UPSC Prelims 2019 – Notes, Books, Strategy & IAS Prelims Syllabus For Civil Services (Preliminary) Exam

The Union Public Service Commission will conduct the Civil Services (Preliminary) Exam or UPSC Prelims on June 2, 2019. The UPSC Prelims is a screening test for the Civil Services (Main) examination.

Candidates who want to apply for the CSE 2019 have time till 18th March to submit the completed online application along with the fee on the official website ( as per the official UPSC notification.

UPSC Prelims 2019 – Exam Pattern

The UPSC Prelims comprises two objective type papers (General Studies I and General Studies II or CSAT) for a total of 400 marks. Both papers are usually held on the same day in two sessions via offline mode (pen-paper).

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern General Studies I General Studies II or CSAT
Number of questions 100 80
Negative Marking Yes (1/3rd of the maximum marks for the question)

-0.66 marks for every incorrect answer

Yes (1/3rd of the maximum marks for the question)

-0.83 marks for every incorrect answer

Duration of exam 2 hours 2 hours
Date of exam June 2, 2019 June 2, 2019
Language of exam English/Hindi English/Hindi
Maximum marks 200 200
Cut Off marks Counted for Merit. Cutoff varies every year. 33% qualifying criteria (66 marks)

UPSC Prelims 2019 – Syllabus

General Studies Paper-1 Syllabus:

  • 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, Biodiversity and Climate Change- that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science.

General Studies Paper-2 (CSAT) Syllabus:

  • 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).
  • English language comprehension skills – Class X level.

You can find the in-depth syllabus for UPSC Prelims 2019 here.

60 Day Preparation Strategy for UPSC Prelims 2019

  • Current Affairs are an important part of UPSC Prelims. Ideally, aspirants should prepare Current Affairs for at least 12-15 months i.e. UPSC Prelims exam in 2019 will be held in June, so candidates should prepare Current Affairs from March 2018 onwards.
  • Important sources for current affairs preparation for IAS exam 2019 are:
    1. Yojana Magazine
    2. Newspapers (The Hindu/The Indian Express)
    3. Press Information Bureau (PIB)
    4. Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)
  • Candidates should prepare for UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains simultaneously as there is syllabus overlap. Check the complete IAS syllabus 2019.
  • An important part of IAS preparation is practising the UPSC previous year question papers. For reference, IAS aspirants can view the UPSC Prelims papers for General Studies for the exam year 2018 below:
Download PDF of UPSC Prelims 2018 – General Studies (GS) Paper I

Download PDF of UPSC Prelims 2018 – General Studies (GS) Paper II

  • For CSAT or General Studies Paper II in UPSC Prelims, go through the previous years’ question papers to gauge your level. As such, there is not much preparation needed for CSAT, however, only you can take that call. For complete information on CSAT 2019 including books, strategy and trend analysis, refer the link.




  • Focus Areas for different subjects in UPSC Prelims
    1. Indian Independence movement:
      • Main congress sessions with the year, president and important resolutions
      • Significant viceroys and their period with important decisions
      • The Government of India Acts 1909, 1919, 1935 and charter acts
    2. Ancient history:
      • Hindu philosophy, Buddhism and Jainism
      • Mauryan and Gupta Period
      • Art, architecture and scientific development during that period
    3. Medieval history:
      • Important kings such as Sher Shah, Akbar, etc. and
      • Delhi Sultanate
    4. Polity:
      • Here, importance should be given on current events, such as any changes in the constitution, new acts or amendments, and schemes
      • Fundamental Rights, fundamental duties, Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)
      • Committee system, parliament and parliamentary proceedings
      • Judiciary
      • Constitutional bodies
    5. S&T:
      • For basic science concepts, refer NCERT books selectively as in-depth knowledge is not needed
      • Focus on current affairs part
    6. Environment and Ecology
      • Important declarations, conventions
      • IUCN’s Red List
      • Biosphere Reserves, Tiger Reserves etc.
      • International bodies
    7. Geography:
      • Solar system
      • Latitudes and longitudes
      • Layers of the atmosphere
      • Global atmospheric wind, cyclones
      • Pressure belts
      • Revolution, rotation and seasons
      • Monsoons
      • Types of rainfall
      • Koeppen classification
      • Jet streams, ocean currents
      • El Nino, La Nina
      • India’s physical geography (NCERT)
      • Rivers, hills, soil (India)
      • Mineral resources (India), Geological history of India
      • Basics of agriculture (NCERT)
      • Maps
    8. Economy:
      • Importance should be given on current events like new bills and important committees
      • focus on basic and fundamental concepts like:
        • Growth and development, poverty, unemployment, inflation
        • State of the national and global economy
        • Major committees and bills
        • Latest budget and economic survey

UPSC Prelims – Trend Analysis

UPSC has established itself to be predictably unpredictable. So, candidates should only see the trends as a reference and not draw too much inference. In the table given below, we have broken down the UPSC Prelims 2018 GS 1 paper:

Subject Number of questions
History 22
Economy 18
Polity 13
Environment & Ecology 13
Geography 10
Science & Technology 10
International organisations, institutions & reports 10
Government Schemes 4
Total 100

For similar analysis and comparison of subject-wise weightage in UPSC Prelims from 2011 to 2018, check the link.

UPSC Prelims – Study Material for IAS preparation

A big part of UPSC preparation is selecting the right study material. For both, UPSC Prelims and Mains, NCERTs are a must because of their credibility and easy to understand language.

From the links given below, IAS aspirants can download/view the NCERT books needed for UPSC Prelims preparation.

Also, read: