UPSC IAS Syllabus 2024 PDF – CSE Prelims and Mains Exam

Union Public Service Commission conducts Civil Services Exam every year. Aspirants preparing for the exam must go through its pattern and syllabus. This article will explain the civil services IAS Exam 2023 syllabus.

Every year almost 10 lakh aspirants apply for the IAS Exam. Out of which, on average, 60% appear in the Preliminary examination.

10 times of total vacancy is called for mains written test and 3 times of total vacancy is called for interview. i.e., if the total number of vacancies is 1,000, then 10,000 aspirants are called for a main written test.

UPSC Civil Service Examination
UPSC Civil Service Examination

Eligibility Criteria to Apply for the Civil Service Exam:

To apply for this examination, you should be eligible in certain criteria, as we know that eligibility is an entry point in any examination.

  • The candidate must be a citizen of India.
  • The candidate should have a minimum bachelor’s degree from a Central, State, or Deemed University. Degree from Correspondence Education or distance education, the open university is also accepted.
  • The candidate’s age must be 21 years old and must not be greater than 32 years old. The Open category is restricted to 32 years, the OBC category is 35 years, and the SC/ST category is 37 years old.
  • The number of attempts is limited; for the Open category, it is limited to 6 attempts; for the OBC category, it is limited to 9 attempts; and for SC/ST candidates, there is no limitation (Any number of attempts)

We designed an age calculator for UPSC Civil Services Exam. This will allow you to calculate age according to your category and target exam year.

Selection Process

There are three stages of the selection process –

  • Preliminary Test
  • Mains Written Exam
  • Interview

Every year UPSC releases its notification for the recruitment of Class A officers. In recent years, civil services have averaged around 700-1000. But only the top 70-100 candidates are allotted Indian Administrative Service. Indian Police Service is the second most opted choice among services, third is the Indian Foreign Service, Fourth is Indian Revenue Services, and then other civil services follow.

Preliminary Test

PT is conducted in June, for which form and notification were released by the Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi in February.
PT exam has Two papers of 100 questions and 80 questions to be finished in two hours each.
These papers are named as

  • General Studies Paper I
  • General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)

These are the optional type of paper with a 1/3rd negative marking.
General Studies Paper II is a qualifying paper only with the cut-off score as 33%, the merit list is created solely based on the score of GS Paper I.

Syllabus of UPSC IAS Exam Paper I (PT) – (200 marks)

Paper I is having Social Studies, Indian Economy, General Science, Current Affairs, Environment, etc. The duration of the exam remains two hours, generally scheduled in the first half of the day (9 am – 11 am). The following is the syllabus provided by UPSC for this paper.

  • Current 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, 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 specialisation
  • General Science.

Syllabus for Paper II – (200 marks)

Paper II has Comprehension and Aptitude. Its duration is also of two hours, scheduled in second half of the day. Syllabus provided by UPSC:-

  • 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)

Cut off marks for Selection in Civil Services Preliminary Exam Exam

Paper I – Generally, cut-off marks for selection in PT remain between 50-55 per cent. However, we suggest you aim at scoring 65 per cent to play safe.
Paper-II – It is a qualifying paper candidate need to score a minimum of 33% marks in this paper to qualify.
To read the previous year’s Preliminary Exam General Studies Paper

UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam Syllabus.

After qualifying the Preliminary Examination, candidates are allowed to appear in the mains exam, which consists of two parts –

  • The written exam of nine papers
  • Personality test (also known as interview)

It consists of nine papers and is followed by a personality test (Total marks is 1750)

Paper AOne of the Indian languages should be selected300
Paper BEnglish300
Paper IEssay writing250
Paper-IIIndian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World250
Paper IIIGovernance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations250
Paper IVTechnology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment250
Paper VEthics, Integrity and Aptitude250
Paper VI, VIIOne subject is selected from the prescribed optional subjects500 (250 x 2)

Some of the Indian languages that will be useful while selecting are Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, Telugu, Urdu, etc.
The candidate is allowed to take up literature as an optional subject “without the conditionality of having to do his/her graduation in that language’s literature.
The optional subjects are Geography, Agriculture, Chemistry, Economics, Law, Psychology etc.

Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks
Marks in English and Language will not be counted, so the total marks for the Written exam will be 1750 Marks Only.

UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam

After qualifying the Preliminary Examination candidates are allowed to go for mains exam which consists of two parts –

  • The written exam of nine papers
  • Personality test (also known as interview)

It consists of nine paper and followed by a personality test (Total marks is 1750)

Qualifying Paper A One of the Indian language should be selected 300
Paper B English 300
Competitive Paper I Essay writing 250
Paper II Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World 250
Paper III Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations 250
Paper IV Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment 250
Paper V Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude 250
Paper VI, VII One subject is selected from the prescribed optional subjects 500 (250 x 2)
Personality Test Interview 275
Total 2075

You can choose any Indian Language that is mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

You can check the list of optional subject. here.

Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks


Paper A and B(Qualifying in nature)

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’s ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned.


  • (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 of qualifying nature 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 translation is involved)

Competitive in Nature

Paper I

Essay : 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: 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 or 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 subcontinent); 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 waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.


General Studies -II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations


  • 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 development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • 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 neighborhood- 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.


General Studies -III: 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.


General Studies -IV: 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. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered.

  • 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 weakersections.
  • 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, VI

Optional Subject of Your choice. That will conduct in two parts, Paper VI and Paper VI.

Marks of English and Language will not be counted so total marks for Written exam will be 1750 Marks Only

Interview/Personality Test – 275 marks

Candidate can give preference of the language in which they may like to be interviewed. UPSC will make arrangement for the translators.

Grand Total 2025 Marks

A candidate is allowed to use anyone language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the examination.

How to start IAS preparation?

On this, you will find common in all aspirants about IAS preparation that they start with reading NCERT books. Any beginner can start his UPSC preparation by reading NCERT books. Soon after this, aspirants need to go through one textbook of each subject and keep revising as well as practising for answer writing. A newspaper, preferably The Hindu, should be read by IAS Aspirants.

Civil Services Examination Time Table 2023

Events Dates
UPSC CSE Notification 202301 February 2023
Online Application Start01 February 2023
Last Date of Online Application21 February 2023
Admit Card for Prelims Release Date08 May 2023
UPSC Prelims Exam Date 202328 May 2023
Prelim Result DateTo be announced
UPSC Mains Exam Date 202315 September 2023 onwards
IAS Mains Result DateTo be announced
UPSC Exam Date for InterviewTo be announced
Final Result DateTo be announced
Merit ListTo be announced

Do not wait for another day to start preparation. Start it right now. All the best.
Do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Siddharth Singh

Siddharth worked in Educational Field for the last 5 years. He appeared two times in the civil services mains and once in the personality test.

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