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UPSC Civil Services Syllabus 2020:UPSC Syllabus PDF – Prelims & Mains

Complete knowledge of the UPSC (IAS) syllabus is a prerequisite for clarifying the exam. UPSC (IAS) exam syllabus for both prelims and mains exam is comprehensive as well as extensive. Hence the syllabus acts as a torchbearer for the IAS preparation as it sets the locus of the studies of every aspect of the IAS Exam. Right interpretations of IAS Syllabus can increase the chances of success in the exam.

UPSC IAS Exam has three exam stages:

(i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for the Mains Exam.

(ii) Civil Services Mains Examination (Written) for the selection of candidates for the next level of the UPSC IAS Exam.

(iii) Civil Services Personality Test (PT)- The final stage for selection

The syllabus for all three stages of the exam is inter-linked and hence needs a deeper look to understand the requirement of each stage of the IAS Exam.

UPSC IAS Preliminery Exam 2020

In IAS Preliminery, UPSC tests the analytical, logical, and reasoning ability of the candidates. The IAS Prelims Exam is divided into two parts:

(i) General Studies Paper-I

(ii) General Studies Paper-II

Both papers have the maximum time limit of two hours and the General Studies Paper-II, which is popularly known as CSAT, is only qualifying in nature. The exam is conducted on a single day with Paper 1 in the morning session and paper 2 in the evening session.

UPSC IAS Syllabus Prelims Exam 2020: GS Paper I
Marks: 200

Duration: 2 hours


Detailed Syllabus

1 -History

  • History of India and Indian Freedom Struggle
  • Ancient History of India
  • Medieval History of India
  • Modern History 1857 to 1947
  • Indian National Movement

2 -Geography

  • Geography of India and
  • Concept of Physical Geography
  • Physical Geography
  • Human Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • World Geography

3 -Polity

  • Indian Polity and Governance issues
  • Union Executives
  • State Executives
  • Federalism in India
  • Judicial System
  • Panchayati Raj

4 – Economy

  • Indian Economy and Social Development
  • Basic Principles of Indian Economy
  • Social Schemes of Government
  • Social Development through Economic Empowerment
  • Sustainable Development
  • Demographics

5 – Environment and Ecology

  • Principles of Environment and Ecology
  • General Principles
  • Climate Change and
  • Climate Summits and Conferences

6 – General Science

  • Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Technology
  • General Principles
  • Latest Science and Technological Development

7 – Current Events

  • It covers all the events of National and International Importance
  • Current Affairs
  • Current Affairs with all Dimensions

The UPSC does not follow any particular trend in its prelims question paper, hence it is tough to comprehend anything from the previous year question papers. But they can definitely give a clarity about what type of questions are asked in the UPSC IAS exam.

UPSC IAS Syllabus Prelims Exam 2020:  General Studies Paper II (CSAT) [Qualifying]
Marks: 200 marks

Duration: 2 hours

1. Reading Comprehension

2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills;

3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability

4. Decision making and problem-solving ability

5. General mental ability

6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)

7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).

8. Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level (last item in the Syllabus of Paper-II)

will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.


UPSC IAS Mains Exam 2020

IAS Main Exam has four general studies papers, two compulsory language papers, one essay paper, and two papers of Optional subject. It is a descriptive type of exam and has a totally enhanced version of the IAS Prelims exam.

IAS Main Exam 2020 Syllabus

it can be said that the IAS Main Syllabus is a mammoth expansion of the IAS Prelims Syllabus.

1 -Essay Paper- 250 Marks

  • Any Topic/Topics (Current issues)

2 – GS Paper I – 250 Marks

  • Indian Heritage
  • Culture,
  • Indian History,
  • World History,
  • World Geography,
  • Indian Society,
  • Important Geo-physical phenomena

3 – GS Paper II – 250 Marks

  • Governance,
  • Indian Constitution,
  • Polity,
  • Social Justice,
  • International relations,
  • Welfare Schemes,
  • Statutory,
  • regulatory
  • quasi-judicial bodies,
  • Role of civil services in a democracy,
  • India’s relation with neighbour countries
  • International institutions,

4 – GS Paper III – 250 Marks

  • Technology,
  • Economic Development,
  • Bio diversity,
  • Environment,
  • Indian Economy and its various sectors
  • Government Budgeting
  • Land Reforms
  • Inclusive Growth
  • Security and Disaster Management

5 – GS Paper IV -250 Marks

  • Ethics and Human Interface
  • Attitude
  • Aptitude
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Public/Civil service value
  • Probity in Governance
  • Case study on above topics

6 – Indian Language Paper – 300 marks

(i) Comprehension of given passages
(ii) Précis Writing
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary
(iv) Short Essays
(v) Translation from English to the Indian
language and vice-versa

7 – English -300 Marks

  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Précis Writing
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essays 

8- Optional Paper I – As opted by Candidate – 250
9 -Optional Paper II As opted by Candidate – 250

List of Optional Subject in IAS Mains Exam 2020

The List of Optional Subjects is as follows:

(i) Agriculture

(ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

(iii) Anthropology

(iv) Botany

(v) Chemistry

(vi) Civil Engineering

(vii) Commerce and Accountancy

(viii) Economics

(ix) Electrical Engineering

(x) Geography

(xi) Geology

(xii) History

(xiii) Law

(xiv) Management

(xv) Mathematics

(xvi) Mechanical Engineering

(xvii) Medical Science

(xviii) Philosophy

(xix) Physics

(xx) Political Science and International Relations

(xxi) Psychology

(xxii) Public Administration

(xxiii) Sociology

(xxiv) Statistics

(xxv) Zoology

The literature of any one of the languages such as Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English.

Once you have thoroughly assessed the syllabus, the next step is the right selection of reference books.

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