UPSC CSE exam pattern and syllabus

The UPSC CSE is conducted for the selection of officers in Indian Administration Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS), Indian Foreign Services (IFS) and many others.. The Examination has three stages mainly: Prelims, Mains and Personality Test. This year, the prelims are scheduled for 2 June 2019.


The Prelims have two papers consisting of objective type questions that carry 400 marks. It is the first and a qualifying stage. The marks scored in this are not added to your final scores. Check Syllabus here.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

  • Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)

  • 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, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation General Science
  • Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper II)

    • 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)

There are two types of papers- Qualifying and Paper for merit formation. The Qualifying papers consist of two language test — out of which one is English and the other is as per candidate’s choice. The paper for merit formation has 7 tests of 250 marks each.

UPSC Mains Syllabus

Paper – IEssay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)250
Paper – IIGeneral Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)250
Paper – IIIGeneral Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)250
Paper – IVGeneral Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)250
Paper – VGeneral Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)250
Paper – VIOptional Subject – Paper I250
Paper – VIIOptional Subject – Paper II

The UPSC Mains syllabus gives a list of 48 Optional Subjects which include Literature of different languages. Candidates need to choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of subjects given below:

Optional Subjects:

Animal Husbandry & Veterinary ScienceAssamese (Literature)
AnthropologyBengali (Literature)
BotanyBodo (Literature)
ChemistryDogri (Literature)
Civil EngineeringGujarati (Literature)
Commerce & AccountancyHindi (Literature)
EconomicsKannada (Literature)
Electrical EngineeringKashmiri (Literature)
GeographyKonkani (Literature)
GeologyMaithili (Literature)
HistoryMalayalam (Literature)
LawManipuri (Literature)
ManagementMarathi (Literature)
MathematicsNepali (Literature)
Mechanical EngineeringOdia (Literature)
Medical SciencePunjabi (Literature)
PhilosophySanskrit (Literature)
PhysicsSanthali (Literature)
Political Science & International RelationsSindhi (Literature)
PsychologyTamil (Literature)
Public AdministrationTelugu (Literature)
SociologyEnglish (Literature)
StatisticsUrdu (Literature)
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