Indian Forest Service Preliminary Exam 2024 – Details & Dates



07 February, 2024

Indian Forest Service Preliminary Exam 2024 – Details & Dates

The prestigious UPSC Indian Forest Services (IFoS) examination is administered by India’s Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Indian Forest Service is a national government body in charge of administering and protecting the country’s forests and wildlife. Here’s everything you need to know about UPSC Indian Forest Services.

Highlights & Exam Pattern – The Indian Forest Service (Preliminary)

Name of the Exam Indian Forest Service (Preliminary) Examination
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam Level Preliminary
Exam Frequency Once in a year
Mode of Exam Offline
Types of Questions MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions)
Exam Duration 2 Hours (Each for Paper I and Paper II)
Total Questions – Paper I: General Studies – 100
– Paper II: GS (CSAT) – 80
Total Marks 200 Marks(Each paper 1 and paper 2)
Marking Scheme 1/3rd marks allotted to a question are dedicated for each wrong answer
Medium of Exam Offline
Official Website

Introduction to the IFoS Preliminary Examination

The Indian Forest Service (IFoS) is one of the three All India Services, along with the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS). Established in 1966 under the All India Services Act, of 1951, the IFoS is responsible for carrying out the National Forest Policy, which aims to maintain ecological stability through the sustainable management and conservation of natural resources. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is responsible for conducting Indian Forest Service Recruitment Exams.

IFoS members are also responsible for managing national parks, tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, and other protected areas. In the State Forest Department, IFoS officers hold positions such as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Chief Conservator of Forests, District/Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), and Conservator of Forests. The Head of Forest Forces is the most senior Forest Service representative in each state.

The UPSC Indian Forest Service-IFoS exam pattern is designed to identify and select individuals with the requisite aptitude, knowledge, and skills for IFoS employment. The exam consists of multiple phases: a preliminary exam, a mains exam, and a personality test (interview). These phases evaluate candidates on a range of subjects, including general studies, environmental science, and forestry. Each phase serves a distinct purpose in determining a candidate’s suitability for employment with the Indian Forest Service.

Eligibility Criteria

The Eligibility Criteria for Indian Forest Services can be summarised under the following subheadings

1. Nationality

The candidate must be:

  • (a) A citizen of India, OR
  • (b) A subject of Nepal, OR
  • (c) A subject of Bhutan, OR
  • (d) A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January 1962 to permanently settle in India, OR
  • (e) A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam to settle in India permanently.

Candidates in categories (b), (c), (d), and (e) must hold a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India. A candidate whose certificate of eligibility is required may be allowed to take the examination. However, the offer of a job may be made only once the Government of India has provided him/her with the appropriate eligibility certificate.

2. Age Limit

To take the IFoS Prelims Exam, you must not be less than 21 years of age and not more than 32 years of age as of 1st August of the year in which the exam would be held. While the upper age limit is relaxed in the following cases:

  • Other Backward Classes (OBC): Up to 3 years
  • Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST): Up to 5 years
  • Defence Service Personnel disabled during service: Up to 3 years
  • Ex-servicemen, including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs, who have rendered at least 5 years of military service as of August 1, 2024, and have been released: Up to 5 years
  • Candidates who are visually handicapped, hearing impaired, or physically challenged: Up to 10 years

3. Educational Qualification

The educational requirements for the Forest Services Exam differ from those of other Civil Services exams. For the Indian Forest Service (IFoS) prelims exam, you must have a bachelor’s degree in Science or Engineering from a university recognised by UPSC. On the other hand, for the Civil Services Exam, any bachelor’s degree will suffice.

You must have a bachelor’s degree in at least one of the following disciplines: Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, Zoology, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science. Alternatively, a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Forestry, or Agriculture is also acceptable.

4. Number of Attempts

The number of times you can sit in the exam has been mentioned below

Category Attempts
General 6
SC/ST Unlimited
Physically Handicapped (General) 9
Physically Handicapped (OBC) 9
Physically Handicapped (SC/ST) Unlimited

IFoS Preliminary Syllabus Demystified

Applicants interested in working for Forestry Services should know the UPSC IFoS Preliminary Exam syllabus. The UPSC IFoS 2024 exam will feature two question papers, the syllabus for each of them has been listed below:

Indian and World Geography- Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World Current Events of National and International Importance
Indian Polity and Governance- Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc. History of India and the Indian National Movement
Economic and Social Development- Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc. General Science
General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation


Comprehension Interpersonal Skills including Communication Skills
Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability Basic Numeracy (Numbers and Their Relations, Orders of Magnitude, etc. – Class X level)
Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Data Interpretation (Charts, Graphs, Tables, Data Sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)
General Mental Ability


  • Both Paper I and Paper II are objective types with multiple-choice questions.
  • Paper II of the IFoS (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
  • The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.
  • The duration for each paper is 2 hours.
  • Both Papers- I and II are of 200 marks each with negative marks for wrong answers.

The Conducting Body of the IFoS Preliminary Examination

The UPSC conducts exams for recruitment to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFoS), both of which serve the whole country. Interested individuals can apply for both tests simultaneously through the UPSC’s official website. Both the administrative and forest services follow the same preliminary exam. The process only splits in the latter stages (interview and mains).

Stages of the IFoS Examination Journey

There are three stages in the IFoS examination journey which are prelims, mains and interview. To pass the test, you must complete all three phases. The three stages of the examination are summarised below:

1. Indian Forest Service (IFoS) Stage 1: Prelims

  • The prelims paper consists of two objective papers: GS I and CSAT.
  • The CSAT is a qualifying exam with a set minimum of 33% for passing.
  • Every question in the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT) paper is worth 2.5 marks. There are 80 questions in all.
  • Each wrong response costs you one-third of a mark.
  • The UPSC IAS Prelims exam is the same as the IFoS preliminary exam.
  • Because there are fewer openings for the IFoS exam than for the IAS exam, there is a higher cut-off for the former.

2. Indian Forest Service (IFoS) Stage 2: Mains

  • The IFoS mains exam has six papers in total.
  • All of the papers last three hours and are detailed.
  • Candidates for the main exam may take two optional courses.
  • The list of optional subjects available for the IFoS main exam is – Agriculture, Agricultural Engineering, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Forestry, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Statistics, Zoology, Geology, and Chemistry.
  • Please be aware that all of the UPSC IFoS Mains test papers—Papers I, II, III, IV, V, and VI—are being evaluated here. Your position in the result will be determined by the grades you acquired on these papers.

3. Indian Forest Service (IFoS) Stage 3: Interview

  • This stage will consist of 300 marks.
  • Candidates will be assessed on several criteria, including general awareness, communication skills, intellectual curiosity, critical powers of observation and assimilation, initiative, tact, and leadership potential.
  • The candidates’ final ranking would be decided by the marks they received in both the mains and the interview stages of the examination.

Admit Card Acquisition Process

The admit card for the IFoS is made accessible on UPSC’s official website around three weeks before the exam. Candidates can download their admit cards from the official website. After downloading the admit card, candidates must print it and present it to the exam centre on exam day, along with their original photo ID card. The admit card contains important information such as the exam date and specified testing site.


Here is the cut-off based on the UPSC Indian Forest Services prelims result for 2022. The cut-off for UPSC IFoS 2023 will be released once the examination procedure is completed.

General 103.03
EWS 100.34
OBC 102.36
SC 90.91
ST 88.89
PwBD-1 43.78
PwBD-2 57.23
PwBD-3 47.13

The Importance of Proper Documents

You must bring all of the following documentation to the designated examination centre:

  • A current photo ID proof, such as an Aadhar card, PAN card, passport, voter ID, or any other ID card that has been issued by the central or state government.
  • A printout of the Indian Forest Service Admit Card for the exam.

UPSC Indian Forest Service Preliminary Examination Centres Across India

The list of the exam centres for the IFoS Preliminary Examination across India has been mentioned below:

City / UT
Agartala Dharwad Kochi Ranchi
Agra Dispur Kohima Sambalpur
Ahmedabad Faridabad Kolkata Shillong
Aizawl Gangtok Kozhikode (Calicut) Shimla
Ajmer Gautam Buddha Nagar Lucknow Siliguri
Aligarh Gaya Ludhiana Srinagar
Allahabad Ghaziabad Madurai Srinagar
Ananthapuru Gorakhpur Mumbai Surat
Aurangabad Gurgaon Mysuru Thane
Bareilly Gwalior Nagpur Thiruvananthapuram
Bengaluru Hyderabad Nasik Tiruchirapalli
Bhopal Imphal Navi Mumbai Tirupati
Bilaspur Indore Panaji Udaipur
Chandigarh Itanagar Patna Varanasi
Chennai Jabalpur Port Blair Vellore
Coimbatore Jaipur Puducherry Vijayawada
Cuttack Jammu Pune Visakhapatnam
Dehradun Jodhpur Raipur Warangal City
Delhi Jorhat Rajkot


The Indian Forest Services play a crucial role in managing and preserving India’s diverse forest ecosystems sustainably. They work diligently to protect not only the priceless natural resources but also the welfare of the nearby communities that rely on these forests.

Despite facing several obstacles in their role as environmental stewards, such as wildlife protection and deforestation, they remain committed to their goal. The Indian Forest Services act as guardians of our natural heritage for future generations, demonstrating a harmonious balance between ecological protection and human needs.


Q1. Who is eligible for the IFoS exam?

Any graduate with a bachelor’s degree in at least one of the following disciplines: Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, Zoology, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science. Alternatively, a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Forestry, or Agriculture is also acceptable.

Q2. What is the pattern of the Indian Forest Service (Preliminary) exam?

The Indian Forest Service test follows the same format as the IAS Prelims exam. The IFoS Prelims exam consists of two tests, each of 200 marks. Candidates get two hours to complete each examination, which consists of multiple-choice questions.

Q3. What is the salary of an IFoS?

The starting salary of an IFoS officer is ₹56,100 as per the 7th pay commission.

Q4. How many IFoS are selected every year?

There are fewer vacancies for the IFoS exam as compared to the civil services. Every year approximately 100 vacancies come out for Indian Forest Services.

Q5. Is the Indian Forest Service equal to an IAS?

Both the Indian Forest Service (IFoS) and Indian Administrative Service (IAS) come under the All India Services of the Government of India. You have the option to choose between the Indian Forest Service (IFoS) and the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), depending on your interests and professional goals. IFoS officers are responsible for managing, conserving, and protecting forests and wildlife, while IAS officers oversee the administrative operations of the government.

To help you make a decision, consider your passion for environmental conservation or administrative work. These services offer unique opportunities to contribute to the nation in various ways.

Q6. What is the minimum height required for an IFoS?

Male candidates must be at least 163 cm tall, with a 5 cm height relaxation for reserved groups, to meet Indian Forest Service physical qualification requirements. The minimum height requirement for women is 150 cm, with a 5 cm reduction for particular groups.

Q7. How many attempts are there in an IFoS exam?

For general category candidates, the number of attempts is six. For candidates belonging to OBC, the number of attempts is nine and for candidates belonging to SC and ST the number of attempts is unlimited.

Q8. Can I join IAS after IFoS?

An Indian Forest Service officer may sit for the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) and yet hold their existing post simultaneously. Officers from a variety of services, including the Indian Forest Service, are permitted to appear for the CSE conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Depending on their position in the CSE, the officer who succeeds can then opt to join the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or other civil services. However, there are limitations on IFoS Officers’ ability to take the Civil Services Exam while undergoing IGNFA training and until they have completed all academy exams.

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