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Exam Syllabus

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Exam Notification

About UPSC

UPSC conducts Civil Services Examination in 3 stages – Prelims, Mains, & Interviews. The Preliminary Exam is an objective type examination for the shortlisting of candidates, and the Mains Examination is a subjective type examination comprising of 9 descriptive exams. The candidates who qualify the Prelims examination become eligible for Mains exams. Candidates qualifying the Mains exam are called for Interview which is the final selection round. During this round the candidates are evaluated for their observation skills, intelligence, alertness, balance of judgment and human qualities like honesty, morality and administration.

There is a high competition in UPSC examination and so many education institutes are available, as a result aspirants got confused. Aspirants should join the best UPSC CSE Optional Subject coaching institute for General Studies and Optional subject also while preparing for this examination. UPSC Optional subject is very important for all the aspirants, in other words, they should choose the best coaching institute for IAS optional subject also.

There are different eligibility criteria for UPSC CSE examination. According to the UPSC Civil Services Examination Age Limit, the candidate should be between 21 and 32 years, as on 1st August 2021 for General category.

Category

Minimum Age Limit

Upper Age Limit for UPSC

Maximum Number of Attempts

General

21 years

32

6

EWS Economically Weaker Section

21 years

32

6

OBS

21 years

35

9

SC/ ST

21 years

37

Unlimited (Up to age limit)

Defence Services Personnel

21 years

35

9

Persons with Benchmark Disability

21 years

35

9

The different academic requirements as per the IAS Eligibility Criteria are given below:

  • The candidate must have a degree from Government recognized Universities or have an equivalent qualified degree.
  • Candidates who are pursuing their final year or awaiting results are also eligible to appear for UPSC Examination. In conclusion, they must be graduated before Interview.

For IAS and IPS:

Candidate must be an Indian citizen.

There is different criteria for all other Services Nationality, please read UPSC notification for the details:
UPSC Civil Service Examination age limit, relaxation and maximum attempts as per categories:-

  • General Category & EWS: 32 years; 6 attempts.
  • OBC (with certificate): 32 years + 3 years; having 9 attempts.
  • SC/ST: 32 years + 5 years; no limit for attempts.
  • Physically Disabled: 32 years + 10 years; Gen/OBC/Person with Benchmark Disability(EWS category) – 9 attempts & SC/ST no limit for attempts.
  • Jammu & Kashmir Domicile: 32 years + 5 years + (3 years, if OBC OR 5 Years, if SC/ST); Number of attempts will be depending on the reserved category.
  • Disabled Defence service personnel: 32 years + 3 years + (3 more years, if Gen/OBC OR 5 more years, if SC/ST)
  • Ex-Servicemen Commission Officer: 32 years + 5 years + (3 years, if OBC OR 5 Years, if SC/ST)

Category

Minimum Age Limit

Upper Age Limit for UPSC

Maximum Number of Attempts

General

21 years

32

6

EWS Economically Weaker Section

21 years

32

6

OBS

21 years

35

9

SC/ ST

21 years

37

Unlimited (Up to age limit)

Defence Services Personnel

21 years

35

9

Persons with Benchmark Disability

21 years

35

9

UPSC Exam Pattern

UPSC examination is conducted in three stages

  • Preliminary Examination – Preliminary exam consists of two papers – General Studies and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). Both the question papers will be objective type (multiple choice questions). Exam duration will be 2 hours for each paper. Most importantly, wrong answers negative marking.
  • Mains Examination – Mains exam consists of nine papers – Two language papers, General Studies – I, II, II & IV and two Optional Papers. All the question papers will be of the descriptive type. Exam duration will be 3 hours for each paper. No negative marking will be there.
  • Interview or Proficiency Test – Interview process is the last and final stage of the selection process of the UPSC Exam Pattern. After that final result will be declared. The interview consists of 275 marks.

  • The exam is conducted in Multiple Choice Question (CQ) format.
  • This exam has two papers of General Studies:
  • GS Paper-I and GS Paper-II which is commonly known as CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test).
  • CSAT paper is qualifying in nature in which an aspirant has to score only 33 % marks in this and these marks are not counted towards merit of Prelims exam.
  • Qualified candidates in Prelims come in the merit list and eligible to appear in next stage i.e. Mains Exam.

Name of the Paper

No. of Questions

Total Marks

Duration

Nature of Exam

Type of Paper

Paper I: General Studies (Objective-type)

100

200

2 hours

The score will be considered for Cut-off

Objective

Paper-II: General Studies-II (CSAT) (Objective-Type)

80

200

2 hours

Qualifying Nature- Candidates will have to score 33% to qualify CSAT.

Objective

  • This exam is Subjective/ Descriptive in format.
  • This exam has nine papers – Two language papers, Essay Paper, GS Paper I, GS Paper II, GS Paper III, GS Paper IV and Two Papers of the Optional Subject.
  • Both the Language Papers A & B (English language paper is mandatory) are qualifying in nature and remaining seven papers are counted towards merit.

Paper

Subject

Duration

Total marks

Nature of Exam

Type of Paper

Paper A

Compulsory Indian language

3 hours

300

Qualifying

Descriptive

Paper B

English

3 hours

300

Qualifying

Descriptive

Paper I

Essay

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper-II

General Studies I

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper III

General Studies II

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper IV

General Studies III

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper V

General Studies IV

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper VI

Optional I

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper VII

Optional II

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

  • Those who qualify the Mains examination are finally Interviewed by UPSC to arrive at the final merit list.
  • The final merit is drawn with combined marks of Mains Examination and Personality Test.

Name of the Paper

No. of Questions

Total Marks

Duration

Nature of Exam

Type of Paper

Paper I: General Studies (Objective-type)

100

200

2 hours

The score will be considered for Cut-off

Objective

Paper-II: General Studies-II (CSAT) (Objective-Type)

80

200

2 hours

Qualifying Nature- Candidates will have to score 33% to qualify CSAT.

Objective

Paper

Subject

Duration

Total marks

Nature of Exam

Type of Paper

Paper A

Compulsory Indian language

3 hours

300

Qualifying

Descriptive

Paper B

English

3 hours

300

Qualifying

Descriptive

Paper I

Essay

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper-II

General Studies I

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper III

General Studies II

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper IV

General Studies III

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper V

General Studies IV

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper VI

Optional I

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Paper VII

Optional II

3 hours

250

Merit

Descriptive

Exam Syllabus

  1. General Studies-I: Syllabus for GS-I Exam:
    • 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.
  2. General Studies-II: Syllabus for GS-II Exam:
    • 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);

Preliminary Examination

  1. General Studies-I: Syllabus for GS-I Exam:
    • 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.
  2. General Studies-II: Syllabus for GS-II Exam:
    • 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);

Mains Exam:

QUALIFYING PAPERS ON INDIAN LANGUAGES AND ENGLISH

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates' ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned.

The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows:

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Precis Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary.
  • Short Essays.

Indian Languages:—

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Précis Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary.
  • Short Essays.
  • Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).

PAPER-I

Essay: Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply

PAPER-II

General Studies‐I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

  • History
    • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
    • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
    • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
    • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.
  • Indian Society
    • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
    • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
    • Effects of globalization on Indian society.
    • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Geography
    • Salient features of world’s physical geography.
    • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
    • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

PAPER-III

General Studies‐ II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

  • Polity
    • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
    • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
    • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
    • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
    • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
    • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
    • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
    • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
    • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
  • Governance
    • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
    • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
    • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
    • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
    • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
    • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
    • Role of civil services in a democracy.
  • International Relations
    • India and its neighborhood- relations.
    • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
    • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
    • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

PAPER-IV

General Studies‐III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Economy
    • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
    • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
    • Government Budgeting.
    • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
    • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
    • Investment models.
  • Agriculture
    • Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
    • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
    • Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
    • Land reforms in India.
  • Science and Technology
    • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
    • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
    • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Environment
    • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
  • Disaster and disaster management
  • Internal Security
    • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
    • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
    • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
    • Security challenges and their management in border areas - linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
    • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

PAPER-V

General Studies‐ IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered:

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics - in private and public relationships. Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
  • Case Studies on above issues.

PAPER-VI & PAPER VII

Optional Subject Papers I & II.

A candidate may opt for any one Optional Subject from the following:

(i) Agriculture

(ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

(iii) Anthropology

(iv) Botany

(v) Chemistry

(vi) Civil Engineering

(vii) Commerce and Accountancy

(viii) Economics

(ix) Electrical Engineering

(x) Geography

(xi) Geology

(xii) History

(xiii) Law

(xiv) Management

(xv) Mathematics

(xvi) Mechanical Engineering

(xvii) Medical Science

(xviii) Philosophy

(xix) Physics

(xx) Political Science and International Relations

(xxi) Psychology

(xxii) Public Administration

(xxiii) Sociology

(xxiv) Statistics

(xxv) Zoology

(xxvi) Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.

Each Optional Subject has 2 compulsory papers.

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