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Indian Forest Service (IFS) Syllabus 2020

Written by  Vishesh Chogtu

Published on Mon, February 24, 2020 10:11 AM   Updated on Thu, December 2, 2021 1:29 PM   9 mins read

The Indian Forest Service (IFS) is a national-level civil service examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). It is conducted every year to recruit officers at the All India level for the scientific management of forests.

IFS is one of the three All India Services. The aim of the IFS service is the application of the National Forest Policy, which ensures maintenance of ecological valance and stability of the environment. To become an IFS officer, a candidate needs to appear for the examination conducted by UPSC, which consists of 3 stages: Preliminary, Main Examination, and Personality Test.

Check Out: Indian Forest Service (IFS) Syllabus 2020

What is IFS?

IFS is one of the three services at the national level in India, along with IAS and IPS. IFS is an abbreviation for Indian Forest Services. The recruitment of IFS officers is done through the Civil Services Examination (CSE). CSE is conducted once in a year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The CSE is considered as one of the toughest examinations across the globe. But the hard-work involved in cracking this examination is totally worth it. Once an individual crack the CSE, he/she gets recruited in the most prestigious services in the public sector. These are the top-ranked services in the hierarchy, and thus, called as Group A.

The objective of IFS exam is to recruit officers, who are vested with the responsibility of managing the forests and their resources within the nation. The Indian Forest Services enforce the National Forest Policies made by the state and central legislature. These policies are made for the conservation of forest resources and the stability of environment.    

Check Out: UPSC Exam Pattern


The central recruiting division of India is known is the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). It is vested with the responsibility of appointing and conducting exams for the group A and group B of Central Services.  

Part XIV of the Constitution of India, Services Under the Union and the States describes the role of UPSC. This part has all the provisions and guidelines about the functioning of UPSC and State PSCs. The appointments, promotions, transfer and disciplinary guidelines of the recruited officers by the UPSC are governed by these provisions in the Constitution. UPSC, along with the Election Commission and Higher Judiciary, are the institutions that function with autonomy. This is because these are constitutional bodies. 

The headquarter of UPSC is in Dholpur House in the capital city of New Delhi.

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Exam Pattern of IFS Exam

The IFS exam or CSE is conducted by UPSC in 2-tiers. Namely, Prelims, Mains.

  1. Preliminary Examination – The Civil Services Preliminary exam is sub-divided into two papers of 200 marks each – General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper-II. The questions are of multiple-choice/objective type. The marks in prelims are not counted for final ranking. The prelims exam is for screening the candidates for the main exam.
  2. Mains Examination – Mains exam comprises of a written exam and a Personality Test/Interview. Candidates have to qualify in the CSE Prelims. Only after one clears the Prelims, he/she can appear for the IFS Mains Examination.
  3. Written Exam – The written exam comprises of 6 papers, which add up to a total of 1400 marks. The lingual medium for all the papers will be only English. And the answers are also required to be given in the English language only. The total time allotted for each of the 6 papers would be 3 hours. An extra 30 mins are given to the blind candidates. Only Blind candidates are allowed to have the help of a scribe. Rest everyone has to write their answers themselves.

The cut-off marks for qualifying all the papers are decided by UPSC, depending upon the overall performance of candidates and the vacancies available. Both, the content and the presentation of the answers are checked and marks are given accordingly. The answers are required to be grammatically and factually correct, and clearly presented. Usage of a good vocabulary can boost up the score.

Scientific (Non-Programmable) calculators are allowed. Borrowing the calculators by any other candidate during the examination is strictly prohibited.

  • Personality Test or Interview – The interview is all about checking your suitability as an officer. The intellect, psychology and knowledge required to perform the duties of an officer are tested by the interview panel. The panel has all the past academic records of the candidates. 

The panel will throw questions that will examine the mental and emotional balance. Also, leadership skills, problem-solving capability, eloquence, decision-making ability are a few more checkboxes of the interviewers. 

The candidates are required to dress decently, in a civic manner. And any sort of indiscipline will not be tolerated. 

Check Out: UPSC Exam Pattern

Eligibility Criteria of the IFS Exam


  1. Candidate must be an Indian Citizen or,
  2. Candidate must be a Nepalese Citizen or a subject of Bhutan or,
  3. Candidate must be a Refugee of Tibet who came in India prior to January 1, 1962, and settled permanently in India or,
  4. Candidate must have an Indian Origin who has migrated from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, or Zambia and has an intention of permanently settling in India.


Candidate Must have a Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline, from a recognized institute, college or university. Candidates who have given the exam of the final year of their bachelor program, but the results are awaited, can also appear for the CSE Prelims.

But such candidates will have to provide proof of passing the final exam of graduation when they apply for the Main Exam. Candidates who are qualified in any technical or professional course, which is recognized by the Government of India can also appear for the CSE.

Age Limit:

Anyone, between the age of 21 and 32 is eligible for this examination, provided he/she is fulfilling the aforementioned criteria. The upper limit of the age is relaxed for categories, except the general candidates:

  1. 3 years for the backward classes (OBC)
  2. 3 years for Defence Service personnel
  3. 5 years for the ex-servicemen
  4. 5 years for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST)
  5. 10 years for Blind or Deaf candidates.

Number of Attempts:

  1. 6 attempts – General Category
  2. 9 attempts – Other Backward Classes (OBC)
  3. 9 attempts – Physically handicapped candidates from general and OBC categories.
  4. No Limit for SC/ST candidates.

Check Out: UPSC Syllabus Mains Exam for IAS 2020

IFS Syllabus of Preliminary Exam

The objective of the preliminary exam is to conduct a screen test of the candidates, where only 33% of marks are required to secure a seat in the main examinations.

It consists of 2 objective type papers of 400 marks. The candidate is required to appear for both the papers, the failure to do, which will result in disqualification. Each paper is of 200 marks with a duration of 2 hours. The medium of the question paper in both English and Hindi.

Paper- 1 (General Knowledge)

  1. Current national and international events
  2. History of India and Indian National movement
  3. Indian and World Geography
  4. Indian Polity and Governance
  5. Economic and Social Development
  6. General Science
  7. General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-Diversity, and Climate change

Paper-2 (General Studies)

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  3. Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability
  4. Decision Making and Problem Solving
  5. General Mental Ability
  6. Basic Numeracy, Data Interpretation
  7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)

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IFS Syllabus of Main Examination

The objective of the Mains Examination is to test the academic knowledge of the candidate and their ability to present this knowledge. The Mains Examination is for 1700 marks, 1400 for written tests, and 300 for personality tests. The written examination has six papers and is set only in the English language.

Paper-1 (General English)

  1. The candidates will be required to write an essay in English on the given topic.
  2. Other questions will be designed and set to test their grammatical skills, vocabulary, and a general understanding of the language.

Paper-2 (General Knowledge)

  1. General Knowledge of current events, matters of everyday observation and their scientific aspects.
  2. Like the Preliminary exam, this exam will also contain questions on Indian Polity and Constitution of India, History, and Geography of India.
  • Paper- 3 (Any two subjects from the list of optional subjects provided)
  • Paper- 4 (Any two subjects from the list of optional subjects provided)
  • Paper- 5 (Any two subjects from the list of optional subjects provided)
  • Paper- 6 (Any two subjects from the list of optional subjects provided)

Each Subject will consist of 2 papers.

List of Optional Subjects

  1. Agriculture
  2. Agricultural Engineering
  3. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  4. Forestry
  5. Botany
  6. Chemistry
  7. Chemical Engineering
  8. Civil Engineering
  9. Geology
  10. Mathematics
  11. Mechanical Engineering
  12. Zoology
  13. Physics
  14. Statistics

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IFS Syllabus of Personality Test and Interview

The candidates are interviewed by a board of experienced and distinguished individuals. The objective of the interview is to assess the overall personality and suitability of the candidate for the service. The candidate will be judged on their intellect, academic knowledge as well as the awareness of their cultural, political, and social surroundings.

  1. The candidate should be aware of the current affairs, discoveries, and modern thoughts and ideas emerging around them, of national and international importance.
  2. The interview is conducted in a friendly and communicative environment to reveal and analyze the personality of the candidate.
  3. The board assesses the candidate based on their intellectual curiosity, the balance of judgment, critical observations, alertness, mental and physical energy, the integrity of character, love for outdoor life.



What is the syllabus for IFS exam?

Ans. The Syllabus of IFS Exam is given below:

Paper-1Essay2503 hours
Paper-2General Studies- I2503 hours
Paper-3General Studies- II2503 hours
Paper-4General Studies- III2503 hours
Paper-5General Studies- IV2503 hours
Paper-6Optional Subject- Paper 12503 hours
Paper-7Optional Subject- Paper 22503 hours
Interview Round250
Grand Total2025 Marks

1. Under General Studies- I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society
2. Under General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International
3. Under General Studies- III: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
4. Under General Studies- IV: Ethics, Integrity

What is Indian forest service?

Ans. The Indian Forest Service (IFS) is a national-level civil service examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). It is conducted every year to recruit officers at the All India level for the scientific management of forests.

How to apply for Indian Forest Service?

Ans. You can logon to to download the entrance test form or submit it online and get the dates for writing the exams. You can keep checking the website for the announcement of important dates and deadlines about the exam to ensure compliance with the target dates.

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IFS Syllabus
Indian Forest Service

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