UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2019

UPSC Civil Services Exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission for the recruitment of IAS/IPS/IFS/IRS and other Central Government Group A and B officers. The recruitment process consists of three stages:

  1. Preliminary Exam
  2. Mains Exam
  3. Interview

UPSC Prelims Exam consists of two papers, General Studies Paper 1 and General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT), both the papers are compulsory, but the merit list is based only on the marks obtained in General Studies Paper 1. The General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT) is qualifying in nature and candidates have to score a minimum of 33% marks in CSAT paper to qualify the paper.

IAS Preliminary Exam for 2019 is scheduled on 2nd June 2019.

In this article, you will find the Prelims exam syllabus and exam pattern details.

UPSC IAS Prelims Booklist


UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus for General Studies Paper 1

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement.
  • India and World Geography- Physical, Social and Economic
  • Indian Polity and Governance- Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues etc.
  • Economic and 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 IAS Prelims Syllabus for General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT)

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication & language
  • 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)
  • English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)

UPSC Prelims Preparation Strategy


UPSC Prelims Syllabus: Why should one go through it thoroughly?

UPSC releases its notification every year mentioning the syllabus for Prelims and Mains separately. A candidate should religiously read the syllabus notification multiple times as it will help them get acquainted with it and they will be able to focus on what to read and what to leave. Otherwise, the syllabus is so vast that candidates may fail to prioritize.


Terms like 'women empowerment', 'sustainable development', 'inclusive growth' have to be imbibed in the mind and every topic should be read with regard to those keywords. Ideally, a candidate should try to correlate anything he reads with the syllabus and should distinctly be able to recall which part of the UPSC syllabus the topic belongs to.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus Download PDF

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

UPSC Preliminary Exam Paper Duration Number of questions Marks
General Studies Paper 1 2 hours 100 200
Genaral Studies Paper 2 or CSAT (This paper is qualifying in nature, candidates need to score 33% of marks) 2 hours 80 200
TOTAL 4 hours 180 400

The exam pattern for UPSC was changed in 2015. Now, Genaral Studies Paper 2 or CSAT paper has become qualifying in nature i.e., candidates need to score 66.7 marks out of 200 marks.

IAS Topper - Rishi Raj (AIR 27, CSE-2017) - UPSC Prelims Preparation Strategy

Overview of UPSC Prelims Exam

  • The Examination comprises of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each.
  • Both the question papers will be of the Objective Type (multiple choice questions).
  • The General Studies Paper 2 of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
  • The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.
  • Duration of each paper will be two hours.
  • Blind candidates and the candidates with Locomotor Disability and Cerebral Palsy, where dominant (wilting) extremity is affected to the extent of slowing the performance of function (minimum of 40% impairment), will be allowed an extra time of twenty minutes per hour for each paper.


Negative Marking

There is negative marking in UPSC Preliminary exam - one-third of marks for each question are deducted for every wrong answer. Candidates should be cautious as committing silly mistakes or attempting the questions which they are not sure of can become a deterrent in qualifying the UPSC Prelims exam.

Significance of UPSC IAS Prelims Exam

UPSC Prelims Exam is the first stage of the examination in becoming an IAS officer and roughly every year around 15,000 candidates are shortlisted for Mains exam out of the 4-5 lakh aspirants appearing for the Prelims exam.

UPSC Prelims Exam is the most uncertain phase in IAS exam preparation because questions are objective in nature, i.e. candidates need to choose the right answer from a multiple choice of four options. Most of the times UPSC sets the question in a tricky way with complex usage of words. So in order to crack IAS Prelims, candidates need to prepare well and stay focused and alert to get their entry ticket to the Mains examination.

Basically, UPSC Prelims Exam is a screening test for the Mains examination, so the marks secured in Prelims are not included in the final merit list.

The UPSC Main examination is all about writing accurate and conceptually correct answers.  Most of the questions asked by UPSC are simple but conceptual in nature and answering these questions can be really difficult.

Points to remember before appearing for UPSC Prelims Exam

  • UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam is common for both Civil Services and Indian Forest Services.
  • For blind candidates, 20 minutes extra time per hour is provided.
  • It is mandatory to appear for both GS 1 & GS 2 papers for the purpose of evaluation.
  • If you have appeared in only one paper, it will be counted as one attempt.

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