There is a common UPSC syllabus pattern for services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) to name a few. However, different stages of the IAS exam have different syllabi.
The Civil services exam is conducted in three phases:
Phase 1: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)
Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)
Phase 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)
Phase 1: UPSC Prelims Exam
The UPSC Prelims syllabus focuses on general and societal awareness, which is tested by objective-type (MCQ) questions.
The UPSC Civil Services Prelims Examination is composed of two components:
- General Studies
- Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
Paper Subjects/ Total Marks
- General Studies (GS) /200
- CSAT /200
- UPSC 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.
- Questions that are not attempted will not attract any negative marks.
The two papers of the IAS prelims are discussed in detail below:
- General Studies (Generally conducted between 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)
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.
- Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) (Generally conducted between 2:30 PM to 04:30 PM)
- This UPSC Prelims syllabus for CSAT intends 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.
UPSC Prelims Syllabus
Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)
- Current 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, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation.
- General Science
Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)
- 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: UPSC Mains Exam (1750 Marks)
- The Mains examination constitutes the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination. Only after successfully qualifying in the Prelims Exam would the candidates be allowed to write the IAS Mains.
- The Mains exam 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; out of which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each.
- The two qualifying papers are:
- Any Indian Language Paper
- English Language Paper
The papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates who attain 25% marks in both the language papers 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 in any other by such candidates will not be considered or counted.
Structure of the language papers:
The types of questions asked and marks for each section are –
- Essay 100 marks
- Reading comprehension 60 marks
- Precis Writing 60 marks
- 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.
UPSC Mains Syllabus (LINK it TO https://www.upsc.gov.in/)
|Paper – I||Essay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)||250|
|Paper – II||General Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)||250|
|Paper – III||General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)||250|
|Paper – IV||General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)||250|
|Paper – V||General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)||250|
|Paper – VI||Optional Subject – Paper I
|Paper – VII||Optional Subject – Paper II||250|
Phase 3: IAS Interview/UPSC Personality Test (275 Marks)
- Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’. A Board appointed by the UPSC will interview these candidates.
- 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 a purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability, aptitude as well as flexibility of the candidate.
- The Interview test will be of 275 marks and the total marks for written examination is 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.