UPSC IAS Syllabus 2020


The Union Public Service Commission annually conducts the Civil Service Exam to recruit personnel for Group A and Group B services in the Central Government.

This post will walk you through the UPSC IAS Syllabus and be the torchbearer for your IAS exam preparation. IAS syllabus for all the stages of the exam is different; hence, it needs a profound understanding.

UPSC IAS Syllabus And Exam Pattern

Civil Service Exam is conducted in 3 stages:

  1. IAS Preliminary Exam
  2. IAS Mains Exam
  3. Personality Test/Interview

Exam Pattern of Civil Service Exams

IAS Prelim exam is an objective test of 400 marks while IAS Mains exam is a subjective type test of 1750 marks. The Personality Test or Interview round In IAS Exam carries 275 marks.

Marks in the IAS Preliminary Exam is qualifying in nature, whereas the marks in IAS Mains Exam and Interview determine the successful candidate.

UPSC IAS Syllabus For Prelims & Mains Exam

Both Preliminary and Mains Exams of administrative services have different syllabus.

Prelim stage of IAS Exam has 2 papers:

  • General Ability Test (GAT)
  • Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)

Marks scored in Prelims Paper-I and Paper-II qualifying in nature and not included in Merit ranking but candidates must obtain a minimum of 33% marks in Paper-II to qualify for the IAS Mains Exam.

GS 1 – Paper I of IAS Prelims includes questions from the topics given below.

UPSC IAS Syllabus Prelims- Paper-I
History of India and Indian National Movement Current Affairs of national and international importance
Geography- Economic, Physical and Social, Geography of India and the World Indian Polity and Governance Constitution, Political System, Public Policy, Panchayati Raj, and Rights Issues
General Science Biodiversity, Climate Change and General Science


Economic and Social Development‐Sustainable Development, Inclusion, General issues on Environmental ecology, Demographics,  Poverty and Social Sector Initiatives

Paper-I and Paper-II carry objective type questions of 200 Marks each on different topics.

Candidates are given 2 hours each to solve the paper.

IAS Prelims stages Max marks Time
GS 1 – Prelims Paper I 200 marks 2 hours
CSAT- Prelims Paper II 200 marks 2 hours

CSAT- Paper II of IAS Prelims includes questions from the below-given topics.

UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus- Paper-II
Comprehension General Mental Ability
Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability Problem Solving and Decision Making
Data interpretation- Charts, tables, graphs, data sufficiency etc. of class X Level Basic numeracy- orders of magnitude, numbers and their relations etc of class X level

UPSC IAS Mains Syllabus

IAS Mains exam evaluates candidates’ academic expertise in their specialized subject. The Civil Service Exam tests their intellectual traits, the ability to put forward the knowledge in a clear and logical manner.

Mains Examination is a written exam and comprises the following papers-

Paper A (Indian Language)

Paper B (English)

Qualifying papers of 300 marks each  


Time period: 3 hours each

Paper I to Paper VII Paper counted for Merit Marks carrying 250 marks each

Detailed syllabus of Merit ranking papers is given below:

Paper-I Essay writing
paper-II General studies-I Indian Heritage, Culture and Society, History and Geography of India and World
Paper-III General studies-II Constitution, Policy, Social Justice Governance and International Relations
Paper-IV General studies-IV Economic Development, Biodiversity, Technology, Disaster Management and Environmental Security
Paper-V General Studies-V Aptitude, Ethics and Integrity
Paper-VI Optional Paper I
Paper-VII Optional Paper-II

Candidates who qualify both IAS Preliminary and Mains exam are called for the Interview round that holds weightage of 275 marks.

In Interview rounds, candidates are asked general interest questions. It tests their mental calibre, alertness, the balance of judgement, assimilation powers, logical exposition, moral integrity etc.

Marks obtained in this round are added in the Main stage and candidate securing 60% marks and above is likely to get administrative service of his choice.