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Welcome to BYJU’S! Here, you will find a complete list of subjects for the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) based on the UPSC syllabus.
The Civil Services Examination is widely considered as one of the toughest and the most prestigious examinations conducted in India.
To understand the exam, one needs to understand the syllabus. This helps eliminate wasteful efforts like reading unnecessary topics leading to a loss of time, and keeps one strictly aligned to the expectations of the UPSC from day one.
The UPSC prescribes a common syllabus pattern for services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) to name a few.
The Civil service exam is conducted in three phases:
Phase 1:Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)
Phase 2:Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)
Phase 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)
Phase 1: Preliminary Examination:
The Preliminary Examination is composed of two components:
1) General Studies
General Studies (GS)
2 Hours (9:30AM to 11:30 AM)
2 Hours (2:30PM to 4:30PM)
2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
Broadly, the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination consists of two papers of objective type, each of 200 marks (hence totalling 400 marks) and of two hours duration. In order to qualify for the Civil Services Mains, a candidate must attempt both the papers.
Further, the General Studies (GS) paper consists of 100 questions, while the CSAT paper consists of 80 questions. Both papers have negative marks for wrong answers marked to the tune of 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question.
To further illustrate this, each correctly answered GS question will be awarded 2 marks. So, 0.66 marks would be deducted from the total for every question that is wrongly marked.
Similarly, in the CSAT paper, since we have 80 questions for 200 marks, correctly answered CSAT question would attract 2.5 marks each, while every wrongly marked question would attract a penalty of 0.833 for each such wrong answer, which will be deducted from the total.
Questions that are not attempted will not attract any negative marks.
1) General Studies (Generally conducted between 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)
The General Studies test is the first paper of the preliminary examination. This test is intended to test the general awareness of a candidate in a wide range of subjects that include: Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and associated current affairs.
2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
(Generally conducted between 2:30 PM to 04:30 PM)
This test is intended to assess the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the occasionally asked ‘Decision Making’ questions.
The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempt from negative marks.
The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam.
The marks obtained in the Prelims will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list.
Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)
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 specialisation General Science
Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper II)
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)
Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination Syllabus
The Mains examination constitutes the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination. Only after successfully qualifying the prelims examination would the candidates be allowed to write the Mains examination.
The Mains examination tests the candidate’s academic talent in depth and his/her ability to present his/her understanding according to the requirements of the question in a time bound manner.
The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers, in which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each:
I. Any Indian Language
II. English Language Paper
Criteria for qualifying the Language Paper:
The papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates who attain 30% marks in Indian Language Paper and 25% marks in English Language Paper as a minimum qualifying standard in these qualifying papers, will be taken cognizance of, for evaluation.
In case a candidate does not qualify in these language papers, then the marks obtained by such candidate will not be considered or counted.
Structure of the language papers:
The type of questions asked are –
1. Essay – 100 marks
2. Reading comprehension – 60 marks
3. Precis Writing – 60 marks
4. Translation :
English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
Compulsory language to English – 20 marks
5. Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks
The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.
Let us take a look at these papers:
Paper - I
(Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate's choice)
General Studies- I
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
General Studies- II
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
General Studies- III
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
General Studies- IV
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Optional Subject - Paper I
Optional Subject - Paper II
(A Candidate can also take up literature as an optional subject and candidate need not be a graduate in that language’s literature.)
Candidates may choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of subjects given below:
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
Commerce and Accountancy
Political Science and International Relations
Phase 3: Interview/Personality Test (275 Marks)
Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’. These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.
The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in the civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.
The interview is more of purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.
The Interview test will be of 275 marks and the total marks for written examination is 1750.This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.