Indian Forest Service | IFS Selection Process | IFS Preparation and Coaching

Indian Forest Service (IFS), offers a highly challenging and rewarding career. It offers an exciting opening where an IFS officer not only acts as custodian of forests under his area of responsibility but also derives mundane pleasure of being instrumental in protecting and preserving the environment and wild life. This exotic satisfaction of protecting forests, environment and wild life also adds a lot of adventure to the job.

Recruitment to this service is done by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) through a competitive examination every year. The candidates selected for the service are allotted a State/Union Territory cadre and they serve in that particular State/Union Territory thereafter till superannuation, except for a few deputations to the Central Government in between. The service has inherent time-bound promotions and higher scales which are comparable to the best in government sector in the country. After completion of training, the IFS officers are usually posted as Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs)/Deputy Conservators of Forests (DCF) with the independent charge of a forest division with a large number of Forest Guards, Block Officers, Range Officers and Assistant Conservators of Forests working under them. After putting in a specified years of service as a DFO/DCF, the IFS Officers are promoted as Conservators of Forests with several DFOs/DCFs under their control. A direct recruit IFS Officer can hope to rise upto Chief Conservator of Forests or even upto the post of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, the Head of Forest Department in a State.

Some of the State Governments have State Forest Development Corporations also and the IFS Officers can also be posted as Divisional Managers, General Managers, Executive Directors and Managing Directors in these Corporations. Thus IFS officers also get an exposure to the corporate functioning in the government sector, adding another dimension to their job. In addition, the IFS officers also enjoy certain powers of police officers in respect of several offences under the Indian Forest Act.

The Selection Process

The competitive examination for the IFS is usually held by the UPSC in the month of July every year. The advertisement for the examination normally appears in the month of December/Janaury in all leading newspapers as well as in the “Employment News”. It carries details about the examination, subjects, etc.

The candidates applying for the IFS examination must fulfil the following conditions:
(a) They must have attained the age of 21 years but should be less than 30 years of age.
(b) They must be graduates with atleast one of the following subjects: Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Mathematics, Statistics and Geology; from a recognized university, or must have Bachelors Degree in Agriculture or Engineering or Forestry from a recognized university.

: The scheme of examination has two stages:
(a) Written examination.
(b) Personal Interview.

All the eligible candidates are first tested through a written examination which consists of two compulsory and two optional subjects. The compulsory subjects are General Knowledge and General English. Every candidate has to offer two optional subjects out of (1) Physics (2) Chemistry (3) Botany (4) Zoology (5) Forestry (6) Statistics (7) Mathematics (8) Geology (9) Agriculture (10) Civil Engineering (11) Agriculture Engineering (12) Mechanical Engineering (13) Chemical Engineering.

The compulsory papers are designed to test the candidates command over the language, comprehension, analytical power and overall general awareness. The General English paper carries the questions on use of words of common parlance, passages, precis, comprehension, idioms etc. In addition the candidates are also required to write an essay out of a few given topics. The standard of this paper is such as is expected of an average science/engineering/forestry/agriculture graduate of an Indian University.

The second compulsory paper on General Knowledge is aimed at testing the general awareness and knowledge of the candidates in subjects other than those studied by them in their academic curriculum. This paper also tests the knowledge of candidates on current events of national and international importance. There are a few questions on Indian Political System, Indian History, Economy, Geography and applied aspects of Science and Technology. The standard of this paper is again such as is expected of an average science/engineering/forestry/agriculture graduate. The questions in this paper are multiple choice objective-type in nature.

So far as the choice of optional subjects is concerned, list of subjects offers a vast choice. Every eligible candidate is usually expected to specialise in atleast one of the optional subjects which he/she would have offered during his/her academic degree. The choice of second subject is also not difficult. It is recommended that the candidates appearing for the first time in the examination should go through previous question papers before finally deciding on the optional subjects. The standard of optional subjects is that of degree level academic examination. Further details regarding syllabi of all optional subjects are available in the instructions received alongwith the application form supplied by the UPSC.

Interview: The written examination is followed by a personality test in the form of personal interview. The interviews are held by the UPSC soon after the result of written test is declared. The marks obtained in the interview are added to the marks obtained by a candidate in the written test to draw up the final merit list. The main aim of personality test is to judge the suitability of candidates as officers of Indian Forest Service. The candidates appearing in the interview may expect some questions on common day-to-day observations and current affairs of importance. Questions on Indian Polity, Planning Process, Budgeting and Economic Geography may also be expected. The personality test also aims at testing leadership qualities, mental alertness, initiative, balance of judgement, analytical capabilities and variety of interests.

Preparation and Coaching

The IFS being among the most prestigious services of the country, the competition for examination is quite tough and needs meticulous preparation. So far as optional subjects are concerned, most of the students are expected to do well. It is the performance of candidates in compulsory subjects which makes the real difference. Any candidate who does well in optional subjects and also excels in the compulsories can expect to qualify the examination. It, therefore, requires systematic planned study with added emphasis on both the compulsory subjects which are usually neglected during the academic examinations.

To have a sound base in the General Knowledge paper the candidates must refer to a basic and standard general knowledge book like “General Knowledge Refresher” by O.P. Khanna, regularly supported by “The Competition Master”. This would keep the candidates posted upto date as far as general knowledge and current affairs are concerned and would give them an edge over others in this paper.

Similarly, the personal interview also requires an exhaustive preparation. Passing of written examination must not lead a candidate to a state of complacency. Personality test being the final test of suitability of the candidates for the service, thus assumed greater importance. Indepth study of all important aspects of general interest as well as brushing-up of optional subjects offered in the written examination is required. Thorough self-appraisal is also an effective way of preparing for the interview.

There are certain private institutions/agencies imparting coaching and guidance for IFS examination as well as personal interview. By taking due precautions for not falling into unscrupulous hands, coaching from a reputed institution will go a long way to help the fresh candidates to do well in this examination.

If you have questions, please ask below


  1. sneha says:

    im from botany n i want to take combination of forestry for ifs exam is it right to take forestry with botany or study material of foresty is easily available in market.

  2. monisha says:

    plz tell me gud coaching inst. for i.f.s my optional subject are botany and zoology

  3. shishir says:

    Kindly tell me the names of good geology coaching institutes.

  4. uday kiran says:

    hii.. can u suggest me some good coaching centres for ifs in hyderabad? and plz suggest good books for forestry..

  5. thoi says:

    can anyone please tel me the best institute for preparation of both indian forest service and combined defence service at delhi.pliz help i m really confused.

  6. KUNAL says:

    can u plz suggest me some good institute in C.G. and Delhi for IFS prepration.& also suggest some good books for botany agriculture & forestry.
    do rply

  7. suresh marimuthu says:

    sir, i did my in biochemistry am i eligible to appear in i.f.s examination

  8. suresh marimuthu says:

    sir, i did my in biochemistry am i eligible to appear in i.f.s examination?????

  9. anshuman says:

    give me sugession about books for optional subtry

  10. anshuman says:

    give me sugession about books for optional subject foretry

  11. Abhijeet kumar says:

    dont understand why is there so much lack of information for Indian Forest services where as there are tons of information available for IAS exams.. just need to type IAS in google n its a ocean wide open.. we need a common platform to discuss this problem.. ppl r confused at a state where they are not even sure whether they are eligible to appear for the exams or not?? this is a shame in this age of information technology..truly a shame..

  12. govindarajan says:

    hi… my bsc degree is biochemistry shall i do ifs please give reply for this question

  13. gouri says:

    the general knowledge paper has questions which should be answered in descriptive, conventional method of essay type and these are not objective.

  14. ved prakash says:

    I have done in electrical Engg can i appear Indian Forest Services Exams taking Chemistry & forestry as optional subjects.

  15. Mandeep says:

    Sir, could you please sugest me coaching centers in Delhi who can help me prepare for Indian Forest Services with optional subject Physics?

  16. Anshuman says:

    I am preparing for IFS,
    my optional subjects are agriculture and forestry,
    give me sugessions for books of forestry optional
    my e-mail id is

  17. deepu says:

    hello sir, can u guide me for IFS preparation
    i want to know the name of the various books of forestry ,as an optional subject

  18. paulami gupta patranabish says:

    sir please give me advice form wich reputet institude i shall take coaching for ifs exam.
    and how i will prepare my self for it,wich type of question and event i will put emphasis and give some example question that often ask in parsonality test.

  19. Chetan says:

    Hello Sir,

    I have decided to take IFS with geology and Forestry as optional for 2012. Please need guidance for the same .Please tell me some coaching centers which give coaching for the Forestry and Geology .. or any one.. and please provide me the book list for the above 2 optional s .. guys who are taking same optionals can be in touch with me my mail id chetanbhavikattiis@gmail

  20. kumaresan says:

    sir , i need some institutes for ifs coaching in tamilnadu

  21. sandeep says:

    please suggest me genuine coaching centers for indian forest service

  22. ram manu dixit says:

    please suggest me some coaching centers for ifs in delhi

  23. ankita says:

    sir,… 4m electrical n electronics engg.can i appear 4 Indian forest services?

  24. Anil says:

    Sir plz tell me list of choaching for ifs in delhi.. Sub agriculture and forestry.

  25. Anil says:

    Sir plz tell me list of good coaching centers for ifs exam in delhi . For agriculture and forestry.

  26. tanuja says:

    sir i m appearing with forestry and geology as my optional subjects .. please let me know the best institutes in delhi and list of books if possible

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