Preparation for the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) Prelims is not a cup of tea. This syllabus is vast, detailed and needs specification before studying. The success rate of the exam is 0.1% to 0.3 %. It is important to go through the syllabus before starting with any other procedure of collecting materials, books and previous years’ papers.  Follow the pattern of the syllabus and start preparing for the exam.

The commission of UPSC divides the selection process into three parts. These are:

  • Preliminary examination
  • Mains examination
  • Personality test (interview)

Here the syllabus, duration of exam along paper types will be discussed. 

The UPSC Prelims Exam syllabus

The commission of UPSC has set two papers for the Prelims exam: Paper I and Paper-II.

Paper I (General Studies – I of 200 marks)- 

Duration: 2 hours

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and The 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

Syllabus for Paper II (CSAT/General Studies – II of 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) and data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

*Note 1: The CSAT aptitude test or Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper only with a minimum of 33% to be secured to sit for the UPSC Mains exam.

*Note 2: The questions in both Paper-I (current affairs) and Paper-II (aptitude test) will be of multiple-choice, objective type for 200 marks each and the time allotted for each paper is two hours

*Note 3: The candidate must appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelims) examination for evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of the (Prelims) exam.

Points to be noted:

  • The questions are objective type (multiple choice questions) in the Prelims Examination.
  • There is a rule of ‘negative marking’ is there in the Prelims Exam. There is a rule of cutting 0.83 marks from every wrong answer marked. 
  • A separate 20 minute given for blind candidates.
  • Though it is mandatory to appear in the Prelims exam, the marks scored should be qualifying. This score will not be carried forward to the tally of the Main Exam and Interview.

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About the Author

Akshay Palande

Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.

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