UPSC Syllabus Outline

student appearing for UPSC Exam

UPSC Syllabus Outline

The UPSC syllabus for the Civil Services Examination (CSE) comprises two stages:

1. Preliminary Examination (Prelims)

The Prelims consists of two objective-type papers:

  • Paper I: General Studies (GS)
    • Current Events of National and International Importance
    • History of India and Indian National Movement
    • Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography
    • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues
    • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives
    • General Science and Technology
    • Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change
    • Disaster Management
    • Internal Security
    • Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
  • Paper II: CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test)
    • 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.)
    • Data Interpretation (Charts, Graphs, Tables, Data Sufficiency etc.)
    • English Language Comprehension skills (Passage & Comprehension)

Clearing the Prelims is mandatory to qualify for the Mains.

2. Main Examination (Mains)

The Mains consists of nine papers:

  • Paper A: Essay
  • Paper B-E: General Studies (GS)
    • Paper B: Indian History and Culture, World History
    • Paper C: Geography
    • Paper D: Polity, Governance, Social Justice and International Relations
    • Paper E: Economy, Environment and Science and Technology
  • Paper F: Optional Subject I
  • Paper G: Optional Subject II
  • Paper H: Qualifying Language Paper I (English)
  • Paper I: Qualifying Language Paper II (Any Indian Language listed by UPSC)

Optional Subjects: There are 26 optional subjects offered by UPSC, categorized into Humanities, Social Sciences, Science & Technology, and Language. Some popular options include:

  • Literature
  • History
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology
  • Law
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Commerce
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Agriculture
  • Engineering

Here’s a table summarizing the UPSC syllabus:

PrelimsPaper I (General Studies)Current events, history, geography, polity, economics, science, and technology.
Paper II (CSAT)Comprehension, logical reasoning, and analytical ability.
MainsEssay PaperWriting skills, knowledge, and critical thinking.
Four General Studies PapersHistory, geography, polity, economics, science, technology, environment, disaster management, internal security, social justice, international relations, and ethics.
Two Optional Subject PapersChosen from a wide range of options.
Two Language PapersEnglish and any Indian language listed by UPSC. (Qualifying in nature)

Additional Resources:

Please note: This is just a general outline of the UPSC syllabus. It’s recommended to refer to the official UPSC website for the latest syllabus and any changes.

Cracking UPSC as a Science Student: A One-Take Guide

Cracking UPSC as a Science Student: A One-Take Guide

For many science students, the UPSC examination can seem like an imposing mountain – a seemingly inaccessible peak reserved for humanities scholars. However, with the right strategy and dedication, even science students can conquer this mountain in one shot. This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to crack the UPSC exam, regardless of your academic background.

Embracing Your Strengths:

Science students bring a unique set of skills to the UPSC table. Your analytical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and strong foundation in scientific concepts are invaluable assets. These attributes will give you an edge in subjects like:

  • General Science: This paper covers a vast range of scientific topics, including physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science. Your existing knowledge will give you a major head start.
  • Technology, Development, and Biodiversity: This paper delves into the intricate relationship between technology, development, and environmental sustainability. Science students often have a natural affinity for these concepts.
  • Disaster Management: With its focus on scientific principles and mitigation strategies, disaster management is another area where science students can excel.

Bridging the Humanities Gap:

While your strengths lie in science, the UPSC exam also demands proficiency in humanities subjects like history, polity, geography, and economics. Here’s how you can bridge this gap:

  • Start Early: Don’t wait until your final year to start preparing. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the syllabus and NCERT textbooks for each humanities subject.
  • Focus on Understanding, Not Just Memorization: Rote learning won’t take you far. Strive to understand the core concepts and connect them to contemporary issues.
  • Supplement Your Learning: Utilize online resources, coaching classes, and current affairs magazines to broaden your knowledge and stay updated.

Developing a Winning Strategy:

Crafting a personalized and effective strategy is crucial for cracking UPSC in one go. Here are some key steps:

  • Set SMART Goals: Break down your preparation into manageable stages with specific goals for each phase.
  • Create a Timetable: Allocate dedicated time for each subject, ensuring adequate coverage of both science and humanities.
  • Focus on Answer Writing: Practice writing concise and well-structured answers under timed conditions.
  • Mock Tests and Revision: Regularly take mock tests to identify your weaknesses and revise your notes for optimal retention.

Leveraging Resources:

The UPSC journey is not a solo trek. Utilize available resources to maximize your chances of success:

  • NCERT Textbooks: These are the foundational texts for UPSC preparation and provide a comprehensive understanding of key concepts.
  • Standard Reference Books: Invest in reliable reference books like Laxmikant for polity or M. Laxmikanth for economics for in-depth knowledge.
  • Online Resources: Several online platforms offer study materials, mock tests, and current affairs updates.
  • Coaching Classes: Consider joining a coaching class for personalized guidance and structured learning.
  • Mentors and Peers: Surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals who can motivate you and offer valuable insights.


  • Stay Motivational: The UPSC journey is long and challenging. Stay motivated by reminding yourself of your goals and aspirations.
  • Believe in Yourself: Don’t underestimate your abilities. Science students have the potential to excel in any field, including the UPSC.
  • Enjoy the Process: Learning and preparing for the UPSC can be a rewarding experience. Focus on enjoying the process rather than just the outcome.

**By following these tips, any science student can overcome their initial apprehension and embark on the path to conquering the UPSC exam in one attempt. It’s a journey of dedication, perseverance, and self-belief. Remember, the mountain may seem daunting, but with the right mindset and approach, you can reach the summit and achieve your dream of becoming a IAS / IPS / IFS officer.

Additional Resources: