UPSC Exam Dates 2022, Eligibility, IAS Exam Pattern & Syllabus | What Is UPSC Exam

One of the most frequently asked questions among government job aspirants is “What is UPSC Exam?”Well, UPSC Exam or more commonly known as IAS Exam is formally the UPSC Civil Services Examination. The UPSC Civil Services Examination(CSE) is one of the examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission to recruit suitable candidates into civil services of India including IAS, IPS, IFS, and other allied services. This examination is conducted in three phases namely UPSC Prelims, UPSC Main, and the personality Test or UPSC Interview.

The first phase of the IAS Exam is UPSC Preliminary Examination which is the screening test and thus is qualifying in nature. The score obtained in the UPSC Prelims exam is not calculated in the final merit. However, the score in GS Paper-I is essential to determine the cutoff of the UPSC Prelims Exam. The IAS Prelims Exam paper consists of two papers that are objective-type MCQ-based as opposed to UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam. The UPSC Mains Exam is a descriptive exam consisting of nine papers.

In this article, we will discuss what is the UPSC exam, eligibility, IAS exam syllabus, UPSC Exam pattern, and other important details related to IAS Exam.

UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 - Latest Update

UPSC CSE Preliminary Exam has been conducted on 10th October 2021. UPSC CSE Mains exam is scheduled to be conducted from 7th to 16th January 2022. UPSC CSE 2021 interview date is yet to be released.

Read More | Preparation Tips For UPSC Interview

The Preliminary Examination of UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021 is now scheduled to be conducted on October 10, 2021.

IAS Exam Dates | UPSC Civil Services Exam 2022 Exam Dates

UPSC will release the official notification for CSE 2022 on 2nd February 2022. UPSC CSE Prelims Exam is scheduled to be held on 5th June 2022 and UPSC CSE Mains Exam will be held on 16th September 2022. The date of the interview of UPSC CSE 2022 is yet to be announced.

Take a look at the important dates for UPSC Civil Services Exam 2022:



Release of Notification - UPSC CSE 2022


UPSC Online Registration for UPSC CSE 2022 (Begins on)


Deadline to Apply For UPSC CSE 2022


UPSC CSE Prelims 2022 Exam

5th June 2022

UPSC CSE Prelims 2022  Result

It Will be announced later

UPSC CSE Mains 2022 Exam

16th September 2022

UPSC Exam Eligibility Criteria

UPSC releases the UPSC Exam Eligibility criteria in the notification. Broadly, you need to qualify the below-mentioned parameters in order to apply for the IAS Exam or the UPSC Civil Services Examination.

IAS Age Limit

21 to 32 years

Age relaxation

As per category (mentioned below)

Educational qualification for UPSC Civil Services

Graduation from any recognized university



For more details regarding IAS Exam age relaxations for special categories, read about UPSC Exam Eligibility Criteria in detail. 

UPSC Exam Pattern

The IAS exam pattern for UPSC Civil Services Exam for Prelims and Mains is tabulated below:

UPSC Exam Pattern For UPSC Prelims Exam

Name of the Paper

No of Questions

Marks Allotted

Time Allotted

Nature of Exam

Paper I: General Studies (Objective-type)



2 hours

The score will be considered for Cut-off

Paper-II: General Studies-II (CSAT) (Objective-Type)



2 hours

Qualifying Nature - Candidates will have to score 33% to qualify for CSAT.

UPSC Exam Pattern For UPSC Mains Exam




Total marks

Nature of paper

Type of Paper

Paper A

Compulsory Indian language

3 hours




Paper B


3 hours




Paper I


3 hours





General Studies I

3 hours




Paper III

General Studies II

3 hours




Paper IV

General Studies III

3 hours




Paper V

General Studies IV

3 hours




Paper VI

Optional I

3 hours




Paper VII

Optional II

3 hours




You can read about the UPSC Exam Pattern in detail in the linked article. 

UPSC Exam Syllabus

UPSC Exam follows an extensive syllabus for the papers included in UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains. Make sure to download the micro list for the UPSC syllabus for better IAS Exam syllabus coverage.

UPSC Exam Syllabus for Prelims

General Studies Paper-I

The IAS Syllabus for UPSC Prelims Exam includes the following topics:

  1. Current Events of National and International Importance.

  2. History of India and Indian National Movement.

  3. Indian and World Geography - Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.

  4. Indian Polity and Governance - Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

  5. Economic and Social Development - Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

  6. General Issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization General Science

Also Read | How to prepare IAS Syllabus for GS-I  in UPSC Prelims

General Studies Paper-II

The GS-II in UPSC Prelims is also known as CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test. The following topics are included in the IAS syllabus for this paper:

  1. Comprehension

  2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills

  3. Logica l reasoning and analytical ability

  4. Decision-making and problem solving

  5. General mental ability

  6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc., - Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc., - Class X level)

Also Read | How to prepare for CSAT for UPSC Prelims

UPSC Exam Syllabus For Main Examination

PAPER-I Essay:

Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion and write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

Read more | Best strategy for essay writing for UPSC Mains

PAPER-II General Studies-I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society.

  1. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature & Architecture from ancient to modern times.

  2. Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

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

  4. Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

  5. History of the World will include events from the 18th century, such as Industrial Revolution, World Wars, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc., - their forms and effects on the society.

  6. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Role of women and women's organizations, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Effects of globalization on Indian society - Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

  7. Salient features of the world's physical geography.

  8. 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); Important Geophysical phenomena, such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic activity, cyclones, etc., geographical features and their location - changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Read more | How to prepare for General Studies-I 

PAPER-III General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations.

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

  2. Functions 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.

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

  4. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries, Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

  5. Structure, 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.

  6. Salient features of the Representation of People's Act.

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

  8. Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial bodies, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

  9. Development processes and the development industry - the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

  10. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Center and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

  11. Issues related to development and management of Social Sector/Services in the field of Health, Education, Human Resources.

  12. Issues related to poverty and hunger.

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

  14. Role of Civil Services in a democracy.

  15. India and its neighbourhood - relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.

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

Read more | How to prepare for General Studies-II

PAPER-IV General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

  1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

  2. Government Budgeting. 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;

  3. E-technology in the aid of farmers Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices;

  4. Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

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

  6. Land reforms in India. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

  7. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

  8. Investment models. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievement of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

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

  10. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Disaster and disaster management.

  11. Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

  12. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

  13. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

  14. Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Read more | How to prepare for General Studies-III

PAPER-V General Studies- 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 utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects.

The following broad areas will be covered. Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

  1. Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; the role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

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

  3. 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.

  4. Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.

  5. Public/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.

  6. Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity;

  7. 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. Case Studies on the above issues.

Read more | How to prepare for General Studies Paper-IV

Paper-VI and VII: Optional Paper-I and Optional Paper-II

  1. Optional Subject -Paper I and Paper-II (250 Marks Each ) 

List of Optional Subject for UPSC Exam (Mains)

Optional Subjects are extremely important for UPSC Exam because they account for 500 marks out of a total of 1750 marks in UPSC Main Examination. There are 45+ options for optional subjects including various Literature subject options in the IAS Exam. Here’s the list of all optional subjects available for the UPSC Exam.


Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science




Civil Engineering

Commerce and Accountancy


Electrical Engineering







Mechanical Engineering

Medical Science



Political Science and International Relations


Public Administration




Literature of the following languages are also a part of the UPSC optional subjects for UPSC Mains exam from which you can choose your best suited optional subject for UPSC Exam:


























Also, Read | How to choose optional subjects for UPSC Exam

Interview/Personality Test (275 Marks)

  1. Candidates who are selected after the UPSC Mains Exam move to the next and final phase of the IAS Exam called Personality Test/Interview. Here, the candidates are interviewed by a competent and unbiased board. This board will have the candidate's DAF (Detail Application Form) with them.

  2. The interview round is held to assess the candidate's social traits and his interest in current affairs. The motive of the board is to analyze the personal aptness of the candidate for a career in public service

  3. Candidates can give interviews in their preferred language as UPSC will make arrangements for the translators.

Read More | Preparation Tips For UPSC Interview

UPSC Exam Preparation Strategy

IAS Exam is one of the toughest exams in India owing to the vast UPSC syllabus and cut-throat competition. However, with structured preparation and the right guidance, you can clear the UPSC exam right on the first attempt. We’ve chalked out a step-by-step preparation strategy on how to prepare for UPSC Exam. This will also provide an answer to how to crack the UPSC exam on the first attempt. Let’s look at the step-by-step preparation strategy for UPSC Exam.

Step 1: Know the exam well

  • Read the UPSC notification thoroughly. Check out the UPSC Exam pattern and Exam syllabus.

  • Go through the previous year papers to have a fair understanding of the type of questions asked in the exam.

Step 2: Strengthen your foundation

  • Start with NCERTs. Download the relevant titles from the official website of NCERT for free. Check out how to prepare NCERTs in the linked article.

  • Read them at least twice before making notes, and then read our NCERT compilations.

Step 3: Upgrade Your Knowledge with standard books

  • Get the entire booklist for UPSC preparation in the linked article. 

  • Read the books at least twice and then make your handwritten notes to be used for answer-writing practice at the later stage! 

Step 4: Practice Answer Writing + Revision

  • Once about 60-70% syllabus is completed from standard books, start practising answer-writing.

  • Keep your weekends free for a dedicated revision of whatever new you’ve learned during the week. 

Step 5: Mock-Test Based Learning Approach

  • Sit for an actual exam-like mock test at the same time and then analyze your performance. 

  • Check your weak areas and brush up on the concepts that require revision.

Get Free UPSC Exam Micro Topics Syllabus PDF worth Rs. 299 (Link Form)

The first step to ace the UPSC Exam is getting the syllabus right! Download the micro topics syllabus PDF and get your UPSC Preparation journey started! Career Launcher has various GS-focussed courses that will equip you with the best content and understanding. Check out our GS foundation courses and get in touch with our course counsellors to know more about the courses.

FAQs Regarding UPSC Civil Services Exam or the UPSC Exam

Well, it is not the UPSC exam that is tough. It appears tough because of the vast syllabus and a limited number of vacancies. Hence, it is important to have a robust strategy that can turn your aspirations into reality.

This is the most frequently asked question, especially from beginners. To prepare for UPSC Exam 2022, the first step is to know everything about the examination, from exam schedule to syllabus, exam pattern to preparation strategy. Fret not, we have decoded everything that you need to know about your preparation strategy. Check it out here

The notification for the UPSC exam 2022 will be released on the official website of UPSC in February. It informs the candidates about the application dates, date of the preliminary exam, eligibility criteria, syllabus, and exam pattern. You can check out it here.

UPSC Exam 2021 consists of Prelims and Mains. UPSC CSE Prelims consists of two papers, General Studies I and CSAT. In General Studies I, you need to prepare History, Polity, Economy, Geography, Art & Culture, and more. The candidates who qualify Prelims are allowed to appear for the Mains Exam. The CSE Mains consists of 9 papers. Check out the detailed syllabus of UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains here.

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is conducted in three rounds viz Prelims, Mains, and Interview round. The Prelims is an objective-paper round consisting of two papers General Studies and CSAT. It is qualifying in nature which means the score of Prelims does not count in determining the final rank. But whether or not you qualify for Prelims is decided on the basis of your score in General Studies Paper 1.

The UPSC Mains consists of nine papers. All of these papers are descriptive in nature which means the candidates have to write the answers in the answer sheet provided by the commission. Know more about the exam pattern of UPSC CSE here.

Amidst the ongoing crisis, the UPSC CSE Prelims which was earlier scheduled to be conducted in June will now be conducted on 10th October 2021.

The primary books that help in strengthening the foundation of your knowledge are the NCERTs of all the subjects that are relevant to the Exam. It includes History, Polity, Economy, Geography, General Science. The NCERTs of Art & Culture and Fine art are also important for this exam. To get a complete booklist for both UPSC Prelims and Mains, click here.

There are plenty of free resources in the form of daily quizzes, daily current affairs analysis and analysis of important magazines like Kurukshetra and Yojna available on our website. Additionally, you can join our telegram group to get free resources and updates.

The only thing that you need to qualify ANY exam is patience and perseverance. If you’re sincere in your preparation and have the right motivations to qualify for the exam, you surely will achieve the desired result. Join a reputed course, get mentored by experts to ensure you are on the right track. Other than that, start early with your preparation. You can start with something as basic as reading NCERTs. Check out our NCERT course for beginners.

There is only one best strategy to ace the UPSC Exam and that is to follow the strategy you have prepared for yourself. Take inspiration from all the preparation strategies that are available online or shared by your seniors or mentors, but devise your own for best results. Here’s our take on how you should strategize your UPSC Exam preparation.

UPSC conducts the CSE Prelims examination on the last Sunday of May or the first Sunday of June. This final date is announced in the exam calendar released by the commission. To know more about UPSC Exam dates and the entire exam schedule, click here.

UPSC CSE Prelims is the first step towards making your dream come true. After you qualify prelims, take some rest and make a proper study plan to target mains. Check out the strategy that can help you in preparing for UPSC CSE Mains efficiently here.

Yes, no matter whether you’re a beginner or an experienced aspirant, we have exceptional courses designed to cater to both fresher and seasoned students. Take a look at how you can prepare online for UPSC preparation here. And check out our comprehensive courses here.

There is enough time for you to start preparing for the UPSC Exam 2021. The UPSC CSE Prelims is scheduled for 10th October 2021. Check out our expert-approved strategy for Civil Services Examination, 2021 here.

Current Affairs analysis