You can access the syllabus for UPSC CSE exam 2021 from this page or save it as a bookmark for future reference. This exam is popularly known as the ‘IAS exam.’ It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for commission into various Civil Services of the government of India, like ‘Indian Administrative Service,’ ‘Indian Foreign Service,” Indian Police Service’, and many others.


How is UPSC CSE conducted? 

This exam is conducted in three phases: 

  1. Preliminary examination – This phase has two objective-type papers called General Studies Paper – I and General Studies Paper-II. The initial exam is also known as CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test).
  2. The main examination – This phase has nine conventional type papers (essay), two of them are qualifying, and the remaining seven are considered in the final counting of marks.
  3. Personality Test (Interview). 

Syllabus for Civil Services Preliminary Examination 

It comprises of two papers that are compulsory, carrying 200 marks each. The papers will have an objective type, multiple-choice questions. This exam is only for the purpose of qualification for the Main Exam; the marks from these papers won’t be considered for the final ranking. 

Paper – I – 200 Marks 

This is an objective paper with 100 questions and a duration of two hours. Only the marks of this paper are considered to determine qualification for mains. Below is the syllabus of paper – I. 

Paper-II – 200 Marks 

This is an objective paper as well, with 80 questions and a duration of two hours. Though the marks of this paper will not be counted for qualifying for mains, candidates need to acquire at least 33% of marks in this paper. Below is the syllabus of Paper-II. 

Syllabus for Civil Services Mains Examination 

Ranking in the UPSC CSE is only based on the marks scored in the Mains exam and the interview. The Mains Exam carries 1750 marks, while the interview carries 275 marks. The questions may range from one mark to 60 marks, for which the candidates need to write twenty words to 600 words answers, respectively. Each paper carries 250 marks with a duration of 3 hours. The Mains exam consists of nine papers, out of which only seven will be considered for counting marks for merit ranking though candidates need to acquire qualifying marks in the remaining two papers.

Paper – I: Essay – 250 Marks 

Candidates are required to write essays on various topics, keeping close to the subject and arranging their ideas in an orderly fashion. Essays will be evaluated on their effectiveness and expression. 

Paper-II: General Studies I – 250 Marks 

The syllabus for Paper-II includes the below major areas of Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of World and Society. Let’s look at them in detail:

Paper – III: General Studies II – 250 Marks 

Syllabus for Paper: III includes the major areas like Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations. Let us look at the detailed syllabus:

Paper – IV – General Studies III – 250 Marks

The syllabus for Paper IV includes major areas of Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management. Let us look at them in detail:

Paper V – General Studies IV – 250 Marks 

The syllabus of this paper covers major areas of Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. 

Paper VI and VII – Optional Subject – Paper – I and II – 250 Marks Each 

Candidates can choose a subject from the list of optional subjects provided. Paper – VI, and Paper – VII are based on that subject. The optional subjects are as following: 

  1. History
  2. Geography
  3. Economics
  4. Sociology
  5. Public Administration
  6. Philosophy
  7. Psychology
  8. Political Science
  9. Agriculture 
  10. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  11. Anthropology
  12. Botany
  13. Chemistry
  14. Civil Engineering
  15. Commerce
  16. Electrical Engineering
  17. Geology
  18. Law
  19. Mathematics
  20. Management
  21. Mechanical Engineering
  22. Medical Science
  23. Physics
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Literature on anyone of the following languages in scripts written in the brackets –  
  27. Assamese (Assamese)
  28. Bengali (Bengali)
  29. Bodo (Devanagari)
  30. Dogri (Devanagari)
  31. English (English)
  32. Gujarati (Gujarati)
  33. Hindi (Devanagari)
  34. Kannada (Kannada)
  35. Kashmiri (Persian)
  36. Konkani (Devanagari)
  37. Maithili (Devanagari)
  38. Malayalam (Malayalam)
  39. Manipuri (Bengali)
  40. Marathi (Devanagari)
  41. Nepali (Devanagari)
  42. Odia (Odia)
  43. Punjabi (Gurumukhi)
  44. Sanskrit (Devanagari)
  45. Santhali (Devanagari or Ol Chiki)
  46. Sindhi (Devanagari or Arabic)
  47. Tamil (Tamil)
  48. Telugu (Telugu)
  49. Urdu (Persian) 

Qualifying Paper – A – 300 Marks

For this paper, candidates need to select one of the Indian Languages from the list of languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. This paper is optional for candidates who hail from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim. 

Qualifying Paper – B – 300 Marks 

The syllabus for this paper would be the English Language as a whole.  

Syllabus for Civil Services Personality Test (Interview) 

Here comes the third phase of the Civil Services Examination. This test carries 275 Marks. The aim of this interview is to assess the personality of the candidate to see if it’s suitable for a career in public service or not. The interview is led by a board of competent and unbiased observers. This is not just an intellectual assessment but also an assessment of social traits and the candidate’s interest in current affairs. Important traits under assessment in this test would be mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, the balance of judgment, variety, and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity. 

The interview technique won’t be a strict cross-examination but of a natural, direct, purposeful conversation to reveal all the above traits of a candidate. There won’t be a test of the candidate’s specialization or general knowledge here, as it’s already tested via written papers before the interview. Here, the candidate’s interest and opinion in everything else in the country and the world are tested. The standards of these interviews are very high and require commitment as well as thorough preparation. 

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