Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will conduct the Civil Service Examination (CSE) Prelims 2021 on 29th June 2021. The UPSC Calendar 2021 contains the exam dates of all recruitment examinations including CSE 2021. The UPSC Prelims 2020 was successfully conducted on 4th October 2020; results of which were announced on 23rd October.
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For details on IAS Exam, refer to the linked article.
Aspirants can find more information about UPSC Prelims 2021 from the links given below:
UPSC Prelims 2021 – Exam Pattern
The UPSC Prelims comprises of 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).
The Prelims Admit Card would be released on the official website of UPSC 2-3 weeks before the date of the exam.
|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|
|UPSC Prelims 2021 Date of exam||29th June 2021||29th June 2021|
|Language of exam||English/Hindi||English/Hindi|
|Cut Off marks||Counted for Merit. Cutoff varies every year.||33% qualifying criteria (66 marks)|
The cut off for Prelims 2020 is expected to lie in the range of 95-100 for General Category candidates. For more on UPSC Cut Off, check the linked article.
Candidates can download the UPSC IAS Prelims 2019 and IAS Prelims 2020 Question Papers for practice from the links below:
The UPSC Prelims Answer Keys of 2015-2019 CSE examinations can be found at the linked article.
UPSC Prelims 2021 – Syllabus
The detailed UPSC Prelims syllabus for 2021 Exam is given below:
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:
- 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 here.
90 Day Preparation Strategy for UPSC Prelims
UPSC Prelims date for 2021 exam is 29th June 2021. The following strategies will help candidates to score well in the exam.
- Current Affairs are an important part of UPSC Prelims. Ideally, aspirants should prepare Current Affairs from now to have the updated information on relevant incidents on a regular basis.
- Important sources for current affairs preparation for IAS exam 2021 are:
- Yojana Magazine
- Newspapers (The Hindu/The Indian Express)
- Press Information Bureau (PIB)
- Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)
- However, if you are pressed for time, BYJU’S free IAS preparation provides:
- Candidates should prepare for UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains simultaneously as there is syllabus overlap. Check the complete IAS Syllabus 2021.
- For more previous years’ UPSC question papers, you can refer to the link.
- 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 including books, strategy and trend analysis, refer to the link.
- Making Notes for the UPSC Prelims and Mains is a must. Having notes in your own handwriting is preferred by some candidates, however, considering the time constraint, we have given links for important notes from NCERTs and Byju’s classroom notes for IAS Prelims.
- NCERT notes – Ancient Indian History for UPSC Prelims
- NCERT notes – Medieval History of India for UPSC Prelims
- NCERT notes – Modern Indian History and Indian National Movement for UPSC Prelims
- NCERT notes – Art, culture, and architecture for UPSC Prelims
- NCERT notes – Geography (Physical) notes for UPSC Prelims
- BYJU’s classroom notes on Indian Economy for UPSC Prelims
- BYJU’s classroom notes on Environment for UPSC Prelims
- BYJU’s classroom notes on Indian Polity for UPSC Prelims
- BYJU’s classroom notes on S&T for UPSC Prelims
- BYJU’s classroom notes on Ancient Indian History for UPSC Prelims
- BYJU’s classroom notes on Medieval Indian History for UPSC Prelims
- BYJU’s classroom notes on Modern Indian History for UPSC Prelims
- As the questions in UPSC Prelims are all objective-type, it is essential to practice solving MCQs during the preparation. Here, we have given a list of MCQs for different subjects for UPSC Prelims 2021.
- For UPSC Prelims preparation, there are a few topics that candidates just can’t afford to miss. At BYJU’s free IAS preparation, we have compiled them into easy to read articles tailor-made for Prelims revision.
- Indian Constitution – Borrowed Features
- Important terms from Ancient Indian History
- List of Hydroelectric Power Plants in India
- List of important cities and rivers in India
- List of important monuments in India
- List of Elephant Reserves in India
- Important terms from Medieval History of India
- List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
- Timelines for quick revision – Medieval History of India
- List of Thermal Power Plants in India
- Geography preparation through Maps
- List of National Waterways in India
- List of diseases and causing agents
- List of Mahajanapadas (Ancient Indian History)
- List of Important Days and Dates
- List of National Highways in India
- List of important Straits
- List of Environment Conventions and Protocols
- List of Indian Army Exercises
- Government Schemes
- List of Ramsar Sites in India
- Focus Areas for different subjects in UPSC Prelims
- 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
- Ancient history:
- Hindu philosophy, Buddhism and Jainism
- Mauryan and Gupta Period
- Art, architecture and scientific development during that period
- Medieval history:
- Important kings such as Sher Shah, Akbar, etc. and
- Delhi Sultanate
- 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
- Constitutional bodies
- For basic science concepts, refer to NCERT books selectively as in-depth knowledge is not needed
- Focus on current affairs part
- Environment and Ecology
- Important declarations, conventions
- IUCN’s Red List
- Biosphere Reserves, Tiger Reserves etc.
- International bodies
- Solar system
- Latitudes and longitudes
- Layers of the atmosphere
- Global atmospheric wind, cyclones
- Pressure belts
- Revolution, rotation and seasons
- 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)
- 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
- Indian Independence movement:
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 2019 and UPSC Prelims 2020 GS 1 papers:
|UPSC Prelims 2020 GS Paper 1 Subject-Wise Analysis|
|Subject||Number of questions|
|Environment & Ecology||17|
|Science & Technology||10|
The commission released the UPSC Prelims Result 2020 on 23rd October.
|UPSC Prelims 2019 GS Paper 1 Subject-Wise Analysis|
|Subject||Number of questions|
|Environment & Ecology||11|
|Science & Technology||7|
For similar analysis and comparison of subject-wise weightage in UPSC Prelims from 2011 to 2019, check the link.
UPSC Prelims – Study Material for IAS preparation
A big part of UPSC preparation is selecting the right study material. Studying from the best Civil services Prelims Books will be both efficient and effective. 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.
Check the list of UPSC Books here.
Candidates who clear the UPSC IAS Prelims have to fill the Detailed Application Form (DAF) before they can give the Mains Exam.
For 2020, the UPSC Mains will start on 8th January 2021. Aspirants can check the linked article for more details on UPSC Mains.
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