An Overview of the Syllabus for the UPSC Civil Service Examination

by Ompal Rao

The syllabus for the UPSC Civil Service examination is very vast. The IAS exam consists of 3 different stages – Preliminary stage, Mains and Interview. The Preliminary stage consists of 2 papers – General Studies and Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). The Mains stage of the IAS exam has 9 papers – 1 compulsory language paper, 2 optional papers, 4 General Studies papers, 1 essay paper, and 1 English language paper..

Syllabus for the UPSC Civil Service Prelims Examination

The IAS Syllabus for the CSAT paper in the Prelims stage of the IAS Examination is given below:

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

The IAS syllabus for General Studies paper in the Preliminary stage of the IAS examination is given below:

  1. General Science
  2. Current events of international and national importance.
  3. Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  4. General issues in Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change.
  5. History of India and Indian National Movement.
  6. Economic and Social Development – Social Sector initiatives, Demographics, Poverty, Inclusion, Sustainable Development etc.
  7. Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.

Syllabus for the UPSC Civil Service Mains Examination

The 4 different General Studies Papers for the Mains examination carry 250 marks each, but the syllabus covered under each of these papers is completely different, which is explained below.

IAS Syllabus for General Studies Paper – I

General Studies Paper – I of the IAS examination, broadly deals with topics related to History, Geography, Indian Society, Indian Culture, and Heritage.

  • The History section covers topics related to ancient India, medieval India and Modern India. The Indian Freedom struggle is an important section.
  • World History covers topics related to colonization, world wars, industrial revolution, and different political philosophies.
  • Geography covers topics related to flora and fauna, Geographical features, Geophysical phenomena like Tsunami, Cyclones, Volcanos, Earthquakes.
  • Indian society covers topics related to the effects of globalisation, urbanisation, poverty related issues, women empowerment etc.

IAS Syllabus for General Studies Paper – II

The syllabus for General Studies Paper-II broadly covers topics related to International Relations, Social Justice, Polity, Constitution, and Governance.

  • It  covers topics related to various amendments carried out, articles, powers, functions, responsibilities of the Central Government, State Governments, Judiciary, Legislative, Executive, Parliament etc.
  • It covers issues related to poverty, hunger, education, health, human resources etc.
  • This paper for the IAS exam covers topics related to India and its relation with neighbours, bilateral relationships, multilateral groupings etc.

IAS Syllabus for General Studies Paper – III

The syllabus for General Studies Paper – III broadly covers topics related to Economic Development, Disaster Management, Security, developments in the technological field, and biodiversity.

  • Technology covers topics related to developments in Space technology, Defence technology, Computer, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Nano-technology.
  • It covers developments in the fields of infrastructure, public distribution system, government budgeting, environmental pollution, degradation, food security, farm subsidies etc.
  • Issues related to minimum support prices, direct and indirect farm subsidies.

IAS Syllabus for General Studies Paper – IV

The syllabus for General Studies Paper – III broadly covers topics related to Ethics, Integrity, Aptitude.

  • Ethics covers Ethics in private and public relationships, Ethics in human actions and the role of educational institutions, society, and family society in inculcating the value of ethics.
  • It also covers philosophers and moral thinkers from India and the world.
  • Philosophical basis of governance and probity, Utilisation of public funds, Codes of Ethics, Challenges of corruption, Concept of public service, Citizen’s Charters, Right to Information, Utilisation of public funds.

Essay & Optional Subject

  • Essay checks the candidate’s ability to critically analyse a subject and how well it is articulated by synthesising the topic.
  • The candidates have the option of choosing 1 optional subject out of 48 different subjects on offer. The syllabus for each of these optional subjects is completely different.

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