UPSC IAS Syllabus: Prelims & Mains Exam Syllabus & Exam Pattern

UPSC IAS Syllabus: Prelims & Mains Exam Syllabus & Exam Pattern


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Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conduct Prelims & Mains Examination for Indian Adminstrative Services (IAS).

UPSC IAS Exam has three stages:
(i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Exam.
(ii) Civil Services Mains Examination (Written) for the selection of candidates for the next level of UPSC IAS Exam.
(iii) Civil Services Personality Test (PT)

The syllabus for all three stages of the exam is different from one another and hence needs a deeper look to understand the requirement of each stage of the IAS Exam.

In IAS Prelims, UPSC tests the analytical, logical and reasonable ability of the candidates. The IAS Prelims Exam is divided into two parts:
(i) General Studies Paper-I
(ii) General Studies Paper-II

Both papers have the maximum time limit of two hours and the General Studies Paper-II, which is popularly known as CSAT, is only qualifying in nature. The exam is conducted on a single day with Paper 1 in the morning session and paper 2 in the evening session.


# GS Paper-I
Marks: 200
Duration: 2 hours

Sl. No


Subject-wise Division Detailed Syllabus
1 History

History of India and Indian Freedom Struggle

Ancient History of India

Medieval History of India

Modern History 1857 to 1947

Indian National Movement

2 Geography

Geography of India and

Concept of Physical Geography

Physical Geography

Human Geography

Economic Geography

World Geography

3 Polity

Indian Polity and Governance issues

Union Executives

State Executives

Federalism in India

Judicial System

Panchayati Raj

4 Economy

Indian Economy and Social Development

Basic Principles of Indian Economy

Social Schemes of Government

Social Development through Economic Empowerment

Sustainable Development


5 Environment and Ecology

Principles of Environment and Ecology

General Principles

Climate Change and

Climate Summits and Conferences

6 General Science

Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Technology

General Principles

Latest Science and Technological Development

7 Current Events

It covers all the events of National and International Importance

Current Affairs

Current Affairs with all Dimensions


# General Studies Paper-II (CSAT) [Qualifying]
Marks: 200 marks
Duration: 2 hours

1. Reading Comprehension
2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
4. Decision making and problem-solving ability
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)
7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
8. Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus of Paper-II) will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.


UPSC IAS Mains Exam 2020: IAS Main Exam has four general studies papers, two compulsory language papers, one essay paper and two papers of Optional subject. It is a descriptive type of exam and has a totally enhanced version of IAS Prelims exam.

# IAS Main Exam 2020 Syllabus:

Sl. No. Name of Paper Syllabus
1 Essay Paper Any Topic/Topics (Current issues) 250
2 GS Paper I Indian Heritage and
Culture, Indian History, World History, World Geography, Indian Society, Important Geo-physical phenomena
3 GS Paper II Governance, Indian Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and
International relations, Welfare Schemes, Statutory, regulatory and quasi-judicial bodies, Role of civil services in a democracy, India’s relation with neighbour countries, International institutions,
4 GS Paper III Technology,
Economic Development, Bio diversity,
Indian Economy and its various sectorsGovernment BudgetingLand Reforms

Inclusive Growth

Security and Disaster Management

5 GS Paper IV Ethics and Human Interface



Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Public/Civil service value

Probity in Governance

Case study on above topics

6 Indian Language Paper (i) Comprehension of given passages
(ii) Précis Writing
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary
(iv) Short Essays
(v) Translation from English to the Indian
language and vice-versa
7 English Comprehension of given passages
Précis Writing
Usage and Vocabulary
Short Essays
8 Optional Paper I As opted by Candidate 250
9 Optional Paper II As opted by Candidate 250


# List of Optional Subject in IAS Mains Exam 2020
Optional Subjects is as follows:
(i) Agriculture
(ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
(iii) Anthropology
(iv) Botany
(v) Chemistry
(vi) Civil Engineering
(vii) Commerce and Accountancy
(viii) Economics
(ix) Electrical Engineering
(x) Geography
(xi) Geology
(xii) History
(xiii) Law
(xiv) Management
(xv) Mathematics
(xvi) Mechanical Engineering
(xvii) Medical Science
(xviii) Philosophy
(xix) Physics
(xx) Political Science and International Relations
(xxi) Psychology
(xxii) Public Administration
(xxiii) Sociology
(xxiv) Statistics
(xxv) Zoology

Literature of any one of the languages such as Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English.

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