UPSC Prelims Syllabus

Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims 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, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation.
  • General Science

Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims 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)

UPSC Prelims Preparation Strategy

With 2% selection rate, prelims is rightly considered the most dreaded stage of this examination. Prelims is the most competitive and arbitrary stage of the entire process. Most aspirants are by now in the preparation mode - reading books and newspapers, making notes, taking classes, attempting mock tests and most importantly preparing themselves psychologically for this exam.


1) Previous years question papers - Go through previous years question papers.This will help you to familiarise yourself with pattern of questions - what the UPSC wants the candidate to know and what information is relevant for this exam.

2) Newspaper - Reading a newspaper like The Hindu or The Indian Express daily is essential - It will help you with improving your current affairs, increase your reading speed, improve your vocabulary, help you connect current events with different parts of the syllabus. It will help you understand important focus areas of syllabus that is likely to come in exam as most of the questions have some direct or indirect current linkage. It will also improve your general awareness and will help you develop habit of reading.

3) Current Affairs Revision - With extensive static syllabus available at hand, aspirants should not forget the importance of current affairs. One should proportionately distribute the time for both static and current affairs section.

4) Know Your Strong and Weak Subjects - Aspirants need to spend more time revising their weak subjects. However, one should not forget to revise their stong areas. It is essential to revise each subject for the Prelims exam.

5) Recreational Time - With long study hours aspirants often feel frustrated and tired. It then becomes essential to spend some time on recreational activities like pursuing a hobby or playing an outdoor sports. This helps to freshen up our body and kills the monotony.

6) Balanced Diet and Proper Sleep - This is a MUST! Aspirants usually ignore these two essentials in the last few months before the exam. A balanced diet and 7 hours of sleep is a must.

7) Prevent Information overload: Stick to the basics and make a limited list of good sources.

8) Stay away from negativity: If you have any toxic people in your life,it is time to say them goodbye. Anyone who brings you down or drains your energy must be avoided. The preparation is a very lonely journey since it is primarily about self-study. If social media dampens your mood, deactivate it. Focus on your goal, be patient and remain positive.

9) Make a good time table with macro/micro targets:
Study a high quality 8 hours every single day for now. Increase the duration upto 10 or 11 hours for the last month push. Have short term and long term targets like daily and weekly timetable, even if you are covering 80% of your ambitious timetable daily, you stand a very good chance at writing Mains.

10) Peak yourself at the right time:
Since this is quite a long journey, you must be the most excited and enthusiastic about studying 3 months before the examination. If you don’t pace yourself at the right time when exam is near, you might get yourself ingulfed with monotony and stagnation.

11) Giving Mock Test Series: It will help you realise your attempt speed, your strengths and weaknesses. It will make your realise how many questions you should attempt, the types of questions that can be asked in the exam. It will also help you learn elimination strategy for attempting questions and will help you cover key concepts and important facts of various topics.It is the most important part of the Preparation strategy. Without adequate practice tests one cannot be confident of clearing the exam successfully. It will make your preparation flawless by
• Getting good at informed guessing
• Improving your number of attempts
• Handling pressure/weird or difficult papers as much as possible be punctual with the mock test series.

12) Preconceived Notion: Don’t go with a preconceived notion about exam that I will attempt “X” number of questions in exam. Go with a free mind and decide on the basis of toughness of exam. Prelims exam is very unpredictable but seeing the paper we can have a rough estimate.

13) Its only a qualifying exam: Prelims is a qualifying exam you don’t have to top in this exam so focus on qualifying it and take risk but a calculated one not wild guess.

14) Control your senses: Things can go wrong but don’t let any negative thing impact your calmness, if there is any issue you can think over it later on even cry if you feel like crying but not at the peak moment.

15) Mindset is important: Prelims examination is a big level playing field, it doesn’t matter it’s your first attempt or last one the thing that matters is your mindset and attitude with which you enter examination hall, so be optimistic.