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IAS Syllabus for Prelims and Mains, Pattern and Books

IAS Syllabus for Prelims and Mains, Pattern and Books


IAS Exam is conducted in 3 successive stages- Prelims, Mains and Interview test. The Prelims stage is an objective test of 200 marks wheres Mains is subjective one. Both the stages are qualifying in nature and successful candidates will be called for Interview round.
The competitive examination comprises two successive stages, having different syllabi viz:


  • Stage 1: IAS Preliminary Exam – 2 papers of 200 marks each
  • Stage 2: IAS Mains Exam – Written exam (7 papers) and an Interview. 

The Indian Administrative Service officially called as Civil Services Examination (CSE) is the premier administrative civil service of the Government of India. Hierarchy-wise, IAS is the highest administrative post among the 24 services like IPS, IFS (Foreign), IAAS, IRS, IDAS, CAPF-AF to name a few.
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IAS Syllabus for Prelims
The preliminary exam is the first stage a candidate must clear to qualify for the mains exam.
It is meant to serve as a screening test only; marks scored in IAS Prelims will not be counted for the final merit list.

Preliminary Stage of IAS has two papers viz. General Ability test (GAT) (Paper-1) and the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT) (Paper-2).

IAS Syllabus for Paper I
Paper I of IAS Prelims includes different topics which hold a weightage of 200 marks.
All questions will be objective in nature.
Candidates must solve the paper in 2 hours.
Marks obtained in Paper 1 will be counted for the merit rank.
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IAS Syllabus for Paper 1

Current events of national and international importance History of India and Indian National Movement
Indian Polity and Governance Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, and Rights Issues Economic and Social Development‐Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives and General issues on Environmental ecology
General Science

Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World

Biodiversity and Climate Change ‐ that do not require subject specialization and General Science

IAS Syllabus for Paper 2

All questions will be objective in nature.
The total weightage of questions in Paper II is 200 marks.
The total duration of the Paper II is 2 hours.
Marks obtained in Paper 2 will not be counted for the merit rank in Prelims but will be considered as a qualifying Paper.
Candidates need 33% marks to clear IAS Mains.
IAS Syllabus for Paper 2
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Comprehension

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)
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Civil Services (Preliminary) Exam Pattern

No. of Papers Two (2) compulsory papers
Type of Questions Objective (MCQs)
Total Marks 200 marks each (400 marks)
Duration of Exam 2 hrs. each (20 mins extra for a candidate with Locomotor Disability & Cerebral Palsy)
Negative Marking Yes, one-third (0.33) as a penalty
Medium of Exam Bilingual (Hindi and English)
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IAS Syllabus for Mains

This paper assesses a candidate’s academic expertise in his specialized subject.
It also tests his ability to present knowledge in a clear and coherent manner and his overall intellectual traits and understanding of concepts.
Interview will be conducted to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental caliber of candidate.
Number of candidates to be admitted to IAS Main Examination will be about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination.
The number of candidates to be summoned for interview will be about twice of the number of vacancies to be filled.

Paper I

It consists of questions to test the writing skills of the candidate. Thus, it is purely subjective with no objective type questions.

The language for the paper is English thus candidates have no option of answering in any other language.
Total marks awarded to this paper are 250.
Title Description
Essay Candidates have to write an essay on a specific topic. It must be kept close to the subject of the essay to arrange the ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely. Credit is given for effective and exact expression

Paper II

The candidates have to answer objective type questions based on Indian Heritage along with the History and Geography of the World in Paper II.
The total weightage of the Paper II is 250 marks.
Title Topics
General Studies I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society Indian culture, aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times, Modern Indian history and major personalities
The Freedom Struggle, important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country, Post‐independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
History of the world, industrial revolution, world wars, re-drawl of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies, capitalism, socialism, Salient features of Indian Society and Diversity of India
Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, Effects of globalization on Indian society, Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism, world’s physical geography,
Natural resources, factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries, Important Geophysical phenomena, earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone, geographical features and their location‐ changes in critical Geographical features (including water‐bodies and ice‐caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
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Paper III

Paper III is also objective type which comprises questions on Constitution, Social Justice and International relations of India.
The questions hold a total weightage of 250 marks.
Title Topics
General Studies II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations Indian Constitution historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure, Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels
Separation of powers, redressed mechanisms and institutions, Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries, Parliament and State Legislatures, structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers and privileges
Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity, Representation of People’s Act.
Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection of vulnerable sections. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e‐ governance‐ applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
Role of civil services in a Democracy India and its neighborhood relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India, Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries, Indian diaspora. Important International institutions, agencies and fora their structure, mandate.
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi‐ judicial bodies. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors, Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors and charities.
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi‐ judicial bodies. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors, Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities

Paper IV

Paper IV is named General Studies III and contains multiple choice questions.
The questions are based on Technology, Bio-Diversity and Disaster Management with a weightage of 250 marks.
Title Topics
General Studies III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. Government Budgeting.
Major crops cropping patterns, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers, Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies.
Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security.
Technology missions; economics of animal- rearing. Food processing and related industries in India‐ scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. Land reforms in India. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc. Investment models. 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. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment, Disaster and disaster management. Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
Role of external state and non‐ state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money laundering and its prevention, Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
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Paper V

Candidates are asked questions based on Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

Questions are objective in nature and hold a weightage of 250 marks.
Title Topics
General Studies IV: Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude Issues relating to integrity, probity in public life. Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
Human Values, lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values. Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker‐ sections. Emotional intelligence‐ concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.
Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions, laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate Governance.
Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.
Case Study
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Paper VI and VII

Paper VI and Paper VII are optional subjects for Paper I and Paper II of UPSC Mains.
Candidates have to attempt both the Papers separately.
Each Paper holds a weightage of 250 marks respectively.
Title Topics Total Marks
Optional Subject- Paper 1 and 2 Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics and Zoology 250+250 (500)
Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English
IAS Interview/ Personality Test
All candidates who successfully clear IAS Prelims and Mains will be called for the interview round. Check IAS Cutoff
This stage is of total 275 marks.
Candidates will be asked some general interest questions.
Candidates can also choose one language in which they wish to be interviewed.
This interview will test a candidate’s mental caliber, mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity. and his personal suitability.
Candidates must secure at least 55% in this round.
A candidate securing 60% and above will most likely get a service of his choice.
Marks obtained by a candidate in IAS Interview will be added in the Mains stage. This will form the basis of the final merit list.

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