Indian Forest Service (IFoS) Exam

The notification for Indian Forest Service Examination will be released on 1st February 2023. Aspirants can check the latest UPSC Notification in the linked article.

The Indian Forest Service (IFoS) is one of the three All India Services of the Union Government, the other two being the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS). It was constituted in the present form in 1966, although the service dates back to 1864 when it was established as the Imperial Forest Service under the British Raj. In this article, you can read all about the Indian Forest Service Exam – pattern, syllabus, how to apply, salary, etc.

IAS 2023 results

Latest Update:

  • As per the official UPSC Calendar 2023, the tentative schedule for the Indian Forest Service examination has been announced.
  • The important dates for UPSC exam 2023 as released by the Commission are as follows:
UPSC IFoS 2023 Exam
Event Important Dates
Official Notification February 1, 2023
Last Date to Apply February 2023
Prelims May 28, 2023
Mains November 2023

Indian Forest Service is usually mentioned as IFoS. UPSC IFS is mentioned for Indian Foreign Service. UPSC IFS is also a part of the Civil Services Exam. Therefore, candidates should be aware of the difference between the UPSC IFS and IFOS.

Candidates can strengthen their preparation for the UPSC Exams by taking the CSAT Mock Test now!! 

To complement your preparation for the upcoming exam, check the following links:

Indian Forest Service Exam 2023

The notification for Indian Forest Service Exam 2023 was released on 2nd February 2023 along with the Civil Services Exam notification. The candidates who wish to appear for this year exam can check and download the notification PDF given below:

IFoS Notification 2022:-Download PDF Here

IFoS Prelims 2023

The Union Public Service Commission will hold a Screening Test for selection to Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination, 2023 through Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2023 which will be held on 28th May 2023. 

Indian Forest Service Exam 2021

Every year, the UPSC conducts the Indian Forest Service exam to recruit officers into the forest service. The chief mandate of this service is to manage the country’s natural resources and implement the National Forest Policy.

IFOS Notification 2021:- Download PDF Here

The Indian Forest Services recruitment 2021 are still ongoing and given below are the details of the latest UPSC IFoS examination.

IFoS Prelims 2021

The Indian Forest Service (Prelims) examination was held on 10th October 2021. There is a common preliminary examination for IFoS and IAS Exam.

The Indian Forest Service (Prelims) examination took place on 10th October 2021. The UPSC Prelims Result was declared on 29th October 2021.

Candidates can check the UPSC Prelims Question papers for 2021 and 2020 given below along with the answer keys.

UPSC Prelims 2021 Question Paper PDF UPSC Prelims 2021 Answer Key
UPSC Prelims 2020 Question Paper PDF UPSC Prelims 2020 Answer Key

The IFoS Prelims took place in 72 UPSC Prelims Exam Centres across India.

IFoS Mains 2021

The Indian Forest Service (Mains) Examination is scheduled to take place from 27th February 2022 onwards for 10 days. The detailed timetable will be released on the UPSC official website.

Since the UPSC Mains 2021 schedule is yet awaited t be released, candidates can go through the UPSC Mains 2020 IFoS official time table given below for reference:

IFoS Mains Exam Date

Forenoon Session (9AM – 12PM)

Afternoon Session (2PM – 5PM)

28th February 2021
  • General English
  • General Knowledge
2nd March 2021
  • Mathematics Paper-I
  • Statistics Paper-I 
  • Mathematics Paper-II
  • Statistics Paper-II
3rd March 2021
  • Physics Paper-I
  • Zoology Paper-I
  • Physics Paper – II
  • Zoology Paper -II
4th March 2021
  • Chemistry Paper- I
  • Geology Paper- I 
  • Chemistry Paper- II
  • Geology Paper- II
5th March 2021
  • Agriculture Paper- I
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science Paper- I 
  • Agriculture Paper- II
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science Paper- II
6th March 2021
  • Forestry Paper- I
  • Forestry Paper- II
7th March 2021
  • Agricultural Engineering Paper –I
  • Civil Engineering Paper –I 
  • Chemical Engineering Paper –I
  • Mechanical Engineering Paper –I
  • Botany Paper- I
  • Agricultural Engineering Paper–II 
  • Civil Engineering Paper –II
  • Chemical Engineering Paper –II
  • Mechanical Engineering Paper –II
  • Botany Paper- II

IFOS Exam – Salient Points

  • The IFoS notification is the same as the Civil Services UPSC Notification which is released by the UPSC every year in February. This is because the prelims exam, which is the first stage of both the civil services and the forest services exams is the same.
  • Candidates should indicate while applying online whether they are taking the civil services, the IFoS, or both the exams. Know more about UPSC Online Application in the linked article.
  • There is less number of vacancies for the IFoS exam (around 100 per year), as compared to the civil services.
  • The mains exam for the IFoS is different from the civil services exam.
  • The eligibility criterion is also slightly different, as explained in the sections below.

Check the IAS Exam details here.

Indian Forest Service Exam Eligibility

The eligibility conditions for the IFoS exam can be categorized under four headings as under:

  1. Nationality
  2. Age limit
  3. Number of attempts
  4. Education

The criterion for nationality, age limit and number of attempts is the same as for the civil services exam.

Read the detailed IAS/IFoS eligibility criteria at the linked article.

  • However, when it comes to the educational criteria, the conditions are different for the forest service exam.
  • Whereas the civil services require any bachelor’s degree, the IFoS exam requires a science or engineering bachelor’s degree from UPSC recognized universities.
  • The candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree with at least one of the following subjects: animal husbandry & veterinary science, botany, chemistry, geology, mathematics, statistics, physics, zoology; OR,

The candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree in agriculture, forestry or engineering.


Every candidate appearing for the examination shall be permitted six attempts. But, the number of attempts will not apply in the case of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates who are otherwise eligible. The number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes is nine.

Indian Forest Service Exam Pattern

The Indian Forest Service Exam is conducted in three rounds. A candidate has to clear one stage to qualify for the subsequent stage. The syllabus for the IFoS exam is similar to the UPSC Syllabus. They are explained below:

Stage 1: Prelims Exam

  • The prelims exam for IFoS is the same as the UPSC IAS Prelims exam. There are two papers, GS I and CSAT, both objective in nature.
  • The cut off for the IFoS exam is higher than for the IAS exam since the number of vacancies is markedly less.

Read more on the UPSC Prelims exam (common round for IFoS and CSE) at the linked article.

Stage 2: Mains Exam

  • There are 6 papers in the IFoS mains exam.
  • All are descriptive in nature. Each paper is for a duration of 3 hours.
  • There are two optional subjects candidates have to choose.

UPSC Indian Forest Service Mains Exam Papers:

Paper Subject Total marks
Paper I General English 300
Paper II General Knowledge 300
Paper III Optional I 200
Paper IV Optional I 200
Paper V Optional II 200
Paper VI Optional II 200

List of optional subjects (two to be chosen) available for the IFoS main exam:

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

Please note that the candidates will not be allowed the following combination of optional subjects:

  • Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Of the Engineering subjects namely, Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering – not more than one subject.

IMPORTANT: Candidates must also note that all the papers will be only in English and this is the only medium of examination in the IFoS.

Only candidates who score higher than the cut off marks in the mains exam will be summoned for the next stage, which is the interview round.

Stage 3: Interview

  • The interview will be for a total of 300 marks.
  • The candidate will be assessed on general awareness, communication skills, intellectual curiosity, critical powers of observation and assimilation, balance of judgment and alertness of mind, initiative, tact, capacity for leadership, etc.
  • Here, the candidate will be interviewed by a Board.
  • A physical test will follow the interview. Here, male candidates have to complete a 25 km walk or run in under 4 hours, and female candidates have to complete a 14 km walk or run in less than 4 hours.

Candidates must review the details about the personality test and the IAS Interview Questions for the upcoming UPSC exam to get a better understanding of the level of examination.

Candidates can also refer to the CSE Syllabus, which has some similarities with the syllabus for the IFoS.

Indian Forest Service Syllabus

IFoS Prelims Syllabus:

The syllabus for the IFoS prelims exam is the same as the civil services prelims exam.

You can check out the IFoS prelims syllabus in detail here.

IFoS Prelims Syllabus:-Download PDF Here

IFoS Mains Syllabus

  • There are six descriptive papers in the mains exam.
  • There are four optional papers, two for each optional.

IFoS Mains Syllabus:-Download PDF Here

For a comparison between the Indian Forest Service and the Indian Administrative Service, click here.

Given below are a few important links that will give a boost to your upcoming UPSC exam preparations-

Mnemonic Tricks to Ease UPSC Preparation Importance of NCERT Books in UPSC Exam Preparation How To Make Notes From Newspaper For UPSC Current Affairs
Questions asked in the UPSC Personality Test/Interview Reasons for Which One Should Not Take Civil Services Exam Speed-Reading Tips for UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation
Top 7 Time Management Tips for IAS Exam Preparation Preparation Tips for Working Professionals – UPSC Civil Service Exam Tips for Writing Quotes for UPSC Civil Services Mains
Tips To Avoid Negative Marks in UPSC Civil Services Prelims UPSC Interview Tips: How to Introduce Yourself? Tips to Prepare for CSAT with Non-English Background
Tips on How to Start Your IAS Preparation during Graduation Top 5 Must-Scoring GS Topics for Prelims Why is Body Language Important for the IAS Interview?

How to Apply for Indian Forest Service Exam?

The mode of application for the Indian Forest Service Exam is the same as for the civil services examination. At the time of applying for the exam online, candidates should mention the exam for which they are applying for. They can apply for both the exams as well.

Read more on how to apply for the civil services exam (and the IFoS exam through the CS prelims) here.

Indian Forest Service Salary

The following table gives the salary and rank hierarchy of IFoS officers.

Grade Designation in state govt. Designation in GOI Basic Monthly Salary
Junior Time Scale Assistant Conservator of Forests/Asst. Dy. Conservator of Forests Assistant Inspector General of Forests ₹56,100
Senior Time Scale Deputy Conservator of Forests Assistant Inspector General of Forests ₹67,700
Junior Administrative Grade Deputy Conservator of Forests Assistant Inspector General of Forests ₹78,800
Selection Grade Deputy Conservator of Forests (Selection Grade) Assistant Inspector General of Forests ₹1,18,500
Super Time Scale Conservator of Forests / Chief Wildlife Warden Deputy Inspector General of Forests ₹1,50,000
Senior Administrative Grade Chief Conservator of Forests Inspector General of Forests ₹1,75,000
HAG scale Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests ₹2,00,000
HAG+ Scale Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Additional Director General of Forests ₹2,05,400
Apex Scale Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Head of Forest Force) Director General of Forests ₹2,25,000

Learn from the success stories of previous year IAS Toppers and accordingly prepare for the upcoming civil services exam.

Related Links:

UPSC Books UPSC 2023 IAS Salary
IAS Coaching PSC Exams UPSC Prelims Paper Analysis
UPSC Prelims Subject-Wise Weightage How Many Optional Subjects in IAS Mains Difference Between Articles
UPSC Current Affairs For IAS Exam The Last All India Rank to get the Prestigious IAS, IPS and IFS UPSC IAS vs UPSC IFS: Comparison

Frequently Asked Questions on Indian Forest Service Exam


Q 1. What is the difference between the UPSC IFS and IFoS exams?

Ans. The UPSC IFS exam refers to the Indian Foreign Service examination, while the IFoS exam is conducted to appoint officers in the Indian Forest Services.

Q 2. What is the educational qualification required to apply for the Indian Forest Services?

Ans. The candidates must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in science or engineering from a UPSC recognised university to apply for the IFoS exam.

Q 3. What is the selection process for Indian Forest Services?

Ans. The Union Public Service Commission is the conducting body for the IFoS exam:

  • Prelims
  • Mains
  • Personality Test

The preliminary exam is the same as conducted for the IAS Exam. The mains phase is conducted separately.


Q 4. What is the lower and upper age limit for IFoS exam?

Ans. The lower age limit is 21 years, while the upper age limit is 32 years. However, specific candidates get relaxation for the upper age limit. The same is notified in the official notification.


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  1. Hi Team

    Suppose I apply for both IAS and IFoS; and give my prelims. But in mains If I opt to write only IFoS exam papers will there be any issue?

  2. Does syllabus change every year or we can use the same syllabus?

  3. so IFOS is tougher than IAS ?

  4. i need test pattern and syllabus for IFS 2021 and CSE 2021 clearly.

  5. Can i take combination in optional subjects Geology + Chemistry

    • Hi
      Yes, you can take this combination. The combination of the optional subject that you can’t opt for is:
      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, and
      6. Engineering subjects combination (Example – Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, etc.)

  6. Is mains for IFos and IAS are different?

    • Dear Aspirant,
      Yes, as per the format of both the exams, IAS and IFoS share prelims, however, mains examination is held separately for these. For examples, CSE Prelims 2020 took place on 4th October 2020, but IAS Mains took place from 7th January 2021 onwards while IFoS Mains took place from 28th February 2021 onwards.