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

The Union Public Service Commission conducted the Civil Services (Preliminary) Exam or UPSC Prelims on June 2, 2019.

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

For details on IAS Exam, refer to the linked article.

Aspirants can find information about UPSC Prelims 2020 from the links given below:

UPSC Prelims 2019 – 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 UPSC Prelims date for Admit Card was announced 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 2019 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)

The UPSC Prelims cut off 2018 was 98 marks for General Category aspirants in GS 1.

Candidates can download the UPSC IAS Prelims 2019 Question Papers from the links below:

UPSC Prelims 2019: GS Paper 1 (Series C): Download here

UPSC Prelims 2019: CSAT paper II (Series A): Download here

The UPSC Prelims Answer Keys can be found at the linked article.

UPSC Prelims 2019 – Syllabus

The detailed UPSC Prelims syllabus for 2019 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:

  • 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

UPSC Prelims date for 2019 exam was 2nd June. The following strategies have helped candidates to score well in the exam. However, for aspirants trying for next year prelims can also follow the same strategies to crack the UPSC Prelims Exam.

  • Current Affairs are an important part of UPSC Prelims. Ideally, aspirants should prepare Current Affairs for at least 12-15 months i.e.  For next year Civil services Prelims, candidates should prepare Current Affairs from March 2020 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.
  • 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 to 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 to 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 2019 GS 1 paper:

Subject Number of questions
History 17
Economy 14
Polity 15
Environment & Ecology 11
Geography 14
Science & Technology 7
Current Affairs 22
Total 100

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 2019, the UPSC Mains will start on 20th September. Aspirants can check the linked article for more details on UPSC Mains.

UPSC Prelims Related Articles:


  1. Please provide me the detailed syllabus for Political science as optional subject and please also provide the study materials along with strategies for preparation.

    Thanks a lot

  2. please provide me the detailed syllabus of sociology optional subject

    1. Hi,

      You can download the detailed UPSC Sociology Syllabus for Optional from the linked article.

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