Syllabus of UPSC Prelims (Preliminary) Exam

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination every year, which is common for all candidates applying for the Civil Services Examination and Indian Forest Service Examination. This exam acts as a primary mechanism for the selection of candidates for the Civil Services (Main) Examination.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

Since the examination serves as just a screening test; the marks obtained in the preliminary examination by the candidates will not be counted for determining their final order of merit, but only as a qualifier. One should note that the number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about fourteen to fifteen times the total an approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year in the various Services and Posts.

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Syllabus for UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam?

The Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper-II). The questions will be of multiple-choice, objective type. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for the main exam. It’s a one-day exam with two sessions in offline mode, where you get to mark your answers on the given space in the question paper.

Paper 1 – General Studies:

This includes areas like; Indian National Movement, Indian Polity, Basic Economic Understanding, Geography. While these are static parts of the syllabus, the dynamic part includes current affairs, General Knowledge and that does not have a proper definition, thus making the syllabus quite vast.

Paper-II – Aptitude Test:

Paper-II is dynamic in nature and includes mathematics, reasoning, analytical ability, and interpersonal skills. All these areas require spot mental ability.

Paper-II is now of only a qualifying nature and its mark is not counted while making the merit list. However, it is mandatory for the candidate to score a minimum of 33 percent in this paper to qualify for the Prelims exam.

The question papers are set both in Hindi and English. Blind candidates are allowed an extra time of twenty minutes for each paper.

How to Prepare for Civil Service Prelims Examination

Syllabus Pattern for Prelims Exam

Paper-I Syllabus

General Studies – This paper marks will be counted for getting to write the Civil Services Mains exam. 200 Marks Two Hours

Paper-II (CSAT) Syllabus

Aptitude test (CSAT) – This paper is of qualifying nature, but the candidate must score at least 33% marks in this paper. However, marks of this paper are not counted for writing the Mains examination. 200 Marks Two Hours

The UPSC Prelims exam is meant to serve as a screening test only. The marks of Paper 1 are alone considered for making the merit list for this exam. Only those candidates who have qualified for the Prelims can write the Mains exam. The marks scored in the Prelim exam are not counted in the final tally of the Mains exam or the Interview.

The number of candidates who qualify for the Prelims Exam is about twelve to thirteen times the total of the approximate number of vacancies that have to be filled in that year in the various Services and Posts.

It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the papers of the Prelim exam to be qualified for evaluation purposes. The candidate will be disqualified in case he or she appears in only one paper of the Prelims exam.

Negative Marking:

There is “Negative Marking” in the Prelims exam. For every wrong answer, 1/3rd of the marks allotted for every question will be reduced from the correct tally of the score. So candidates need to be extra careful while making wild guesses in the prelim exams.

IAS Prelims Syllabus

The syllabus for the Preliminary Exams for 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
  • General Science

The syllabus for the Preliminary Exams for Paper-II:

  • 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)

Note 1: The questions in both Paper-I (current affairs) and Paper-II (aptitude test) will be of multiple choice, objective type for 200 marks each and the time allotted for each paper is two hours.

Note 2: The CSAT aptitude test or Paper-II will be a qualifying paper only with a minimum of 33% to be secured to qualify for the Mains exam.

Note 3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) examination. The candidate will be disqualified in case he or she appears in only one paper of the (Prelims) exam. So appearing in both the papers is mandatory for the evaluation of the (Prelims) exam.

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