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Overview of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Examination

The Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Examination is a competitive exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year to select candidates for the diplomatic service of India.

The IFS exam is one of the civil services exams that also includes the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Police Service (IPS), and others.

The IFS exam is considered to be one of the most prestigious and challenging exams in India. The IFS Examination is known for its high level of competition, as thousands of candidates from diverse backgrounds appear for the examination each year.

The examination requires deep and more preparation and a thorough understanding of subjects such as international relations, Indian history, politics, economics, and current affairs.

The IFS exam has three stages, the Preliminary, the Mains, and the Interview.

The Preliminary stage consists of two objective-type papers:

  1. General Studies
  2. General Studies (also known as CSAT).

The Preliminary stage is only a screening test and the marks obtained in this stage are not counted for the final merit list.

The candidates who qualify for the Preliminary stage are eligible to appear for the main stage. Preliminary examination is an objective-type test that assesses the general knowledge and aptitude of candidates.

It includes subjects such as current affairs, history, geography, economics, and English language skills. Candidates who clear the preliminary examination are eligible to appear for the main examination.

The main stage consists of nine descriptive-type papers: one essay paper, four general studies papers, two optional subject papers, one English language paper, and one Indian language paper.

The candidates have to choose one optional subject from a list of 26 subjects. The main stage tests the candidates’ knowledge, analytical ability, and writing skills.

The marks obtained in this stage are counted for the final merit list. Optional subjects can be chosen by the candidates based on their personal interests and educational background.

These subjects include subjects like literature, history, political science, sociology, economics, and more.

The Interview stage is also known as the Personality Test. It is conducted by a board of experts who assess the candidates’ suitability for the diplomatic service.

The Interview stage tests the candidates’ mental alertness, communication skills, leadership qualities, and awareness of current affairs. The marks obtained in this stage are also counted for the final merit list.

The final merit list is prepared by adding the marks obtained in the main stage and the Interview stage.

The candidates who secure the highest ranks in the merit list are allotted to the Indian Foreign Service according to their preferences and vacancies.

The IFS officers undergo rigorous training at various institutes before joining their postings abroad or in India.

The IFS Examination is a challenging examination, but it is also a rewarding one. The IFS officers have the opportunity to represent India on the world stage and to play a role in shaping India’s foreign policy.


As we all are aware, the IFS Examination is a great opportunity for those who want to pursue a career in diplomacy. Digital Seva Center. Will guide you and provide you with the right guidance if you are interested in a career in diplomacy, the IFS Examination is the right exam for you.

If you are interested in this field,  Digital Seva encourages you to learn more about the IFS Examination and to start preparing for it. Digital Center provides you with full support and assistance as we offer online services related to govt. services and users can avail of loan assistance services, bill payments, recharges, insurance payments, etc.

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