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UPSC Syllabus 2020

UPSC(IAS/IPS) Prelims+Mains One Year Program

Every year several students participate in the UPSC examination. UPSC is the central level examination conducted in India in which students from all around the nation take part. Here in this article we are providing complete information regarding UPSC syllabus, exam pattern and all other details related to the exam. This is the most popular Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Civil Services Examination for the posts of IAS, IFS, IPS & IRS is widely considered as one of the toughest and the most prestigious examinations conducted in India. UPSC Civil Services Prelims and Mains 2020 syllabus has been released along with the official notification for the Civil Services Exam on 12th February 2020 prior to Lockdown announcement in India. The syllabus for the IAS exam can be found on the official website of the UPSC i.e. https://upsc.gov.in/ or you can download the pdf for UPSC syllabus for both Prelims and Mains examination. Hindi medium aspirants can also download the IAS Syllabus for both Prelims & Mains examinations in Hindi.

UPSC Pre & Mains Syllabus Download Click Here

The syllabus for examination for various services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) is the same for all. The UPSC Prelims syllabus focuses mainly on General awareness which is tested through Multiple Choice Questions. The UPSC Mains syllabus is very much wide and comprehensive, as this exam comprises nine theory papers on different subjects.

The Civil Services Exam is conducted by the UPSC in three levels or phases:
  • Phase 1: Civil Services Preliminary Examination (Multiple Choice Objective Type Questions)
  • Phase 2: Civil Services Mains Examination (Detailed Answer Type Questions)
  • Phase 3: Personal Interview or Personality & Aptitude Test


  • Now have a look at the different phases of the UPSC examination in detail-

    Phase 1: UPSC Prelims Exam
    The UPSC Civil Services Prelims Examination is composed of two papers which are -
    Paper Subject Total Marks Duration
    I General Studies (GS) 200 2 hours (9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)
    II Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 200 2 hours (2:30 PM to 4:30 PM)


    Thus in order to qualify for the Civil Services Mains exam, a candidate has to attempt and clear both the papers. Though the second paper is just of qualifying nature, yet it has to be attempted.

    The UPSC General Studies (GS) paper consists of 100 questions carrying 2 marks each. While the CSAT paper consists of 80 questions. The marks are allotted as per the weightage of the questions. Both the papers have negative marking, for wrong answers marked 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question will be deducted. Questions that are not attempted will not be allotted any negative marks.

    The two papers for the IAS prelims are further discussed in details as -
    1. General Studies -
    General Studies is the first paper of the preliminary examination. This test is intended to test the General & Current Awareness of the candidate. It tests the students' knowledge on 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.

    2. Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) -
    The paper for CSAT intends to assess the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions. It also tests ‘Reading Comprehension’ and ‘Decision Making’ abilities of the students. The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempted from the negative marks.
    The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the Mains exam. Hence, the marks obtained in the Prelims Exam are not calculated in the final merit list.

    Syllabus for Paper I General Studies -
    ● Current events of national and international importance.
    ● History of India and Indian National Movement.
    ● World Geography & Indian Geography - Physical, Social, & Economic.
    ● Indian Polity and Governance – the Constitution of India, Indian Political System, Panchayati Raj, Fundamental Rights, etc.
    ● Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development in India, Poverty Problem & Eradication, Demographics of India as per Census 2011, Social Sector Programs & Initiatives, etc.
    ● Environmental Science - Ecology, General Environmental issues, Biodiversity, and Climate Change.
    ● General Science inclusive of Physics, Chemistry, Biology.

    Syllabus for Paper II CSAT -
    ● Reading Comprehension.
    ● 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 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination is the Mains exam. Only after successfully qualifying the prelims exam, would the candidates be allowed to write the Mains exam. This exam tests the candidate’s academic talent in depth. Also they want to test their ability to present his/her understanding according to the requirements of the question in a fixed time.

    The UPSC Mains exam consists of a total of 9 papers, out of which 7 are important and crucial papers, and remaining two are just qualifying papers of 300 marks each.

    Two qualifying papers are given below -
  • 1. Any Indian Language Paper
  • 2. English Language Paper

  • Since these papers are of qualifying nature, the next papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subjects of only such candidates will be taken into consideration for checking who attain 25% marks in both the language papers. In case a candidate does not qualify in these language papers, then the marks obtained by such candidates will not be calculated.

    Structure of the questions pattern asked in the language papers:
  • Essay – 100 marks
  • Reading comprehension – 60 marks
  • Precis Writing – 60 marks
  • Translation – English to Hindi (or any compulsory language)– 20 marks
  • Compulsory language to English – 20 marks
  • Grammatical Rules – 40 marks

  • The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the 22 languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

    UPSC Mains Papers -

    The UPSC gives a list of 48 Optional Subjects which also include Literature of different languages. Aspirants need to choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of the given optional subjects.

    Paper Subject Marks
    I Essay 250
    II General Studies – I (Indian Culture & Heritage, History & Geography of India, Society & the World) 250
    III General Studies – II (Indian Constitution, Governance in India, Polity, International Relations & Social Justice) 250
    IV General Studies – III (Economic Development, Technological Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management) 250
    V General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude) 250
    VI Optional Subject – Paper I 250
    VII Optional Subject – Paper II 250

    UPSC Mains Optional Subjects -
    1. Agriculture
    2. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
    3. Assamese (Literature)
    4. Anthropology
    5. Bengali (Literature)
    6. Botany
    7. Bodo (Literature)
    8. Chemistry
    9. Civil Engineering
    10. Commerce & Accountancy
    11. Dogri (Literature)
    12. Economics
    13. Electrical Engineering
    14. English (Literature)
    15. Geography
    16. Geology
    17. Gujarati (Literature)
    18. Hindi (Literature)
    19. History
    20. Kannada (Literature)
    21. Kashmiri (Literature)
    22. Konkani (Literature)
    23. Law
    24. Maithili (Literature)
    25. Malayalam (Literature)
    26. Manipuri (Literature)
    27. Management
    28. Marathi (Literature)
    29. Mathematics
    30. Mechanical Engineering
    31. Medical Science
    32. Nepali (Literature)
    33. Odia (Literature)
    34. Punjabi (Literature)
    35. Philosophy
    36. Physics
    37. Political Science & International Relations
    38. Psychology
    39. Public Administration
    40. Sanskrit (Literature)
    41. Santhali (Literature)
    42. Sindhi (Literature)
    43. Tamil (Literature)
    44. Telugu (Literature)
    45. Sociology
    46. Statistics
    47. Urdu (Literature)
    48. Zoology

    Candidates can choose the optional subjects as per their choice, educational background and success rate of optional subjects. Detailed syllabus for the respective optional subjects can be found on the official website. You can also check the given pdf for the same.


    Phase 3: UPSC Interview Test - 275 Marks

    Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Written Exam will be called for the Final test i.e. a Personal Interview. The qualified candidates will be interviewed by the Board appointed by the UPSC. The objective of the interview is to assess the promptness of the candidates and their suitability for a career in the civil services. This interview is conducted by the board of competent and unbiased observers. The interview is more of a purposive and analytical conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and thinking ability of the candidates. The final merit list is prepared out of 2025 Marks based on which the final ranks of the candidates are decided. Hope this article will help all the prospective UPSC aspirants to get a brief idea of the UPSC examination.

    All the Best 👍!!!
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