UPSC Prelims

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern and Syllabus

UPSC Prelims examination is the first level of examination to be cracked among the three levels in the UPSC Civil Services Examination, followed by Civil Services Mains Examination and the Personality Test for realizing your dream of becoming a Civil Servant. It is a test for the elimination of candidates and the marks scored in both the Prelims papers will not be included for arriving at the final order of merit/rank list. Only those candidates who qualify in both the papers of Preliminary examination are allowed to appear for the Civil Services Mains.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

The UPSC Notification - 2011 made changes to the UPSC Prelims pattern. As per the UPSC Notification, the UPSC prelims paper is divided into two objective type papers:

  • Paper-1 for General Studies (GS) Paper
  • Paper -2 generally called as the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) Paper.

The GS paper consists of 100 questions of 2 marks each to be answered in 2 hours. The scheme of marking for Paper-1 is such that the candidate gets a negative marking of 1/3rd of the marks allocated to each question, which is -0.667 marks for every wrong answer. Unanswered questions do not attract negative marking. The CSAT paper is qualifying in nature and a candidate is expected to score 33% of the total marks i.e, 66 marks out of 200 marks. The CSAT paper consists of 80 questions of 2.5 marks each to be answered in 2 hours. Similar to GS paper, every wrong answer would fetch a negative marking of 1/3rd of the marks allocated to the question, which is -0.833 marks. A question unattempted would not attract any negative marking. Both Paper 1 and Paper 2 are objective type papers with multiple choice questions to be answered on an OMR sheet. The question papers are set in both English and in Hindi.

UPSC Prelims Exam Syllabus

Paper 1 of the UPSC Prelims syllabus consists of general studies topics such as history, geography, polity, economy, science & technology, environment & ecology, climate change etc. The aspirant has to be well abreast with the current affairs in order to clear this paper. A candidate is allowed to take up the mains examination if and only if he manages to surpass the cut off marks of paper 1. The cutoff marks for GS paper varies every year with respect to the difficulty level of the paper. The list of candidates allowed to appear for the UPSC mains examination is prepared based on the marks scored by the candidate in Paper 1.

Paper 2 of the Civil Services Prelims syllabus comprises of questions relating to logical reasoning, data interpretation, verbal ability, reading comprehension and general mathematics. The paper is of qualifying nature and it is mandatory for the candidate to score a minimum of 30% of the total marks in order to qualify in the examination.

UPSC Prelims Exam 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change- that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science.

UPSC Prelims CSAT Paper 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.

Questions relating to English language comprehension skills will be tested through passages from English language only, without providing Hindi translation.

The UPSC Prelims syllabus 2019 will remain the same as UPSC Prelims syllabus 2018. The IAS Prelims 2019 date will be issued through the UPSC Notification 2019.

It is very important to note that it is mandatory for a candidate to appear in both the civil services prelims papers in order to be qualified for mains examination. Appearing in both the papers is compulsory for evaluation of UPSC prelims paper. A candidate must follow the Civil Services Prelims Syllabus while preparing to appear for the examination as the syllabus is indicative and not comprehensive. Referring to previous years UPSC prelims question paper will help. Keeping your UPSC prelims preparation in line with the syllabus would make clearing the prelims examination a cake walk.

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