How to Become SDM – Eligibility & Preparation

Are you an aspiring candidate looking forward to the relevant information regarding How to become SDM? Then, here you are at the right place. In this article, I have shared all the detailed information of SDM – Eligibility Criteria, Syllabus, Exam Pattern, and Preparation.

It is the dream of many parents that their children should be Government Officer. SDM is a very appropriate position for such candidates and others who aim to. But you need to work hard with dedication to crack the competitive exam-UPSC.

In this article, I have also shared the tips to crack UPSC Exam. Keeping reading the article till the end to know all about SDM and tricks to crack the exam. So let’s get started.

Who is an SDM

SDM stands for the Sub-Divisional Magistrate who is entitled to be Chief Civil Officer of a District’s Subdivision.

An SDM is responsible for law and order in a particular subdivision. Planning, coordinating and discharging the various responsibility of a subdivision.

SDM has authority over the Tahsildar and other Government employees. He/She can also communicate with government officials on various matters of vital importance.

Full form of SDM

SDM stands for Sub Divisional Magistrate. A State that has a division is known as District. The district is again divided into a part, which is called Subdivision. The person responsible for the subdivision of a District is called SDM.

How to become SDM

To become an SDM, you must hold a graduation degree from a recognized university. Then, you need to apply for CSE Exam conducted by UPSC. After cracking the UPSC exam you become an IAS officer. The first posting after becoming an IAS is that of SDM.

how to become  sdm

Eligibility Criteria

To become an SDM officer you need to possess some eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria to become an SDM Officer are as follows.

Nationality: The candidate should be a citizen of India.

Educational Qualification: The candidate should hold a graduation degree from any university in India. A graduation degree is a must to become SDM. Even the students appearing for the final year of graduation can apply for the Civil Services Exam.

The key solution for the query how to become SDM After the 12th also remains the same as mentioned below. You can apply for the exam in the final year. But you can start your exam preparation immediately after the 12th. AS UPSC exam is one of the toughest competitive exams in India so you to start preparing beforehand.

Age Limit

  • The candidate to be eligible for the exam should at least be 21 years of age. The maximum limit for the examination is up to 32 years as on 1st August 2020.
  • The relaxation for the SC/ST candidates is 5 years. Thus, the maximum limit extends to 37 years.
  • 3 years of relaxation for OBC and the age limit is relaxed up to 35 years.
  • 3 years of relaxation for a person in defense services, who is not able to fulfill the operation with any foreign country.
  • 5 years of relaxation for ex-servicemen which includes commissioned officers, ECO’s/SSC’s Atlas of 45 years of military service as on 1st August 2020 and have been released.
  • 10 years of examination for handicapped, blind, deaf, a person suffering from autism any other intellectual disability, locomotor disability, and multiple other disabilities.

Physical Fitness Standards

A person who is physically fit according to the physical standards set by a UPSC is eligible for the admission to Civil Services Examination.

Number of Attempts

The maximum number of attempts every candidate is allowed is 6 attempts.

Role of an SDM

The role of SDM in a particular subdivision very similar to the role of Deputy Commissioner of a district. But there are few cases and matters where SDM consult the deputy commissioner before taking any major decision. SDM is a person who is responsible to maintain law and order within a particular Sub-district.

Responsibility of an SDM

An SDM has to full fill many responsibilities of a subdivision. He is responsible for various functions within a subdivision. The responsibility and functions of an SDM are as follows.

1. Judicial Functions

SDM of a subdivision is a returning officer for a constituency delivering the time of the Lok Sabha Elections.

2. Developmental Functions

  • SDM plays a vital role in the planning, execution, and implementation of rural development areas in his/her sub-division.
  • He/She is responsible for the growth and development of the subdivision.

3. Revenue Functions

  • SDM has to supervise and inspect the matters related to the assessment of land revenue and collection of land revenue.
  • To look after various departments in the subdivision like agriculture, health, etc.

4. Executive Functions

  • SDM has the authority to ask for any records and registers which are kept in police stations. He can also analyze the records from the registers.
  • SDM can ask any station house officer of a police station to visit him/her regard to any matter or crime.
  • He/she is responsible to maintain peace and harmony in his/ her sub-division. For this, you can bind any offensive or unacceptable element in a particular subdivision.

5. Magisterial Functions

  • To co-operate with the police station in that particular subdivision.
  • To maintain the relations with various communities residing in the subdivision.
  • To take measures in case of emergency in the particular subdivision. At the time of natural calamities or even at the time of festivals.
  • To give various suggestions to the district magistrate of that district.
  • SDM is given inner parts for criminal procedure code to ensure effective supervision and maintains law and order in a subdivision.

Salary of SDM

The salary of an IAS officer appointed as SDM includes basic pay, Dearness Allowance (DA), House Rent Allowance (HRA), and Transport Allowance (TA)

The basic pay of an SDM is Rs. 56100/- with an experience of 1-4 years.

Exam Pattern & Syllabus

To become an SDM officer, you first need to become an IAS Officer. To become an Indian Administrative Service Officer(IAS) you need to crack the UPSC- Civil Service Exam(CSE). UPSC is the central agency of India that conducts the CSE exam for qualifying an IAS Officer. The first posting after becoming an IAS Officer is that of an SDM.

What is UPSC

UPSC-CSE Exam is conducted in three stages namely- Preliminary Exam( CSAT Test) comprising of two papers which are objective type, Mains Exam which includes 9 papers which are subjective type. After qualifying the two phases you are eligible for the Interview Process. To read more detailed information regarding the UPSC exam read the UPSC exam details.

The civil services examination is divided into three stages.

  • Preliminary Exam
  • Mains Exam
  • Interview

1. Preliminary exam

The preliminary exam has 2 papers that are conducted. Each paper has 200 marks a total of 400 marks. The question paper is in two languages namely English and Hindi. The duration of the paper is 2 hours each paper. This examination carries a negative marking of the one-third penalty. That is for each wrong answer there is a negative marking of 0.33 marks. This paper has objective-type questions which comprise multiple-choice questions.

PaperTypeNumber of
Paper 1Objective1002000.332 hours
Paper 2Objective802000.332 hours

Syllabus for the Preliminary Exam

Paper 1Indian History
General Science
Indian Politics
Current Events
General Issues
Indian Geography
World Geography
Social Development
Economic Development
Paper 2Communicational Skills
Intrapersonal Skills
English Skills
English Comprehension
Language skill chosen by the candidate
Decision-making skills
Problem-solving ability
Mental Ability
Basic Numeracy

Paper 1 – Current affairs, Indian History and Politics

In this examination, you need to have very good general knowledge and good general studies of current events going on at the National and international levels. You need to read newspapers to gain general knowledge.

It includes

  • Indian history
  • General Science
  • Indian Politics
  • General Issues
  • Indian Geography
  • World Geography
  • Social Development
  • Economic Development
  • Polity And Governance
  • Environmental Ecology
  • Current Events

Paper 2 – Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)

This paper comprises competencies related to comprehension, interpersonal, and communication skills.

Hereby, it also comprises the subjects mentioned below.

  • Analytical ability
  • Logical reasoning
  • General Mental ability
  • Questions related to decision making
  • Problem-solving
  • English
  • Language Skill
  • English comprehension
  • Interpersonal Skills including communications skills
  • Analytical Ability
  • Basic Numeracy

2. Mains exam

  • After qualifying for the preliminary exam the candidates are eligible for the second round that is the mains exam.
  • Generally, Mains Exams are conducted in the month of January.
  • After the mains exam, the candidate will be liable for the process of the interview.
  • Mains Exam has the descriptive type of questions.

Syllabus for Mains Exam

The total marks for this examination are 1750 marks. Though the Mains exam consists of 9 papers, out of these 9 papers, only 7 papers will be taken for the merit ranking. For the remaining two papers the candidate should obtain the minimum marks as set by UPSC. This exam includes a total of 9 papers namely.

Paper SyllabusMarksDuration
Essay Essay on any topic2503 hours
General studies 1 Indian Heritage, Culture,
2503 hours
General studies 2 Constitution, Governance,
Social Justice
2503 hours
General studies 3 Technology, Environment,
Disaster Management
2503 hours
General studies 4 Ethics, Integrity,
and Aptitude
2503 hours
Optional subject 1 Any2503 hours
Optional subject 2 Any2503 hours
Paper 1 Indian Language
(Anyone of the language)
3003 hours
Paper 2 English language3003 hours


To write an essay on any one topic. You can choose the option of your choice from the given options.

General Studies 1 – Indian Heritage and Culture

  • Indian Culture
  • Modern Indian History
  • History of the world
  • Society
  • Geography
  • Events, Forms, and Effects on Society

General Studies 2 – Indian Constitution and Indian Politics

  • The Constitution Of India
  • Amendment Procedure
  • The Political System
  • Central Government And Administration
  • The Electoral Process
  • Administrative Law
  • Central And State Government Privileges
  • Public Services
  • Social Welfare And Social Legislation
  • Control over Public Expenditure

General Studies 3 – Science And Technology

  • Energy
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Biotechnology
  • Disaster Management
  • Nuclear Policy Of India
  • Space Technology
  • Environment
  • Security
  • Agriculture
  • Economy

General Studies 4 – Ethics And Human Interface

  • Ethics and Human Interface
  • Aptitude
  • Attitude
  • Integrity
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Public Service Values And Ethics in Public Administration
  • Probity in Governance

Optional Subjects

There are 2 Papers on Optional Subjects. The candidate is supposed to choose any 1 optional subject out of 48 total options. The 2 papers are combined and are of a total of 500 marks.

You need to be very careful while choosing your optional subject. You must know which optional subject will work best for you.

English And Language Papers

The pattern of both papers is almost the same in nature. The English language is a compulsory language. Whereas, other languages can be chosen from a list of languages.

The pattern of the paper is as follows.

  • Essay– 100 Marks
  • Comprehension– 60 Marks
  • Precis Writing– 60 Marks
  • Translation from English- 20 Marks
  • Translation from Chosen Language– 20 Marks
  • Grammar– 40 Marks

Please Note: The candidate is free to choose his writing language as English, Hindi, or any other language listed in the Indian Constitution.

Also, Read

3. Interview

After cracking the Mains Exam you are qualified for the Interview Process. The personality Test is 275 marks. The main purpose of the interview purpose is to judge the candidate’s suitability for the civil service position and capability to take responsibility. The Board judges the candidates on various parameters including mental and social traits.

During the interview subject knowledge, personal skills, as well as Mental Ability, is tested. In the interview, only academics knowledge is not tested but the personality test is all about how much the candidate is alert and all aware of the events happing around. The marking criteria for the Personal Interview Process are based on mental alertness, logical reasoning ability, clear exposure, proper judgment, and intellectual ability.

After cracking the final round of interviews a candidate is qualified to become an IAS officer. When you qualify for the interview round you become IAS Officer. The first post after becoming an IAS Officer is SDM.

Syllabus for Interview

  1. This is basically a question and answers session
  2. The interview is nothing but a Personality Test.
  3. Even current affairs and General knowledge questions can be asked for an interview.

Books & Study Material

To crack the UPSC examination you need to have General Knowledge. For this, you need to keep on reading the newspaper. Hindu Newspaper, Jagran Josh, Economic Times, and Indian Express are something I would suggest to enhance your general knowledge and current affairs.

Other lists of books that I would suggest are as follows.

  • Indian Polity For Civil Service Examination -Indian Polity by Laxmikanth
  • Indian Year Book
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • Oxford Geography Atlas
  • A Brief History of Modern India
  • Indian Art And Culture
  • Fundamentals of Geography(NCERT)
  • Concise History of Modern India by Sujata Menon
  • Facets of Indian Culture
  • The Constitution of India by P.M Bakshi
  • Indian Economy by Mishra and Puri

Tips for UPSC Preparation

1. Early Preparation

MPSC is one of the toughest competitive exams. It is not going to be an easy task to crack it. Simultaneously many candidates also apply for vacancies. So if you want to come out with flying colors in this competitive exam you should start your preparation early.

Last moment studies are not at all going to help you. Start your UPSE-CSE Exam Preparation after the 12th itself. You will get the total span of the graduation period to prepare for the examination.

2. Attention on all the subjects

Give overall attention to all the subjects. Focus more on the subject which you find difficult. Also, pay more attention to the technical subjects.

3. Solve all your doubts

Try solving all your doubts at that particular time only. Do not proceed further by keeping a doubt. Get a solution to your doubts and issues.

4. Constant Reading

If you want to crack MPSC Exam it is mandatory for you to develop a reading habit. Read more newspapers. Surely, this will enhance your General Knowledge and Current Affairs.

5. Time Management

Proper time management and scheduled time table is a perfect key solution to crack this examination. Balance time management with all the subjects and distribute the time evenly.

6. Smart Study with proper guidance

The prior most step before starting the preparation is to understand the examination pattern and syllabus. Study accordingly-is a smart study.

7.Previous Year UPSC Paper Solving

After the preparation revision is a must. Yes, I do agree but with revision previous year paper solving is also a must. You will understand the paper pattern and will be used to and prepared for the examination.

UPSC Topper Interview

UPSC Topper Dr.Jitendra Agrawal’s interview questions. He ranked UPSC-128 Rank in 2019. Read his detailed information.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, this was all about how to become SDM. Hope this relevant detailed information on SDM might have solved all your related queries. Yet any more queries you can ask me. For asking you can get connected to me by commenting in the comment box. I will get back to you with a proper solution.

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  1. Dear sir,good morning,my grand son he is in 5th class ,he is good in study he wants to know deeply knowledge about local government , organisation chart with detailed duties of all district govt officers and elected members of district administration of Faridabad ,Haryana .

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