ability to use the language simply for official purposes. Also their understanding of the language is tested through this paper. Passages are usually set for summary and précis. The syllabus covers basic grammar, vocabulary and knowledge of different topics which have to be written for the essay. The topic of the essay is relevant to the designation of the IFoS officer and has to be practiced accordingly. There is no fixed syllabus for the topics and essays in this paper.
General knowledge papers do not have a fixed syllabus and are based on the current affairs of the present year. Observation of the day to day affairs, experiences and their scientific aspects, are necessary to crack this paper. Often questions from Indian polity and constitution and political system are asked in this paper. The questions are such that the candidates with strong basic knowledge of the country’s history and geography will be able to answer without any specialization in the subjects.
There are eight questions in each of the question papers of the optional paper. Furthermore, the papers are divided into two parts- part A and B. among the 8 questions, 5 must be attempted. There will be 1 question in each part which is compulsory. The rest are optional but the candidates must attempt at least another one from each part. This means, 2 questions from each part in the question papers have to be answered. The syllabus for the optional paper varies based on the subject of your choice.
There is no fixed syllabus for the interview round and the candidate will have a face to face interview with the board of experts. The technique of the interview is not very strict but rather free flowing and conversational to assess the candidate’s overall personality traits and understanding of the Indian civil services. The candidate will be expected to have a thorough understanding of their academic subject as well as curiosity and awareness about what is happening around them as well as outside their state. Also remember, that the choice of optional paper will play a vital role in the interview round and questions based on your choices can be asked. The following are some of the traits and factors that the board of experts try to assess through the interview round-
There are ample of reference books for IFoS exam as the syllabus is so vast. However, for best preparation, you should follow as few reference books as possible. Choose the books which cover the syllabus entirely and have a number of solved examples, practice papers and mocks tests. The following are all the top books which you can follow for prelims and mains exam. Do note, even though the list is big, you need to invest in only a few of those mentioned below that you find easy to follow.
Best books for UPSC IFoS Prelims-
Best Books for UPSC Mains-
The vacancy available every year is declared by UPSC before the examination. For IFoS 2020 there are only 90 vacancies nation-wide and 3 reserved category vacancies. The total is 93 vacancies hence. This means only those within the top 100 rank in the exam will hold a chance for being recruited.
The role of the IFoS officer is very lucrative and challenging at the same time. It is adventurous too to some extent. If you love travelling, being an IFoS officer can give you many opportunities to travel all over the country in some of the most beautiful and remote locations that are not accessible to the general tourists. The following are some of the job responsibilities that are expected of an IFoS officer.
The salary and benefits enjoyed by the IFoS officers is lucrative and there are many opportunities of growth. But what makes the job role most lucrative is the option to travel all over the country to some of the most spectacular locations.
|Job Profile||Annual pay package|
|Assistant Inspector General of Forest||Rs. 10,00,000|
|Deputy Inspector General of Forest (Deputy Conservator of Forest)||Rs. 12,00,000|
|Inspector General of Forest (Chief Conservator of Forest)||Rs. 13,00,000|
|Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest||Rs. 14,00,000|
|Principal Chief Conservator of Forest||Rs. 15,00,000|
Some perks associated with these positions are as follows-
The IFoS officers can get promoted based on their years of service as well as experience and skill developed in their tenure. There are posts like the forest range officer which is an entry level post in this department. After this, the next level of promotion is to that of an assistant conservator of the forest which is followed by the role of deputy conservator of Forest. The top most positions are additional principal chief conservator of Forest and Principal Chief Conservator of Forest.
The UPSC IFoS 2020 prelims results are likely to be declared in November 2020. Only those who have qualified for the Mains, their roll numbers will be declared in the PDF format. After the mains is conducted and its result has been declared, the cut-off list is published. The final merit list is prepared based on the total marks of mains and Interview round. You can check the result from the official website once it is declared. The answer key for the exams-prelims and mains is published after the selection process is over. However, the candidates cannot challenge the answer key as per the UPSC rules.
To view the UPSC IFoS results-
The cut-off marks are determined by a number of factors and every year it is different. The cut-off is declared by UPSC after the publication of the Mains result. It is determined based on the total number of candidates appearing for the exam, the overall difficulty of the papers, the previous year cut-off trends and the overall performance of the aspirants in the present year and the available vacancies. We have shared the cut-off trends from the past three years to help you estimate an average cut-off for IFoS 2020. The cut-off for the reserved categories is always lower than that for the general category and hence, you should aim for preparing such that you are able to score more than what is required for the general category. This way, you can make sure you qualify the exam with flying colours.
UPSC IFoS Mains Cut-off for 2018
|Category||Marks out of 1400|
UPSC IFoS Mains+interview cut-off for 2019
|Category||Marks out of 1700|
UPSC IFoS Cut-off for 2017
The three-tier exam of IFoS is a long-drawn process and even though there are three stages, there are also eight papers in all that have to be done.
IFoS officers are some of the highest rank holders in the Indian Government and it is not only a very prestigious work but also one of the most unconventional services that belong to the public sector. If you want to become a part of this service, your preparation should start right after your 10+2 and your graduation subject should be accordingly chosen.
Ques. Can I bring the digital copy of the admit card to the exam centre?
Ans. No, you cannot bring your admit or Photo ID proof in digital form to the exam centre as no electronic device will be allowed inside.
Ques. If you undergo Lasik treatment, are you eligible for IFoS exam?
Ans. For IFoS, Lasik treatment is not a problem and you will still be eligible for the post.
Ques. Is the prelims exam common for IAS and IFS aspirants?
Ans. Yes, the Prelims is common for IFoS and IAS. The exams get separated for Mains.
Ques. Will I be eligible for the IFoS exam if I hold a diploma degree in any of the prescribed subjects?
Ans. No, 3-year graduation or its equivalent is elemental for IFoS and diploma is not considered equivalent to graduation and hence will not be eligible.
Ques. Are IFS officers transferred frequently?
Ans. Yes, IFoS officers will witness frequent transfers throughout their lifetime usually in remote and forest areas. However, often they are also posted in urban or semi-urban locations depending on the requirements.
Ques. What is the salary and benefits enjoyed by IFoS officers?
Ans. The salary package is lucrative for IFoS officers and depends primarily on the position that you hold. It can be anywhere between 7LPA to 15 LPA.
Ques. If I fill up the form but cannot attend the prelims exam, will it be considered as a chance lost?
Ans. No, in case you do not appear for the exam at all even after filling up the form, it will not be counted as an attempt.
Ques. Can I withdraw my application for the exam?
Ans. No, there is no option for withdrawal of the application form once it is submitted and paid for.
Ques. Is the IAS and IFoS mains exam the same?
Ans. No, IAS and IFoS Mains exams are conducted separately. For IAS there are 8 papers in the Mains while for IFoS there are 6 papers. Furthermore, the IAS 2020 Mains exam will be conducted January 8, 2021 onwards while the IFoS mains will be conducted February 28, 2021 onwards.
Ques. Can you choose the location of posting for the IFoS exam?
Ans. Yes, you can choose a list of preferred locations of posting, but the final decision lies with the board. Though the decision will be made keeping your preferences in mind.
Ques. Is the admit card for IFoS exam different from IAS?
Ans. For the prelims, the admit card for IFoS and IAS will be available from the same link but for mains it will be different.
Ques. Is IFS and IFoS the same?
Ans. No, IFS is Indian Foreign Service while IFoS is the Indian Forest Service. However, Indian forest service is also referred to as IFS at times which is not wrong either.
*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.