UPSC Mains 2019 – Civil Services (Main) Examination

The Union Public Service Commission conducts recruitment exams for a variety of Group A and few Group B posts in the Indian government every year. The most prestigious and the most competitive exam conducted by the UPSC is the Civil Services Examination.

The pattern of UPSC Civil Service Exam 2019:

  1. UPSC CSE (Preliminary) – June 2, 2019
  2. UPSC CSE (Main) – Septemeber, 2019
  3. IAS Interview/ UPSC Personality Test

This article covers, in-depth, the written stage of the Civil Services exam i.e. UPSC Mains for the year 2019.

If you are looking for the UPSC syllabus for Prelims, Mains and Interview and information on the Civil Services Exam as a whole, refer to the links above.

UPSC Mains – IAS Exam 2019

Topics covered in this article:

  1. What is the UPSC Mains Exam/CSE(Main)/IAS Mains
  2. How many candidates will appear for UPSC Mains 2019
  3. How to apply for UPSC Mains 2019
  4. Preparation Strategy for UPSC Mains 2019
  5. UPSC Mains Exam Pattern for IAS exam 2019
  6. Important information regarding UPSC Mains and UPSC Mains Syllabus
  7. UPSC Mains Syllabus – IAS exam 2019
    1. Qualifying Papers
    2. Essay
    3. General Studies
    4. Optional Subjects

What is the UPSC Mains Exam/CSE (Main)/IAS Mains?

The UPSC Mains exam is the second stage of the Civil Services Examination. IAS aspirants who clear the Prelims i.e. those who score above the cutoff in General Studies Paper I and more than 33% marks in General Studies Paper II (CSAT) are eligible to appear for the UPSC Mains.

Candidates who aspire to become IAS, IPS, IFS and IRS officers have to give UPSC Mains before they are cleared for the IAS interview/UPSC Personality Test stage.

How many candidates will appear for UPSC Mains 2019?

As per UPSC, the total candidates allowed to appear for UPSC mains will be twelve to thirteen times the number of Civil Sevice vacancies for that exam year. For UPSC 2019, the total number of vacancies are 896 so accordingly around 11 thousand candidates will give the UPSC Mains 2019.

How to apply for UPSC Mains 2019?

Once the Civil Services Exam (Preliminary) results are declared, successful candidates will have to fill the online Detailed Application Form (DAF) for UPSC Mains on the official website (upsc.gov.in).

The DAF for UPSC Mains has six modules/sections:

  1. Personal
  2. Educational Information
  3. Parental Information
  4. Employment Information
  5. Upload documents
  6. Final Submission

Some fields like name, Date of birth, exam centre for UPSC Mains etc will be prepopulated in the UPSC Mains DAF from the information provided at the time of filling the UPSC online application for CSE(Preliminary).

For UPSC Mains, you can check here which documents need to be uploaded with the DAF.

Note – Once Final Submission is done no changes are allowed online, so candidates should be extra careful and cross check all details which filling the DAF for UPSC Mains.

Also, this DAF forms the basis of a lot of questions in the IAS interview/UPSC Personality test stage so make sure that you keep a copy of it for your reference.

Preparation Strategy for UPSC Mains 2019

  • Current Affairs are an important part of Civil Services Exam (for Prelims and for UPSC Mains). Ideally, aspirants should prepare Current Affairs for at least 12-15 months i.e. UPSC Mains exam in 2019 will be held in September, so candidates should prepare Current Affairs from June 2018 onwards.
  • Important sources for current affairs preparation for IAS exam 2019 are:
    • Yojana Magzine
    • Newspapers (The Hindu/The Indian Express)
    • Press Information Bureau (PIB)
    • Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)
  • Candidates should prepare for UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains simultaneously as there is syllabus overlap.
  • As per UPSC, marks in the Civil Services(Main) exam are not given for superficial answers, so candidates should do answer writing practice. BYJU’S UPSC Mains test series for IAS 2019 starts in June, check it out.
  • An important part of IAS preparation is practising the UPSC previous year question papers. For reference, IAS aspirants can view the UPSC Mains papers for General Studies for the exam year 2018 below:

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern for IAS 2019

The UPSC Mains or CSE (Main) pattern was revised in 2015. As per the revised pattern, the UPSC Mains 2019 will comprise nine theory papers (essay descriptive type). Out of the nine papers, only seven will be counted for merit ranking. Candidates also have to choose one optional subject for UPSC Mains. More on UPSC Mains optional later in the article.

The maximum marks for UPSC Mains exam are 1750 (7 papers * 250 marks each). All papers are of three-hour duration.

The UPSC Mains pattern for Civil Services Exam 2019 is given below:

Sl. No.

Papers

Subject

Nature of Exam

Total Marks

1

Paper A

Indian Language

Qualifying

300

2

Paper B

English

Qualifying

300

3

Paper I

Essay

Counted for Merit

250

4

Paper II

General Studies (GS) I

Counted for Merit

250

5

Paper III

General Studies (GS) II

Counted for Merit

250

6

Paper IV

General Studies (GS) III

Counted for Merit

250

7

Paper V

General Studies (GS) IV

Counted for Merit

250

8

Paper VI

Optional Subject Paper-I

Counted for Merit

250

9

Paper VII

Optional Subject Paper-II

Counted for Merit

250

Important information regarding UPSC Mains and UPSC Mains Syllabus

  • An IAS aspirant’s marks in UPSC Mains and IAS interview determine his/her final rank in the merit list
  • The UPSC Mains intends to asses the depth of a candidate’s knowledge. Hence marks will only be given for “relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.”
  • The questions in UPSC Mains test aspirant’s basic understanding, ability to analyse and “take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands.”
  • Although UPSC maintains that for General Studies Papers (Paper II to Paper V), a “well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialised study,” candidates are advised to go through previous year UPSC question papers to ascertain for themselves whether they need ‘specialised study.’
  • Candidates are allowed to use Scientific(Non-Programmable) calculators in UPSC Mains if needed.
  • The level of examination for the optional subjects in UPSC Mains will be equivalent to an honours degree (between bachelors’ and masters’ level). Only for engineering subjects, Law and Medical Science, the scope is limited to the bachelors’ degree level.

Candidates can download the pdf of UPSC notification 2019 from the link below:

Download the UPSC Notification for IAS exam 2019 PDF

UPSC Mains Syllabus – IAS Exam 2019

The UPSC Mains syllabus 2019 can be divided into two parts:

  1. Qualifying Papers
    1. Paper A
    2. Paper B
  2. Papers which are counted for merit ranking
    1. Essay
    2. General Studies (Paper II to Paper V)
    3. Optional Subject (Two Papers)

Read on for the paper-wise syllabus for UPSC Mains 2019. Also, you can download the updated UPSC Mains syllabus pdf.

UPSC Mains Syllabus and Exam Pattern for Qualifying Papers

In UPSC Mains, candidates have to score a minimum of 25% marks in Paper A and Paper B otherwise their marks in other papers will not be taken into account. The pattern/syllabus for qualifying papers in UPSC Mains is given below:

Paper

Exam Pattern

Paper A – Indian Language (any of the Indian languages listed in the 8th schedule of the Constitution)

  1. Comprehension of given passages.
  2. Precis Writing
  3. Usage and Vocabulary
  4. Short Essays
  5. Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa

Paper B – English

  1. Comprehension of given passages
  2. Precis Writing
  3. Usage and Vocabulary
  4. Short Essays

Important information regarding UPSC Mains qualifying papers:

  • Paper A and Paper B test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious prose in the given language and to express her/her views correctly and clearly.
  • The marks in Paper A and Paper B in UPSC Mains will not be counted for merit but if candidates score below 25% in either of these two papers, then their marks in the remaining papers will not even be declared.
  • The level of Paper A and Paper B is of a Matriculation (or equivalent) level.
  • Paper A (Indian Language) in UPSC Mains is not compulsory for candidates hailing from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Essay paper

As such the UPSC Mains syllabus doesn’t have a prescribed section for the Essay paper. In the essay paper in UPSC Mains, candidates have to write two essays out of a few given options for a total of 250 marks. As per the UPSC, “Candidates are expected to keep close 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.”

Here, candidates can find topic-wise essay questions asked in UPSC Mains in the last 25 years.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for General Studies

The UPSC Mains syllabus for GS papers covers broadly the following subjects/areas:

UPSC Mains Paper II – General Studies I

UPSC Mains Paper III – General Studies II

UPSC Mains Paper IV – General Studies III

UPSC Mains Paper V – General Studies IV

Indian Heritage and Culture

Governance

Technology

Ethics

History and Geography of the World

Constitution

Economic Development

Integrity

Society

Polity

Bio-diversity

Aptitude

Social Justice

Environment

International relations

Security and Disaster Management

For detailed UPSC Mains syllabus 2019 for General Studies Papers, refer the link.

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Optional Subjects

Since the pattern change in UPSC Mains, candidates now have to choose only one optional subject. There are two papers based on the optional subject for a total of 500 marks (250 marks * 2 papers) which are counted for the merit ranking.

The list of optional subjects for the UPSC IAS exam 2019 and links to the detailed syllabi for each optional subject are given below:

List of optional subjects in UPSC Mains 2019

Detailed Syllabus

1

Agriculture

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Agriculture

2

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Animal Husbandry & Vet Science

3

Anthropology

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Anthropology

4

Botany

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Botany

5

Chemistry

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Chemistry

6

Civil Engineering

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Civil Engg

7

Commerce & Accountancy

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Commerce & Accountancy

8

Economics

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Economics

9

Electrical Engineering

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Electrical Engg

10

Geography

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Geography

11

Geology

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – Geology

12

History

Syllabus for UPSC Mains Optional – History

13

Law

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Law

14

Management

Syllabus for CSE (Main) Optional – Management

15

Mathematics

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Mathematics

16

Mechanical Engineering

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Mech Engg

17

Medical Science

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Medical Science

18

Philosophy

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Philosophy

19

Physics

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Physics

20

Political Science & International Relations

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Political Science & IR

21

Psychology

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Psychology

22

Public Administration

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Public Administration

23

Sociology

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Sociology

24

Statistics

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Statistics

25

Zoology

Syllabus for CSE(Main) Optional – Zoology

26

Assamese (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Assamese Lit

27

Bengali (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Bengali Lit

28

Bodo (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Bodo Lit

29

Dogri (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Dogri Lit

30

Gujarati (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Gujarati Lit

31

Hindi (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Hindi Lit

32

Kannada (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Kannada Lit

33

Kashmiri (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Kashmiri Lit

34

Konkani (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Konkani Lit

35

Maithili (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Maithali Lit

36

Malayalam (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Malayalam Lit

37

Manipuri (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Manipuri Lit

38

Marathi (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Marathi Lit

39

Nepali (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Nepali Lit

40

Oriya (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Oriya Lit

41

Punjabi (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Punjabi Lit

42

Sanskrit (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Sanskrit Lit

43

Santhali (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Santhali Lit

44

Sindhi (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Sindhi Lit

45

Tamil (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional -Tamil Lit

46

Telugu (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Telugu Lit

47

Urdu (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – Urdu Lit

48

English (Literature)

Syllabus for IAS Mains Optional – English Lit

Also, read – Important links for UPSC Mains 2019

Ten best optional subjects for UPSC Mains

UPSC Mains: Important quotes for GS and Essay papers

IAS 2019 (Pre & Mains) Tablet Course