How to Become CBI Officer in India?

Becoming a CBI officer (Central Bureau of Investigation) is a dream of many of India’s youngsters due to its vast Reputation. This particular Investigation Organisation is well known to the public, but many people don’t know how to become a CBI officer. Don’t worry; take a deep breath. We will take you through all that you need to know!

What is CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation)?

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is an Anti-corruption body of the country. It is the largest research agency in India. The CBI is headed by a director under the jurisdiction of the ministry of personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. The CBI is known for Investigating several numbers of financial crimes, certain offenses, corruption cases, and other prominent cases.

CBI (Crime Bureau Investigation)

Establishment of CBI

During the Second World War, the Special Police Establishment (SPE) was established in 1941 in the War Department of British India to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption in war-related procurement. After some time, it was formalized as India’s government agency to investigate corruption complaints in the Indian government’s various wings by enacting the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act of 1946.

In 1963, the Government of India set up the CBI to investigate grave crimes concerning India’s security, high-ranking corruption, serious fraud, fraud and malpractice, and social criminality, particularly hoarding, dark marketing, and profit-making of essential commodities, with all India and interstate implications. As time passes, CBI began investigating common crimes such as murders, kidnappings, hijacking, crimes committed by extremists, etc.

Organization of CBI

Crime Bureau of Investigation has these following Divisions.

  1. Anti-Corruption Division
  2. Economic Offences Division
  3. Special Crimes Division
  4. Policy and International Police Cooperation Division
  5. Administration Division
  6. Directorate of Prosecution
  7. Central Forensic Science Laboratory

How to Become CBI Officer in India?

There are some ways to become a CBI officer. One way will let you aim directly for the top roles, whereas the other way might lead you to a lower grade. The choice is yours, which one you will select.

  1. UPSC (union public service commission)
  2. SSC (staff selection commission)

ssc and upsc

How to Become CBI officer Through UPSC?

If you want to become the Group ‘A’ officer, you must crack the UPSC examination. UPSC is the fastest way to become the CBI officer, but very tuff to crack. To become a group ‘A’ CBI officer, you have to become an IPS officer first. There is a provision for the IPS officer to get transferred to State Police Cadres, including CBI, IB, and RAW.

Now the question arises how to become an IPS officer? For becoming an IPS officer, you have clear three stages of the UPSC examination.

  • Preliminary Examination
  •  Mains Examination
  • Interview

Preliminary Examination

The first stage of UPSC civil services is the Preliminary Exam. This test is considered the most challenging test at all India levels due to its lowest quality ratio. The IPS prelims exam is qualified in nature; it’s like a shouting examination for the IAS mains exam candidates. To pass the prelims test, applicants must receive at least 33 percent marks. The UPSC sets the prelims exam in two sets, and both the papers are compulsory. In the IPS prelims exam, the questions are asked in an objective Multiple Choice format. Candidates should select the most suitable choice among from four options available. The questioned paper is designed in both English and Hindi. The IPS Prelims Exam pattern and syllabus is very general. Only the right technique and proper research will help an applicant to qualify the prelims and sit in the Mains. Lakhs of candidates appear for the IPS prelims.

The IPS Prelims Examination is composed of two components: Name of the Paper Nature of Paper Duration of exam Questions Marks
1. IPS Exam Paper – I: General Studies Merit Ranking Nature 2 Hours 100 200
2. IAS Exam Paper – II: General Studies (CSAT)


Qualifying in nature 2 Hours 100 200

Both papers have negative marks for wrong answers marked to the tune of 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question. Two marks will be awarded to each correctly answered GS question. But for any question that’s wrongly labeled, 0.66 marks will be deducted from the total.

Similarly, in the CSAT exam, we have 80 questions for 200 marks, correctly answered the CSAT question would attract 2.5 marks each. In contrast, any incorrectly marked question will incur a penalty of 0.833 for each wrong answer deducted from the total.

Syllabus of IPS Premils

Syllabus of GS Exam
  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science
Syllabus of CSAT Exam
  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills, including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving.
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

UPSC Mains Exam

For the Mains process, the UPSC test pattern consists of 9 papers conducted over 5-7 days. Only those who obtain the specified cut off in General Studies I and 33 percent in General Studies II in Prelims will be eligible to participate in the Mains Test.

S.No IPS Exam Paper Name of Paper Nature of Paper Duration of exam Marks
1 Paper – A Compulsory Indian Language Qualifying in Nature 3 Hours 300
2 Paper – B English 3 Hours 300
3 Paper – I Essay Merit Ranking Nature 3 Hours 250
4 Paper – II General Studies – I 3 Hours 250
5 Paper – III General Studies – II 3 Hours 250
6 Paper – IV General Studies – III 3 Hours 250
7 Paper – V General Studies – IV 3 Hours 250
8 Paper – VI Optional Paper – I 3 Hours 250
9 Paper – VII Optional Paper – II 3 Hours 250
Total 1750
  Personality Test 275
  Grand Total     2025

All significant papers, except for the language papers A and B are of a merit rating type. Paper A and B are of qualifying nature, and candidates must score at least 25% in each for the marks from their paper I – Paper VII to be given weightage. Paper A is not compulsory for Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur , Meghalaya , Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim applicants and candidates with hearing impairment unless they can show that their respective Board and university have been excluded from these second or third language courses.

UPSC Interview

This is the final stage of the IPS Exam before they announce the final results. Officially it is called the Interview /Personality Test and counted as a part of the Mains Review for merit ranking purposes. As per the IPS exam pattern, this consists of an interview with the UPSC Board to determine applicants’ suitability for a civil service career. The Board would judge the mental and social characteristics of the candidates by asking questions of general interest.

Mental alertness, vital assimilation abilities, consistent and rational knowledge, consistency of judgment, diversity, depth of interest, social stability and leadership, intellectual and moral competence are some of the Board’s attributes. The maximum marks allotted for the interview stage is 275.

Eligibility Criteria for UPSC Exam

Education Qualifications:

  • The applicant must hold a Bachelor’s degree from any of the recognized universities.
  • Applicants with professional and technical skills recognized by or similar to the government can apply as well.
  • Candidates who have completed the final year of MBBS or other medical examination but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the main examination. However, the university concerned must issue a certificate indicating that the final medical test has been passed.

Age Limit:

According to the Civil Services Age Limit, the candidate must be between 21 and 32 years of age as of August 1 2020 (UPSC CSE 2020), i.e., he must have been born not earlier than August 2, 1988, and not later than August 1, 1999.

Category UPSC Age limit – Upper Relaxation Number of Attempts
General 32 6
OBC 35 9
SC/ST 37 Unlimited(upto age limit)
Disabled Defence Services Personnel 35 9
Ex – Servicemen 37 9
Person with benchmark disability 42 9


  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.
  •  Candidate must be a citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan.
  • Candidate must be a Tibetan Refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, to be settled permanently in India.
  •  Candidate must be a person of Indian Origin who has migrated from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, or Zambia to settle in India permanently.

How to Become CBI Through SSC?

India’s Staff Selection Commission will conduct the SSC CGL exam in four phases: Tier-1, Tier-2, Tier-3 & Tier-4. Whereas the Tier-I & Tier-II exam will be administered online, the Tier-III will be a pen and paper-based exam, and the Tier-IV will be a digital skills examination. Let’s take a look at the test pattern for both of these phases of the SC CGL 2020 Recruitment process one by one.

SSC CGL Tier-1 Test Pattern

The test will be conducted online with four pages, with a total of about 100 questions and a maximum of 200 marks. The entire test is expected to complete within 60 minutes. There is a negative 0.50 mark for each wrong answer. There’s no sectional cut. No point will be deducted if a candidate leaves the question blank or does not attempt to do so.

Serial No. Sections No. of Questions Total Marks Time Allotted
1. General Intelligence and Reasoning 25 50 1 complete Hour
2. General Awareness 25 50
3. Quantitative Apptitude 25 50
4. English comprehension 25 50
Total 100 200  

SSC CGL Tier-2 Test Pattern

The exam will be conducted online, comprising four sections with about 100 questions in each section and maximum marks of 200. There is a negative marking of 0.25 Marks for each wrong answer. There is no sectional cut off. No point will be deducted if a candidate leaves the question blank or does not attempt to do so.

Serial No. Sections No. of Questions Total Marks Time Allotted
1. Quantitative Ability 100 200 2 Hours
2. English Language 200 200 2 Hours
3. Statistics 100 200 2 Hours
4. General Studies 100 200 2 Hours

SSC CGL Tier-3 Test Pattern

Tier-3 of SSC CGL is going to be a descriptive measure. The paper will be in English / Hindi and will be made up of 100 marks. The whole paper needs to be finished in 60 minutes.

Subject Marks Time
Descriptive Paper in English 100 2 Hours

SSC CGL Tier-4 Test Pattern

The SSC CGL Tier-4 Exam is a computer skills examination. It has two steps: the DEST Test & the CPT Test.

DEST: Applicants are expected to type 2000 words in 15 minutes on a computer in English. This test is done to verify the writing skills of the applicant.

CPT: This test is performed to verify the candidate’s skills in Word Processing, Spreadsheets, and Slides Generation.

Eligibility Criteria

Age limit:

Applicants eligible for SSC CGL must be no less than 18 years of age and must not be older than 32 years of age (August 1, 2019). The lower and upper limit of age varies for each post. The age of candidates as present in the 10th/12th certificates will be considered.

Physical Standards:

For Men

  • The height for candidates of the general category must not be less than 165 cms.
  •  Height can be relaxed up to Five cms for hill and tribal members. The chest size should be a minimum of 76 cms with expansion.
  • Candidate should have a vision of 6/6 in one and 6/9 in the other eye.

For Women

  • The height for candidates of the general category must not be less than 150 cms.
  •  Height can be relaxed up to Five cms for hill and tribal members. The chest size should be a minimum of 76 cms with expansion.
  • Candidate should have a vision of 6/6 in one and 6/9 in the other eye.


  • He must be an Indian Citizen
  • He must be a subject of Nepal/Bhutan
  • He must be a Tibetan refugee who moved to India before 1962, to settle down permanently in India.
  • He must be a Person of Indian Origin who has moved to India from Burma, Pakistan, Uganda, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Ethiopia, Zaire, and Vietnam to settle down permanently in India.

Educational Qualification:

The applicant must hold a Bachelor’s degree from any of the recognized universities. Apart from this, candidates can study either in Mathematics / Statistics / Economy as an elective subject or as a compulsory subject.


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is India’s leading investigative agency. Becoming part of this highly-reputed company is a tough nut to crack. The two popular routes applicants seeking to enter the CBI are the Integrated Graduate Level Examination and the UPSC Civil Service Test. I hope this detailed article has cleared your questions on how to become CBI officer. Always note that you are making your destiny. Make sure you spend time and consideration before you make life-changing decisions.

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