UPSC CSE Syllabus : UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus

UPSC CSE Syllabus : UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus
UPSC CSE Syllabus : UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus

U     nion Public Service Commission ( UPSC CSE Syllabus ) Civil Service Examination (UPSC CSE) is a national level entrance examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) among many others.

  •  Conducting Authority: UPSC CSE is conducted by Union Public Service Commission. The Government of India recruits its civil servants and officials on the basis of merit, the middle management positions in the bureaucracy are buried through competitive exams.
  •  Exam Pattern: UPSC have 3 exams:
    •  Prelims Exam (CSAT):  The prelims exam consists of Multiple Choice based Objective type questions and the syllabus is General Studies & Engineering Aptitude Syllabus.
    •  Mains Exam:  The mains exam consists of both Multiple choice based objective type questions and descriptive questions and the syllabus is Mental Ability, General Studies & Engineering Aptitude Syllabus.
    •  Personal Interview:  Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the Personality Test/ Interview.
  • Candidates who belong to the general category can have a maximum of 6 attempts in the UPSC Civil Services Examination.
  • The recruitment is done for Group-A and Group-B services. Group-A Services include IAS, IFS, and IPS among many others.

The UPSC Civil Services Exam Syllabus consists of the following topics which are listed below:

  •  Phase 1:  Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)
  •  Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)
  •  Phase 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)

Phase 1: Preliminary Examination ( UPSC CSE Syllabus ) 

 The Preliminary Examination is composed of two components: 

 1) General Studies 

PaperSubjectsTotal MarksDuration
IGeneral Studies (GS)2002 Hours 
IICSAT2002 Hours 


 2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 

Broadly, the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination consists of two papers of objective type, each of 200 marks (hence totalling 400 marks) and of two hours duration. In order to qualify for the Civil Services Mains, a candidate must attempt both the papers.  Further, the General Studies (GS) paper consists of 100 questions, while the CSAT paper consists of 80 questions. Both papers have negative marks for wrong answers marked to the tune of 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question. To further illustrate this, each correctly answered GS question will be awarded 2 marks. So, 0.66 marks would be deducted from the total for every question that is wrongly marked.Similarly, in the CSAT paper, since we have 80 questions for 200 marks, correctly answered CSAT question would attract 2.5 marks each, while every wrongly marked question would attract a penalty of 0.833 for each such wrong answer, which will be deducted from the total.

Questions that are not attempted will not attract any negative marks.

1) General Studies 

The General Studies test is the first paper of the preliminary examination. This test is intended to test the general awareness of a candidate in a wide range of subjects that include: Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and associated UPSC current affairs.

 2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 

  • T    his test is intended to assess the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the occasionally asked ‘Decision Making’ questions.The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempt from negative marks.The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam.The marks obtained in the Prelims will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list.

 Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I) 

  • C     urrent 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation General Science

 Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper II) 

  • C     omprehension ,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)

Phase 2: Mains Examination ( UPSC CSE Syllabus ) 

  • T    he Mains examination constitutes the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination. Only after successfully qualifying the prelims examination would the candidates be allowed to write the Mains examination.The Mains examination tests the candidate’s academic talent in depth and his/her ability to present his/her understanding according to the requirements of the question in a time-bound manner.The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers, in which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each:

I. Any Indian Language

II. English Language Paper

 Criteria for qualifying the Language Paper: 

The papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates who attain 30% marks in Indian Language Paper and 25% marks in English Language Paper as a minimum qualifying standard in these qualifying papers, will be taken cognizance of, for evaluation.

In case a candidate does not qualify in these language papers, then the marks obtained by such candidate will not be considered or counted.

 Structure of the language papers: 

The type of questions asked are –

  • Essay – 100 marks
  • Reading comprehension – 60 marks
  • Precis Writing – 60 marks
  • Translation :
    • English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
    • Compulsory language to English – 20 marks
    • Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks

The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.

Let us take a look at these papers:




Paper – I Essay

(Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice)

Paper-IIGeneral Studies- I

(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

Paper-IIIGeneral Studies- II

(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 

Paper-IVGeneral Studies- III

(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

Paper-VGeneral Studies- IV

(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

Paper-VI Optional Subject – Paper I250
Paper-VIIOptional Subject – Paper II

(A Candidate can also take up literature as an optional subject and candidate need not be a graduate in that language’s literature.)


 Phase 3: Interview/ Personality Test (275 Marks)

  • C     andidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/    Interview’. These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in the civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers. The interview is more of purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate. ( UPSC CSE Syllabus ) The Interview test will be of 275 marks and the total marks for the written examination is 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.