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The Ideal Age and Right Time to Commence Preparing for the IAS Exam

During the early phase of one's career, only a small number of individuals possess a definite idea about their desired profession. In contrast to twenty years ago, there exists an abundance of opportunities for us now. Both students and parents are becoming increasingly informed and up-to-date in order to empower young learners in establishing their career objectives at an appropriate age. A commonly asked question regards when is the ideal time to commence preparing for the Indian Administrative Services (IAS)?

According to UPSC standards, the minimum age requirement for aspiring IAS students is 21 years. Many young individuals become fascinated by the prestige and societal recognition that comes with serving their country when they see others in such esteemed positions. The power held by an IAS officer and the respect bestowed upon them motivates these youngsters to dream of a similar future at an early age. However, as time passes, many students abandon this ambition due to various factors such as intense competition levels within the IAS examination and low passing rates. Nonetheless, there are still numerous enthusiasts who wish to pursue their dreams but lack clarity on when they should begin preparing for these challenging exams. It's important here to distinguish between two aspects - preparing for the IAS exam itself versus actually appearing for it.

In this article, we explore the question of when is the ideal time to begin IAS exam preparation. While certain individuals with a focused approach towards their objectives commence studying for the exams immediately after completing SSC, others opt to wait until they have finished their graduation.

Preparing IAS Exam From The Age of 16

It is commonly observed that children are motivated to pursue a career in civil services if they have family members who hold positions as IAS or IPS officers. In such cases, these individuals receive valuable guidance and often begin preparing for the examination at the age of 16 immediately after completing their board exams, without waiting to finish their graduation.

Because they come from a family of civil servants, they are aware of the level of intelligence and effort that is required by a child. The advantage of starting preparation at 16 years old is that it provides them with ample time to comprehend the selection process and intricacies involved in the IAS examination. This early start enables them to establish a solid foundation necessary for successfully passing this exam on their initial attempt.

In addition to advantages, there are also drawbacks. The format of the UPSC examination is not consistent and undergoes periodic changes. This means that by the time students reach 21 years old and become eligible to participate in the exam, there may be alterations in syllabus, subjects, or pattern. While it is wise to build a foundation during preparation, it's important to note that if students fail after dedicating five years (from age 16 to 21) towards this endeavor, they often experience significant levels of frustration.

The Ideal Age to Begin Preparing for IAS at 18 Years

Starting the journey of IAS at 18 is considered ideal because it aligns with students completing their school exams and enrolling in college for graduation. This age allows them to pursue both IAS studies and their chosen subjects in college simultaneously, which proves beneficial for both courses. Many students prefer this age as it facilitates selecting optional subjects in the IAS exams while reducing stress levels and aiding time management. Moreover, commencing preparation for the IAS exam at such an early stage increases the likelihood of cracking it successfully on the first attempt.

Starting from the age of 21, one can begin preparing for the IAS

There are some students who choose to wait until after graduation before beginning their preparation for IAS exams. Once they have completed their studies, these aspiring IAS officers can dedicate 100% of their time towards preparing for the UPSC exams. We have numerous examples of successful IAS toppers who began their preparations at the age of 21 and are now holding esteemed positions in the civil services. They too follow an updated study plan that aligns with the latest exam pattern, as long as they pour consistent dedication into it. While many aspirants solely focus on studying during this period, there are also those who opt to take up part-time jobs alongside preparing for IAS exams. However, it is advisable to prioritize concentration on exam preparation unless financial circumstances necessitate having a job simultaneously.

At this age, there will be a high level of expertise, maturity, and sincerity towards the exams. The students have a clear vision and are more dedicated to successfully achieving success in cracking this examination.


There is no specific age for commencing preparations for IAS exams. It varies based on an individual's financial capacity and mental ability to comprehend information. Nevertheless, experts recommend initiating the preparation at 18 years of age as it allows students ample time for planning and studying. Additionally, one should also consider the upper age limit specified by UPSC when appearing in the exam.

Courses offered by SNM  IAS Academy are :

IAS Exam Coaching in Chandigarh

HAS Coaching in Chandigarh

PCS Coaching Chandigarh 

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