UPSC subjects

According to the UPSC, the IAS subjects cover almost all of the courses that we studied in school under the heading of general studies. Those, as well as others, must be studied.

The UPSC IAS test syllabus may appear straightforward at first glance, but it necessitates extensive study and comprehension of each essential and optional subject and its components.

Only an informed individual can make educated decisions as a civil servant, hence the UPSC subjects in civil services are designed to judge you on your understanding of things around you. Most services within the Civil Services require dealing with people and policies, and IAS personnel are policymakers.

UPSC themes are chosen with a great deal of care.

 Part A—Subjects for Preliminary Examination 

Paper I – (200 marks)                                                                                                 Duration: Two hours 

For Part 1, a candidate must read these 7 subjects basis on these topics:

HistoryHistory of India
Indian National Movement
Indian and World Geography
Economic Geography of India and the World
Indian Polity and Governance
Political Science / CivicsConstitution
Political System
Panchayati Raj
Public Policy
Rights Issues, etc.,
Economic and Social Development
Sustainable Development
General issues on Environmental Ecology
Environmental ScienceBio-diversity
Climate Change
General ScienceChemistry
SociologySocial Sector initiatives, etc.,
  • 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 & technology.

Paper-II-(200 marks)                                                                                                 Duration: Two 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), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. — Class X level); 

Note-1: Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. 

Note-2: The questions will be of multiple-choice, objective type. 

Part B—Subjects for Main Examination

Compulsory PapersOptional Subjects (Choose Any One)
Social Science     Science           Languages.           Others.

General Studies
Indian Languages
EconomicsAgricultureAssameseUrduCommerceGeographyBotanyBengali literatureTeluguManagement
HistoryChemistryEnglish LiteratureTamilMedical SciencePhilosophyAnthropologyHindi LiteratureSindhiCivil EngineeringPolitical ScienceAnimal Husbandry & Veterinary ScienceBodoSanskritElectrical EngineeringPsychologyMathematicsDogriPunjabiMechanical EngineeringPublic AdministrationStatisticsGujratiOriya






The paper aims to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose and to express ideas clearly and correctly, in the English and Indian languages concerned. 

The pattern of questions would be broad as follows: 

(i) Comprehension of given passages. 

(ii) Precis Writing. 

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary. 

(iv) Short Essays. 

Indian Languages:— 

(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. 

Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be qualifying only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking. 

Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where the translation is involved).

PAPER-I Essay: Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep close to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely. 

PAPER-II- (General Studies-I): Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society.  

PAPER-III- (General Studies- II): Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

PAPER-IV-(General Studies-III): Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management  

PAPER-V- (General Studies- IV): Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude  

PAPER-VI & PAPER VII (Optional Subject Papers I & II): Candidates have to choose an optional subject from amongst the List of Optional Subjects. He/She has to write 2 different papers on the same subject.

Subjects for Interview (Personality Test)

The UPSC Interview/personality test has no prescribed syllabus. The candidates will be interviewed by a Board of competent and unbiased members and will be questioned on matters of general interest and the candidate will be evaluated not only based on their intellectual qualities but also on social traits, interest in current affairs, mental alertness, critical power of adaptation, rational exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social interconnection and leadership, logical and moral uprightness.

Some Important Facts:

If any crucial step has to be taken, it’s nothing but choosing the right Optional Subject for UPSC-CSE preparation. It should be kept in mind that a wrong pick not only costs you your rank but also leaves you in a sense of repentance for the rest of your life. So if any greater thought perception is imperative,  it is how to select an Optional Subject prudently!   

The Main Examination is intended to evaluate the overall intellectual traits and 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. 

The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. 

The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives, and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful, and succinct answers. 

The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broad of the honors degree 1evel i.e. a level higher than the bachelor’s degree and lower than the master’s degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science, and law, the level corresponds to the bachelor’s degree. 

Now, to succeed in UPSC-CSE, only knowing the syllabus is not enough. Understanding twists & overlapping areas are a crucial aspect of preparation. To tell the truth, if anyone can be your true torchbearer throughout your IAS journey, he is your mentor. Never deprive yourself of his priceless guidance.

The desire to complete the course alone in its entirety is the major cause of most time mismanagement. Many applicants set out to cover the entire syllabus blindly only to discover later that many topics are simply too broad or that very few if any, questions are being asked from certain sections. A lot of time is wasted in this effort because those topics are required to be addressed differently, and the time saved on their coverage could have been better spent on other parts of the syllabus.


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