UPSC Indian Forest Service Exam Information

UPSC conducts annual examination for recruitment of candidates to The Indian Forest Service (IFS). The IFS Exam is a Civil Services Examination conducted for the recruitment of officers at the All India level by the Government of India. The Preliminary Exam is common with the CSE Prelim on the basis of which candidates qualify for the IFS Mains Examination.

IFS officers are allotted between various State cadres and joint cadres under the mandate to serve under both State and Central Governments. The main objective of IFoS is the implementation of the National Forest Policy which seeks to ensure scientific management of forests. IFS is one of the three All India Services along with Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS).


In 2018, the CSE Preliminary Exam was conducted on 3rd June 2018 and the results for candidates qualifying for the IFS Mains Examination were declared on 14th July. The Mains Examination is scheduled for 2nd December and will end on 10th December 2018.

IFS Important Dates

The Registrations for IFS 2018 began on 7th February and candidates were able to apply online till the 6th of March. The CSE Preliminary Exam which is common for IFS and other services was conducted on 3rd June 2018 and results for the same were made available on 14th July.

The IFS Mains will be conducted from the 2nd of December 2018 to the 10th of December 2018. Admit Cards are available at the UPSC official website.

IFS Mains Examination 2018 Schedule

The Mains Examination will begin on the 2nd of December and go on till 10th December 2018. The Admit Card for Mains Exam is now available.

Date of Notification Last Date for receipt of Applications Date of commencement of Exam Duration of Exam
19.02.2019 18.03.2019 02.06.2019 (SUNDAY) 1 DAY
12.02.2020 03.03.2020 31.05.2020 (SUNDAY) 1 DAY

IFS 2019 Schedule

The UPSC has released the tentative dates of IFS exam 2019 in the UPSC Exam Calendar 2019. According to this, the UPSC CSE Preliminary Exam 2019 will take place on 2nd June 2019. The IFS Mains Exam 2019 will be held on 1st December 2019.

UPSC IFS Eligibility


  • A candidate must be an Indian citizen
  • OR a Nepalese/Bhutanese subject
  • OR a Tibetan refugee who crossed over to India prior to 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India,
  • OR A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, and Vietnam to permanently settle in India

Candidate belonging to non-Indian citizen categories as stated above, should produce a GoI provided certificate of eligibility.

Educational Qualification

  • Candidate should hold a Bachelor’s degree with at least one of the subjects namely, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics and Zoology from a recognised University.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture or Forestry or Engineering of a recognised university is also valid.
  • Candidates appearing in the final year of their degree course can also apply. You will need to provide proof of Passing the said degree exam at a later stage in the Selection Process.

Age Limit

Age of a candidate should be minimum 21 years and maximum 30 years on 1st July of the year of examination

Limit on Attempts

The maximum number of attempts depends on the category the candidate fall under. This is classified as follows:

General Candidates: 7 attempts

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Candidates: No restriction

Other Backward Classes: 9 attempts

Physically handicapped- 9 attempts for general and OBC, while unlimited for SC/ST

UPSC IFS Exam Pattern


UPSC conducts a common Preliminary Exam for Civil Services Examinations. The Prelim consists of 2 objective papers. Paper-I covers General Studies while Paper-II relates to Aptitude Test. Paper-II is qualifying in nature, where candidate is required to score 33% of the marks to qualify. Candidates who qualify the UPSC CSE Prelim cutoff for IFoS will be able to appear for the UPSC IFS Main.


Candidates who qualify Preliminary exam are called for the Mains exam, which is a series of written papers. The IFS Mains consists of 6 papers of 300 marks each. The General Knowledge and General English paper are common to all candidates however candidates must select 2 optional subjects of their choice.

Each optional subject will have 2 papers. Each paper of the optional subject will comprise 8 descriptive type questions. These will be split up into Section ‘A’ and Section ‘B’ – each consisting 4 questions each. The candidates are however, required to answer only 5 questions from each optional paper.

Paper Subject Marks Duration
Paper-1 General Knowledge 300 3 hours
Paper-2 General English 300 3 hours
Paper-3 Paper-1 of 1st Optional subject 200 3 hours
Paper-4 Paper-2 of 1st Optional subject 200 3 hours
Paper-5 Paper-1 of 2nd Optional Subject 200 3 hours
Paper-6 Paper-2 of 2nd Optional Subject 200 3 hours
Total Marks 1400

Candidates are required to select 2 optional subjects from the list of 14 subjects for the IFS Mains Examination

  • Agriculture
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Forestry
  • Geology
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical
  • Engineering
  • Physics
  • Statistics
  • Zoology

The option to club the following optional subjects will not be permitted for the UPSC IFS Mains Exam:

  1. Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering
  2. Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  3. Agriculture and Forestry
  4. Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  5. Mathematics and Statistics
  6. Not more than one Engineering subject – Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering cannot be combined with each other.

On the basis of marks secured in the Main exam, candidates will qualify for Interview, The combined marks of the Main exam and Interview are used to produce the final result.

IFS Exam Syllabus

IFS Preliminary Exam Syllabus

As the Preliminary Exam is common to CSE Exams, the same syllabus is to be followed as UPSC CSE Preliminary Exam. Candidates may refer to the UPSC Prelim Syllabus here to get a sense of what to cover for the Prelim Paper I (GS) and Paper II (CSAT).

IFS Mains Examination Syllabus

Paper-I General English – (300 Marks)

  • Candidates will be required to write an essay in English.
  • Other questions will be set to test their understanding of English and vocabulary such as Error Spotting, Sentence Correction etc.
  • Passages will usually be set for Comprehension and summary/precis-writing.

Paper-II General Knowledge – (300 Marks)

The General Knowledge paper will test the candidates knowledge of current affairs, recent observations made in news and scientific updates and developments. This paper will also include questions on:

  • Indian Polity such as the political system and the Constitution of India
  • History of India
  • Physical Geography and Indian Geography

Paper-III, Paper-IV, Paper-V, and Paper-VI – (200 Marks for each paper)

Any 2 subjects to be picked from the list of the optional subjects mentioned in the exam pattern tab. There are 14 optionals candidates may choose from. Every optional subject will further be divided into 2 papers.