UPSC Syllabus: Prelims + Mains, Books, & Optional Subjects

UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) is a premier central recruiting body that is responsible for recruiting candidates for various posts under All India Services, civil services cadre, defence services cadre as well as Armed Forces of the Union of India. Under the Central and State Government of India, UPSC conducts a National Level Exam for around 24 services.

Before committing that you will take this UPSC exam, we suggest you have a thorough understanding of the UPSC syllabus. Having an understanding of the syllabus is extremely crucial on the road for clearing the UPSC Examination.

Let’s talk about the UPSC syllabus, books for UPSC, syllabus for Prelims & Mains examination, optional subjects in UPSC exam, and more.  

But before that, you need to understand that in order to clear the UPSC exam, you will be required to clear the following three stages of examination:

  • Preliminary Examination – General Studies Paper I (GS) & General Studies Paper II (CSAT-Civil Services Aptitude Test)
  • Mains Examination – 9 Theory Papers (General Studies I-IV, Language Papers, Essay & Optional)
  • Interview – Personality test.

    UPSC Prelims Syllabus

    UPSC Prelims is an objective type examination, conducted for selecting the candidates for the Main Examination. Following is the syllabus for the UPSC Prelims exam:

    Points to Remember
    UPSC Prelims Paper 2 is a qualifying paper and the maximum qualifying marks fixed is 33%
    The paper pattern is multiple choice/objective type.
    You will be required to appear in both the Papers of UPSC Prelims for evaluating the examination.
    In case you do not appear in UPSC Prelims, you will be disqualified.
    With every unsuccessful attempt at the prelims, you lose 1 from the total no. of allowed attempts at the UPSC exam.

    UPSC Mains Syllabus

    UPSC Mains is conducted to evaluate the understanding ability along with the writing skills of the candidate on the various issues and events, happening at the national and international levels. Following is the syllabus for the UPSC Mains exam:

    • Paper 1 – Essay writing – can be written in any medium (as per your choice)
    • Paper 2 – General Studies – I (Related to Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
    • Paper 3 – General Studies – II (Related to Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
    • Paper 4 – General Studies – III (Related to Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)
    • Paper 5 – General Studies – IV (Related to Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)
    • Paper 6 – Optional Subject I*