UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2021 | General Studies and CSAT Syllabus For UPSC Prelims

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2021. The Preliminary Examination of the UPSC Civil Service Examination serves as the first elimination round with a success rate of only 3%. Hence, it is extremely important to have complete information on UPSC Prelims Syllabus. The UPSC Prelims 2021 is scheduled to be conducted on October 10, 2021.

The UPSC Prelims exam consists of two papers namely General Studies I paper and General Studies-II (CSAT) paper. While the score in GS Paper-I determines whether or not you qualify for the cut off of prelims, CSAT is qualifying in nature. You only need to score more than 33% or 66 marks for the CSAT paper. Altogether, the preliminary exam is qualifying in nature. Thus, the score does not add up to the final merit.

Let us first straight get to the UPSC Prelims syllabus

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2021 | Paper-I (General Studies-I)

The syllabus for UPSC Prelims 2021 is mentioned as under:

  • 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

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2021 for Paper-II (CSAT)

The General Studies-II or CSAT is qualifying in nature. Hence, you need to score 33% or 66 marks to qualify for this paper. The UPSC Prelims Syllabus for the CSAT paper is as mentioned below:

  • 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)

Let us now look at the exam pattern of UPSC CSE Prelims 2021:

UPSC Prelims 2021 Exam Pattern

The UPSC CSE Prelims 2021 is scheduled for October 10th, 2021. 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:

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern General Studies Paper-I General Studies Paper-II
Number of Questions 100 80
Total Marks 200 200
Type of Paper Objective Objective
Mode Offline/Pen-Paper mode Offline/Pen-paper mode
Negative Marking ⅓ of total marks allotted for that question ⅓ of total marks allotted for that question
Date of Exam 27th June 2021 (Shift-1) 27th June 2021(Shift-2)
Cutoff Marks Declared after the exam. Check the previous years’ cutoff here. Qualifying paper. 

Now, let us look at subject-wise detailed UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2021:

Subject-wise GS-I Detailed UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2021


  • Ancient History
    • Pre-Historic Times
    • Indus Valley Civilization
    • Rig Vedic Period
    • Later Vedic Period
    • Jainism
    • Buddhism
    • Mahajanpadas
    • Mauryan Period
    • Post-Mauryan Period
    • Gupta Period
    • Harshwardhana Period
    • Sangam Period (South-Indian Dynasties)
  • Medieval History
    • Major Dynasties of Early Medieval India (Pratiharas, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas)
    • Cholas and South-Indian Kingdoms
    • Early Muslim Invasions
    • The Delhi Sultanate
    • Afghans, Rajputs & Mughals
    • Establishment of North-Indian Empire
    • The Mughal Empire
    • Marathas and the Other Indian States
    • The decline of the Mughal Empire
    • Vijaynagar Empire
  • Modern History
    • Advent of Europeans
    • British Expansion
    • Administration before 1857
    • Economic Policies of the British
    • Impact of British Administration
    • Revolt of 1857
    • Administrative Changes after 1857
    • Development of Civil Services
    • Development of Education
    • Development of Press
    • Socio-Religious Reforms
    • Peasant Movements
    • Revolutionary Nationalism
    • Indian National Movement-I (1905-1918)
    • Indian National Movement-II (1918-1929)
    • Indian National Movement-III (1930-1947)
    • Governors-General and Viceroys of India
    • Constitutional Development of Indian
Art and Culture

  • Architecture
  • Sculpture
  • Paintings
  • Pottery Tradition
  • Numismatics
  • Performing Arts
  • Religion and Literature
  • National and Regional Festivals

  • Evolution of the Consitution
  • Salient Features of Indian Constitution
  • Union & Its Territory
  • Citizenship
  • Fundamental Rights
  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Fundamental Duties
  • System of Governance
  • Union Executive
  • Union Legislature
  • State Executive
  • State Legislature
  • Local Government
  • UT and Special Areas
  • Judiciary
  • Constitutional & Non-Constitutional Bodies
  • Political Dynamics (Political Parties, Election, Pressure Groups)
  • Governance
  • International Relations

  • General Geography
    • Universe
    • Earth Evolution
  • Geomorphology
    • Earth’s Interior
    • Geology and Rock System
    • Geomorphic Process
    • Earthquakes and Volcanism
    • Distribution of Continents and Oceans
    • Landforms and their evolution
    • Landforms across the world
  • Oceanography
    • Hydrosphere
    • Submarine Relief Features
    • Temperature and Salinity
    • Waves, Oceans, Currents, Tides
    • Marine Resources
    • Ocean, Deposits and Corals
  • Climatology
    • Atmosphere
    • Inversion of Temperature
    • Insolation and Heat Budget
    • Air Mass, Fronts, Cyclones and Jet Streams
    • Wind and Pressure Belts
    • Precipitation
    • Climate Zones of the World
  • Bio Geography
    • Soil Characteristics
    • Vegetation Resources
  • Human and Economic Geography
    • Demography and Census
    • Human Development
    • Economic Activities
    • Transport and Communication
    • International Trade
    • Settlement
  • Indian Geography
    • Physiography of India
    • Drainage System
    • Climate
    • Soils in India
    • Natural Vegetation
    • Population
    • Settlements and Urbanization
    • Land Resource
    • Mineral Resource
    • Energy Resource
    • Agriculture and Basic Terminology
    • Recent development in agriculture
    • Productivity of Crops
    • Industry
    • Transport
    • Recent developments in Industry and Transport
  • World Regional Geography
    • Continents, Countries, and Cities
    • Location in News
  • Ecology & Environment
    • Origin of Life Forms
    • Basic Concepts of Ecology
    • Ecosystem Functions
    • Population Ecology
    • Adaptation of Species and Interactions
    • Terrestrial Ecosystem
    • Aquatic Ecosystem
    • Nutrient Cycling
  • Biodiversity
    • Basics of Bio-Diversity
    • Animal and Plant Diversity
    • Threats to Biodiversity
    • Biodiversity Conservation
    • Estuaries
    • Mangroves
    • Coral Reliefs
    • Wetlands
  • Resource Degradation and Management
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Governance

  • Basic Concepts 
    • Macroeconomic Concepts
    •  Microeconomic Concepts
  • Economic Measurements
    • National Income & Its Calculation
    • Economic Growth and Development
    • Inflation
  • Money & Banking
    • Money Function & Classification
    • Financial Markets & Its Instruments
    • Banking Structure in India
  • Public Finance in India
    • Budgeting
    • Fiscal Policy
    • Center-state Distribution
    • Tax Structure in India
  • Planning
    • Meaning, Objective & History
    • Planning Institutions
    • Five Year Plans in India
    • NITI Aayog
  • Open Economy
    • Foreign Trade Concepts
    • International Organizations
    • Trade Agreements
    • Recent Development
  • Economic Sectors
    • Poverty
    • Employment and Unemployment
  • Government Schemes and Programmes
General Science

  • Science & Technology in India
  • Space
  • IT and Communication
  • Materials, Nano Technology and Robotics
  • Defense
  • Nuclear Technology
  • Intellectual Property Rights and Other Miscellaneous Issues
  • Biotechnology

Check out the detailed UPSC Prelims syllabus 2020 and preparation strategy for each of these subjects in the linked articles!

How To Prepare For UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2021?

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

  • Syllabus: Read the UPSC syllabus carefully and make a study plan to ensure you cover each and every part of the syllabus.

  • NCERTs: 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.

  • Standard Books: You need to read at least one basic book for each subject. Read the complete booklist here.

  • Current Affairs: For current affairs, read our daily current affairs analysis and monthly magazine analysis to keep yourself updated on the latest developments. You can follow our Telegram channel (cl_civils) to download the current affairs material for free.

Read more | UPSC Prelims Syllabus Subject-wise Weightage

This is a detailed overview of UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2021. Apart from the syllabus, it is imperative to know about the UPSC Exam Pattern, you can click here to read the exam pattern for UPSC.

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