Civil Service Syllabus And Exam Patterns

The examination scheme of Civil Services has three phases which are elucidated in the following table:


Phase- I – Preliminary Examination (PT)

Examination Scheme

· Objective Examination - Multiple Choice Question type examination. For every question there will be four options

·         Qualifying in nature

·         Paper- I (GS) consists of 100 questions, where each question has the weightage of 2 marks each; therefore the total is 200 marks. It is advised to the students, to score maximum in this paper.

· Paper- II (CSAT- Civil Services Aptitude Test) consists of 80 questions. Here each question has the weightage of 2.5 marks each; therefore the total is 200 marks. Imp Note: Since 2015 this paper has become further qualifying, therefore only 67 marks will be required to pass this paper.  

·         Both the papers will have negative marking 0.33%

·         Paper- I and Paper –II will be conducted on the same day.

·         Conventionally this paper is conducted in the second or third week of August every year.

Syllabus for GS Paper- I

 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

Syllabus for CSAT Paper- II

{·         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)


Phase- II – Mains Examination

Salient Features

·         It is a subjective examination

·         Both qualifying and merit based examinations. There are total 9 papers, out of which 2 are qualifying papers and 7 are merit based papers

·        Qualifying Papers: Duration is 3hrs, Maximum Marks: 300, out of which an aspirant is required to score only 75 marks

 I.            Indian Language (out of the 22 languages of the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, the aspirant has to choose any one language and this paper is exempted for the students of North Eastern India).

II.            English Language Paper

·         Merit Based Exams: An aspirant is required to score as many marks possible in all the seven papers to get a good rank in civil services. Each paper is of 250 marks and the duration is of 3hrs.

I.            Essay Paper

Marks: 250

ØIn this paper an aspirant is required to prepare for multiple topics which are both conventional and dynamic.

ØGenerally UPSC gives four topics for essay writing, an aspirant is required to write on any one of the topic only.

 II.            General Studies Paper-I

Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

Marks: 250


ØIndian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

ØModern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

Ø\The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

Ø Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

ØHistory of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

ØSalient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

ØRole of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

ØEffects of globalization on Indian society

Ø Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

ØSalient features of world's physical geography. Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

ØImportant Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., 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.

 III.            General Studies Paper-II

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Marks: 250


ØIndian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

ØFunctions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Ø Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

ØComparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries

ØParliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

ØStructure, 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.

ØSalient features of the Representation of People's Act.

ØAppointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

ØStatutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

ØGovernment policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Ø Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Ø Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

ØIssues relating to poverty and hunger.

ØImportant aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

ØRole of civil services in a democracy.

Ø  India and its neighbourhood- relations.

ØBilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests

Ø Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.

Ø Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

 IV.            General Studies Paper-III

Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

Marks: 250


ØIndian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

ØInclusive growth and issues arising from it.

ØGovernment Budgeting.

Ø  {C}Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, 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

Ø Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Ø  {Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

ØLand reforms in India.

ØEffects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

ØInfrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

ØInvestment models.

ØScience and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

ØAchievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

ØAwareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

ØConservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

ØDisaster and disaster management.

ØLinkages between development and spread of extremism. Role of external state and non state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

ØChallenges 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

ØSecurity challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

ØVarious Security forces and agencies and their mandate


V.            General Studies Paper-IV

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude

This paper will include questions to test the candidates' attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with society. Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects.

Marks: 250


ØEthics 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.

ØAttitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

Ø 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.

ØEmotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

ØContributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

ØPublic/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.

ØProbity 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.

ØCase Studies on above issues.

 VI.            Optional Subject

ØAn aspirant presently has to choose any one optional subject from the list of 26 subjects which are given in the below table.

Ø\There will be two papers of 250 marks each, thus the total marks from Optional subject is 500 marks.

ØUPSC had removed one optional subject from mains in the year 2013. Already the Second Administrative Reforms Commission had recommended from complete removal of Optional subject. In near future, it can be expected that UPSC might remove the only left optional paper from Mains.

 ·         An examination of 1750 marks, according to the performance at this stage, candidates qualify for the third stage

List of Optional Subjects

1.      Agriculture

2.      Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science

3.      Anthropology

4.      Botany

5.      Chemistry

6.      Civil Engineering

7.      Commerce and Accountancy

8.      Economics

9.      Electrical Engineering

10.  Geography

11.  Geology

12.  History

13.   Law



16.Mechanical Engineering

17.Medical Science



20 Political Science and International Relations


22Public Administration



25. Zoology

26.  Literature of any one of the National Language including English

Phase- III – Personality Test and Interview

Salient Features

·         A formal interview of the candidate

·         This stage consists of 275 marks

·         A personality check of the individual or the candidate

·         inetrview.jpgThe interviewing board aims to explore and identify ‘Officer like Quality’ in the candidate appearing in front of board

·         Ideal duration of the interview 20  to 40 minutes

·         Questions are framed regarding

1.      Candidate’s respective DAF (detailed application form)

2.      Current Issues

3.      General Studies

4.      Intelligence

5.      Questions from optional subject chosen by the candidate