UPSC CSE Syllabus : Pre, Main, Interview, Tips

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In the intricate realm of Indian governance, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC CSE Exam Syllabus) stands as the pivotal institution entrusted with the formidable task of marshaling the nation’s brightest talents into the service of the state. Established in the annals of history in the year 1926, as per the constitutional provisions of the Government of India Act, 1919, the UPSC has steadfastly maintained its autonomy, existing as an entity entirely distinct from the overarching canopy of the Indian government.

At the helm of this venerable commission is a Chairman, flanked by a contingent of ten Members, with their appointments vested in the hands of none other than the President of India. This hallowed organization remains a testament to the sagacious structuring of the Indian civil service apparatus, a paragon of diligence and impartiality.

UPSC CSE Syllabus : About

Upsc (cse) Exam Syllabus

Throughout the calendar year,

 The UPSC orchestrates an array of examinations, each bearing its own distinct aura of distinction. Among these, the zenith of prestige is undeniably embodied by the Civil Services Examination (CSE). This distinguished evaluation spans three pivotal phases: an incisive Preliminary Examination, a comprehensive Main Examination, and a discerning Interview. The CSE, as a quintessential benchmark, serves as the portal for individuals aspiring to join the echelons of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and other central bastions of civil service.

Beyond the hallowed CSE,

The UPSC navigates through a labyrinth of assessments, including the Engineering Services Examination (ESE), the Combined Medical Services Examination (CMSE), and the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (NDA & NA). These assessments serve as the crucible for molding and identifying the brightest minds, thereby ensuring the manifold facets of Indian governance and service are staffed by those of exceptional mettle.

Preliminary Examination (General Studies Paper I):

The Preliminary Examination (General Studies Paper I) is the first paper of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE). It is a multiple-choice question-based paper that tests the candidate’s general awareness of a wide range of subjects, including:

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography
  • Indian Polity and Governance
  • Economic and Social Development
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change
  • General Science

The paper is 2 hours long and consists of 100 questions carrying 2 marks each. The total marks for the paper are 200.

Here are some tips for preparing for the Preliminary Examination (General Studies Paper I):

  • Read newspapers and magazines regularly to stay updated on current events.
  • Study NCERT textbooks for History, Geography, and Polity.
  • Read books and articles on Economic and Social Development, Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, Climate Change, and General Science.
  • Solve previous year’s question papers and mock tests to get a feel for the type of questions that are asked.

It is important to note that the Preliminary Examination is just a qualifying round. The marks scored in the Preliminary Examination are not carried forward to the Main Examination. However, a good performance in the Preliminary Examination is essential for qualifying for the Main Examination.

Preliminary Examination (General Studies Paper II - CSAT):

In the meticulous journey of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE), the Preliminary Examination unveils its second facet through the General Studies Paper II, aptly known as CSAT. This particular phase, a gateway to the Main Examination, is of paramount importance, even though its marks remain secluded and do not commingle with those of the Main Examination.

CSAT is a litmus test of the aspirant’s cognitive faculties, assessing their prowess in areas such as comprehension, logical reasoning, analytical acumen, and problem-solving. This examination, encapsulated within a two-hour crucible, comprises 80 questions, each bearing the weighty load of 2.5 marks, culminating in a total tally of 200 marks.

To traverse this taxing terrain, aspiring candidates would do well to heed some sage advice:

  1. Studious Practice: Rummage through the archives of past years’ question papers and engage in rigorous mock tests to acquaint yourself with the subtleties of question patterns.
  2. Mind Puzzles: Enhance your logical reasoning and analytical puzzle-solving abilities, for they are the bedrock of success in the CSAT domain.
  3. Literary Insights: Immerse yourself in a plethora of literature, from books to articles, shedding light on problem-solving methodologies.
  4. Comprehend the World: Expand your horizon of comprehension by delving into newspapers, magazines, and diverse subjects, thereby fortifying your command over this crucial facet.

The CSAT assessment encompasses a wide array of topics, and familiarity with these is indispensable:

  • Verbal Comprehension
  • Analytical Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Quantitative Proficiency
  • Data Interpretation
  • Decision-making
  • Problem Solving

It is crucial to recognize that the CSAT paper is not a testament to one’s knowledge but rather a manifestation of aptitude. Thus, the key to conquering this domain lies in methodical practice and honing one’s faculties to grapple with the specific challenges that this examination poses.

UPSC CSE Mains Examination:

The UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination, often referred to as CSE Mains, unfolds as the second act in the grand performance of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE). This phase, a written odyssey, encompasses a total of nine papers, each a beacon of hope carrying a substantial weight of 250 marks. The cumulative harvest of marks from these nine papers yields a bountiful tally of 2250, making it a formidable crucible of evaluation.

The nine papers that orchestrate this symphony of knowledge are as follows:

  1. Paper A: Essay
  2. Paper B: General Studies I
  3. Paper C: General Studies II
  4. Paper D: General Studies III
  5. Paper E: General Studies IV
  6. Paper I: Optional Subject I
  7. Paper II: Optional Subject II
  8. Paper VI: Hindi Language
  9. Paper VII: English Language

Of this ensemble, the initial duo, Essay and General Studies I, stand as the non-negotiable foundation for all aspirants. The remaining seven are a tapestry of choice, where candidates can wield their preferences amidst a canvas of diverse subjects.

This Mains Examination is no stroll in the intellectual park; it requires diligent and early preparation. To navigate this challenging terrain, here are some sage directives:

  1. Blueprint for Success: Craft a meticulous study plan and adhere to it with unwavering commitment.
  2. Educational Armory: Arm yourself with top-notch study materials, for knowledge is the pillar upon which success is built.
  3. Armed with the Past: Delve into the reservoir of prior years’ question papers and partake in practice through mock tests.
  4. Balanced Endeavor: In your quest for excellence, remember to take periodic breaks and shield yourself from the scourge of excessive stress.

The Mains Examination’s syllabus encompasses a myriad of essential domains:

For General Studies:

  • Indian History
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Polity
  • Culture
  • International Relations

For Optional Subjects:

  • An expansive gamut, spanning the realms of science, engineering, humanities, and social sciences

UPSC CSE :Interview (Personality Test)

The UPSC Civil Services Interview, known colloquially as the Personality Test, marks the culminating act in the grand narrative of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE). In this pivotal stage, a succinct 30-minute rendezvous unfolds, presided over by a trio of discerning examiners. This interview serves as a crucible, probing the depths of a candidate’s personality, intellect, integrity, and the unwavering motivation that fuels their aspiration to serve as a civil servant.

The interview board weaves a tapestry of inquiries, touching upon various facets of the candidate’s persona, such as:

  • Unveiling the Past: Questions delving into the candidate’s background, educational journey, and professional experiences.
  • Passions and Pursuits: Inquiries regarding hobbies and interests, seeking to uncover the dimensions of the candidate’s multifaceted character.
  • A Glimpse of the World: A test of the candidate’s comprehension of current affairs, unraveling their awareness of the world around them.
  • The Why of it All: Delving into the innermost chambers of the candidate’s heart, exploring the driving force behind their dream to be a civil servant.
  • Sculpting Character: Interrogations aimed at unraveling the candidate’s personality traits and values.

The interview board’s scrutiny extends beyond verbal discourse; it encompasses the candidate’s non-verbal cues, such as body language, confidence, and the art of effective communication.

In preparation for this critical juncture, here are some sagacious pointers:

  1. Authenticity Above All: Allow your true self to shine, for the interview board seeks to unravel the real ‘you.’
  2. Honesty and Sincerity: Answer with candor and authenticity, for the pursuit of truth is highly regarded.
  3. Comprehensive Readiness: Equip yourself to tackle an array of topics – from your personal history to the intricacies of current affairs.
  4. Confidence and Positivity: Exude confidence and optimism; it’s a powerful magnet for success.
  5. Eyes that Speak: Maintain eye contact with the interview board and articulate your responses with clarity and brevity.
  6. Dress the Part: Present yourself in attire that resonates with the solemnity of the occasion.

It’s pivotal to recognize that the UPSC Civil Services Interview isn’t a litmus test of raw knowledge. Instead, it is a quest to decipher the depth of your character, the vigor of your intellect, the bedrock of your integrity, and the enduring flame that fuels your journey towards becoming a civil servant.

UPSE CSE : Eligibility Criteria

Elaborating on the prerequisites for participation in the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) entails adhering to the following rigorous criteria:

Citizenship Criterion: 

Solely denizens of India may partake in the UPSC CSE, an exclusive privilege bestowed upon them.

Age Threshold: 

Aspirants must achieve the threshold of a minimum age of 21 year’s and remain beneath the zenith of 32 year’s as of August 1st in the year in which the examination unfold’s. It is imperative to acknowledge that certain demographics, including the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), and Persons with Disabilitie’s (PwD), benefit from ameliorated age constraint’s.

Scholarly Prerequisite: 

As a fundamental stipulation, prospective candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree, a testament to their academic journey, from an accredited university.

The UPSC CSE, an embodiment of unfathomable rigor, firmly stands as a formidable epitome of competitive assessment on a global scale. However, with unyielding tenacity and unwavering devotion, the summit can indeed be scaled, enabling the realization of one’s aspirations to assume the mantle of a civil servant.

Expanding on this pursuit, here are additional directives to illuminate and streamline your odyssey towards readiness for the UPSC CSE:

Embrace News and Periodicals: 

Cultivate a habit of sustained engagement with newspapers and magazines to remain cognizant of the ever-evolving panorama of current affairs, a quintessential component of the examination’s multifaceted tapestry.

Foundation in Pedagogy: 

Rely on the foundational pedagogy offered within the NCERT textbooks, specifically those illuminating the domains of History, Geography, and Polity. These volumes serve as the underpinning of your educational expedition.

Broaden the Intellectual Horizon:

 Immerse yourself in the troves of literature spanning Economic and Social Development, Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, Climate Change, and General Science. This is the key to comprehending the intricacies of these multifaceted terrains.

Draw from Antecedence:

 Acquaint yourself with the examination’s distinctive characteristics, patterns, and question formats by immersing yourself in the crucible of previous years’ question papers and simulation exercises.

Leverage Collaborative Learning: 

If the need arises, consider engaging in collective efforts by enrolling in a reputable coaching institute or partaking in a study group. These collaborative initiatives can unravel profound insights and invaluable guidance to fortify your preparations._

Pursue these guidelines with unwavering ardor, and you shall navigate the labyrinthine quest of the UPSC CSE with finesse, emerging victorious in your quest to become a steward of the civil service.

UPSC CSE : Important Dates

Here are the important dates for the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) 2024:

February 14, 2024UPSC CSE Notification 2024
March 5, 2024Last date to fill out the application
May 26, 2024UPSC Prelims 2024
September 20, 2024UPSC Mains 2024
Interview DateTo be announced

Please note that these dates are subject to change, so it is always best to check the UPSC website for the latest information.

Here are some tips for preparing for the UPSC CSE 2024:

  • Start early. The UPSC CSE is a vast syllabus, so it is important to start preparing early.
  • Make a study plan and stick to it.
  • Use good quality study materials.
  • Solve previous year’s question papers and mock tests.
  • Take breaks and don’t overstress yourself.

Additional Tips for UPSC Aspirants:

To pave the path to success in the UPSC Civil Services Examination, consider the following comprehensive guidelines:

Master the Syllabus:

 Commence your journey by delving deep into the UPSC syllabus. A profound understanding of what lies ahead will serve as your compass, directing your efforts towards relevant topics.

Blueprint for Success

Forge a meticulous study plan that spans all subjects and papers. Allocate your time sagaciously, allowing ample room for periodic revision.

Stay Abreast of Current Affairs:

 Keep your finger on the pulse of current events, both domestic and international. Engage with newspapers, magazines, and news broadcasts to remain well-informed.

Glean from the Past

Tackle previous years’ question papers to gain invaluable insights into the examination’s patterns and question types.

Select Your Optional Subjects Wisely

Exercise discernment when choosing optional subjects. Consider your interests, strengths, and the availability of study materials in making this decision.

Embrace Revision

Regular revision is your ally in retaining knowledge. Craft revision schedules to revisit topics periodically, fortifying your memory.

Hone Your Answer Writing:

 For the mains examination, dedicate time to practicing answer writing. Develop a structured and concise approach to presenting your responses.

Rehearse with Mock Interviews:

As you prepare for the personality test, consider participating in mock interview sessions. These rehearsals quell nervousness and enhance your performance.

Master Time Management

During the examination, time management is a key skill. Refrain from lingering too long on a single question; manage your time judiciously.

Cultivate Health and Positivity

Nurture a healthy lifestyle encompassing nutritious eating, regular exercise, and effective stress management. A positive mindset is the cornerstone of your journey to success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The syllabus for the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) covers a wide array of important topics, including:

  • Current Events: Stay updated on national and international events, with a focus on issues of significance.
  • History: A comprehensive understanding of Indian history, including the Indian National Movement.
  • Geography: Knowledge of both Indian and world geography.
  • Polity: Understanding the Indian political system, governance, and the Constitution.
  • Economics: Knowledge of economic and social development, both in India and globally.

Environment and Ecology

Awareness of general issues concerning environmental ecology, biodiversity, and climate change.

  • Science: A grasp of general scientific principles and developments.
  • Reasoning: Logical reasoning and analytical abilities.
  • English Language: Comprehension skills in the English language.

As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, there haven’t been any specific new topics added to the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) syllabus. The core subjects and areas of assessment have remained relatively consistent over the years. However, it’s essential to stay updated with the latest official notifications and syllabus changes from the UPSC itself, as they occasionally introduce revisions or clarifications. For the most current information, please refer to the official UPSC website or notifications issued by the Commission.


UPSC CSE exam syllabus for 2023 and 2024. It’s indeed a vast syllabus, and early preparation is a wise strategy.

Here are some tips for effective preparation for the UPSC CSE Exam 2024:

Early Start:

 Commence your preparation well in advance, given the extensive syllabus. Early preparation allows for better coverage and revision.

Structured Plan

Develop a well-structured study plan that encompasses all the subjects and topics. Adherence to your plan is key to comprehensive preparation.

Quality Study Materials

Ensure you have access to high-quality study materials, including textbooks, reference books, and online resources. Trustworthy sources can make a significant difference in your understanding.

Practice Papers and Mock Tests

Regularly engage in solving previous years’ question papers and mock tests. This practice not only familiarizes you with the exam pattern but also aids in time management.

Balanced Approach: Maintain a balance in your preparation. Don’t overburden yourself

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