By Eden IAS   On 19-Aug-21



Like many if you also want to bag the administrative jobs namely IAS. IPS. IFS, IRS (to name a few), then you must know about “HOW” ….and we are here to tell you about that “HOW”!!! 😊 😊

…So basically, for having that prestigious job you need to clear the hurdle called “CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION”, which is conducted by UPSC annually!!!


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the premier recruitment agency of India which is responsible for conducting various examinations for appointments into All India Administrative Services of Group A and Group B. UPSC recruits’ candidates to both civil services as well as defence services.


As said by many that, it is one of the toughest exams in the country, but don’t worry, if you have a robust strategy, then it can turn your aspirations in Reality 😊😊!!

One of the most popular examination conducted by the UPSC is Civil Services Examination. Even though CSE is a common exam to recruit candidates of about 24 top government services like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS etc, still it is widely known as ‘IAS exam’.

The exam conducted in the three stagess PRELIMINARY, MAINS and INTERVIEW.


The exam window extends around 10-12 months (usually from June month of a year to June month next year when the results are announced).

Let’s dive into little depth……. 😊


Preliminary exam comprises, two compulsory papers, each 200 marks. The questions in both papers will be of multiple-choice, objective type

General Studies Paper-I

It consists 100 questions broadly covering the following topics carrying a maximum of 200 marks to be solved in 2 hours.

    • Current events of National & International importance.
    • History of India & Indian National Movement.
    • Indian & World Geography
    • Indian Polity & Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
    • Economic & Social Development
    • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity & climate change – that do not require subject specialization.
    • General Science.

General Studies Paper-II/ CSAT

It comprises of 80 questions from the following topics carrying a maximum of 200 marks to be solved in 2 hours.

  • Comprehension.
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
  • Logical reasoning & analytical ability.
  • Decision making & problem solving.
  • General mental ability.
  • Basic numeracy (numbers & their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

It is mandatory for a candidate to appear in both the Papers of IAS Prelim Exam for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore, a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

The marks of preliminary exam is not being counted for final ranking, but it is just qualifying and help you to enter into the next stage.



The Main examination of UPSC is designed to test the depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study.

Civil Services Main Examination consists of following papers divided into 2 categories – qualifying & papers to be counted for merit.




Total Marks

Nature of Paper

Paper A

Compulsory Indian language

3:00 hours



 Paper B


3:00 hours



Paper I


3:00 hours



Paper II

General Studies I

3:00 hours



Paper III

General Studies II

3:00 hours



Paper IV

General Studies III

3:00 hours



Paper V

General Studies IV

3:00 hours



Paper VI

Optional I

3:00 hours



Paper VIII

Optional II

3:00 hours



Syllabus of UPSC Main Examination Papers

The written examination will consist of the following papers:

Qualifying Papers:

Paper-A: 300 Marks

(One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the

Eighth Schedule to the Constitution).

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precis Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essays.

(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Paper-B: 300 Marks


(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precis Writing.

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.

(iv) Short Essays.

Papers to be counted for merit

Paper-I 250 Marks


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.

Paper-II/ General Studies-I: 250 Marks

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

  • 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.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 250 Marks

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations        

  • 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
  • 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 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.


  • India and its neighbourhood- 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 250 Marks

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.


  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.


  • Government Budgeting.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Disaster and disaster management.
  • 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 250 Marks

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.


  • 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 & VII (Optional Subjects)

List of optional subjects for Main Examination:

(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.



  • After clearing the above two stages, one enters in this final stage of examination…
  • The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board’s unbiased observers. The Board will have the candidate's DAF (Detail Application Form) with them.
  • This phase not only assesses the intellectual qualities but also social traits and interest of the candidates in the current happening. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
  • The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination but of a natural, which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
  • Candidates can give interviews in their preferred language as UPSC will make arrangements for the translators.

                                            Good Luck...!!!!!

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