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UPSC, Civil Service Exam: IAS Prelims & Mains Syllabus and Exam Pattern

UPSC Exam Pattern, Prelims & Mains For IAS, Civil Service Exam. CSE Prelims consists 2 papers: General Studies and CSAT and Main

UPSC, Civil Services Exam: IAS Prelims & Mains Syllabus and Pattern

If you are preparing for Sarkari Naukari or Govt Jobs: IAS or UPSC, then this post is going to be very beneficial for you because today in this post we will discuss UPSC, Civil Services Exam, and the IAS exam pattern. To prepare for any exam, it is very important to know its exam pattern.

Before knowing Civil Service Exam Prelims & Main Syllabus and Pattern you need to know about What Is Eligibility Criteria: How To Join Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

Stages Of Civil Service Exam:

  1. Prelims
  2. Main

In this post, we will know about the exam pattern and syllabus for both prelims and main exams.

Click >>> UPSC, Civil Services Exam, IAS Prelims, and Mains Exam Pattern

Now we know about the syllabus of prelims and mains exam:

UPSC CSE [ IAS ] Prelim Exam:

Syllabus of Paper I (200 marks) + Time Duration: 2 hours

Current events of national and international importance

Indian National Movement and its history

The Physical, Social, and Economic Geography of India and the World

Politics and Governance in India – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Human Rights, etc.

Economic and Social Development – Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization, General Science

Syllabus for Paper II-(200 marks) + Time Duration: 2 hours


Interpersonal skills including communication skills;

Logical reasoning and analytical ability

Decision-making and problem-solving

General mental ability

(Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, sufficiency of data, etc.) – Class X level)

Note 1: A minimum of 33% is required to qualify for the Civil Services (Mains) examination in the CSAT aptitude test or Paper II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) examination.

Note 2: In both Paper-I (current affairs) and Paper-II (aptitude test), questions will be multiple choice, objective type, worth 200 marks each, with two hours to complete each.

Note 3: For evaluation, the candidate must appear in both papers of the Civil Services (Prelim) examination. The candidate who does not appear in both papers of the (Prelims) exam will be disqualified.

Click>>>> Download UPSC, CSE, and IAS Prelim Syllabus

UPSC Civil Services Exam [ IAS ] Main Syllabus

Those candidates will appear in the UPSC mains exam who have cleared their prelims exam. In the main exam, students can choose their subjects based on their academic expertise and knowledge. The objective of the UPSC Mains exam is to assess the overall intellectual qualities and understanding of concepts by the candidates. The Civil Services Mains Examination is designed to test the academic brilliance of the candidate, as well as the ability to present his/her knowledge clearly and coherently.

UPSE Main Exam Pattern:

Paper Subject Duration Total marks
Paper A Compulsory Indian language 3 hours 300 (Qualifying)
Paper B English 3 hours 300 (Qualifying)
Paper I Essay 3 hours 250
Paper II General Studies I – Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society 3 hours 250
Paper III General Studies II – Governance, Constitution, Welfare Initiatives, Social Justice & International Relations 3 hours 250
Paper IV General Studies III – Technology, Economic Development, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management 3 hours 250
Paper V General Studies IV – Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude 3 hours 250
Paper VI Optional Subject – Paper I 3 hours 250
Paper VII Optional Subject – Paper II 3 hours 250

Following are the papers that will be included in the written test:

Paper I – Modern Indian language – 300 Marks

Qualifying nature: Marks not counted, Passing mandatory

Comprehension of given passages

Passage Writing

Usage and Vocabulary

Short Essay

Providing translation services between English and Indian.

Note 1: These papers will be of Matriculation level and will be qualifying only. Ranking will not be based on marks obtained in these papers.

Note 2: Candidates will have to answer the question papers in English and Indian languages in English and the Indian language concerned, being the language chosen by the candidate.

Paper II – English – 300 marks

Marks will not count towards qualifying, passing is mandatory

In this paper, candidates will be tested on their ability to read and comprehend serious discursive prose, and to express their ideas clearly and correctly in English and the Indian language.

Generally, the questions would be as follows:

The ability to comprehend given passages

Writing with precision

The use and vocabulary of the language

Writing a short essay

Paper III – Essay – 250 Marks

To be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice

Candidates will be required to write an essay on a specific topic

The choice of subjects will be given

They will be expected to keep close to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely

Credit will be given for effective and exact expression

Paper IV – General Studies – I 250 Marks

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

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
  • The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country’s history of the world will include events from the 18th century such as the industrial revolution, world wars, redraws of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc.- their forms and effect on the society
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
  • Role of women and women’s organizations, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems, and their remedies
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunamis, Volcanic activity, cyclones, etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Paper V – General Studies II – 250 Marks

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

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions, and basic structure.
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues, and challenges on the federal structure, devolution of powers, and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges, and issues arising out of these
  • Structure, organization, and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
  • Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and
  • Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
  • Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency, and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • Role of civil services in a democracy
  • India and its neighborhood- relations
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • Important International institutions, agencies, and fora, their structure, mandate

Paper  VI – General Studies III – 250 Marks

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

  • Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management.
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Major crop cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport, and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, and supply chain management.
  • Land reforms in India.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy, and their effects on industrial growth.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
  • Investment models.
  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and development new technology
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology, and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Disaster and disaster management.
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Paper VII – General Studies IV – 250 Marks

(Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

  • This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitudes and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life, and problem-solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.
  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
  • Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators; the role of family, society, and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion towards the weaker sections.
  • Emotional intelligence concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s
  • Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption
  • Case Studies on the above issues.

Paper VIII – Optional Subject – Paper I – 250 Marks

  • Candidates may choose any ONE optional subject from amongst the list of subjects given below.

Paper IX – Optional Subject  – Paper II -250 Marks


  • Candidates may choose any ONE optional subject from amongst the list of subjects given below.

Interview/Personality Test – 275 Marks

Candidates can choose the language in which they would like to be interviewed. Translators will be arranged by UPSC.

Important Note: Candidates’ marks in all papers EXCEPT PAPER A & B will be counted for merit ranking. Aspirants can check UPSC’s official website ( for details about qualifying marks in any or all papers of the examination.

Click Here>>>> Download UPSE Main Exam Syllabus

Also, read this: Top 10 Highest Salary Government Jobs In India For Graduates

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