UPSC Civil Service Examination Prelims Syllabus

The Preliminary Examination of the UPSC Civil Service Examination serves as an elimination phase. The exam consists of two papers namely General Studies Paper and CSAT. While the score in GS Paper determines whether or not you qualify the cut off prelims, CSAT is qualifying in nature. You only need to score more than 33% or 66 marks for CSAT paper. Altogether, prelims is qualifying in nature. Thus, the score does not add up to the final merit.

The duration of each paper viz General Studies and CSAT is 2 hours. Here is the exam pattern of UPSC CSE Prelims:

Name of the Paper No of Questions Marks Negative Marking Type of Paper Nature of Paper
General Studies 100 200 Yes. (1/3rd mark is deducted for every wrong answer). Objective The score is considered for cutoff
CSAT 80 200 Yes. (1/rd mark is deducted for every wrong answer.) Objective Qualifying. Candidates need to score more than 33%

The UPSC CSE Prelims 2020 is scheduled for 31st May 2020. Both General Studies Paper and CSAT will be held on the same day. There is a gap between the two papers. Hence, the students are advised to prepare in such a way that they are able to solve each paper efficiently. To ensure that, it is important to solve mock tests in the exact same schedule as that of the Prelims Paper.

Here are a few important highlights regarding the Prelims that every candidate should know:

  • It is mandatory to appear for both General Studies and CSAT to qualify the Prelims.
  • There is 1/3rd negative marking for each wrong answer.
  • Each question of General Studies paper is of 2 marks. Thus, there is a negative marking of 0.66 marks for each incorrect answer in GS Paper
  • Each question of CSAT is of 2.5 marks. Hence, there is a negative marking of 0.833 marks for each incorrect answer in CSAT paper.
  • CSAT is qualifying in nature. It is required for each candidate to score at least 66 marks in CSAT paper failing which they would not qualify for Prelims.
  • Altogether, UPSC CSE Prelims is qualifying in nature which means the score will not add up in the final merit.

Now, let us look at the syllabus of the UPSC CSE Prelims exam:

UPSC Examination Syllabus of 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 - that do not require subject specialisation General Science

UPSC Examination Syllabus of 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)

How To Prepare For UPSC CSE Prelims?

Here are a few sources and tips that you can consider for the preparation of UPSC CSE Prelims:

  • Read the syllabus carefully and make a study plan to ensure you cover each and every part of the syllabus.
  • To make your foundation strong and get the basic concepts of General Studies right, read NCERTs of relevant subjects (History, Polity, Economy, Geography, Art& Culture) from 8th-12th class. Alternatively, you can join our NCERT program to get complete coverage of these NCERTs.
  • Also read through basic books for each subject. Read the complete booklist here.
  • For current affairs, read our daily current affairs analysis and monthly magazine analysis to keep yourself updated on the latest developments.

To know more about the UPSC Exam Pattern, click here.

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Current Affairs analysis