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Indian Forest Service: Exam Syllabus, Pattern, Books & Preparation Tips

September 7, 2022

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

IFS – Forest Syllabus and Exam Pattern

This article will present information about the IFS – Forest syllabus and its pattern for its different stages. Candidates need to understand the syllabus properly so as to qualify for each exam stage. Here is all the information required by the aspirants.   

IFS – Forest exam syllabus for prelims:

The first stage of the IFoS exam, which we often refer to as the prelims consist of two papers. The first is the General Studies Paper-I and the second is CSAT. CSAT stands for Civil Services Aptitude Test. We refer to this paper as General Studies Paper-II (CSAT). The prelims of the IFoS exam work as a screening stage. However, the marks do not determine the final score of the IFoS exam. As these marks are not added there. UPSC added the CSAT paper in the IFoS exam in 2011.

IFoS pattern and syllabus for General Studies Paper-I and CSAT

Pattern for Paper-I and Paper-II

  • The pattern of Paper-I and II is similar. Both the papers are of two-hour duration. These papers include objective or multiple-type questions.
  • Moreover, all the candidates have to appear in the exam of both papers.
  • Nature wise both the papers are not the same. Paper-I is merit ranking in nature whereas CSAT is qualifying in nature.
  • Furthermore, the candidates need to score more than 33% in the second paper so as to qualify for the mains. Each paper is in a total of 200 marks. 
General Studies Paper-I Merit-ranking2 hours200
General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) Qualifying2 hours200

IFS – Forest Syllabus for General Studies Paper-I:

First, we will talk about the syllabus of Paper-I. It includes a variety of topics.

  • The most important topic in this paper is current affairs. These are both at the national and international levels.
  • Apart from this, some other topics include the history of India and Indian National Movements.
  • Candidates also need to focus on world geography. Some other topics like Polity, Constitution, economics, etc., are also there.
  • Lastly, there is also a mention of biodiversity, sustainable development, ecology, and climate change. 

Know More – IFS- Forest Important Date & Notifications

Syllabus for General Studies Paper-II

The second one as we know is the CSAT paper.

  • The most important topic in this paper is comprehension.
  • Candidates also need to focus on interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Topics like logical reasoning, decision making, analytical ability, and problem-solving are there.
  • Apart from these, there are some topics of class 10th level. Moreover, these include numeracy and data interpretation.

IFS – Forest syllabus for mains

As of now, it is quite evident that the mains exam is the second stage of the IFoS exam. Further are the details about its pattern and exam syllabus. 

IFoS Mains Exam Pattern:

  • In this stage, candidates have to appear in the exam for a total of six papers. However, only two papers are common to every candidate. These papers are Paper-I and Paper-II. All other four papers are optional.
  • Here Paper-III and Paper-IV create the first optional paper. Whereas, Paper-V and Paper-VI constitute the second optional paper. Besides, candidates need to select two optional subjects. For that purpose, they must select the combination from the available subject list. These candidates get a choice to select the desired subjects. Moreover, all these papers are of 300 marks each.
  • In the case of optional subjects, these are descriptive in nature. Candidates get a paper of eight questions. However, there is some relief for the candidates. They only have to answer five questions out of eight given questions.
  • Furthermore, this paper contains two sections, each of four questions. Here the duration of each exam is of three hours. Lastly, another important detail is the overall marks. All these papers make a total of 1400 marks for this stage.

Paper wise syllabus for IFoS mains:

  • Paper-I: The first thing all the candidates have to do is to write an essay. Some questions will be there to judge the candidates’ understanding of English. Further, there will also be a topic on precis writing. It will be in the form of a passage. Lastly, there are topics like short essays and vocabulary.
  • Paper-II: The second paper will be about general knowledge. Every candidate has to cover topics like current affairs. Some topics on Indian politics will be there as well. It also includes the history and constitution of India. The last topic in this paper is geography.
  • Paper-III, IV, V, and VI: The candidates must select the optional papers from the additional subject list. The subjects they chose will include two papers each. Here is the list of all the optional papers. 
AgricultureChemical EngineeringMechanical Engineering
Agricultural EngineeringCivil EngineeringPhysics
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary ScienceForestryStatistics
ChemistryMathematics                     –

This subject combination is not allowed:

  • Firstly, Agriculture with Agricultural Engineering
  • The second one is Agriculture with Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Then, Agriculture with Forestry
  • Fourth is, Chemistry with Chemical Engineering
  • The last one will be, Mathematics with Statistics

IFoS syllabus for few optional subjects (in detail):

Agricultural Engineering:

  • The first one in this sequence is agricultural engineering. It includes numerous subjects. Our first topic is conservation. it includes both soil and water conservation.
  • The second one is aerial photography and remote sensing. One of the important topics is irrigation and drainage.
  • Moreover, some topics are in relevance with agricultural structures. Farm power and machinery are also a part of this.


The syllabus of this paper is vast. The topics are: 

  • First and foremost comes ecology and its relevance. Also, some related topics like natural resources and their conservation are their part.
  • The second one is the cropping pattern. It includes its patterns in varied agro-climatic zones.
  • The next one is physiology. One of the important topics in this one is its significance in agriculture. The history of plant breeding makes another topic.
  • The last one that we will mention here is soil conservation.


Chemistry syllabus includes topics like:

  • The first one is atomic structure
  • The second one is Electrochemistry
  • Then comes the Chemical Kinetics
  • Moreover, it also includes Photochemistry
  • the next one is Coordination chemistry
  • Bio-polymers is also part of its syllabus
  • It also includes Solid-state
  • Lastly, there is also a mention of a gaseous state.

IFoS Syllabus for personality test:

In the last stage of the IFoS exam, candidates must appear in front of the board for a face-to-face interview. The interviewers access their overall personality traits. The board questions the candidates about various topics. These can be local geography or history. Moreover, some questions on current affairs or trending topics are also asked.

Know More – IFS- Forest Admit Card and Interview call letter

Recommended Books

Here are some of the recommendations. You can find these below. These are divided on the basis of the subjects present in the syllabus.

  • Our first subject is science and technology: We will recommend “Reports of the Ministry of Science and Technology.” Apart from this next one is the Biology Textbook of 12th grade. 
  • The second one will be Indian Polity: The recommendation includes Subhash C. Kashyap’s “Our Constitution.” Another recommendation is D.D. Basu’s “Indian Constitution.”
  • The next one is Geography: For this one, we recommend Khullar’s “India- A Comprehensive Geography.”
  • The last one is Indian History & Culture: We will recommend Nitin Singhania’s “Indian Art and Culture.” the next recommendation is a book by Bipin Chandra namely Modern India. Candidates can also go through “Modern India from Spectrum Publication.” This book is written by Rajiv Ahir.

Preparation Tips:

Above all here are some of the tips for exam preparation:

  • First and foremost, start preparing
  • Always, know your syllabus
  • Subsequently, prepare your timetable
  • Also, select your optional papers (possibly the ones you have some hold upon).
  • Apart from this, start reading newspapers
  • Also, keep information about current events around the world
  • Moreover, know your local history and geography
  • Start making notes
  • Most importantly, dedicate the most time to your studies
  • Above all, solve previous year question papers
  • Also, give mock tests positively
  • Read relevant magazines 
  • Furthermore, buy recommended books and read them.
  • Additionally, read toppers interviews 
  • Last and most important, improve your interpersonal and communication skills

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Does IFoS syllabus changes yearly?

Ans: As such there are no major changes. If there will be any future, UPSC will mention it in one of their notifications.

Q2: What combinations we cannot take in the optional papers?

Ans: This subject combination is not allowed:

  • Firstly, Agriculture with Agricultural Engineering
  • The second one is Agriculture with Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  • Then, Agriculture with Forestry
  • Fourth is, Chemistry with Chemical Engineering
  • The last one will be, Mathematics with Statistics

Q3: What is the exam duration of IFoS mains?

Ans: Each paper of the IFoS exam is of 3 hours duration.