UPSC Prelims Syllabus

The UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam is the first phase of the Civil Services Exam but is not necessarily the easiest. There is a broad difference between the syllabi of the Preliminary and Main Exam, the nature of questions, and consequently, the preparation strategy needs to be well thought out. Every year around 15 Lakhs aspirants fill up the form but only less than 1% get selected as an IAS or IPS, etc. posts. And almost 90% of candidates get eliminated in the prelims. So, the very first crucial step is to have a grip on the Syllabus of UPSC prelims. 

UPSC-CSE Preliminary Examination Syllabus:

Paper 1 consists of 100 Questions (200 Marks)


  • Current Events of National and International Importance.
  • Ancient & Medieval 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.

Paper 2 consists of 80 questions – (200 marks)

Topics covered

  • 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).

Note: Paper 2 of the UPSC-CSE prelims is a qualifying paper with minimum pass marks fixed @33%. And the type of the questions in Paper 1 & Paper 2 is multiple-choice objective type. There is a negative marking for every wrong answer which is 1/3rd of the marks assigned to a question.


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