GS Paper 1 of UPSC Mains is one of the four general studies papers. It is a subjective type of paper consisting of subjects like History, Geography, Art and Culture, and Indian Society. Along with GS Paper 1, there are eight other papers in the Mains stage of the IAS Exam. This article will provide you with the GS 1 Syllabus and Structure for UPSC Preparation.
Explore The Ultimate Guide to IAS Exam Preparation
Candidates can refer to syllabus and structure of GS-II, GS-III, and GS-IV from the links mentioned below:
|UPSC Mains GS-II Structure & Syllabus|
|UPSC Mains GS-III Structure & Syllabus|
|UPSC Mains GS-IV Structure & Syllabus|
Table of Contents:
|IAS Mains Paper-II | General Studies I
|Strategy for UPSC Mains GS 1:|
|GS-I Syllabus – Detailed Syllabus of Mains GS Paper 2|
|GS 1 Trend Analysis:|
|Must-Read Important Topics in GS-I for UPSC
|IAS Exam Pattern|
IAS Mains General Studies – I
The table below mentions the subjects included in UPSC Mains Paper-II which is also called the Mains GS 1 along with NCERT Notes on each subject:
|Subjects in GS Paper 1||Sub-Topics|
|History||Art & Culture|
|Geography||Physical Geography of India & World|
|Indian Society||Demography, Social Issues, and Developments in Indian Society|
IAS aspirants can get important NCERT notes on Modern History and Geography from the links below:
|NCERT Notes on Modern History for UPSC||NCERT Notes on Geography for UPSC|
Unlike other general studies papers, GS Paper 1 syllabus has subjects from where direct questions can be asked. As in the case of History of GS paper-I. Questions can directly be asked from ancient, medieval, modern, and world history. However, there are also topics in Indian Society and Geography, where an aspirant needs to connect the static syllabus of GS Paper 1 with the current affairs.
Candidates preparing for UPSC Exam can get NCERT Notes on Ancient and Medieval History for UPSC Prelims, below:
|NCERT Notes on Ancient History for UPSC||NCERT Notes on Medieval History for UPSC|
Strategy for UPSC Mains GS Paper 1
Focus Areas in GS Paper-I
|Art & Culture||
|India after Independence & Political Philosophies||
|Society of India||
The following table will mention the important sources which an aspirant can refer to prepare for UPSC Mains GS-I:
|History||Art & Culture
Get previous years’ Art & Culture Questions of UPSC Mains GS 1 in the linked article.
India After Independence
Aspirants can get the previous years’ History Questions of UPSC Mains GS 1 in the linked article.
|Society of India||
Aspirants can get the previous years’ Indian Society Questions of UPSC Mains GS 1 in the linked article.
|Geography||NCERTs from classes VI through XII.
Aspirants can get the previous years’ Geography Questions of UPSC Mains GS 1 in the linked article.
For topics like Indian Society and Geography, aspirants can make use of current affairs and also can take help from the below-mentioned links to prepare accordingly:
GS Paper-I Structure
Detailed Structure of Mains General Studies Paper-I for IAS
The important features of the UPSC General Studies I Mains paper are:
- There are 20 compulsory questions printed in Hindi and English which are to be answered in the language selected while filling out the application form. Questions that are answered in any other language are not evaluated.
- The paper is of a total of 250 marks.
- The word limit for 10 marks questions is 150 and 15 marks is 250.
- From the history syllabus, there is a significant emphasis on Modern History topics with questions asked from Freedom struggle, Indian Renaissance, and related sub-topics.
- From the Geography syllabus, the emphasis lies on current affairs related topics along with static sub-topics.
- From the Indian Society syllabus, the questions are asked from topics like women empowerment, secularism, a culture of Indian Society, etc.
GS 1 Syllabus
Aspirants can find the complete History Syllabus for UPSC from the links mentioned in the table below:
|History Syllabus for UPSC General Studies||IAS History Optional Syllabus||UPSC Prelims Syllabus of History|
The detailed syllabus for UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-I (UPSC GS 1 syllabus) is tabulated below:
|Art & Culture||
Aspirants can get a complete understanding of the Geography syllabus from the links mentioned in the table below:
|Geography Syllabus for IAS||UPSC Geography Optional Syllabus|
Must-Read Important Topics in GS-I for UPSC
The table below mentions the GS Paper 1 topics that are important for IAS Exam:
|History, Art & Culture||Indian Society|
As we can see from the UPSC GS 1 syllabus, there is a probability of questions being asked straight from the topics and also can be asked using current affairs based approach. UPSC aspirants can also refer to IAS Topper strategies to better understand the exam.
GS Paper 1 Trend Analysis
The table below shows the important questions asked from the IAS Exam 2018, 2019 and 2020 in GS Paper 1 and the trend followed by such questions from each subject.
Geography Trend Analysis
History Questions Analysis
|2020||The rock-cut architecture represents one of the most important sources of our knowledge of early Indian art and history. Discuss||10||Static||NCERT Class 11th Fine Arts/Ancient History NCERT|
|2020||Pala period is the most significant phase in the history of Buddhism in India. Enumerate.||10||Static + Dynamic||Medieval History NCERT/News Sources|
|2020||Evaluate the policies of Lord Curzon and their long term implications on the national movements||10||Static||Rajiv Ahir’s Brief History of Modern India/Bipan Chandra’s India’s Struggle for Independence|
|2020||Indian Philosophy and tradition played a significant role in conceiving and shaping the monuments and their art in India. Discuss||15||Static + Analytical||Reference Book|
|2020||Persian literary sources of medieval India reflect the spirit of the age. Comment||15||Static||Themes of India NCERT|
|2020||Since the decade of the 1920s, the national movement acquired various ideological strands and thereby expanded its social base. Discuss.||15||Static||Spectrum/India’s Struggle for Independence|
|2018||Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab travellers in the reconstruction of the history of India.||10||Static||NCERT Class XII – Themes in Indian History Part-II (Theme 5)|
|2018||Throw light on the significance of the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the present times.||10||Static + Dynamic (Current Affairs-Based)||150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was celebrated|
|2018||Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Comment||10||Static||NCERT Class XII – Themes in Indian History (Part I, II and III)|
|2018||The Bhakti movement received a remarkable re-orientation with the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Discuss||15||Static||NCERT Class XII|
|2019||Highlight the Central Asian and Greco Bactrian elements in the Gandhara art.||10||Static||NCERT Class XII (Themes in Indian History)|
|2019||The 1857 uprising was the culmination of the recurrent, big and small local rebellions that had occurred in the preceding hundred years of British rule. Elucidate.||10||Static||Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir|
|2019||Examine the linkages between the nineteenth century’s ‘Indian Renaissance’ and the emergence of national identity.||10||Static||NCERT + Any reference book|
|2019||Many voices had strengthened and enriched the nationalist movement during the Gandhian phase. Elaborate.||15||Static||NCERT + Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir|
|2019||Assess the role of British imperial power in complicating the process of transfer of power during the 1940s.||15||Static||NCERT + Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir|
Geography Trend Analysis
|2020||Discuss the geophysical characteristics of Circum- Pacific Zone||10||Static + Dynamic||Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung Volcanic Eruption was in the news|
|2020||The process of desertification does not have climate boundaries. Justify with examples.||10||Static + Dynamic||UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) moderated a panel marking panel the ‘Desertification and Drought Day 2020’|
|2020||How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far- reaching impact on the water resources of India?||10||Static + Current Affairs||The Hindu’s coverage on ‘Government plans to measure depth of Himalayan glaciers to assess water availability’|
|2020||Account for the present location of iron and steel industries away from the source of raw material, by giving examples.||10||Static||NCERTs|
|2020||The interlinking of revivers can provide viable solutions to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods and interrupted navigation. Critically examine.||15||Static + Dynamic + Current Affairs||Cauvery-Gundar river linking project was in the news.
The Hindu’s coverage, ‘Centre working on exclusive body for river-linking projects.’
|2020||Account for the huge flooding of million cities in India including the smart ones like Hyderabad and Pune. Suggest lasting remedial measures.||15||Static + Current Affairs||Urban Flooding in Hyderabad and Rains in Pune remained in the news|
|2018||Why is the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) needed? How does it help in navigation?||10||Current Affairs||IRNSS was successfully launched|
|2018||Why is India taking a keen interest in the Arctic region?||10||Static + Dynamic||India was an observer at the Council from 2013 onwards and re-elected as the observer|
|2018||Define mantle plume and explain its role in plate tectonics.||10||Static||NCERT|
|2018||What are the consequences of spreading ‘Dead Zones’ on the marine ecosystem?||10||Current Affairs-Based||In News|
|2018||“The ideal solution of depleting groundwater resources in India is a water harvesting system.” How can it be made effective in urban areas?||15||Current Affairs + Static||NCERT + News|
|2018||Defining the blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India.||15||Static||NCERT|
|2019||Assess the impact of global warming on the coral life system with examples.||10||Static + Current Affairs-Based||In News|
|2019||Discuss the causes of depletion of mangroves and explain their importance in maintaining coastal ecology.||10||Current Affairs-Based||In News|
|2019||What is water stress? How and why does it differ regionally in India?||15||Static + Current Affairs-Based||NCERT + Newspapers’ Editorials|
Indian Society Trend Analysis
|2020||Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree?||15||Static + Analytical||General Topic|
|2020||Is diversity and pluralism in India under threat due to globalisation? Justify your answer.||15||Static||General Topic/Any Reference Book|
|2020||Do you agree that regionalism in India appears to be a consequence of rising cultural assertiveness? Argue||10||Static + Analytical||Direct Topic from Syllabus|
|2018||“Caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Hence, the caste system cannot be eradicated in India.” Comment.||10||Static||General topic, direct from the syllabus|
|2018||‘Despite the implementation of various programmes for eradication of poverty by the government in India, poverty is still existing’. Explain by giving reasons||10||Static + Current Affairs-Based||Reference Book + News
Topic – ‘Poverty and Development
|2018||How is the Indian concept of secularism different from the western model of secularism? Discuss.||10||Static||Any reference book|
|2019||What makes Indian society unique in sustaining its culture? Discuss.||10||Static||Class 12 NCERT + Newspaper|
|2019||“Empowering women is the key to control population growth.” Discuss.||10||Static||Direct from the topic mentioned in the syllabus|
|2019||What are the challenges to our cultural practices in the name of secularism?||10||Static||Direct from the topic (Communalism) mentioned in the syllabus|
|2019||What are the continued challenges for women in India against time and space?||15||Static + Dynamic||Direct from the topic (Role of women and women’s organization) mentioned in the syllabus|
IAS Exam Pattern
Check the table below to understand the scheme and subjects of IAS examination:
|UPSC IAS Exam||Pattern of IAS Exam|
There were major structural changes in the pattern of the UPSC IAS Exam in 2013 and a few minor changes in 2015 and 2016. The changes related to General Studies are listed below:
- 2013: General Studies papers increased from 2 to 4
- 2015: CSAT marks no longer counted towards merit list, only General Studies papers, essay and optional papers are counted for merit ranking while CSAT became a qualifying paper.
- 2016: General Studies Papers marks distribution changed to a two-tier system instead of the earlier equal marks distribution for all questions
Candidates can understand the complete UPSC Exam Pattern from the linked article.
For more information on IAS Exam check the following links:
Due to the increasing trend of UPSC papers being analysis heavy in recent years, it is very important to read and understand the topics covered in the General Studies Paper-I and also previous year’s UPSC questions and answers to be able to answer effectively and efficiently.
The following articles given in the table below can be referred to for UPSC IAS exam preparation:
|UPSC Prelims||Previous Year UPSC Question Papers||UPSC 2023|
|IAS Questions & Answers (History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Environment & More)||UPSC Mains Syllabus||UPSC Notes PDF|