UPSC CSE Syllabus 2021: Subject-wise Syllabus and Weightage Pdf Download

Exam Date

Jun 27, 2021

Result Date

Jul 12, 2021

Apr 7, 2021

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The UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 Syllabus consists of the following topics which are listed below:

  • Phase 1: Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type)
  • Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination (Descriptive Type)
  • Phase 3: Personal Interview (Personality Test)

Phase 1: Preliminary Examination

The Preliminary Examination is composed of two components:

1) General Studies

Paper Subjects Total Marks Duration
I General Studies (GS) 200 2 Hours (09:30 AM to 11:30 AM)
II CSAT 200 2 Hours (02:30 PM to 04:30 PM)

2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

  • Broadly, the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination consists of two papers of objective type, each of 200 marks (hence totalling 400 marks) and of two hours duration. In order to qualify for the Civil Services Mains, a candidate must attempt both the papers.
  • Further, the General Studies (GS) paper consists of 100 questions, while the CSAT paper consists of 80 questions. Both papers have negative marks for wrong answers marked to the tune of 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question.
    • To further illustrate this, each correctly answered GS question will be awarded 2 marks. So, 0.66 marks would be deducted from the total for every question that is wrongly marked.
    • Similarly, in the CSAT paper, since we have 80 questions for 200 marks, correctly answered CSAT question would attract 2.5 marks each, while every wrongly marked question would attract a penalty of 0.833 for each such wrong answer, which will be deducted from the total.
  • Questions that are not attempted will not attract any negative marks.

1) General Studies (Generally conducted between 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)

The General Studies test is the first paper of the preliminary examination. This test is intended to test the general awareness of a candidate in a wide range of subjects that include: Indian Polity, Geography, History, Indian Economy, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and associated UPSC current affairs.

2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

(Generally conducted between 2:30 PM to 04:30 PM)

  • This test is intended to assess the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the occasionally asked ‘Decision Making’ questions.
  • The ‘Decision Making’ based questions are generally exempt from negative marks.
  • The preliminary examination is only meant for screening a candidate for the subsequent stages of the exam.
  • The marks obtained in the Prelims will not be added up while arriving at the final rank list.

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, Bio-diversity 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)

Phase 2: Civil Services (Mains) Examination Syllabus

  • The Mains examination constitutes the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination. Only after successfully qualifying the prelims examination would the candidates be allowed to write the Mains examination.
  • The Mains examination tests the candidate’s academic talent in depth and his/her ability to present his/her understanding according to the requirements of the question in a time-bound manner.
  • The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers, in which two are qualifying papers of 300 marks each:

I. Any Indian Language

II. English Language Paper

Criteria for qualifying the Language Paper:

The papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates who attain 30% marks in Indian Language Paper and 25% marks in English Language Paper as a minimum qualifying standard in these qualifying papers, will be taken cognizance of, for evaluation.

In case a candidate does not qualify in these language papers, then the marks obtained by such candidate will not be considered or counted.

Structure of the language papers:

The type of questions asked are –

  • Essay – 100 marks
  • Reading comprehension – 60 marks
  • Precis Writing – 60 marks
  • Translation :
    • English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks
    • Compulsory language to English – 20 marks
    • Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks

The rest of the seven papers can be written in any of the languages mentioned under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or in English.

Let us take a look at these papers:

Paper Subject Marks
Paper - I  Essay(Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate's choice) 250
Paper-II General Studies- I(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250
Paper-III General Studies- II(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)  250
Paper-IV General Studies- III(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250
Paper-V General Studies- IV(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250
Paper-VI  Optional Subject - Paper I 250
Paper-VII Optional Subject - Paper II(A Candidate can also take up literature as an optional subject and candidate need not be a graduate in that language’s literature.) 250

 Candidates may choose any one of the ‘Optional Subjects’ from the list of subjects given below:

Optional Subjects  Literature Language
Agriculture Assamese
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science  Arabic
Anthropology Bengali
Botany  Bodo
Chemistry  Dogri
Civil Engineering  French
Commerce and Accountancy  German
Economics  Gujarati
Electrical Engineering  Hindi
Geography  Kannada
Geology  Kashmiri
History  Konkani
Law  Maithili
Management  Malayalam
Mathematics  Manipuri
Mechanical Engineering  Marathi
Medical Science Nepali
Philosophy Oriya
Physics Persian
Political Science and International Relations Punjabi
Psychology Russian
Public Administration Sanskrit
Sociology Santhali
Statistics Sindhi
Zoology Tamil
- Telugu
- Urdu
- English

Phase 3: Interview/ Personality Test (275 Marks)

  • Candidates who qualify the UPSC Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test/ Interview’. These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.
  • The objective of the interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in the civil services by a board of competent and unbiased observers.
  • The interview is more of purposive conversation intended to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.
  • The Interview test will be of 275 marks and the total marks for the written examination is 1750. This sums up to a Grand Total of 2025 Marks based on which the final merit list will be prepared.

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