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UPSC Full Form, Strategy, Prelims & Mains Pattern

The Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is one of the most prestigious and competitive exams in India. Every year, lakhs of aspirants from all corners of the country appear for the exam in the hope of getting selected for the coveted civil services.

The Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is one of the most prestigious and competitive exams in India. Every year, lakhs of aspirants from all corners of the country appear for the exam in the hope of getting selected for the coveted civil services.

The UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination in three stages – Preliminary Examination, Main Examination, and Personality Test/Interview. Each stage is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and aptitude of the candidates in different areas.

Let’s take a closer look at each stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examination and the syllabus for each stage.

The Civil Services Examination conducted

UPSC Civil Services Exam Prelims Syllabus

The Preliminary Examination is the first stage of the UPSC Civil Services Exam. It consists of two papers – General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II (popularly known as CSAT). The General Studies Paper-I tests the candidate’s knowledge of current events, history, geography, economics, science and technology, environment and ecology, and Indian polity and governance. The General Studies Paper-II tests the candidate’s comprehension, reasoning, and analytical skills.

The syllabus for the UPSC Civil Services Exam Prelims is as follows:

Paper-I (General Studies)

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.

Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.

General Science.

Paper-II (CSAT)


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 Civil Services Exam Mains Syllabus

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s premier civil service recruitment agency, responsible for selecting and recruiting top talent to serve in the government’s administrative machinery. The UPSC conducts a rigorous selection process, consisting of a preliminary examination, a main examination, and an interview, to identify the most suitable candidates for various civil service posts. The UPSC mains, which is the second stage of the selection process, is one of the most critical phases that aspiring civil servants must successfully clear to move to the final round.

here, we will discuss UPSC mains in detail, including its format, syllabus, and preparation strategy.

UPSC Mains Format:

The UPSC mains exam consists of nine papers, out of which two are qualifying papers (English and a modern Indian language) and seven are merit-based papers. Each paper carries a total of 250 marks, and candidates are given three hours to complete each paper. The papers are written, and all the answers have to be given in essay format. The merit papers include:


General Studies Paper-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)

General Studies Paper-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

General Studies Paper-III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

General Studies Paper-IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

Optional Paper-I

Optional Paper-II

The optional papers are chosen by the candidates from a list of subjects offered by the UPSC. The list includes a wide range of subjects, such as agriculture, anthropology, chemistry, history, mathematics, physics, psychology, and more.

UPSC Mains Syllabus:

The UPSC mains syllabus is vast and comprehensive, covering a wide range of topics from different subjects. The syllabus for the various papers is as follows:

Essay: Candidates are required to write two essays, one each from Section A and B. The topics cover a broad range of subjects, including political, social, cultural, economic, and philosophical issues.

General Studies Paper-I: This paper covers Indian culture, heritage, and history, as well as the geography of the world and society. The topics include the Indus Valley Civilization, the Mauryan Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Indian Freedom Struggle, the world wars, and more.

General Studies Paper-II: This paper covers governance, constitution, polity, social justice, and international relations. The topics include the Indian Constitution, the Parliament, the Judiciary, the Indian Political System, welfare schemes, the UN, and more.

General Studies Paper-III: This paper covers technology, economic development, biodiversity, environment, security, and disaster management. The topics include the Green Revolution, liberalization, privatization, globalization, environmental laws, national security, and more.

General Studies Paper-IV: This paper covers ethics, integrity, and aptitude. The topics include ethics in public and private relationships, emotional intelligence, moral philosophies, and more.

Optional Paper-I and II: These papers cover the subject chosen by the candidate. The syllabus for each subject varies.

The UPSC mains exam is the second stage of the civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). It is a crucial stage, and candidates must prepare thoroughly to succeed. Here , we will discuss some tips and strategies for UPSC mains preparation.

Understand the Syllabus: The first step in UPSC mains preparation is to understand the syllabus for each paper. Candidates must go through the syllabus thoroughly and make notes of the important topics and sub-topics. They should also understand the weightage of each topic and prioritize their preparation accordingly.

Develop a Study Plan: Candidates must develop a study plan that is realistic and achievable. The plan should include a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule of topics to be covered. Candidates should also allocate sufficient time for revision and practice.

Read and Analyze: Candidates must read and analyze the newspaper regularly to keep themselves updated on current affairs. They should also read standard books and study material recommended by experts. This will help them build a strong foundation in the subjects.

Practice Answer Writing: Answer writing is a crucial component of the UPSC mains exam. Candidates must practice answer writing regularly to develop their writing skills and improve their speed. They should focus on writing structured and coherent answers that are relevant to the question.

Take Mock Tests: Mock tests are an essential part of UPSC mains preparation. Candidates should take mock tests regularly to assess their preparation level and identify their weaknesses. They should analyze their performance and work on improving their weak areas.

Focus on Optional Papers: Optional papers carry a significant weightage in the UPSC mains exam. Candidates must choose their optional subject wisely and focus on mastering it. They should read standard books, practice answer writing, and take mock tests to excel in their optional paper.

Revise Regularly: Revision is crucial for UPSC mains preparation. Candidates should revise the topics regularly to reinforce their learning and improve retention. They should also make notes of the important points and revise them before the exam.

Stay Motivated: UPSC mains preparation can be a long and arduous journey. Candidates must stay motivated and focused on their goal. They should take breaks, indulge in their hobbies, and maintain a positive outlook to stay motivated throughout the preparation period.

In conclusion, UPSC mains preparation requires a disciplined and focused approach. Candidates must understand the syllabus, develop a study plan, read and analyze regularly, practice answer writing, take mock tests, focus on optional papers, revise regularly, and stay motivated to succeed in the exam. With hard work and dedication, candidates can crack the UPSC mains exam and realize their dream of serving the nation as civil servants.

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