IFS Mains Strategy – Guest Article(2nd in the series) by Mr.Prasanth IFS (AIR 16,TN Rank 2)

Firstly congratulations for those who cleared Indian Forest Service prelims. I suggest you to Read Part 1 here, Before heading ahead.


Am I eligible?
IFS requires a science background in graduation.


The candidate must hold a Bachelor’s degree with at least one of the subjects namely Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics and Zoology or a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, Forestry or in Engineering of any of Universitie


For Eg, BA Lit , MBBS are not eligible for IFS exam.


How to choose optional?
Indian forces service exam has two optional each carrying 400 marks totalling of 800 marks with 4 total papers. the main difference from Civil Service exam is that we don’t have optional such as Geography sociology public administration et cetera.


Choosing Science based optional can be a benefit if you have done your graduation in that subject. Most people usually choose optionals geology and Forestry combination or Forestry and their graduation as combination.
it should be noted that people using other science optional too score equally well.  For eg mathematics optional is scoring consistently very high marks
Forestry optional can be comfortably completed in 45 days and the other optional geology needs similar time.


Did you attend coaching?
Karthikeyan sir Classes at Shankar IAS Academy for Forestry.
Geology Guidance from a senior at ARAM Academy.


Is it necessary??
Maybe Not. Except for the systems which needs some guidance, the rest can be done oneself.


About Forestry optional


The paper consists of two parts Paper 1 and Paper 2.
Paper 1 . Part1 is more of Technical content which includes systems of forest management which needs more time to study.
Paper 1 Part 2 and the second paper has more of general studies with more relevance to forest and its management, and be studied on own and it is understandable.


Apart from the above suggestions having more Forestry based writing will help gain more marks such as
  1. Writing examples based on systems of forest management
  2. Using scientific names of species instead of general names
  3. Quoting real forest examples such as Sal forest , teak forest in Kerala.
  4. Focus more on Fringe topics which are usually not covered during your preparation
  5. Reading old question papers will help.
  6. Diagrammatic representation of forest and Systems will help.
  7. Quote examples with Systems.

for other details click here  (Forestry optional)

Geology Optional
The books and reference links can be accessed here. Geology optional
Apart from preparation and studying, the following has to be kept in mind,
  1. Geology is Different from Geography. Hence the knowledge of Geography might not help in larger way here. In fact you will get lesser than average marks when you attempt geography questions in Geology paper.
  2. This equally means that people from no geography in civils exam can attempt with geology optional here.
  3. You need to write answer in Geology language and not in geography language. You need to use Age, eons, epochs, rock types , stratas etc whenever needed.
  4. Diagram will fetch good marks.
  5. Try attempting [problems, formula based question to save time and get more marks.


On General Knowledge paper?
The paper is of 300 Marks. And will have around 30 questions of 10 marks each, probably divided in 5-6 sections of History, Polity, Governance, geography, Science or so.
Unlike GS in CSE, the GK paper here is more of factual and less of analytical. Which also means that more you give points, more you get marks. The only problem you will face here is paper completion. Practice is the only key to crack this paper.


On General English paper?
This paper is also of 300 marks.
On dealing it part wise,
The essay part: Here The language is equally important along with content, unlike your CSE essay paper where content matters most.


Letter and report Part: I suggest you to Follow Wren & Martin to know how to write a letter and report.
There is No single Format , I suggest you to look up online to check out few formats and choose your comfortable one.


Precise and Comprehension : Don’t repeat the words and lines in Essay. Understand and make it concise.


For Error correction I would suggest you to do few online tests available and do similar online test for other 1 Mark questions. These are free tests that available over a simple google search.


Except for Optionals, The rest can be covered in few days time, But prepare it effectively to score good marks here. So Prepare for optional for the most part of your answer..


Now it is time to Start preparing for Mains.
Although there is about 2 month time after civils mains, A small start even before, the CSE Mains Will give a good edge for Forest service.


I will give the Interview Preparation strategy in next post and it will be before the IFS Mains exam gets over. That section will have Various transcripts along with it(IFS Transcripts and CSE).
                                                                                              -Thanks to Mr.Prasanth IFS.

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