Reference material for IFS interview

As the Civil Services Exam and IFS interview dates are coming closer, the number of visitors in my blog is increasing like anything. It has crossed 8000 mark. And the most active posts always show CSE and IFS interview posts at top place. Well, it’s good. At least my experience is helping some aspirants. 

Many a people keep on asking me as to how to prepare for IFS interview. Generally these queries come by way of e-mail. For the benefit of one and all, I would just give here the list of references which are instrumental in the IFS interview. These are as follows:-

  1. Book by Sagariya. (Name is probably Forests and Forestry by NBT). Each and everything of this book. Try to remember important jargon related to forestry sector.
  2. Ministry of environment and forests website. Report of National Forest Commission. It is a comprehensive document, written in lucid style. Extensive reading of this report is highly recommended.
  3. Try to think about the service and develop interest in flora and fauna. Even though it will not develop overnight, still you can try to surf internet and see discovery channel for generating interest. The interest is a key criterion for selection. They check whether it is just other service for you or do you really have a passion.
  4. Scientific names of important species.
  5. Environment chapter of Spectrum’s Science and technology book.

Rest I am unable to recollect now. I will put that up here if anything comes to my mind.  Best wishes to you all.

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  1. Congrats for clearing IFS exam and getting such a great rank. I am an IIT Bombay graduate aspiring to take IFS exam. I have taken Physics and Mathematics as optional subjects. What books do you prescribe for Maths? Maths course is quite comprehensive (so is Physics). Can you share your preparation strategy? Any pointers as where to get study material and guidance?


  2. dear sir,
    I am a metallurgy student of, baroda gujarat. I am hoping to start preparation for IFS exam and i have selected geology and chemical engineering as optional subject, so plz sir tell me some reference books for that subjects.
    I heard that in delhi, J.N.U. provide the material, so if u have an address of that place plz mail me.
    I am awaiting for your reply.
    thank you sir.


  3. dear sir,
    i know u have got no idea about that subject, but one of my friend told me about a book “R.GUPTA”, which is very useful. have u any information regarding to that book. i heard that this book is only useful for IAS, not for IFS.
    so sir give me some suggestion. i want start preparation now but i have no proper material
    plz sir help me.
    thak you


  4. Hi all,
    sorry for late reply to you all. I was busy like anything.

    You will be thoroughly examined medically. Eye test is there, you should not be colour blind. Just check that out about exact medical requirements which is there in the form which is sent for interview.


    No idea friend. I am a Mech. Engg.

    @ Urvashi

    No idea. My friends can help you. You can contact Evolution of Delhi.


    Don’t know the cut-off for last year. In my time it was about 912 or so.( After interview)

    @ Amit Goyal

    Any book shop on Nai sarak or Ber Sarai in Delhi. Jawahir Book Centre usually keeps all of them.


    Indian Forest Service Examination 2006
    Subject Maximum
    Marks Marks
    Mathematics Paper-I 200 122
    Mathematics Paper-II 200 123
    Mechanical Engineering Paper-I 200 087
    Mechanical Engineering Paper-II 200 120
    General English 300 210
    General Knowledge 300 169
    Penalty Marks 0
    Written Total 1400 831
    Interview Marks 300 141
    Final Total 1700 972
    Remarks : Recommended.


  6. sir
    i amechanical engineering final year student
    and want to give ifs exam next year so i want to take physics with mechanical but i just want to know that if i take forestry than will it be easier or not with mechanical engineering .and also tell me that can i rely completely on corrresponding study material provided by vajiram and reddy for general studies also tell me good books for mechanical paper.
    i will be highly oblised


  7. hello sir,
    I am btech graduate(ECE). My primary concern is regarding posting. Its true as you said that we need not worry abt that before exam. But my problem is strange, as much i love arid areas and dry forests, i think i can’t do with rainforests & marsh places, so is there choice for us to choose the state or the forest type in which we wish to work?
    waiting for you sir..thank you


  8. Sir

    Hello sir sorry for my previous mail that was automatically sent. Sir I Belong to Lakshadweep Islands which were geographically Isolated so Geting News very Lately.I Am intented to know about very useful sites and reference materials for chemistry and physics in IFS examination.Waiting for your reply sir.
    Thanking you


  9. sir,
    i have one confusion in my mind.i was a OBC candidate before the supreme court -2008, that divided OBC into creamy and non creamy father is a doctor, but now he is retired from government service and annual income below 250000/-. sir whether now i will come under non creamy layer or creamy layer.
    In the year 2009 i cleared the written part of IFoS-09 as general category candidate. but after the interview, when the final list was declared i came to know that because of 4 or 5 marks my name was not there. It will be great relief for me if u kindly solve my dillema. At last i would like to thank u for ur effort to help IfoS aspirants like us and giving some of ur valuable time from ur busy schedule to others.


  10. sir,
    i have one confusion in my mind.i was a OBC candidate before the supreme court -2008 order, that divided OBC into creamy and non creamy father is a doctor, but now he is retired from government service and annual income below 250000/-. sir whether now i will come under non creamy layer or creamy layer.
    In the year 2009 i cleared the written part of IFoS-09 as general category candidate. but after the interview, when the final list was declared i came to know that because of 4 or 5 marks my name was not there. It will be great relief for me if u kindly solve my dillema. At last i would like to thank u for ur effort to help IfoS aspirants like us and giving some of ur valuable time from ur busy schedule to others.


  11. Hello Sir,My daughter has appeared for 10th std and she wants to pursue IFS training. What subjects she should choose in 11th std.? I am from Gandhinagar, Gujarat,India.Is there any coaching classes located here?What extra she should refer for entering her desired career in IFS? Please guide me.Thanks and regards. Sanu.


  12. Sir,
    I wish to comment on the maintenance of this blog… Please pardon me for my arrogance…
    I see most of the question answered as “I dont know”. This is not the expected reply from people like you…. We expect some answer sir… You might not be knowing the information.. But the thing is you have got a good circle of friends who are in the same field as you are. You are maintaining the blog to help others right…. Then one has to do min. toil to serve the purpose of this blog…

    I dont want to hurt you… Please find this post as a positive feedback and do the needful…


  13. Sir,
    I have qualified for IFoS this year as well as the civil services. In the civils, I will get IRS (IT). Now, I’m in a dilemma whether to opt for Forest or IRS… I have a good knowledge about Forest Service (since i know many Forest officers) but am clueless about IRS. Could you please tell me something about the Service (future prospects, etc) and why you chose IRS over IFoS?


  14. hi Vardhini,
    you should not worry about the ak card dear .I had not got any ak cards for any of these exam , ias , ifs , ies but still i got the permission letter.So u dont need to worry about the ak card .I am sure u will get the permission letter to sit in the ifs 2010 exam . i answered u as ur female.

    Archana madam . i want to clear 1 thing in your mind that Sooner u start the better it is
    1 year is not enough or less so u should start studying from now I hope u will clear the upcoming exams


  15. Dear sir,
    I want to know how to write answers in ifs exam. There is an instruction given in the upsc instruction that write sentence in your own words .What does it mean ?

    “Cutting is defined as any vegetative plant part when detained from the plant is capable of regenerating the missing organs.”

    how would u write this sentence in your own words ?
    iam confused and i cleared ias pre but failed to qualify in ias main
    So i think i have no dea about how to frame the answer in mine words
    so i need to answer from u
    I hope u will answer this question as this question is unrelevant to books on forestry
    reply it


  16. Hi all,
    I think this page has become like a forum. What say, should I bring in a new page for discussion!!

    Sharadji, don’t worry too much. First attempt is a learning exercise. Write answers and get it checked from your teachers. They will give valuable inputs as to how to better your answer writing.

    Archanji, 1.5 year of 8 hours daily study with single minded devotion is enough for IFS. All the best.


  17. Hi Sir ,
    This is the first time I am logged in to your blog I found it really great I am also an aspirant of IFS with Maths and Forestry .
    I know u cannot help me out with Forestry but I need your help for GS , Maths reference books . I have read earlier about Maths reference books please guide me if any more and also please suggest everyone about GS books and study material please

    A Nethra Bangalore


  18. Hi all,
    I am sorry that I could not reply to your queries as I was quite busy in other assignments. Let me try to answer one by one:-

    @ Harish
    I am unaware with respect to Geology and Forestry and may not guide you properly. You can get the relevant books at Jawahar Book Stores, Ber Sarai, New Delhi. The shop owner is quite an interesting fellow. He may tell you the names of books. For rest, please consult Evolution people.

    @ Ashwin
    any science subject in which you have interest and command will do good for IFS. That knowledge is solely in your possession. So, decide accordingly.

    @ Siddharth
    Please browse this site. I have given a detailed list of books for both Mech Engg and GS. All the best.

    @ Priyabrata
    Haven’t you gone through the UPSC website. Please do the needful. :-)

    @ Kumar Himanshu
    With the kind of opaque system the UPSC has, no one can say anything with conviction abt UPSC. But, it is generally believed that there are individual cut-off marks. But how does this matter. If you have got to qualify in this exam, you have to be at your best in all subjects.
    @ Neeraj Pandey
    Sorry boss for late reply. But you posed this question to wrong person. no idea whatsoever about either of the optionals.
    @ sandeep
    Don’t think about time duration and start away immediately. I think intimation to the Department is necessary and not NOC. But you need to verify this. Ok!! All the best.


  19. @ajay yaa v cnt apear fr any other exam till v r in acdmy except fr civil service exam whose pre v hv given before joining ifs @ all forestry guys… Sudhanshu sir is right u cn have a complete set f forestry books frm jawahar book depot .. Dey wil cover mst f d topics except few like civil engg one fr whom u cn take help f ur frnds…nd yaa d owner f shop is very intresting he tried his best to change my optional frm physics wen i fst encounter him….. Bst f luk to all … Fr any forestry discussion plz contact


  20. hi sudhanshu sir, how are you. as i now u have forgotten me. sir i was ur student at shaar study circle. and i am your great fan, now a days i am working in vizag steel plant. and simultaneously preparing for ifos and ies service , i have choosen agriculture with mechanical engg. have i choosen correct subjects or not?, sir please mail me ur phone no. as long time has passed to talk wid you


  21. Sorry friends for replying so late. Actually the questions are so common that answering each one of them requires iterating the same thing again and again. But never mind. Here I go…

    @Sandeep Nodiyal
    Yes. There is reservation. For general categories, the seats differ from year to year. In my year, there were seventeen seats for general. Max there may be fourty. So, folks, the exam is a bit tough..


    More than a year may be required depending on your acquaintance and prior knowledge of the subjects. In my case, the exam took one and half year of preparation. I had one optional as Maths which was completely new and other was Mechanical Engg which, even though was my engineering subject, required quite a bit of time. So, crux is, I suppose, that a time between one to one and half year may be required…I don’t think any preparation is required for English. Only point of emphasis may be not to make ANY grammatical error. For GK, the reliance on class-notes (and not their printed material) of Vajiram and Ravi should be more than sufficient..Emphasis while writing the answers should be on precision, accuracy of facts and simplicity.


    I wonder what to write as your question is very general..Ask something specific..


    Because I felt that IRS is a better option for me, as an individual considering my family priorities. We can get good places of posting in IRS. No way I compare the two services. Both are different, unique in their own and both serve the Government. So, it’s all about a personal choice.


    no idea dear.


    Already mentioned elsewhere in my blog.


  22. sir ,

    in the last year i secured 497 marks and having reservation.
    this year i may be expecting at least 730 marks in the written test.

    could i able to get the interview call.
    ,could you explain that the interview questions asked while in your time in the board, further on specific point of view how should be the interview preparation?.


  23. @ Tanuja
    The word limit is prescribed in the question itself. You have to stick to that mandatorily or else it will be inferred that you can’t state yourself precisely, which is so very required from a bureaucrat. That will result in reduction of marks.
    To make answer impressive, you have to bring in all facts to the answer in a systematic and logical fashion. That’s it!!
    @ Aarti
    ALready mentioned elsewhere in the blog and in comments.
    you may get a call. For questions in the interview, go to Interview category in the blog.!!
    @Naveen Kumar
    I am no astrologer yaar. I can’t forecast things. Books from interview pint of view are already mentioned by me.

    Enjoy folks!!


  24. hi sir
    really appreciate what ur doing for ifs aspirants
    sir my doubt was while i was surfing through the comments in ur blog i read ur reply to some aspirant that
    “one of the optional should be selected in such a manner that it should be the same graduation subject that the student acquired”
    i lost that reply to quote the exact words …………………..
    so my doubt is i am a mechanical engg and i will be graduating coming 2012 i want to give my ifs coming2012 and 2013.i have narrow down my optional to agricultural engg/,forestry/,geology .later i will narrow down to 2,so is it mandatory to select mechanical engg as one of my optional sub.
    will be waiting for ur reply sir
    really appreciate what ur doing…thank u;)


  25.’s not mandatory dear. but it is convenient, isn’t it? it will be easy to write the exam for the subject which you had been reading for last four years..that’s why I took Mech Engg as one of my optionals in both IFS and Civil Services. But it depends on your’s not mandatory to have one of your optionals as your graduation subjects.
    @Tanuja.. thanks for nice words. You should not ask/think about getting good marks in both papers or have got to get the best marks possible in all papers, otherwise success is difficult!!Ok?


  26. guys its time to hold ur breath. IFS result can be out any time between 24 to 26 Dec. My experience says that expected cut out will be around 640 for general. Anything near or above 700 is safe. Best of luck to all of u. Apni mhenat or kismat pe vishwas aur bhagwan ko maska lagane ka time aa gaya hai. Thanks to shekhar sir for guidance to many aspirants including me.


  27. I’ve Cleared IFS and now just filling up the DAF form, I’m too tensed about the interview. UPSC still hasn’t intimidated the dates for the interview, so how many days will it take? I have a little problem in the DAF form, where they ask about the languages How is that section to be filled up? well if anyone else who has/ or is filling the form plz answer my query because I need to know before 15th Feburary. I hope i get something out of here will be checking in till then.


  28. Hello qualified for the IFoS interview..My optionals are VETERINARY SCIENCE & ZOOLOGY.. m doing my masters in Veterinary surgery wat should the line of preparation for viva..I ve already covered the wildlife care, management,treatment ,conservation.should i go for a advance study or basic forestry knowledge ll be okay ? plz tell


  29. sir
    i appeared interview in 2011 . i answered all the questions asked by the board except some sort of confusion for 2-3 questions. and i am expecting success in the final result. that walk test i finished partly, whether there is anything related to the final results based on this.many said final results not based on the walk test. further one more chance for walk is given.
    please clarify


  30. Anup and J D Pati..congrats to both of you…Priyanka, time is very less…keep doing sustained hard work..I am sure u will get through..

    For all successful persons, pl remember, candle loses nothing by lighting another one…pl share your interview and preparation details with me…write a small post, recommend books and send me an email to…I will write a post incorporating your mail.


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  32. Sir, I’m an electrical and electronics engineering graduate and I want to pursue IFS. But I’m lost at deciding the optionals. How to decide on that as I’ve no prior hands in any of the bio subject. Also maths, physics and chemistry seems to be a wide area. Is forestry a wise choice even though I don’t have any bio background? I’ve decided on geology and statistics but I’m not confident if my decision is right. Can you help me with this?


  33. no actually i am already employed in an MNC… wont get time for coaching.
    @sudhanshu sir: Please guide me for mechanical sir, i know it will be difficult for you to give time for the blog, but my time is running and i am working too, Kindly suggest which Subject to give more attention, Sir can you guide how much time, i have to give for my studies, i left college 4 years ago,and from then working……..
    Sir Kindly provide yours Valuabe guidance


  34. @ priya
    Hello, this year’s exam was a different one. Everyone in my friend circle is saying the same.
    To begin with english, no one expected 2 letters and 2 precise writings. They were much simpler though. But consumed precious time. Earlier, it used to be a single letter writing for 50 marks and a single precise writing for 75 marks. This year, the marks hv been distributed i.e 25 each for letters and 35 and 40 resp. for precise writing. We may get more marks due to this. Coz the examiner will judge the letter/precise writing for less marks. So, collectively we may end up in more marks which we would not hv achieved for a single letter/precise writing.
    As far as gk is concerned, the report is bad. Great deviation from the traditional questions. The questions were simpler, but many students could not complete the paper. A 90 marker question with 6 sub-questions was like a boon for everyone. But the other questions were specific and needed accurate answers.
    I am expecting anything between 660-700. It’s not enough. But let’s see.
    Overall, the experience was not satisfactory. I opted for agri and botany as optionals. Here too, i screwed up in agri. I’m expecting anything around 400 in optionals. Not beyond that.

    May i know ur optional subjects?? And how did u perform??

    @faizan….dear, come to delhi and meet professors and students of geology. They will guide you better.


  35. @sudhir…
    You need a ‘master plan’ for dealing with botany. So, I suggest you to first have a copy of ‘syllabus’ and ‘previous year question papers’. Study them and prepare a separate notebook wherein you can sort out topicwise questions that were asked. This work will really help you while studying.

    The next thing: paper 1 deals with pure botany / fundamentals and paper 2 deals with their applications. So, nowadays, paper 2 is becoming more and more application oriented. Keep that thing in your mind while studying. For example, plant biotechnology and plant breeding. You might know everything about them, but try to think about questions like ‘role of plant biotech. in plant breeding’ etc. Ability to write more info in less words matters a lot in IFS.

    Botany books:
    1. Microbiology: an introduction to microbiology by tauro, kapoor and yadav
    Soil microbiology by subbarao

    2. Plant pathology: plant pathology by p.d.sharma, plant pathology by g.n.agrios (soft copy is available at

    3.cryptogams, phanerogams and taxonomy: textbook of botany by a.c.dutta, plant taxonomy by o.p.sharma

    4.embryology of angiosperms: by bhojwani and bhatnagar

    5. Economic botany: by s.l.kocchar

    6. Plant biotechnology: by b.d.singh
    7.plant breeding: by b.d.singh, phundan singh
    8.genetics: b.d.singh, phundan singh
    9.plant physiology: pande and sinha, jain publication
    10. Cell biology: from genetics book of b.d.singh
    11.biochemistry: lehninger (soft copy is available at

    You can bet these books in delhi. I bought them from IARI pusa campus.
    All the best.


  36. @ sudhansu sir .. sorry for the late reply & thanks for the wishes sir
    @ chandu .. my optionals were zoology and veterinary, zoology i failed utterly eventhough i had spend a good lot of my time on it , english as u said the pattern was different and i noticed the second precise only on last minutes but managed to complete , wt gk i should say they come up wt new things every time , i had spend nearly 10 hrs mugging up various sports terms but people’s name was asked this time .another pattern noticed was the difficulty in second paper of each optionals . last year i got 540 didnt clear , this time it was more difficult so i dnt expect to make it .


  37. @chandu
    i appeared in ifos exam this year with physics and maths as optionals.i agree with ur views regarding pattern change and difficulty levels of english and gk but don’t agree with that of optionals. i have no idea about ur optionals but physics paper this year was quite easy, especially paper 2 was very easy and short(provided candidates thoroughly practiced from previous years papers ). most of the questions were repetitive and few interlinked questions were also asked. the first paper of physics which is considered the difficult paper was just of moderate difficulty (much easier than last year). all numericals were easy and most of the questions were factual. i think anybody with thorough preparation could have scored full marks in second paper and 150+ in the first paper.
    same was in the case of maths paper. maths paper 2 (which is considered the difficult paper) was easy due to the straight forward nature of questions, though lengthy. all the questions asked were from standard books and few questions were repeated from previous years. so cross checking of the answers after the exams became easy. i hope anybody with thorough preparation from standard books could have attempted 150+ marks in paper 2 easily(since there were no options in compulsory questions, scoring above 170+ was slighly difficult because generally students tend to leave one unit from paper 2 due to lengthy syllabus). same was my case too!!!. maths paper 1(which is considered the easy paper) was slightly tough, not because difficult questions were asked but because of pattern change.
    in previous years, generally except the compulsory questions, all parts of a question of paper 1 was asked from the same unit. this helped the students to be a bit selective regarding the first paper. this way students used to prepare for 4 units thoroughly for the first paper(out of six units) to save time to devote to the second paper because students have to prepare for almost all units in paper 2 since subparts of a question in paper 2 are asked from various units unlike the first paper. i think upsc might have realized this and in order to compel the students to prepare for paper 1 without skipping a single unit, they mixed the questions from various units under a single main question. that is, all sub parts of a question were asked from different units like paper 2. the weightage of marks given to various units were also changed. this shows how unpredictable upsc has become. but still person with good preparation could have attempted 120+ marks easily and those lucky ones who prepared five units thoroughly(out of six) in paper 1 will definitely cross 150+ marks boundary easily. i think maths physics combo will definitely have a higher success rate this year.what are ur views?


  38. dear i have also given from my view physics paper 1 was more easy bcz it has more numerical part in second paper i m not satiesfy with ur view in 2011, 2 paper was more easy then this year in this year u seen that theoretical part was more and we all know none can get full marks in theoretical parts even in derivation and so paper was also lengthy as in case more derivation from quantum mechanics which require practice and so no one can complete this paper fully so 140 to 150 marks is very good who have good practice in quantum and give to the point ans for theoretical parts in second paper it is very tough to get marks in this range bcz of its theoretical nature but u can get good marks in first paper bcz it has more numerical part and i m agree with ur view that 2 paper was easy it was easy but u seen that it has more theoretical and less numerical part and there was some parts added in every question like in case of 2 question and 7 question so overall we can say that it was easy but less mark fetching paper


  39. secondly it is easy to say one could have done this paper, paper was very easy but in exam hall we do such mistake wo humko baad ma yaad ati ha ya bola ki one could have done this, paper is easy but exam hall ma wahi easy paper bhi difficult lagta ha so give view of paper taking the stress level u generally have in exam hall not out of exam hall i have seen that in 2008 second paper of physics was very very easy but one of my friend who get 3 rank only could fetch 117 marks in second paper so u can expect how it is easy to say could have done and actually how u have done in exam hall


  40. Sir,
    I am preparing for IFS as well as IAS. I get to know that the prelims are same for both of them but can you please guide me about the mains sir? Is it possible sir to compete in both the fields at the same time? Also I was thinking for coaching classes. But is it really nessecery sir? I will be really oblighed if you guide me sir.


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