Subject-wise Weightage for UPSC CSE Prelims | Trend Analysis of UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam

History is a popular choice of optional subject among the UPSC aspirants because of its importance in the General Studies paper of both Prelims and UPSC CS(Main) exam. Not only does it have good scoring potential, but it is also a consistent choice among the toppers of UPSC CSE which enhances the success rate of this optional subject. 


Further, for aspirants who are good with remembering states, history can be remembered as a story of events in a sequential manner. Since it is a static subject, you do not have to worry about studying the current affairs for this particular paper. Moreover, there are ample of resource material that is available in the form of books.


The only con while opting for the History optional is that it has a huge syllabus that needs to be covered holistically. However, if you’ve read it during your graduation or post-graduation, or you’re extremely passionate and interested in this subject, that should not be a matter of concern for you.

Subject-wise Weightage for UPSC CSE Prelims 

The table mentioned below lists the number of questions from each subject over the last ten years. It will give a fair bit of idea on the importance of each subject in the UPSC CSE Prelims. 

Year

History

Geography

Polity

Economy

Science & Tech

Environment

Current Affairs

2011

11

11

12

19

19

15

13

2012

17

12

11

13

9

12

26

2013

11

9

13

15

11

13

28

2014

17

12

11

10

13

17

20

2015

14

14

13

13

7

10

29

2016

15

7

7

18

8

18

27

2017

14

7

22

8

4

11

34

2018

15

8

13

16

7

13

28

2019

17

14

16

14

7

11

22



As you can see, the current affairs portion is one of the most important elements in the UPSC Civil Services Prelims examination followed by history and polity. Let us look at the preparation strategy for each of these subjects briefly:


  1. History: It is clear from the subject-wise trend of prelims that history is one of the major favorites of UPSC and a lot of questions are asked from this subject. Questions from heritage, art & culture are also a part of ancient history that is asked in UPSC prelims. NCERTs and other basic books like Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania can be really helpful for the preparation of history. You can check the micro syllabus and preparation strategy for history here. 

  2. Geography: Questions from the physical geography of India and the world are asked in the Prelims examination. NCERTs from Class VIII to XII are a must-read for the preparation of Geography. In addition to that, you can also refer to Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong. Check out the detailed syllabus and preparation strategy here

  3. Polity: Indian constitution is at the heart of Indian polity, and is an extremely important subject for the preparation of UPSC CSE. For the UPSC CS Prelims examination, a thorough reading of Indian Polity by M. Laxmikath would suffice. You can use NCERTs and IGNOU materials to strengthen your foundation before reading the book authored by M. Laxmikanth. Check out the detailed strategy for polity preparation here

  4. Economy: Economy is also one of the important segments of the UPSC syllabus. Questions from topics like national income, inflation-deflation, fiscal and monetary policies, fiscal deficit, taxes, etc are asked every year. You do not need to delve deep into economics preparation for UPSC CS Prelims. A thorough reading of NCERTs along with basic books authored by Uma Kapila or Misra Puri would suffice for the preparation of economics for UPSC CS(Prelims). Check out the detailed strategy for economics here

  5. Science & Technology: Questions related to recent developments in science & technology are asked from this subject. Have a good hold over current affairs specific to this portion to ace this section. Check here for a detailed preparation strategy and syllabus for science & technology.

  6. Environment: Questions related to environment and biodiversity, ecology, climate change that are in the current discourse are asked. NCERT books, as well as IGNOU/NIOS notes of this particular subject, can be really helpful for the preparation of this portion of UPSC CSE Prelims. Check out the detailed preparation strategy here.

  7. Current Affairs: Questions related to science & tech, government initiatives, defense, security issues, and international relations are asked from the current affairs. Hence, you need to prepare it well. If you want to know more about the preparation strategy of current affairs, check here


Check out the exam pattern and syllabus of UPSC Prelims following the hyperlinks. 


Want to know a full-proof 6-month strategy for qualifying Prelims? Check here!

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Current Affairs analysis