About The Examination
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s Central agency authorized to conduct various competitive examination for various civil service posts in the government of India.
Civil services, which is the backbone of Indian governance constitutes all ministries and their departments. The Civil services and Forest Services exams are conducted by the UPSC. The prestige, power, charm and responsibility that come along with the top jobs such as the IAS, IFS, IPS, etc are a definite reason for anyone to choose Civil Services and Forest services as a career option.
Civil Services Posts
Recruitment to the Services and Posts mentioned below will be held by the Union Public Service Commission
- Indian Administrative Service.(IAS)
- Indian Foreign Service. (IFS)
- Indian Police Service. (IPS)
- Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (IAAS)
- Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’. (IRS)
- Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.(IDAS)
- Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’.(IRS)
- Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
- Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group 'A'
- Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’
- Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’
- Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’
- Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’
Exam Syllabus & Strategy
Every year, the examination is conducted in three phases – Prelims, Mains & Interview.
- Preliminary Exam
- Mains Examination
- Personality & Interview Test
Exam Pattern & Syllabus
- The first step in Civil Service examinations is a Preliminary Exam.
- Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective type) for the selection of candidates for the Main Examination.
- The Preliminary Examination will consist of two papers of Objective type (multiple choice questions) and carry a maximum of 400 marks
- This examination is meant to serve as a screening test only; the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by the candidates who are declared qualified for admission to the Main Examination will not be counted for determining their final order of merit.
The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Services (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.
Negative Marking in Prelims:
There will be negative marking for incorrect answers (as detailed below) for all questions except some of the questions where the negative marks being awarded to the most appropriate and not so appropriate answer for such questions.
- (i) There are four alternatives for the answers to every question. For each question for which a wrong answer has been given by the candidate, one-third (0.33) of the marks assigned to that question will be deducted as penalty.
- If a candidate gives more than one answer, it will be treated as a wrong answer even if one of the given answers happen to be correct and there will be same penalty as above for that question.
- If a question is left blank i.e. no answer is given by the candidate, there will be no penalty for that question. marking will be inbuilt in the form of different .
Papers in Prelims:
The Examination shall comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each.
- (i) Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions) and each will be of two hours duration.
- (ii) The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.
- The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.
Details of the syllabi
- Paper I - (200 marks)
- 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
- Paper II-(200 marks)
- 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);
- Decision making and problem solving
Note:-It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim)
Prelims does not require an in-depth knowledge under each subject, hence it is sufficient to concentrate on NCERT/STATE SCHOOL SYLLABUS(High School).
- One should also go through……
- Daily news paper(THE HINDU,TIMES OF INDIA,etc)-for current affairs,Past events.
- Competitive magazines(ECONOMIC TIMES,THE PRINT,FRONTLINE etc)
- All Ministries web sites for recent updates.
- Our academy study materials.
- Mains Exam is vastly different from the Prelims Exam and it requires an exclusives an exclusive strategy to clear and move on to the next round up to UPSC board interview.
- Here,you will have to Study multiple subjects for nine descriptive papers.
- You should ideally know the syllabus from top to bottom,so that you can fine-tune your current affairs preparation accordingly.
Most of what is asked in the exam are directly from the syllabus. What is important is to make notes on current affairs which can be linked to the syllabus. Hence current affairs are the next pillar of the UPSC civil services exam.
Qualifying nature of Mains Exam:
The written examination will consist of 9 papers of conventional essay type in the subjects,out of which two papers will be of qualifying in nature.
- Paper-I to Paper-VII and Marks obtained in Interview for Personality Test will be counted for ranking.
- Candidates who obtain such minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as may be fixed by the Commission at their discretion, shall be summoned by them for an interview for a Personality Test.
- Marks thus obtained by the candidates in the Main Examination (written part as well as interview) would determine their final ranking. Candidates will be allotted to the various Services.
(One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in theEighth Schedule to the Constitution).
(The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.)
|Paper-II||General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)||250 Marks|
|Paper-III||General Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)||250 Marks|
|Paper-IV||General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)||250 Marks|
|Paper-V||General Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)||250 Marks|
|Paper-VI||Optional Subject - Paper 1||250 Marks|
|Paper-VII||Optional Subject - Paper 2||250 Marks|
Qualifying Nature in Mains Exam
Evaluation of the papers, namely, 'Essay', 'General Studies' and Optional Subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on ‘Indian Languages’ and ‘English’ but the papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional.
Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 25% marks in ‘Indian Language’ and 25% in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers
Marks obtained by the candidates for the Paper I-VII only will be counted for merit ranking. However, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all of these papers.
Sub Total (written test) + Personality Test( 275 marks) = Grand Total 2025 Marks
List of optional subjects for Main Examination :
- 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 any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili,Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urduand English.
Preparation strategy for mains exams
Making notes is very important part of the preparation as
- It becomes a single source of study
- Concise and too the point so easy to revise
- You don't have to pick up books again and again
- Easy to memorize as you have made those notes
How to make notes for mains?
- Prepare tables and charts for memorising facts for prelim / mains exam.
- For history make concise notes chronology wise to remember events.
- For geography , make a list of few important points like countries through which tropic of Cancer / Capricorn/ Equator passes , a list of cold/ hot ocean currents mountain ranges and associated river , city and river origin etc. You can check previous year questions to make these notes.
- For polity, Laxmikanth is enough to prepare both prelims and mains should have an knowledge of current political events and updates around us.
- For environment,refer SHANKAR’S ENVIRONMENT BOOK, make list of national park , tiger reserver , important organisations and treaties.
- For economy make a small glossary of basic definitions,economic survey released by govt,budget,government policies,schemes and current world economic events.
- Make a list of defence news related to missiles
- For internal security, refer to basic sources and write a single page summary on each internal security threat , any scheme / project / policy by government.
- Make a list of space missions ,PSLV / GSLV launches
- For science and technology part , collect examples of applications of new technologies. Like for example regarding artificial intelligence.
- For disaster management make notes on disasters which occured in the past one year as there is 90% chance a question will come from there.
- For GS4 we already mentioned that pick up terms given in the syllabus , write its definition , example and a related quote.
- For schemes you can refer to concerned Ministries Website and make notes on some peculiar or same named schemes. Like UDAN ,MUDRA SCHEME.
- Start making notes (after atleast two readings) on loose A4 sheet, so that you can add any new development or any new source you come across
- You should make notes for almost every GS papers but if you want ,you can skip history part as it is static and won't change. If you consult any extra book for history then just add additional points on book itself.
- Making notes is extremely important for GS2 as it is a dynamic part and most of the questions come from daily news . Make small notes of every polity related news , write points for and against for that topic and solutions. You add these points from varied newspaper article
|Indian History and Culture|
|1||The Wonder That Was India -(Culture)||A.L. Bhasham|
|2||India’s Ancient Past - (Culture)||R.S. Sharma|
|3||Indian Art and Culture – (Culture)||Nitin Singhania|
|4||History Of Modern India - (History)||Bipan Chandra|
|5||India’s Struggle For Independence - (History)||Bipan Chandra|
|6||Geography of India - (Geography)||Majid Husain|
|7||Oxford School Atlas – (Geography)||Oxford|
|8||Certificate Physical and Human Geography – (Geography)||Goh Cheng Leong|
|9||Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations (Polity)||M. Laxmikanth|
|10||10. Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh - (Economy)||Ramesh Singh|
|12||Science and Technology in India - (Science and Technology)||TMH|
|13||Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure- (Environment)||TMH|
|14||Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains - (Environment)||Khuller|
|15||India Year Book - (Current Affairs)|
|16||16. Manorama Yearbook - (Current Affairs)|
|17||Essays for Civil Services - (Essay Paper)||Pulkit Khare|
|18||India After Gandhi - (History – GS1)||Ramchandra Guha|
|19||OR History of Modern World – Jain and Mathur - (World History – GS1)||Jain and Mathur|
|20||Social Problems In India - (Indian Society – GS1)||Ram Ahuja|
|21||21. IAS Mains General Studies Paper 2 - (Arihant Manual – GS2)|
|22||Current Issues - (ClearIAS ebook – GS2)||What’s Hot Today|
|23||23. Governance in India for CSE- (Governance – GS2)|
|24||Pax Indica - (Foreign Policy – GS2)||Shashi Tharoor|
|25||India and the World by - (Foreign Policy – GS2)||Surendra Kumar|
|26||IAS Mains General Studies - (Arihant Manual – GS3)|
|27||27. India’s National Security: A Reader - (Internal Security – GS3)||Shankar|
|28||Challenges to Internal Security of India|
|29||29. Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude.( Ethics – GS4)|
|30||IAS Mains General Studies - ( Arihant Manual – GS4)|
|Useful IAS Books and Magazines For Reference|
|1||NCERT Books Download|
|2||Kurukshetra Magazine Download|
|3||Buy Pratiyogita Darpan Magazine|
|4||IGNOU Books Download|
|5||Yojana Magazine Download|
Recommended Books For UPSC
- NCERT Text Books from Class 6 – 12 – NCERTs should be your starting point.
GS Manuals for Prelims (All-in-One Guides).
- General Studies Paper 1 Manual – If you are a beginner, an all-in-one book can help you get a quick idea about the UPSC requirements. (Manuals by Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Arihant are equally good. Buy any one book.)
- General Studies Paper 2 Manual – Selective practice of MCQs from any 1 of the following books – Pearson, McGraw Hill, or Arihant should be sufficient.
UPSC Previous Year Question Papers
- Kiran Prakashan’s book for GS Paper 1 and GS Paper 2 (CSAT) are excellent compilations for UPSC Prelims
- IAS General Studies Preliminary Topic wise Solved Papers (Paper I and II) – New Vishal
- 24 Years UPSC IAS/ IPS Prelims Topic-wise Solved Papers 1 & 2 (1995-2018) – by Disha Experts
|Standard Textbooks for UPSC Prelims|
|Indian History and Culture|
|1||India’s Ancient Past (Ancient India – Text Book)||R.S.Sharma|
|2||History Of Medieval India – (Medieval India – Text Book)||Satish Chandra|
|3||History Of Modern India - (Modern India – Text Book)||Bipan Chandra|
|4||India’s Struggle For Independence - (Modern India – Read like a story)||Bipan Chandra|
|5||The Wonder That Was India - (Ancient India and Culture)||A.L. Bhasham|
|6||Indian Art and Culture - (For quick reference – Culture)||Nitin Singhania|
|7||Ancient and Medieval India - (For quick reference – Ancient and Medieval India)||Poonam Dalal|
|8||Modern Indian History – (For quick reference – Modern India)||Sonali Bansal|
|9||A Brief History of Modern India (For quick reference – Modern India)||Spectrum|
|Indian Geography and World Geography|
|1||Oxford School Atlas - (Geography)||Oxford|
|2||Geography of India - (Indian Geography)||Majid Husain|
|3||World Geography - (World Geography)||Majid Husain|
|4||Physical Geography - (Physical Geography)||Majid Husain|
|5||Human Geography - (Human Geography – Social and Economic)||Majid Husain|
|6||Certificate Physical and Human Geography - (Physical and Human Geography)||Goh Cheng Leong|
|Indian Polity and Constitution|
|1||Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations - (Polity)||M. Laxmikanth|
|2||Introduction to the Constitution of India - (Constitution)||D. D. Basu|
|1||Indian Economy - (Economy)||Ramesh Singh|
|2||Indian Economy Key Concepts - (Concepts)||Shankarganesh|
|3||The Indian Economy - (Advanced Economy Topics)||Sanjiv Verma|
|4||Economic Survey - (Advanced Economy Topics)||Sanjiv Verma|
|5||Economic Survey - (Advanced Economy Topics)|
|Science and Technology|
|1||Science and Technology||Sheelwant Singh|
|2||Science and Technology in India||Ravi P Agraharih|
|Environment – Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change|
|1||Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure||Rajagopalan|
|2||Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains||Khuller|
|1||India Year Book|
|3||ClearIAS Current Affairs Capsule [Monthly MCQs]|
|CSAT (For those weak in CSAT)|
|1||Cracking the CSAT - (CSAT – Paper 2)||Arihant|
|2||Analytical Reasoning - (CSAT – Paper 2: Analytical Reasoning)||M. K. Pandey|
|3||Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning - (CSAT Paper 2: Reasoning)||R. S.Aggarwal|
|Essay (UPSC Mains Essay Paper)Additional Books for UPSC Mains|
|1||Selected Contemporary Essays||Saumitra Mohan|
|2||Essays for Civil Services||Pulkit Khare|
|India Since Independence (Part of UPSC Mains GS1 Paper)|
|1||India Since Independence||Bipan Chandra|
|2||India After Gandhi||Ramchandra Guha|
|3||Post-Independence India||Sonali Bansal|
|World History (Part of UPSC Mains GS1 Paper)|
|1||History of the World||Arjun Dev|
|2||Mastering Modern World History||Norman Lowe|
|3||World History||Krishna Reddy|
|4||Modern World History||Uddipan|
|Indian Society (Part of UPSC Mains GS1 Paper)|
|1||Social Problems In India||Ram Ahuja|
|2||Social Change in Modern India||M N Srinivas|
|Governance (Part of UPSC Mains GS2 Paper)|
|1||Governance in India||Laxmikanth|
|2||Governance in India||M.Karthikeyan|
|4||Esencia Current Affairs|
|Foreign Relations of India (Part of UPSC Mains GS2 Paper)|
|1||International Relations||Pavneet Singh|
|2||Pax Indica||Shashi Tharoor|
|3||India and the World||Surendra Kumar|
|Internal Security (Part of UPSC Mains GS3 Paper)|
|2||Challenges to Internal Security of India||Ashok Kumar|
|3||India’s Internal Security||Rajkumar|
|4||India’s National Security||Bajpai|
|Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude (UPSC Mains GS4 Paper)|
|1||Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude||Niraj Kumar|
|2||Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude||M. Karthikeyan|
|3||Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude||Subha Rao|