UPSC Syllabus 2024: A Comprehensive Guide for Prelims, Mains, and Interview

UPSC Syllabus 2024

UPSC Syllabus

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) organizes the prestigious Civil Services Examination (CSE) every year, which is a nationwide competitive exam in India. To ace this challenging exam, understanding the UPSC syllabus is the first stepping stone. This article will provide an all-inclusive overview of the UPSC syllabus 2024 with a focus on the Prelims, mains, and Interview stages.

UPSC Examination: An Overview

The UPSC Civil Services Examination is categorized into three primary stages:

  • Preliminary Examination or Prelims
  • Main Examination or Mains
  • Personal Interview or Personality Test

Each stage has its distinctive syllabus and pattern that the candidates must familiarize themselves with to ensure effective and targeted preparation.

UPSC Prelims: Exam Pattern and Syllabus 2024

The Preliminary stage of the UPSC examination is an objective type test, serving as a screening stage to shortlist candidates for the Main Examination. The Prelims consist of two compulsory papers:

  • General Studies Paper-I
  • General Studies Paper-II (also known as the CSAT or Civil Services Aptitude Test)

Each paper carries a maximum of 200 marks. The questions in the Prelims cover a wide range of subjects, including history, geography, economics, polity, environment, science, and current affairs.

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General Studies Paper-I Syllabus

The General Studies Paper-I broadly covers the following topics:

  • Current events of National & International importance
  • History of India & Indian National Movement
  • Indian & World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India & the World
  • Indian Polity & Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc
  • Economic & Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity & climate change
  • General Science

General Studies Paper-II Syllabus 2024

The General Studies Paper-II or the CSAT comprises of:

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning & analytical ability
  • Decision making & problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy, Data interpretation

The CSAT paper is a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.

UPSC Mains: Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The Mains examination is the second stage of the UPSC CSE and is more specialized and comprehensive compared to the Prelims. The main examination consists of nine papers, including one essay paper, four General Studies papers, two optional subject papers, and two language papers.

UPSC Mains Qualifying Papers

The main examination includes two qualifying papers:

  • One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution
  • English

The purpose of these papers is to evaluate a candidate’s aptitude for reading and comprehending serious discursive prose and for expressing ideas in the relevant Indian and English languages. However, the marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

UPSC Mains General Studies Papers Syllabus 2024

The General Studies papers in the main examination cover a wide gamut of topics from various subjects like History, Geography, Polity, Economy, Science and Technology, Environment, Ethics, and Current Affairs. Moreover, these papers are designed to assess a candidate’s in-depth knowledge and analytical abilities.

UPSC Mains Optional Papers Syllabus 2024

The optional papers in the Mains examination allow candidates to choose a subject of their interest from a list of optional subjects provided by UPSC. Furthermore, candidates are expected to possess an advanced understanding of the chosen subject, as each optional subject comprises two papers.

UPSC Interview: Personality Test

During the final stage of the UPSC CSE, the Personality Test or Interview assesses the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service. Throughout this stage, the interview panel evaluates the candidate’s mental qualities and intellectual abilities beyond their academic and theoretical knowledge.

Well-educated candidates are expected to demonstrate an intelligent interest not only in their specialized academic subjects but also in the events happening within and outside their state or country, as well as in modern currents of thought and new discoveries that should arouse their curiosity.


Cracking the UPSC Civil Services Examination necessitates a clear understanding of the detailed syllabus, strategic planning, consistent effort, and revision. Furthermore, it’s crucial to remember that the UPSC syllabus serves as your roadmap to success in India’s most prestigious exam. Therefore, grasp it well, plan your journey meticulously, and embark on the path to becoming an esteemed civil servant.

In the end, the goal is not just to clear the examination but to serve the nation with dedication, integrity, and responsibility. So, gear up, set your targets, and let the preparation begin!

Disclaimer: The UPSC syllabus mentioned in this article is indicative, and the actual syllabus may vary slightly. Additionally, candidates are advised to refer to the official UPSC notification for the most accurate and updated syllabus.

Note: Each year, the UPSC releases the official syllabus along with the notification for the Civil Services Examination. Consequently, candidates are advised to download the official syllabus PDF from the UPSC’s official website and use it for their preparation.

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