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SYLLABUS for IAS Exam 2020/2021

Welcome to Educrat IAS Academy! We are here to provide you the complete UPSC syllabus for the Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is widely considered as one of the toughest and the most prestigious examinations conducted in India among all other competitive examinations.

To understand the UPSC exam, one needs to understand the IAS syllabus. This in turn will help students observe, analyse and strategize and will help eliminate wasteful efforts like reading unnecessary topics leading to a loss of time. This will help students not to sway from the topics of the IAS Exam conducted by UPSC

UPSC 2020 syllabus [UPSC Civil Services Prelims and Mains] has been released along with the official notification for the Civil Service Exam on 12th February 2020.

The IAS syllabus can be found at the UPSC official website – https://upsc.gov.in/ or scroll down to download the UPSC syllabus for both Prelims and Mains.

There is a common UPSC syllabus pattern for services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) to name a few. However, different stages of the IAS exam have different syllabi, which is broadly categorized under Prelims, Mains and Interview. The UPSC Prelims syllabus focuses on general and societal awareness which is tested by objective-type (MCQ) questions. The UPSC Mains syllabus is much more comprehensive as this stage comprises nine theory papers.

The Civil Services Exam is conducted in three stages:

1st Stage: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)
2nd Stage: Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)
3rd Stage: Personal Interview (Personality Test)

Paper Subjects Total Marks Duration
I General Studies (GS) 200 2 hours (9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)
II CSAT 200 2 hours (2:30 PM to 4:30 PM)

Broadly, the UPSC Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination consists of two papers of objective type, each of 200 marks (hence totaling 400 marks) and of two hours duration. To qualify for the Civil Services Mains, a candidate must attempt both the papers.

I. Further, the UPSC 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.
a) 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.
b) 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.

II. 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:

a) Current events of National & International importance.
b) History of India & Indian National Movement.
c) Indian & World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India & the World.
d) Indian Polity & Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
e) Economic & Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
f) General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity & climate change – that do not require subject specialization.
g) General Science.

Note:

a) The cut-off changes every year according to the difficulty of the paper.
b) This is not qualifying in nature, marks scored here will be taken into consideration to clear your UPSC Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination.

2. Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) (Generally conducted between 2:30 PM to 04:30 PM)

The CSAT test is the second paper of the preliminary examination. This test is intended to test the analytical and reasoning ability of a candidate in a wide range of subjects that include:

a) Comprehension.
b) Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
c) Logical reasoning & analytical ability.
d) Decision making & problem solving.
e) General mental ability.
f) Basic numeracy (numbers & their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. – Class X level)

Note:

a) The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempt from negative marks.
b) The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam.
c) This paper is qualifying in nature where the candidate has to score 33% to qualify and this marks will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list.

1. The Mains examination constitutes the 2nd stage of the Civil Services Examination. Only after successfully qualifying in the prelims exam would the candidates be allowed to write the IAS Mains.
2. Unlike the previous Prelims Examination this stage is descriptive in nature.
3. The Mains exam 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.
4. The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers among which 2 papers are qualifying in nature.

MAINS EXAMINATION

NO. SUBJECT MARKS DURATION PAPER PATTERN ATTENTION ASPIRATION
1. PAPER I – INDIAN LANGUAGE (QUALIFYING) 300 3 HOURS DESCRIPTIVE MINIMUM 25%
2. PAPER II – ENGLISH (QUALIFYING) 300 3 HOURS DESCRIPTIVE MINIMUM 25%
3. PAPER I – ESSAY 250 3 HOURS DESCRIPTIVE DECIDING PAPER
4. PAPER II – GENERAL STUDIES I 250 3 HOURS DESCRIPTIVE MINIMUM 25%
5. PAPER III – GENERAL STUDIES II 250 3 HOURS DESCRIPTIVE MINIMUM 25%
6. PAPER IV – GENERAL STUDIES III 250 3 HOURS DESCRIPTIVE MINIMUM 25%
7. PAPER V – GENERAL STUDIES IV 250 3 HOURS DESCRIPTIVE MINIMUM 25%
8. PAPER VI – OPTIONAL PAPER I 250 3 HOURS DESCRIPTIVE MINIMUM 25%
9. PAPER VII – OPTIONAL PAPER II 250 3 HOURS DESCRIPTIVE MINIMUM 25%

NOTE: There are two qualifying papers and they carry 300 marks each, they are as follows:

a) Any Indian Language
b) English Language Paper

The papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates who attain 25% marks in both the language papers 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 candidates will not be considered or counted and hence will be disqualified and cannot appear for the 3rd Stage.

Structure of the language papers:

The types of questions asked are –
1. Essay – 100 marks
2. Reading comprehension – 60 marks
3. Precis Writing – 60 marks
4. Translation:
a. English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
b. 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.

Please check the detailed IAS syllabus for UPSC Mains Paper I, II, III, IV in the link below.

Planner.pdf

The UPSC Mains syllabus gives a list of 48 Optional Subjects which include Literature of different languages. Candidates need to choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of subjects given below:

Agriculture – UPSC Syllabus Zoology – UPSC Syllabus
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Assamese (Literature)
Anthropology – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Bengali (Literature)
Botany – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Bodo (Literature)
Chemistry – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Dogri (Literature)
Civil Engineering – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Gujarati (Literature)
Commerce & Accountancy – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Hindi (Literature)
Economics – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Kannada (Literature)
Electrical Engineering – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Kashmiri (Literature)
Geography – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Konkani (Literature)
Geology – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Maithili (Literature)
History – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Malayalam (Literature)
Law – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Manipuri (Literature)
Management – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Marathi (Literature)
Mathematics – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Nepali (Literature)
Mechanical Engineering – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Odia (Literature)
Medical Science – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Punjabi (Literature)
Philosophy – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Sanskrit (Literature)
Physics – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Santhali (Literature)
Political Science & International Relations – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Sindhi (Literature)
Psychology – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Tamil (Literature)
Public Administration – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Telugu (Literature)
Sociology – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – English (Literature)
Statistics – UPSC Syllabus IAS Syllabus – Urdu (Literature)

Important Points

1. The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and paper B) will be of qualifying nature and the marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
2. The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard.
3. The papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 25% marks in ‘Indian Language’ and 25% in ‘English’ as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers.
4. Marks obtained by the candidates for the Paper I-VII only will be counted for merit ranking.
5. The question papers for the main examination will be of conventional (essay) type and each paper will be of 3-hour duration.
6. Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English.
7. The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) will be set in Hindi and English only.

1. Candidates who qualify in the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’.
2. These candidates will be assessed by the Board appointed by UPSC where a board of competent and unbiased observers will be present.
3. The Civil Service Interview is held in the UPSC Office at Dholpur House, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi.
4. The objective is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in the civil services.
5. The objective of this stage/ IAS interview is to assess the ability of candidate’s prompt decision making, knowledge, mental health, candidate’s capabilities, motivation for the role as a Civil Servant.
6. The interview is more of purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.
7. 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.

Dress Code for UPSC Interview – Details to Remember

– Wear clean clothes. Clothes you wear must be well-washed, ironed and without any stains.
– Look smart by wearing the correct size. Clothes should not be very large or small.
– Avoid revealing clothes at any cost.
– Very little or no make-up is fine.
– Tie your hair neatly.
– Men should wear light coloured formal shirts and dark trousers.
– A neck-tie is recommended.
– Tucked in shirt, avoid printed or floral ones.
– Well-polished formal shoes with dark socks. Don’t wear chappals, sneakers or flip-flops.
– Short hair is recommended for men. It’s a matter of personal choice.
– Avoid flashy and expensive jewellery.
– Party wear or casual wear like jeans and T-shirts is strictly prohibited.
– Take care of your body odour with light or mild fragrances.
– You can wear a formal watch, again not too flashy.
– Carry a handkerchief to wipe out sweat.

Books For your IAS Exam preparation:

IAS Prelims 2020 is going to take place on 4th October, 2020. There are plethora of study material available for students both online and offline. Very few students end up choosing the correct study material for their IAS exam. As our IAS Toppers would suggest that you mandatorily have to build your foundation through NCERT books and henceforth you can move onto standard reference books.

The best IAS books can vary from candidate to candidate depending on their previous expertise and knowledge of the subject matter. However, our experts suggest that the best IAS Books recommended for UPSC are shared in the list below. Choosing the right IAS exam books for different stages of the UPSC exam is quite important. The UPSC Prelims comprises only objective type questions while the IAS Mains contains descriptive essay type question papers.

There are two papers in Prelims (GS 1 and CSAT). Both are of objective type with negative marking (Pattern of negative marking has been shared above). The best IAS books for Prelims are given below:

Subject UPSC Books
History 1. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
2. Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum
3. NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
4. NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)
5. A Brief History of Modern India – Spectrum
Geography 1. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
2. NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
3. NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
4. World Atlas
Indian Polity 1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
2. NCERT IX-XII
Economics 1. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
2. Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri
3. NCERT XI
International Relations 1. NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
2. Current Affairs
CSAT 1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
2. CSAT II – Arihant
3. Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal

The IAS Syllabus for the mains have been shared above. These books are relevant for your IAS preparation. These IAS books are only suggested for GS-1, GS-2, GS-3, GS-4 (Sometimes they coincide with the optional subject you are taking up)

Given below are the best General studies books for the UPSC Mains:

Subject UPSC Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture [GS Paper 1] 1. An Introduction to Indian Art Part 1: Textbook in Fine Arts for Class XI
2. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
3. India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
4. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
5. Ancient India by R.S Sharma
6. A Brief History of Modern India – Spectrum
Geography [GS Paper 1] 1. Geography of India by Majid Husain
2. World Geography by Majid Husain
3. World Atlas
4. Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
5. Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations [GS Paper 2] 1. Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
2. Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
3. India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
Economy [GS Paper 3] 1. Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh
Ethics [GS Paper 4] 1. Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary
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