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What is the Distinction in Interviews for IAS and IFS Postings? Officer Shares


Regardless of preliminary setbacks in UPSC CSE makes an attempt, Harsimran Singh Cheema continued, attaining an All India Rank of 16 in his first try at UPSC IFS in 2022. He shares the distinction in preparation technique for IAS and IFS, sharing ideas that labored for him.

Whereas scrolling by way of Instagram, Harsimran Singh Cheema got here throughout a profile suggestion for an Indian Forest Companies (IFS) officer from Madhya Pradesh. As he explored the officer’s feed, he realized concerning the prestigious Indian Forest Service.

“I used to be amazed by the varied obligations of a forest officer in defending our forests and supporting the neighborhood. With the rising affect of local weather change and heightened give attention to environmental points, I realised there are numerous alternatives for significant work on this area,” he says.


“This realisation sparked my curiosity within the service, and it was then that I made a decision to take the examination,” he provides.

Previous to this, Harsimran had already tried the Union Public Service Fee Civil Companies Examinations (UPSC CSE) 5 occasions with out success. “I used to be additionally approaching the age of 32, the utmost restrict for a common candidate within the UPSC. I wished to present it one final strive since I had nothing to lose,” says Harsimran, who was then working because the Inspector of Cooperative Society in Punjab.

After a number of failed makes an attempt in UPSC CSE, Harsimran lastly achieved a exceptional feat on his first try within the UPSC IFS (Indian Forest Service) examination in 2022, securing an All India Rank of 16 on his first try.

Currently, Harsimra is undergoing training at Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy in Dehradun.
Presently, Harsimra is present process coaching at Indira Gandhi Nationwide Forest Academy in Dehradun.

We sat down with him to grasp the distinction between IAS and IFS and the preparation technique that led him to success in his first try at IFS.

Decade-long journey to changing into an IFS Officer

Initially from Jalandhar, Punjab, Harsimran shares the story behind his inspiration to affix the civil companies. “Once I was a baby, my mom would inform me tales about her dream of changing into an IAS officer. Nevertheless, at the moment, the setting was not conducive for girls to pursue larger schooling and jobs. Alternatives had been restricted, and oldsters primarily centered on marrying off their daughters. She hoped to fulfil her dream by way of me, and I wished to attain this for her,” he shares.

After finishing his civil engineering diploma from the DAV Institute of Engineering and Expertise in 2013, Harsimran labored within the personal sector for a yr. In 2014, he determined to depart his job and put together full-time for the UPSC-CSE.

Harsimran cleared the Prelims on his first try however couldn’t clear the Mains. This sample continued in his successive makes an attempt in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, he managed to clear the Mains however didn’t make it to the ultimate listing after the interview spherical. “By that point, I used to be unemployed, and I used to be not getting success in my makes an attempt. I used to be disheartened,” he says.

He felt it was excessive time to work on his Plan B — securing a authorities place within the Punjab State Civil Companies. “In 2017, I took up a job as an Inspector of Cooperative Society. This position allowed me to watch the functioning of the Authorities on the grassroots stage. It was an eye-opener for me. I realised that whereas civil companies are sometimes glamourised, the work of presidency officers is just like every other job, with targets and targets to fulfill,” he provides.

Harsimran secured an All India Rank of 16 on his first attempt at UPSC-IFS.
Harsimran secured an All India Rank of 16 on his first try at UPSC-IFS.

Speaking concerning the significance of getting a plan B, he says, “I wouldn’t advise aspirants to spend years and years solely on examination preparation. This examination isn’t every thing. It’s necessary to diversify and never put all of your eggs in a single basket. That ought to be your preliminary strategy. Many individuals waste years chasing glamour. As a substitute, dedicate two to 3 years of exhausting work, and for those who’re unable to clear it, it’s completely effective to discover different alternatives.”

Alongside your job, you possibly can put together for this examination. Arduous work by no means goes to waste; I can attest to this after nearly 10 years of my journey, which luckily culminated in success on this area,” he provides.

In 2021, he started getting ready for forest companies alongside his full-time job. “As this was my final alternative to get into the service, I used to be nervous. However lastly, I tasted success in my first try at IFS,” says Harsimran, who clenched an AIR of 16 within the 2022 examination.

IAS vs IFS — How totally different is the preparation course of?

In UPSC, candidates can select their most popular ranks, choosing both IAS, IFS, or each. They’ve separate makes an attempt for every. Initially, Harsimran centered solely on IAS (CSE). Nevertheless, on his closing try, he determined to pursue IFS, a choice that proved fruitful as he efficiently cleared it on his first try.

Speaking concerning the adjustments that he made in his technique earlier than showing for forest companies, he says, “The cutoff for the forest service examination is usually larger than that for civil companies, requiring candidates to place in additional effort proper from the preliminary stage. I needed to elevate my Prelims preparation to a complete new stage.”

Harsimran secured 210 marks out of 300 in the personality test round.
Harsimran secured 210 marks out of 300 within the character take a look at spherical.

He continues, “To arrange successfully, I looked for UPSC query papers from the final 10 years. This helped me perceive UPSC’s expectations and gauge the adequacy of my preparation. Moreover, I centered on mastering topics that usually problem different candidates, giving me a aggressive edge.”

To realize an edge over his rivals, Harsimran burdened reverse engineering. “I recognized probably the most difficult questions from earlier years’ query papers and diligently looked for related info on-line. As soon as I discovered the suitable supply books, I caught to them to realize a deeper understanding of the themes,” he provides.

With this technique, he efficiently cleared the Prelims and Mains phases in 2022. He mentions that he devoted roughly a month and a half to arrange for the interview spherical. “It’s to be famous that the interview rounds for each CSE and IFS are totally different. Whereas the previous is on common questions, the latter stresses on technicalities of the forest service,” he informs.

“Whereas common solutions would possibly suffice within the Civil Companies Examination (CSE), the board for the Indian Forest Service (IFS) expects scientific and sustainable options,” says Harsimran, who secured 210 marks out of 300 within the character take a look at spherical.

“Whereas getting ready for the interview, I lined primary questions on my background, job expertise, levels, hobbies, and pursuits. Moreover, I centered on technical features associated to forestry,” he says, including that in the course of the interview spherical, he was requested about varied sorts of forest fires and methods to enhance groundwater high quality affected by the overuse of chemical fertilisers in farms.

Edited by Pranita Bhat. All pictures: Harsimran Singh.



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