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IAS Syllabus for Prelims and Main, Pattern

IAS Exam is conducted in 3 successive stages- Prelims, Main and Interview test. The prelims stage is an objective test of 400 marks whereas Main is subjective paper of 1750 marks followed by personality test of 275 marks. IAS Prelims is qualifying in nature while performance in main and interview round determine the merit of successful candidates.

Both prelims and main exam have different syllabi viz:

  • Stage 1:IAS Preliminary Exam – 2 papers of 200 marks each
  • Stage 2:IAS Main Exam – Written exam (9 papers)
  • Stage 3: Interview Round – 275 marks

The Indian Administrative Service exam 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.

IAS Prelims Syllabus

  • UPSC civil services preliminary exam is the first stage of IAS selection process, candidates must clear prelims to qualify for the main 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.
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 DevelopmentSustainable 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
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)

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)

Section-wise Questions Distribution

PAPER SUBJECT MARKS
Paper 1 General Studies 200
Paper 2 Civil Services Aptitude Test 200
Total 2 Papers 400

 

Given below is the topic wise weightage of IAS Prelims Paper I:

Topic wise weightage of  IAS Paper 2 (CSAT paper)

Civil Services (Main) Exam Facts

No. of Papers Two (2) – written test (9 papers) and an Interview test
Type of Questions Subjective
Total Marks Written Test: 1750 marks | Interview Test: 275 marks (with no qualifying marks)
Duration of Exam 3 hrs each
Medium of Exam Hindi and English (other than the literature of language papers)

IAS Main Exam Pattern

  • IAS Main has 9 papers out of which 7 Papers are compulsory and 2 are optional papers that candidates have to choose.
  • Out of the 7 papers, 2 are language papers (A and B).
  • For paper A, candidate has to choose one of the Indian Language that is included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. Paper B will have questions from English.
  • Questions will be subjective in nature.
  • Each paper is of 250 marks while language papers are of 300 marks each.
  • The marks obtained in the language papers are not counted in the formation of IAS Merit List as they are qualifying  in nature.
  • The total time duration of IAS Main exam is 3 hours.
  • Blind candidates will be given 20 minutes extra for each paper.

Here is the brief about all the papers in IAS Main:

PAPERS SUBJECTS MARKS
Paper 1 Essay writing 250
Paper 2 General Studies I Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society 250
Paper 3 General Studies II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations 250
Paper 4 General Studies III Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management 250
Paper 5 General Studies IV Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude 250
Paper 6 Optional Subject – Paper 1 250
Paper 7 Optional Subject – Paper 2 250
Personal Interview 275
Grand Total 2025

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