UPSC-CSE Syllabus and Booklist

UPSC conducts the exam in three phases: Preliminary, Main and Personality Test also called as Interview. At first we’ll learn about preliminary exam then about mains and finally about the Interview.

Firstly, we will see about paper pattern of the particular phase of exam and then its details with syllabus and booklist.

( i ) This phase will have two compulsory Objective type Papers of 200 marks each, Paper-I (General Studies) as well as Paper-II (CSAT).
( ii ) It is only for the selection of the candidate for Main exam.
( iii ) Cut off will be on the basis of Paper-I and Paper-II will be only qualifying with 33% marks.
( iv ) Paper-II is equally important as Paper-I because your paper-I will not be checked if you fail in Paper-II with less than 33% marks in it.


The written examination will consist of the following papers :—

Qualifying Papers :

1. Paper-A
(One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the  Eighth Schedule to the Constitution, list is given below).     300 Marks
2. Paper-B
 English            300 Marks

Papers to be counted for merit :

3. Paper-I
 Essay             250 Marks
4. Paper-II
General Studies-I     250 Marks
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and
Geography of the World and Society)
5. Paper-III
General Studies -II      250 Marks
(Governance, Constitution, Polity,
Social Justice and International relations)
6. Paper-IV
General Studies -III      250 Marks
(Technology, Economic Development,
Bio-diversity, Environment, Security
and Disaster Management)
7. Paper-V
General Studies -IV      250 Marks
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
8. Paper-VI ( List for optional subjects is given below )
Optional Subject – Paper 1      250 Marks
9. Paper-VII
Optional Subject – Paper 2      250 Marks
Sub Total (Written test)      1750 Marks

C. PERSONALITY TEST      275 Marks

Grand Total   =   2025 Marks

Rank is allotted from above grand total of 2025 marks.

This is list of language that can be used for paper-A

It’ll be in Language-Script (letters) form:
Assamese – Assamese,
Bengali – Bengali,
Gujarati – Gujarati,
Hindi – Devanagari,
Kannada – Kannada,
Kashmiri – Persian,
Konkani – Devanagari,
Malayalam – Malayalam,
Manipuri – Bengali,
Marathi – Devanagari,
Nepali – Devanagari,
Odia – Odia,
Punjabi – Gurumukhi,
Sanskrit – Devanagari,
Sindhi – Devanagari or Arabic,
Tamil – Tamil,
Telugu – Telugu,
Urdu – Persian,
Bodo – Devanagari,
Dogri – Devanagari,
Maithilli – Devanagari,
Santhali – Devanagari or Olchiki.


Syllabus for Prelims and Mains is given below:

A. Syllabus of Preliminary Examination :

Paper I – ( Marks: 200 Duration: Two hours )

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • 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.

Paper II – ( Marks: 200 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);

B. Syllabus of Mains Examination:
The Main Examination will assess your intellectual traits as well as depth of the understanding rather than just information and memory. Marks in MAIN Examination and Personality Test ( Interview ) will be considered for final selection and ranking.

UPSC Says “The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II to Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study.” It means, you don’t have to be a genius in those subjects but you should be thorough with the syllabus that UPSC has provided ( given below ).

The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honors degree level i.e. a level higher than the bachelors’ degree and lower than the masters’ degree.


i.e.  From above list of Mains Papers 1. Paper A and 2. Paper  B detailed information is as follows: 

The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned.

The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :
(i) Comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Précis Writing.
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.
Indian Languages:—
(i) comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Précis Writing.
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essays.
(v) Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.
Note 1: The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
Note 2: The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).



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