When searching for UPSC exam preparation tips, I came across a question on the difference between Civil Services exam and IAS exam. The person has written, “When I say to the experts that I am preparing for IAS, they laugh at me and suggest me to change my statement and say I am preparing for civil services.”

The first thing that came to my mind on reading this was “What is the difference between IAS and Civil Services?” Are you also thinking the same thing?

Most of the times people use the terms Civil Services, UPSC and IAS exam interchangeably. But there is a difference between both of them. Let’s have a look at the difference to understand the exam better.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is a constitutional body that conducts several entrance exams every year to fill the higher positions in different Government departments of India. Some of the major competitive exams UPSC conducts are Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Central services for Group A and Group B, Indian Forest Services (IFtS), etc.

So for the people who get confused and use UPSC exams and IAS exam interchangeably, UPSC is a constitutional body and IAS is a type of exam that is conducted by it. Though both UPSC and IAS are abbreviations and have a minor similarity that these are related to government body, majorly these two are different from each other.

Is There Any Difference Between IAS and Civil Services Exam

Civil Services is a broad term that includes preparation for all the prestigious exams that can help you get powerful positions to serve the nation. By preparing for civil services exam, you can appear for IAS, IPS or IFS. As Civil Services exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission, this is also termed as UPSC exam.

While UPSC is a commission IAS is the top position that people get after clearing the exam. UPSC is the ruling body that conducts civil services exams in three parts: Prelims, Mains and Personal Interview. To get an administrative position, you need to clear the exam with good ranks.

The students need to strive hard to clear the exam. It includes broad syllabus divided into varied groups. To ensure that students clear the exam in the first attempt, the look for the top coaching institutes and go through all the study material and test series provided by them. First, the students need to clear Prelims; those who clear it, sit for the Mains exam and the successful candidates go for face to face interview for the final selection.

Not just the exam but the recruitment of the qualified candidates in IAS exam also comes under the domain of the UPSC, under the Department of Personal & Training.

Final thoughts:

In short, UPSC is not an exam; rather, it is a constitutional body responsible for conducting all the exams while IAS is a type of exam conducted by the body to select the suitable candidates for high-profile administrative positions. Though, you can find many coaching institutes promoting UPSC prelims and mains test series, in reality, it is for Civil Service or IAS exam.

Hope now you have a clear understanding of Civil Services and IAS exam. Next time if someone asks you that for which exam you are preparing, give them a precise answer.

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