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UPSC Syllabus 2024 : IAS Prelims & Mains Syllabus PDF

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The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s prestigious and toughest examination which selects candidates for different civil services. The UPSC Syllabus 2024 acts as a roadmap for candidates who are preparing for UPSC Prelims or UPSC Mains.

In this article, we will delve into the structure of the UPSC Syllabus and shed light on the important areas that candidates must concentrate on during their preparation including UPSC Mains, UPSC Prelims, and Personality Test(Interview). You need to familiarise yourself with the exam pattern and then start preparing for the exams.

Read: UPSC Revised Syllabus

UPSC Syllabus 2024

UPSC Complete Syllabus 2024

Here is the complete syllabus for the UPSC Civil Service Examination 2024 and it mainly consists of three stages:

  • The Preliminary Examination (also known as Civil Services Aptitude Test or CSAT)
  • The Main Examination
  • The Personality Test (interview)

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024

The Preliminary Examination acts as a screening test and it comprises two papers:

  • Paper 1 – General Studies I (GS)
  • Paper 2 – General Studies Paper II (CSAT)

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

The exam pattern for UPSC Prelims is provided in the table below:

Exam Pattern & Syllabus For UPSC Prelims

Two Compulsory Papers
  1. General Studies Paper – I (GS)
  2. General Studies Paper – II (CSAT)
Number of Questions (GS Paper – I)100
Number of Questions (CSAT)80
Total Number of Marks

Total – 400 (200 each paper)

  1. GS Paper 1 – 200 Marks
  2. CSAT Paper 2- 200 Marks
Negative Marking1/3 of the total marks allotted to the question will be deducted for every wrong answer
Duration of ExamTwo hours for each exam: 
GS Paper 1 – 2hrs
CSAT paper 2 – 2hrs
Note:- 20 minutes per hour extra time for blind candidates & candidates with Locomotor Disability & Cerebral Palsy [minimum 40% impairment]
Type of QuestionsObjective (MCQ) type
Medium of ExamBilingual (Hindi & English)

UPSC Prelims Examination Syllabus

1. General Studies Paper-I Syllabus

This Paper covers a wide range of subjects, including Indian History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, Current Affairs, and General Knowledge.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus Paper-1 (GS-1)

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • Indian and World Geography: Physical, Social, and Economic Geography of India and the World
  • Indian and World Geography (Physical, Economic Geography of India & the World)
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement
  • Economic & Social Development
  • General Issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change
  • General Science

2. General Studies Paper-II Syllabus (CSAT)

This paper evaluates candidates’ aptitude in areas such as Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, Analytical Ability, Interpersonal Skills, Decision Making, and Problem-Solving.

UPSC Prelims Syllabus Paper-2 (CSAT)

  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • Comprehension
  • General mental ability
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Basic numeracy

Download PDF – UPSC Syllabus Prelims and Mains

Download UPSC Full Syllabus PDFDownload PDF Here
Download UPSC Prelims Syllabus PDFDownload PDF Here
Download UPSC Mains Syllabus PDFDownload PDF Here

UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination 2024

The Main Examination is the most crucial stage and tests candidates’ in-depth knowledge of various subjects. It consists of nine papers, which can be categorized as follows:

a) Compulsory Papers: These include Essay Writing, English Language Comprehension, Precis Writing, and General Studies (four papers covering diverse topics such as Indian Heritage and Culture, Governance, International Relations, Ethics, and Integrity).

b) Optional Papers: Candidates need to choose two optional subjects from a list of available disciplines, such as History, Geography, Public Administration, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, and more.

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern




Paper – I



Paper – II

General Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)


Paper – III

General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)


Paper – IV

General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)


Paper – V

General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)


Paper – VI

Optional Subject – Paper I


Paper- VIII

Optional Subject – Paper II


UPSC Mains Examination Syllabus

Qualifying Papers on Indian Languages and English

English Language:

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Precise Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary.
  • Short Essays.

Indian Languages:

  • Comprehension of given passages.
  • Precise Writing.
  • Usage and Vocabulary.
  • Short Essays.
  • Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Detailed Mains Papers Syllabus 2024

Here is the detailed syllabus for the UPSC Mains Examination 2024:

Paper 1: Essay (250 Marks)

  • Candidates will be required to write an essay on one of the following topics:
    • Indian Heritage and Culture
    • History and Geography of the World and Society
    • Social Justice, Polity, Constitution, Governance, and International Relations
    • Economic Development, Technology, Environment, Biodiversity, Security, and Disaster Management
    • Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude

Paper 2: General Studies I (250 Marks)

  • Indian Heritage and Culture
    • Sources, historical development, salient features, and major trends in Indian art, architecture, literature, music, dance, and sculpture from ancient to modern times.
    • Philosophical and religious movements, their impact on society and culture, and contribution to the national identity.
    • Important aspects of Indian culture, such as festivals, fairs, and folk arts and traditions.
  • History and Geography of the World and Society
    • Major trends in world history, with focus on Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
    • Important geographical aspects of the world, such as physical features, climate, natural resources, and human development.
    • Major political and economic events of the world, with focus on the Cold War and the post-Cold War era.

Paper 3: General Studies II (250 Marks)

  • Polity, Governance, Constitution, Social Justice, and International Relations
    • The Indian Constitution: basic structures, features, modifications, major provisions, and historical context.
    • Functions and duties of the Union and the States, problems and difficulties with the federal system, and obstacles with the devolution of authority and resources to local levels.
    • Issues relating to the Indian State, such as secularism, socialism, federalism, and good governance.
    • Social justice and the empowerment of weaker sections of society, such as women, children, the disabled, and the marginalized.
    • India’s foreign policy, its role in international relations, and its relations with neighboring countries and important world powers.

Paper 4: General Studies III (250 Marks)

  • Economic Development, Technology, Environment, Biodiversity, Security, and Disaster Management
    • Economic and social development: theories, policies, and strategies.
    • Development experiences of India and other countries.
    • Science and technology: developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
    • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
    • Environmental issues, such as deforestation, pollution, and climate change.
    • Disaster management: principles, approaches, and mechanisms.

Paper 5: General Studies IV (250 Marks)

  • Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
    • Ethics and moral values.
    • Integrity and its importance in public life.
    • Aptitude for critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making.
    • Understanding the implications of government policies and programs.
    • Awareness of current social, economic, and political issues.

Paper 6 and 7: Optional Subjects (250 Marks Each)

  • Candidates have to choose two optional subjects from a list of 23 subjects. The syllabus for each optional subject is given on the UPSC website.


  • The UPSC Mains Exam is a 7-paper exam, with a total of 1750 marks.
  • Candidates are required to qualify in each of the 7 papers to be eligible for the interview.
  • The interview is a 275-mark paper.
  • The total marks for the UPSC Civil Services Exam are 2025.

UPSC Optional Subjects List

The list provided in the table below shows the optional subjects for UPSC:

UPSC Optional Subjects List



Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science



Political Science & International Relations




Public Administration

Civil Engineering


Commerce & Accountancy




Electrical Engineering



Mechanical Engineering


Medical Science





UPSC (List of Literature Optional Subject)

UPSC (List of Literature Optional Subject )




















The Syllabus and pattern for each optional subject may vary to the choices of the person. Here giving a general overview of Option Subject Paper I

Subject-specific topics:

  • The Paper I of the optional subject focuses on the subject-specific topics as per the chosen optional subject.
  • The syllabus for each optional subject is specified by the UPSC.
  • Candidates need to have an in-depth understanding of the chosen subject and its core concepts.
  • The topics covered in Paper I of the optional subject may vary depending on the subject chosen.

Specialized knowledge:

  • Paper I aims to assess the candidate’s knowledge, comprehension, and analytical skills in the chosen optional subject.
  • Candidates are expected to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and its various dimensions.

The depth and critical analysis:

  • Paper I may require candidates to delve deep into the subject and analyze concepts, theories, and their practical application.
  • Candidates may be expected to critically evaluate different perspectives and provide well-reasoned arguments.

Subject-specific resources:

  • Candidates should refer to the recommended books, study materials, and resources specific to their chosen optional subject.
  • It is important to cover the entire syllabus of the chosen subject and prepare thoroughly for Paper I.
  • It’s important to note down that the syllabus provided in this is basically a broad outline, and candidates are advised to go through the official website of UPSC for notification and also prepare previous year’s question papers to understand the particular topic and sub-topic that need to be covered under every section.

UPSC Personality Test (Final Interview)

The final stage, the Personality Test which is also known as Interview, assesses the candidate’s suitability for a career in civil services. It is conducted to check the suitability of the candidate for a career in civil services.

1. Purpose:

  • The interview aims to many focus on the candidate’s personality traits, communication, overall suitability, and leadership quality.
  • The interview panel assesses the candidate’s understanding of current affairs, general knowledge, and ability to analyze everything and present their point of view on a given topic.

2. Duration and Panel:

  • The interview duration is 30-40 minutes.
  • The interview panel consists of UPSC board members and they are experts in various fields including retired civil servants.

3. Approach

  • The candidate must be in a formal dress and in a structured manner.
  • candidates should maintain a calm and composed demeanour, provide well-reasoned answers and exhibit good communication skills.

4. Key Areas of Assessment

  • The candidate must give their opinion on various current events asked by the panel in a clear way.
  • Question is also related to the application in real-life scenarios and also candidates’ optional subjects so one must prepare their optional subjects properly.

5. Preparation

  • Candidate must prepare their DAF(Detailed Application Form) and must have a better understanding of whatever information they had provided.
  • They should be aware of current events, current affairs, national and international issues happening all around the world.
  • Preparing mock interviews is a must and helps throughout the preparation of the interview.

To prepare better for UPSC Examination, you can go through this article on UPSC Preparation tips it can be beneficial for your exam preparation. It should not be the sole focus of your preparation. Combine it with regular practice, comprehensive study material, and self-assessment through mock tests to maximize your chances of success in the UPSC exam.

Also Check our Latest Article: UPSC Preparation Tips.

Previous year’s papers play a very important role in better preparation for the UPSC Examination. Here you can also refer to this previous year’s question paper along with solutions

UPSC Previous Year Question Paper & Solutions

Conclusion – UPSC Syllabus 2024 : IAS Prelims & Mains Syllabus

In Conclusion, UPSC syllabus is a comprehensive and challenging set of topics that covers a wide range of subjects. It is important to have a strong understanding of all the topics in the syllabus in order to be successful in the UPSC exam. The syllabus is divided into 7 papers, each with its own focus. Candidates are required to start studying early, make a study plan, take practice tests, find a study partner or group, and stay positive.

UPSC Syllabus 2024 : IAS Prelims & Mains Syllabus – FAQs

1. Is the UPSC Syllabus the same for Prelims and Mains?

There is a difference in the Prelims and Mains Syllabus of UPSC. Prelims have two papers on General Studies while Mains examination consists of nine papers including essays, General studies(I to IV), and two option subjects I and II.

2. Is it necessary to cover the entire syllabus in detail?

It is necessary to have a better understanding of the UPSC Syllabus not compulsory to cover every topic in detail. Stay focus on learning concepts, having knowledge of current affairs, and practicing the previous year’s question papers and mock interviews for better preparation.

3. What are the subjects in UPSC syllabus?

The UPSC syllabus covers a wide range of topics, including Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society, polity, governance, constitution, social justice, and international relations, economic development, technology, environment, biodiversity, security, and disaster management, and ethics, integrity, and aptitude.

4. How many syllabus for UPSC?

There is only one syllabus for the UPSC exam. However, there are 7 papers in the UPSC exam, each with its own syllabus.

5. What are the 9 exams of UPSC?

The UPSC exam consists of 9 exams:

  1. Preliminary Examination
  2. Main Examination
  3. Personality Test (Interview)
  4. Language Proficiency Test
  5. Physical Efficiency Test (PET)
  6. Medical Examination
  7. Document Verification
  8. Final Selection
  9. Joining

6. Is UPSC tough or IAS?

Both UPSC and IAS are tough exams. However, UPSC is the more general exam, while IAS is more specialized. UPSC exams are conducted for different services such as Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), etc. However, IAS is the most prestigious service among them and is considered to be the toughest to crack.

Last Updated : 31 Jan, 2024
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