UPSC Exam Syllabus 2019

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s central agency that conducts various exams. These include the Civil Services Exam (CSE), Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and more. These are regarded as the most reputed and tough exams to crack and include 24 services including IFS, IPS, IRS, IRPS and so on. According to UPSE, there are 980 vacancies for the Civil Services but the number may vary every year.

The UPSC examination is held in three phases: a preliminary exam consisting of two objective papers, the main exam consisting of nine papers out of which seven are counted for qualification, followed by a personal test in the form of an interview.

Stage 1: IAS Syllabus For Prelims

Preliminary is the first stage of exams to qualify for the main examination. It is conducted to serve as a screening test and is not counted along with the final result. The preliminary examination compiles of two objective-type papers including a General Studies Paper I, also known as the General Ability Test (GAT) and General Studies Paper II, also known as the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). The breakdown of the IAS exam syllabus for these is as follows:

UPSC Syllabus For Paper I – General Ability Test (GAT)

  • GAT is a 200 marks paper that is objective in nature.
  • Every candidate is given 2 hours to solve the competitive test and the marks are counted for merit rank.
  • The examination also has a negative marking rule in which 0.33 marks are deducted as penalty.
  • The medium of GAT is bilingual including English and Hindi.

The IAS prelims syllabus for GAT includes –

  • General Science
  • Current events of national and international relevance
  • History of India and its national movements
  • Indian polity and governance along with questions on the political system
  • Panchayati Raj
  • Public Policy
  • Right Issues

Other common topics covered under this paper are –

  • Economic and social development including sustainable development
  • Information about poverty, demographics, social sector initiatives
  • General issues on environmental ecology

The candidate must also have enough knowledge of the physical, social and economic aspects of the Indian and world geography alongside biodiversity, general science and climate change that do not require subject specialization.

UPSC Syllabus For Paper I – Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)

  • CSAT is also a 200 marks paper that is objective in nature.
  • The candidates are allotted 2 hours to finish the paper and must obtain at least 33% to qualify for the main examination.
  • CSAT also has a negative marking rule under which 0.33 marks are deducted as penalty.
  • The medium of exam is bilingual including Hindi and English.

The syllabus for CSAT includes –

  • Comprehension
  • Logical reasoning
  • Analytical and general mental abilities
  • Decision making and problem-solving questions
  • The paper also consists of basic numeracy and data interpretation of class X level

UPSC Prelims Syllabus – Topic Wise Weightage

The topic-wise weightage for GAT exam are as follows:


GK/Current Affairs


Ecology and Environment



History/Art and Culture

Science and Technology



Geography and Agriculture


The topic wise weightage for CSAT exam are as follows:


Time, Speed, Distance and Work


Average and Percentage

Numbers and Fractions


Ratio and Portions

Reading Comprehension


Critical Reasoning

Misc Maths Reasoning


Directions, Coding-Decoding, Cubes

Analytical Reasoning


Probability, Permutation and Combination




Logical Consistency


UPSC Mains Syllabus – Papers I To VII

A candidate’s rank in the UPSC examination depends on the marks obtained in the main papers. The main written examination consists of nine exams. However, only marks of seven papers are counted for final merit ranking. For the rest two papers, the candidate must secure minimum marks standardized by UPSC each year. Each of these papers holds a weightage of 250 marks respectively and is held over a duration of 3 hours. The medium of the exam is bilingual including English and Hindi. From UPSC history syllabus to the geography syllabus for UPSC, a breakup of the entire IAS mains syllabus is given as follows:

1. Paper 1: Essay

Paper 1 comprises of multiple topics choosing which the candidate must write an essay. Credits are rewarded to those who stay close to the subject and arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and write concisely. Effective and exact expression is the key to succeed in this exam.

2. Paper 2: General Studies 1

General Studies 1 paper consists of major subjects like Indian Heritage, History and Geography of the world and society. Some of the common topics covered under this exam are Indian culture and its salient aspects of art forms, literature and architecture, the Freedom Struggle and its various stages, reorganization of the country post-independence, capitalism, diversity of India, urbanization, globalization and more.

3. Paper 3: General Studies 2

The major subjects covered under General Studies 2 paper are Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations. Topics included are functions and responsibility of the Union and the States, comparison of the Indian constitution with that of other countries, parliament and state legislatures, judiciary ministries and departments of the government, salient features of People’s Act, welfare schemes, issues relating to poverty, roles of civil services and more.

4. Paper 4: General Studies 3

Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management are the main subjects that are compiled in the General Studies 3 paper. These include issues relating to growth and development of the country, budgeting, agricultural problems, subsidies and support, industries in India, liberalization of the economy, science and technological advancement, security and disaster management and more.

5. Paper 5: General Studies 4

General Studies 4 paper utilizes a case study approach to determine various aspects including Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude. This paper is held to understand the candidate’s attitude and approach towards issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem-solving abilities. Detailed syllabus of this paper includes topics like human interface and attitude, aptitude and foundational values, emotional intelligence, moral thinking and philosophy, public and civil values and more.

6. Paper 6: Optional Subject

The sixth paper is an optional exam for Paper 1 and 2 of UPSC. They must obtain minimum marks in this paper to qualify for the personal interview. The topics that are covered in this exam are agriculture, animal husbandry, veterinary science, anthropology, botany, chemistry, civil and mechanical engineering, commerce and accountancy, geography, geology, history, law and management mathematics. Other common subjects included are medical science, philosophy, physics, political science, international relations, psychology, public administration, sociology, statistics and zoology.

7. Paper 7: Optional Subject

The seventh paper is an optional one too. Both the optional papers carry a weightage of 250 marks each. This paper consists of the literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

UPSC Interview – Things To Remember

Those who successfully clear the prelims and mains move towards the personal interview. The interview stage comprises a total of 275 marks and the candidate is asked basic interest questions. These will test the candidate’s mental calibre, alertness, personal suitability, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, the ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellect and moral integrity.

The candidate is allowed to choose the language of his/her choice and must secure at least 55% marks in this round. Those who clear this stage with 60% or more are likely to get a service of their choice. Marks obtained in the interview are added to the marks of the main exams to form the basis of a candidate’s final merit list.

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Striking a perfect balance between work and fun, Archita is a voracious soul, always on a lookout for new opportunities. She couples her innate creativity with coherence to unfurl magic through her words. Adhering to her pursuit of happiness, she believes in living life on her own terms.


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