Wednesday, February 7, 2024

UPSC Syllabus - IAS Prelims & Mains Syllabus

UPSC Syllabus - IAS Prelims & Mains Syllabus 2024 (Union Public Service Commission Syllabus)

  • UPSC IAS Exam Stages
    • UPSC IAS Prelims Exam Pattern
    • UPSC IAS Mains Exam Pattern
    • UPSC IAS Exam Interview
    • UPSC IAS Final Merit
  • UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024
    • Paper- I (General Studies‐I)
    • Paper- II (General Studies‐II) (UPSC CSAT Syllabus)
  • UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024
    • Paper- A and Paper-B (Qualifying & Compulsory)
    • PAPER‐I: Essay
    • PAPER‐II: General Studies‐I
    • PAPER‐III: General Studies‐ II
    • PAPER‐IV: General Studies‐ III
    • PAPER‐V: General Studies‐ IV (GS 4 Syllabus, Ethics Syllabus UPSC)
  • UPSC CSE Optional Subject List 2024

UPSC IAS Exam Stages

The UPSC IAS exam is a three-stage process that consists of:

1.Preliminary Examination
2.Mains Examination

1. Preliminary Examination: This is the first stage of the IAS exam. It is an objective type test consisting of two papers – General Studies and Civil Services Aptitude Test. The General Studies paper comprises questions related to current affairs, Indian history, Indian polity, geography, and economics, while the Civil Services Aptitude Test paper tests the candidates’ analytical and comprehension skills.

2. Main Examination: Those who qualify for the preliminary examination are eligible to appear for the Main examination. It consists of 9 papers, out of which 7 are considered for ranking purposes. The papers include Indian languages, English, essay, general studies, and optional subjects.

3. Personality Test (Interview): Those who qualify for the Main examination are called for the personality test or interview. It is the final stage of the IAS exam and comprises a personal interview conducted by a board of experts to assess the candidate’s personality, mental ability, and suitability for the civil services.

The final merit list is prepared based on the marks obtained in the Main examination and the interview.

1. UPSC IAS Prelims Exam Pattern

The UPSC IAS Prelims Exam Pattern comprises of two papers – General Studies (GS) and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). Both the papers are conducted on the same day in two sessions, and each paper is of 200 marks.

The General Studies Paper I consists of 100 questions, each carrying 2 marks. It covers topics such as Current events of national and international importance, History of India and Indian National Movement, Indian Polity and Governance, Economic and Social Development, Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change, and General Science.

The General Studies Paper II or CSAT paper is the second paper of the Prelims. The CSAT paper is of qualifying nature, and a candidate needs to score a minimum of 33% marks in this paper to qualify for the Main exam.

The CSAT paper is designed to test the candidate’s aptitude and analytical skills, and it includes topics like comprehension, logical reasoning, analytical ability, decision-making, problem-solving, basic numeracy, and data interpretation.

The CSAT paper has 80 questions and is of 200 marks. The duration of the paper is 2 hours. The questions in the CSAT paper are of objective type, with multiple-choice options.

It is important for candidates to prepare well for the CSAT paper, as it is a qualifying paper, and a candidate’s score in this paper does not count towards the merit list. However, qualifying the CSAT paper is essential for a candidate to be eligible for the Main exam.

PaperTotal QuestionTotal MarksTimeNegative MarkingType of Paper
Paper- I (General Studies‐I)1002002 HoursYes (1/3)Objective
Paper- II (General Studies‐II)802002 HoursYes (1/3)Objective

Note 1 : Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

Note 2 : The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.

Note 3 : It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

2. UPSC IAS Mains Exam Pattern

  • Candidates who qualify for the Prelims are eligible to appear for the Main exam.
  • The Main exam consists of 9 descriptive type papers, out of which 7 papers are counted for merit ranking.
  • The Main exam is conducted over a period of 5-7 days.
  • The 7 papers are: Paper-I (Essay), Paper-II (General Studies-I), Paper-III (General Studies-II), Paper-IV (General Studies-III), Paper-V (General Studies-IV), Paper-VI (Optional Paper-I), Paper-VII (Optional Paper-II).
PaperTotal MarksTimePaper Type
Paper- A (Indian Languages)3003 HoursSubjective
Paper-B (English)3003 HoursSubjective
PAPER‐I (Essay)2503 HoursSubjective
PAPER‐II (General Studies‐I)2503 HoursSubjective
PAPER‐III (General Studies‐II)2503 HoursSubjective
PAPER‐IV (General Studies‐III)2503 HoursSubjective
PAPER‐IV (General Studies‐III)2503 HoursSubjective
PAPER‐VI (Optional-I)2503 HoursSubjective
PAPER‐VII (Optional-II)2503 HoursSubjective

Note: The marks of both the qualifying papers (Paper A: Compulsory Indian Language & Paper B: English) are not added for final merit. Both the question papers are of 300-300 marks. The minimum qualifying marks in Indian language is 25% (75) and in English also the minimum qualifying marks are 25% (75).

3. UPSC IAS Exam Interview

  • Candidates who qualify the Main exam are called for the Personality Test/Interview.
  • The interview is conducted by a panel of experts and is for a duration of 30-40 minutes.
  • The interview tests the candidate’s personality, suitability for a career in civil services, and general knowledge.
PaperTotal Marks
Interview/Personality Test275

(i) The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of the candidate’s career. The candidate will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the Interview/Personality Test is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The Interview/Personality Test is intended to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only intellectual qualities but also social traits and interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.

(ii) The technique of the Interview/Personality Test is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, though directed and purposive conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.

(iii) The Interview/Personality Test is not intended to be a test either of the specialized or general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own State or Country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.

4. UPSC IAS Final Merit

The final selection of candidates is based on the candidate’s performance in the Main exam and Personality Test/Interview.

Written Exam (Mains Exam)1750 Marks
Interview/Personality Test275 Marks
Total2025 Marks

Note: The final merit and rank is made by adding the marks of the candidate’s main examination and interview.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024

The UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) Preliminary exam consists of two papers: General Studies (Paper-I) and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) (Paper-II). Here’s a brief about the UPSC Prelims syllabus for both papers:

PaperPaper Name
Paper- IGeneral Studies I
Paper- IIGeneral Studies II (CSAT)

Paper- I (General Studies‐I)

1.Current events of national and international importance.
2.History of India and Indian National Movement.
3.Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
4.Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues etc.
5.Economic and Social Development, Sustainable Development-Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives etc.
6.General issues on Environmental Ecologh2y, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
7.General Science

Paper- II (General Studies‐II) (UPSC CSAT Syllabus)

2.Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
3.Logical reasoning and analytical ability.
4.Decision-making and problem-solving.
5.General mental ability.
6.Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. (Class X level)

Note 1 : Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

Note 2 : The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.

Note 3 : It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024

The UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) Mains exam consists of 9 papers, out of which 7 papers are counted for merit ranking. Here’s a brief about the UPSC Mains syllabus for each paper:

PaperPaper Name
Paper- AIndian Languages
PAPER‐IIGeneral Studies‐I
PAPER‐IIIGeneral Studies‐II
PAPER‐IVGeneral Studies‐III
PAPER‐VGeneral Studies‐ IV
PAPER‐VIOptional- I

Paper- A and Paper-B (Qualifying & Compulsory)

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned.

Paper- A (Indian Languages)(i) Comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Precis Writing.
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.
(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.
Paper-B (English)(i) Comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Precis Writing.
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.

Note 1 : The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2 : The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).

PAPER‐I: Essay

1.Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

PAPER‐II: General Studies‐I

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society
1.Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
2.Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
3.The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
4.Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
5.History of the world will include events from 18th century such as Industrial revolution, World wars, Redrawal of national boundaries, Colonization, Decolonization, Political philosophies like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
6.Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
7.Role of women and women’s organizations, Population and associated issues, Poverty and developmental issues, Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
8.Effects of globalization on Indian society.
9.Social empowerment, Communalism, Regionalism & Secularism.
10.Salient features of world’s physical geography.
11.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).
12.Important Geophysical phenomena such as Earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, Cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including Waterbodies and Ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

PAPER‐III: General Studies‐ II

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations
1.Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
2.Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
3.Separation of powers between various organs, dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
4.Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
5.Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
6.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.
7.Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
8.Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
9.Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
10.Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
11.Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
12.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.
13.Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
14.Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
15.Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
16.Role of civil services in a democracy.
17.India and its neighborhood- relations.
18.Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
19.Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
20.Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

PAPER‐IV: General Studies‐ III

Technology, Economic Development, Bio- diversity, Environment, Security & Disaster Management
1.Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
2.Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
3.Government Budgeting.
4.Major crops – 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.
5.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.
6.Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
7.Land reforms in India.
8.Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
9.Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
10.Investment models.
11.Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
12.Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
13.Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
14.Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
15.Disaster and disaster management.
16.Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
17.Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
18.Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
19.Security challenges and their management in border areas; -linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
20.Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

PAPER‐V: General Studies‐ IV (GS 4 Syllabus, Ethics Syllabus UPSC)

This paper will include questions to test the candidate’s attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his 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, Integrity and Aptitude
1.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; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
2.Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
3.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.
4.Emotional intelligence: concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
5.Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
6.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.
7.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.
8.Case Studies on above issues.

UPSC CSE Optional Subject List 2024

The UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) allows candidates to choose one optional subject from a list of subjects provided by the UPSC. The list of optional subjects includes a wide range of subjects from various disciplines.

Candidate may choose any optional subject from amongst the List of Optional Subjects.

S. No.Optional Subject
2.Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
6.Civil Engineering
7.Commerce and Accountancy
9.Electrical Engineering
16.Mechanical Engineering
17.Medical Science
20.Political Science and International Relations
22.Public Administration
26.Literature in any one of the following languages:
Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili,Malayalam, Manipuri,Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

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