UPSC CSE Syllabus: Prelims, Mains and Interview

Understanding Syllabus and exam format of UPSC CSE(civil service Examination) is something which people often get confused with, but here we are to help you clear your every doubt.
First of all the civil service Examination is conducted in 3 phases as given below.

Stage I Stage II Stage III
Preliminary Examination - Held in June every year. Results are announced in August. Mains Examination - Held in October every year. Results are announced in January. Personality Test (interview) - Held in March. Final results are usually announced in May.

Now, since you have understood different stages, what i want you to do is, take a look at the image given below, it will help you in Understanding the forthcoming topics.

upsc civil service syllabus

Syllabus for Prelims:-
Important Note:
↦Prelims comprises of 2 compulsory papers of 100 question for 200 marks each, for each correct answer you will be rewarded 2 marks and for every incorrect answer you will be penalized with 1/3rd of marks allocated to that question(i.e -0.66 marks).
↦ The questions will be of multiple choice(objective type with 4 options).
↦The marks in preliminary examination will not be counted for final ranking and service allocation, but only for qualifying to Mains examination.
↦You have to note here, that only the marks of Paper-I will be counted to help you qualify for Mains examination, and paper-II is a qualifying paper, it means that you will have to score 33% mark so that your Paper-I will be evaluated.
If you fail to score 33% in paper-II, your paper-I will not be evaluated, and thus you will not be able to qualify for Mains examination.

UPSC Syllabus for Paper I – (200 marks)
Duration: 2 hours
  • ↦ 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  • ↦ General Science.
UPSC Syllabus for Paper II- (200 marks)
Duration: 2 hours
  • ↦ 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).

Below is a picture of how a question looks like in UPSC prelims:

UPSC prelims demo paper
Syllabus for Mains:-
Important Note:
↦The mains is of 1750 marks while interview is of 275 marks(Total of 2025 marks).
↦The written examination (mains) consist of the 9 papers, but only 7 papers are counted for final merit ranking and service allocation.
↦The other two paper are just qualifying paper( i.e you will have to score 33% marks atleast in both papers, if you fail to score, your other papers will not be evaluated & thus your journey will end here.).
↦A candidate’s rank in UPSC Civil Service Exam depends only on the mark scored in Mains examination and Interview.

UPSC Qualifying Papers
They are qualifying papers(33% marks) and their marks are not counted for ranking.
Important Note:
Paper A(300 marks):- One of language that are included in 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution(Eg:- Hindi).[This paper will not be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim].
Paper B(300 marks):- English Language

Question are basically of class 10 level consisting of Comprehension, synonym, antonyms.

UPSC Other Merit Papers
Papers Syllabus Marks
Paper-I Essay(2 Essay paper each of 125) 250
Paper-II General Studies I (Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society) 250
Paper-III General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations) 250
Paper-IV General Studies III (Technology, economic development, bio-diversity, environment, security and disaster management) 250
Paper-V General Studies IV(ethics, integrity and aptitude) 250
Paper-VI Optional Subject-paper I 250
Paper -VII Optional Subject-paper II 250

Below is a picture of how a question looks like in UPSC mains.

UPSC mains demo paper

UPSC Optional paper
↦ There are 2 optional paper of same subject in your UPSC mains examination.
↦Each paper is of 250 marks thus summing it to 500 marks.
↦Choosing a correct optional paper is very crucial, as it decides the fate of your future.

Download UPSC optional paper syllabus in pdf  Click Here

Syllabus for Interview:-

star Interview is not a test of knowledge as it has already been tested through various phases of examination. It is rather a test ot attitude, biasness, personality and presence of mind.
↦Read you DAF (Detailed Application Form) very thoroughly and make question from that in every possible way.
↦Keep up with Current Affair( especially sensitive topics like Women, Environment, politics) as they would ask for your opinion.

Sub Total (only of mains) : 1750 Marks
Personality Test : 275 Marks
Grand Total : 2025 Marks

And the ranklist will be prepared of 2025 marks & accordingly services will be alloted.