UPSC CSE Prelims: Syllabus & Exam Pattern

General Studies Paper I (100 questions): Syllabus

  • Current Affairs (National + International)
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement
  • Physical, Social and Economic Geography of India and the World
  • Economic and Social Development: Sustainable Development, Poverty,
  • Demographics, Inclusion, Social Sector Initiatives
  • General Issues on Environmental Ecology: Bio-diversity, Climate Change etc. (Topics not requiring specialisation)
  • General Science


General Studies Paper II (CSAT) (80 questions): Syllabus

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Interpersonal Skills including Communication Skills (This is including decision making questions, assertion, stress management, verbal and non-verbal communication)
  • Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving (questions from this topics were last asked in 2013)
  • General Mental Ability
  • Basic Numeracy (Numbers and Relations, Orders of Magnitude )
  • Data Interpretation (Tables, Graphs, Charts, Data Sufficiency )


UPSC CSE Prelims Exam Pattern

  • Nature of Exam – The prelims is a screening test for selecting candidates for the main examination. The marks of it will not be considered during final recruitment.
  • Language of the Exam – The question paper will be available in both Hindi and the English language.
  • Duration – The candidates will get 2 hours for each Paper.
  • Section / Paper – It consists of two papers, General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II. The candidate has to attempt both the papers so as to make himself eligible for evaluation.
  • Type of Questions – All the questions in the exam will be of MCQ type.
  • Marking Scheme – Each Paper will be of 200 marks. Negative marking of 0.33 for wrongly marked questions will be there. It is essential that the candidate be sure of the answer that they are marking to avoid negative marking.


UPSC CSE: Mains Exam Pattern & Syllabus

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus

This exam tests a candidate’s level of general awareness and the ability to analyse and take a view on various socio-economic issues. This is descriptive exam. To the point, meaningful and brief answers are expected.


CSE Mains Exam Pattern

  • Nature of Exam – The Main examination is a subjective, essay-based paper which tests the candidate’s intellect and assesses his views on general topics happening around him.
  • Language of the Exam – Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any one of the languages mentioned in the official notification.
  • Duration – The total duration of the paper will be 3 hours.
  • Section / Paper – It comprises of in total 9 papers. The candidate has to appear for 7 compulsory papers which include 4 papers of General Studies, an Essay paper, a paper on any of the regional languages as chosen by the candidate and English. The remaining two papers will be from optional subjects which a candidate has to choose from the list of 26 subjects as given by UPSC.

Exam Pattern

Subjects (Papers) Marks
Qualifying Papers
Paper A- One of the regional languages to be chosen by candidate 300
Paper B- English 300
Papers counted for Merit
Paper I – Essay 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 1 250
Paper-VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 250 Marks 250
Personality Test (Interview) 275
Total 2025 Marks


Study Materials for UPSC 2019 Exam

  • A Brief History of Modern India by Spectrum.
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography by G.C Leong. Book on Indian Polity by Laxmikanth.
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh.
  • India Year book 2018.

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