UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020 for Prelims & Mains Exam

February 12, 2020


Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) conducts the Indian Administrative Services Exam to assess the understanding of concepts and intelligence of the candidate. To ace this exam, the aspirant must have a thorough knowledge of the syllabus in order to prepare for the exam. For each stage of the exam that the candidate is preparing, the examination scheme and syllabus topics are discussed in detail. The article provides a detailed description of the UPSC IAS Syllabus and UPSC IAS Exam Pattern, Examination Scheme and link to download syllabus.

UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020

The UPSC IAS Syllabus will cover the two stages: Preliminary examination and Mains examination. The UPSC IAS mains examination is conducted to check the expertise in their specialized subject. Qualification of the preliminary examination is followed by mains, which is then followed by an Interview. The preliminary examination comprises two papers each of 200 marks. Thus, both Prelims and Mains Exam Syllabus Topics are discussed.

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern

UPSC Exam comprises of Prelim, Mains and Interview. It is important for the candidates to know the exam pattern in advance as it helps the aspiring candidates to prepare themselves and make a strategy to ace the exam. The candidates who qualify the prelims appear for the Mains. Candidates who clear the mains are eligible to appear for the final round, the interview. In this article, we have discussed the IAS Exam Pattern.


UPSC IAS Syllabus Prelims

Prelims Stage has two papers with questions from GA/ GK/ Current Affairs, Quantitative Aptitude and Logic.

Paper I (200 marks) 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-(200 marks) 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)

Click here to get UPSC Calendar 2020

UPSC IAS Prelims Exam Pattern

The first stage of the IAS Exam is the Prelims. The Prelims Exam date is 31 May 2020. The Prelims Exam Comprises of two papers of 200 marks each. Both the question papers are of objective type multiple choice questions (MCQ) and each paper is of two hours. The Prelims Exam is qualifying in nature. Candidates need to work hard in this paper as the Commission decides a cut-off after conducting the exam. Each candidate has to secure the minimum cut off marks prescribed by UPSC. Prelims Exam is conducted to filter candidates for the mains exam. The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination is qualifying in nature with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33% The details of the UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern is tabulated below.

PaperTypeNo. of questionsMarksDurationNegative marks
General Studies IObjective1002002 hoursYes
General Studies II (CSAT)Objective802002 hoursYes

Click Here For UPSC IAS Notification 2020 PDF

UPSC IAS Syllabus Mains

The UPSC Mains Exam determines the overall intelligence and conceptual knowledge of the candidate.
The mains examination comprises qualifying papers, where Syllabus of Paper A comprises any one of the Indian languages selected from the Languages included in the eighth schedule of the constitution and Paper B Syllabus comprises an English test. Both of these are of 300 marks.
The next step of the mains exam consists of papers counted on merit.
These are described as follows:

Paper I – Essay

250 marks

Paper-II – General Studies-I
Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

250 marks

Paper III – General Studies-II
Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations

250 marks

Paper IV – General Studies – III
Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

250 marks

Paper V – General Studies – IV
Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

250 marks

Paper VI
Optional Subject- Paper 1

250 marks

Paper VII
Optional Subject – Paper 2

250 marks

Sub Total (Written test)

1750 marks
Personality Test

275 marks

Grand Total

2025 marks

Optional subjects for the UPSC IAS Mains Examination can be chosen from the following :
(i) Agriculture
(ii) Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
(iii) Anthropology
(iv) Botany
(v) Chemistry
(vi) Civil Engineering
(vii) Commerce and Accountancy
(viii) Economics
(ix) Electrical Engineering
(x) Geography
(xi) Geology
(xii) History
(xiii) Law
(xiv) Management
(xv) Mathematics
(xvi) Mechanical Engineering
(xvii) Medical Science
(xviii) Philosophy
(xix) Physics
(xx) Political Science and International Relations
(xxi) Psychology
(xxii) Public Administration
(xxiii) Sociology
(xxiv) Statistics
(xxv) Zoology
(xxvi) Literature of any one of the following languages:


UPSC Mains Exam Pattern

The UPSC Mains Exam is conducted after the Prelims. It is conducted for the candidates who qualify the Prelims Exam. The qualified candidates will have to apply online for DAF online Form. The UPSC Mains exam pattern comprises of 9 papers. The Exam is conducted over a period of 5-7 days. The details of UPSC Mains Exam is given below.

PaperSubjectDurationTotal marks
Paper ACompulsory Indian language3 hours300
Paper BEnglish3 hours300
Paper IEssay3 hours250
Paper IIGeneral Studies I3 hours250
Paper IIIGeneral Studies II3 hours250
Paper IVGeneral Studies III3 hours250
Paper VGeneral Studies IV3 hours250
Paper VIOptional I3 hours250
Paper VIIOptional II3 hours250

All of the mains papers except for the language papers A and B are of a merit ranking nature. One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the eighth Schedule to the Constitution for Paper A. Paper I to Paper V are counted for merit. Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects from amongst the list of Optional subjects for Paper VI and VII. The question papers for the examination will be of conventional (essay) type. The list of the mains examination have to be any one of the subjects from the following list.

AgricultureAnimal Husbandry and Veterinary ScienceAnthropologyBotanyChemistry
Civil EngineeringCommerce and AccountancyEconomicsElectrical EngineeringGeography
Mechanical EngineeringMedical SciencePhilosophyPhysicsPolitical Science and International Relations
PsychologyPublic AdministrationSociologyStatisticsZoology

All the papers except the Language papers A and B can be answered in English or any of the languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India. The optional papers can be answered in English even if none of the other papers have been answered by the candidate in English.

Personality Test / Interview

  • Qualified candidates of the UPSC Mains Exam are called for the ‘Personality Test/Interview’. These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.
  • The interview assesses the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in the civil services by a board of experts and fair panel of observers.
  • Candidates who qualify the mains have to appear for the interview or personality test. Personality Test is of utmost importance for any IAS Aspirant.
  • The interview also explores the mental and analytical ability of the candidate.
  • The Interview test will be of 275 marks and the total marks for written examination is 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.

UPSC IAS Selection Process

As you are aware of the IAS Exam Pattern and Syllabus, it is important to know the selection process as well. The selection of candidates is based on the cut-offs released by the commission after the preliminary examination and main examination. The candidates who qualify in the preliminary examination can sit for UPSC Main examination. The Prelims is only qualifying in nature to screen out candidates for the mains. Similarly, a cut off is released according to which qualified candidates are called for the interview session. The final selection of the candidates is made on the marks secured by the candidates in the mains and interview. Therefore, a candidate must score maximum marks possible in the mains. Moreover, it is important to qualify in the Interview or Personality Test.

UPSC IAS How To Prepare?

By going through this article, you must be aware of the UPSC IAS Syllabus and Exam Pattern. Becoming an IAS Officer is not the effort of a single day but it is the effort of months. It takes blood and sweat to get through IAS Exam. Any IAS Aspirant has to work with utmost sincerity and dedication to be eligible to be called a civil servant. Initially, any aspirant is a bit confused as to where do they begin to study and how do they study. Well, it is important to make a study plan, know the syllabus and exam pattern first. Cracking the UPSC Exam does not only requires the book knowledge but it also requires the knowledge of the latest happenings of the world as well. This is why a candidate needs to read the current affairs as the candidates overall personality is tested in the last stage which is the Personality or the interview.  Only then you would be able to make a strategy to ace in the exam. To make it easy for our readers we bring to you some of the tips which is essential for the aspirants.

  1. Time Table: Prepare a study plan and follow it with utmost sincerity without giving it a miss. Making a timetable will ease your preparation and make it more streamlined. With deadlines, you would work better and complete the syllabus faster.
  2. Reading Newspapers: Undoubtedly, the newspapers serve as the best means of current affairs. Maintain the habit of reading newspapers and magazines to keep yourself updated with the current issues. Moreover, it also helps to develop the habit of knowing the best points to write in essays as well as in personality test.
  3. Choosing Optional: To choose a subject for the optional paper, the candidate should choose the subject in which he/she has an interest, Prior knowledge in it/academic background.
  4. Books For IAS: Read the NCERT books of class 6 to 12th thoroughly. A major no. of marks can be secured if you are thorough with the NCERT Textbook. Apart from the NCERT books, the aspirants have to prepare themselves from the books that are available in the market.
  5. Mock Test: Enroll for IAS mock test series as giving the regular mock test will help you to get hold of the type of questions that would come in the UPSC Exam.
  6. Writing: Practice the habit of writing as you have to write a paper in 3 hours. Therefore, time management is really important. Moreover, the more you write the better you would become and remember the important points.

For details on each subject from the optional subject, please click the link to check the UPSC IAS mains syllabus

Updates of the notifications related to UPSC IAS and other posts can be accessed through the official website,
A well-prepared exam comprises thorough knowledge of the syllabus, previous year papers and/or mock papers. Hope this article would  prove useful for your preparation
All the best!

For Our Readers

The Government job notifications are all notified here Check all type of notifications through subscribing the website. Hit the bell icon!

Click here to Check More Defence Jobs

Spread the love

Recent Posts