Civil Services Syllabus

The Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Services Commission is one such exam where lakhs of students compete for about a thousand vacancies in the Central and All India Services. The examination is called the “Mother of All the Examinations” owing to the vastness of the syllabus and the pass percentage. The UPSC Civil Services syllabus is often misinterpreted to cover everything “under the Sun and beyond”. In reality, the syllabus is well defined and is indicative. The aspirants, in order to minimise the burden and score well in the examination must stick to completing the syllabus well within its framework. Before an aspirant begins to study for civil services, he/she must be aware of the syllabus.

This article is an attempt to familiarise the aspirants to both the Prelims and Mains civil service examination syllabus:

The Civils Syllabus for Preliminary Examination includes the following:

Syllabus for Paper I:

(Counted for the merit rank in the Prelims)

  • 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 specialization.
  • General Science.

Syllabus for Paper II:

(Not counted for the merit rank in Prelims but a qualifying Paper; 33% marks needed to qualify)

  • 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)

The Civils Syllabus for Mains Examination includes the following:

The written examination consists of nine papers, two qualifying papers and seven papers counted for ranking.

Sr. No. Paper Marks Syllabus
1 Paper A 300 Paper on English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only
2 Paper B 300 Any one of the Indian languages of choice standard and will be of qualifying nature only
3 Paper 1 250 Essay paper
4 Paper 2 250 Indian Heritage and Culture,
History and Geography of the World and Society
5 Paper 3 250 Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations
6 Paper 4 250 Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
7 Paper 5 250 Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude
8 Paper 6 250 Optional Subject – Paper 1
9 Paper 7 250 Optional Subject – Paper 2

Important to Note:

  • Paper A and Paper B are of qualifying nature and the marks will not be counted for ranking purposes.
  • Candidates are required to write 2 essays, choosing 1 each from Section A & B, in about 1000-1200 words. Each section has 4 topics to choose from.
  • Marks of Paper 1 to Paper 7 are only considered for ranking purposes.
  • Optional Subject selection is as per the aspirants’ choice.

It is advisable to the candidates to stick to the syllabus when they study for Civil Services, to avoid wasting time and gain maximum marks in the paper. Download NCERT books in Hindi here.

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