UPSC Syllabus for Prelims and Mains 2019


The Civil Services Examination is generally considered as one of the hardest and the most esteemed examinations conducted in India. 

To understand the examination, first of all, aspirants need to understand the syllabus. This wipes out wasteful efforts like reading unnecessary topics leading to a loss of time and keeps one strictly desires for the UPSC from day one. 

The UPSC recommends a typical prospectus pattern for services, for example, the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) etc. 


The Civil service examination is conducted in three stages: 


Stage 1: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type) 

Stage 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type) 

Stage 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)

Phase 1: Preliminary Examination:

The Preliminary Examination is divided into two parts i.e;


Paper Subjects Total Marks Duration
I General Studies 200 2 hours
II CSAT 200 2hours

1) General Studies: The General Studies test is the main paper of the prelims examination. This exam is expected to test the general awareness of an aspirant in a wide range of subjects that include: Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and related UPSC current undertakings.

2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT): 

This exam is planned to assess the aptitude of the competitor in solving 'Reasoning and Analytical' questions, aside from 'Perusing Comprehension' and the occasionally asked 'Decision Making' questions. 

The 'Decision Making' based questions are commonly excluded from negative marks. 

The prelims examination is intended for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam.

The marks acquired in the Prelims won't be included while arriving at the final rank list.

Syllabus Schedule for General Studies Paper (Prelims Paper I) 

Cuurent 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, and so on.

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 CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper II)


Interpersonal skills including communication skills

Logical reasoning and analytical ability

Decision-making and problem solving

General mental ability

Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination Syllabus

The Mains examination comprises the second stage of the Civil Services Examination. Only after qualifying the preliminary examination would the competitors be allowed to write the Mains examination. 

The Mains examination tests the applicant's academic ability in depth and his/her capacity to show his/her understanding according to the requirements of the question in a time-bound manner.

Structure of the language papers:

The type of questions asked are –

1. Essay – 100 marks

2. Reading comprehension – 60 marks

3. Precis Writing – 60 marks

4. Translation :

English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks

Compulsory language to English – 20 marks

5. Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks

The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.

Phase 3: Interview/ Personality Test:

Applicants who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be required the 'Personality Test/Interview'. These competitors will be interviewed by a Board designated by the UPSC. 

The goal of the meeting is to evaluate the personal stability of the aspirant for a career in the civil services by the board of competent and unbiased observers

The interview test will be of 275 marks and the total marks for written exam is 1750. This sums up to Grand total of 2015 marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.