UPSC Prelims Syllabus

Each year, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil service examinations to select candidates for various posts. For this, a huge number of candidates apply for these examinations every year, but the selection rate is quite low. To secure a rank or position on a list, it is important to have in-depth knowledge of the UPSC prelims syllabus. This article will help you decode and comprehend the UPSC prelims syllabus.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024

Union Public Service Condition has released the syllabus and the official Notification on their website. It is always advisable to go through the UPSC syllabus before a candidate starts the UPSC preparation journey. The UPSC Prelims syllabus is designed in such a way that it tests the candidate’s knowledge, analytical abilities and aptitude.

The civil services examinations are conducted in three stages, i.e., the preliminary, main, and personality tests.

  • The prelims examination serves as a screening test and consists of two objective-type papers, each carrying 200 marks with a total of 400 marks. The marks obtained won’t be used to determine the final ranking of candidates.
  • Almost 12 to 13 times the total vacancies available will be selected for the Main examination from those who qualify for the preliminary exam.
  • Only candidates declared qualified by the UPSC Commission in the preliminary examination will be eligible for the main examination, provided they meet all other eligibility criteria mentioned in the official notification.
  • To qualify for prelims, a candidate must achieve a minimum of 33% marks in General Studies Paper II and a total qualifying score in General Studies Paper I as determined by the commission to qualify for the main examination.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

Candidates keen to take the Civil Services examination can find all related details related to the UPSC prelims exam pattern, syllabus, etc.

  • The Civil services examination consists of two general studies papers, which are compulsory in nature, carrying 200 marks each.
  • Out of two papers, General Studies Paper II is a qualifying one in nature for the civil services Prelims examination, with 33% marks.

Marking system for General Studies I:

  • Each question encompasses four possible choices. If a candidate chooses the wrong option among the given one, one-third (0.33) of the marks (two) will be deducted as a penalty.
  • If a candidate selects more than one option among the given one, even if one of them is correct, it will be considered a wrong answer. The penalty of one-third will apply to that question.
  • If a candidate leaves a question unanswered, meaning no answer is provided, there will be no penalty for that particular question.

Marking system for General Studies II:

Each question encompasses four possible choices. If candidates choose the wrong option among the given ones, 0.833 will be deducted and 2.5 for each correct answer.

UPSC Pattern

Two papers

General studies I

General Studies II (CSAT)

Questions Type

Multiple Choice Question

Number of questions

General Studies I – 100

General Studies II- 80


Both papers of 200 marks each

General Studies II is qualifying in nature

Duration of Examination

2 hours each

Negative marking

1/3rd Negative mark

Language of the papers

In Hindi and English.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus Pdf

The UPSC syllabus serves as a guiding tool for the candidates to help them understand UPSC aspirants and the demands of the UPSC from the candidates. The candidate can download the UPSC Syllabus from the given link below:

UPSC Prelims Paper I Syllabus (General Studies)

Note: Aspirants are urged to read over this section for the Prelims and Mains, as the syllabus has been revised on a regular basis in various areas. 

 Preliminary Examination

Paper I-(200 marks), Duration: Two hours.

  • Current events of National & international importance.

  • History of India & Indian National movement

  • Indian and World GeographyPhysical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the world.

  • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

  • Economic & Social Development – sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social sector Initiatives etc.

  • General issues on Environmental ecology, bio-diversity and Climate change – that do not require subject specialization

  • General Science

UPSC Prelims Paper II syllabus (General Studies-I)

Paper II-(200 marks), Duration: Two hours.

  • 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: Paper-II of CS(P)E will be qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

Note 2: MCQs, objective type.

Note 3: It is mandatory to appear in both the papers of CS(P)E for evaluation, otherwise candidate will be disqualified.

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