IAS Syllabus 2021: The Civil Services Examination is widely considered as one of the toughest and the most prestigious examinations conducted in our country. IAS exam is conducted by UPSC every year to recruit candidates to various services & posts in the Government of India. IAS syllabus is an integral part of the preparation, it act as the guiding force for the IAS aspirants and all the IAS toppers and different mentors suggest covering all the topics given in the IAS Exam syllabus. This article will help you to understand the IAS syllabus in detail, candidates can also download the UPSC syllabus 2021 PDF here.

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern & Syllabus

The Civil services exam is conducted in three phases:

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 Syllabus

The UPSC Civil Services Prelims has two papers namely General Studies-I and General Studies-II (CSAT)

General Studies Paper I100 Questions2002 hours (9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)
General Studies Paper-II (CSAT )802002 hours (2:30 PM to 4:30 PM)

Paper-I: UPSC Syllabus for Prelims

  • 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


Paper-II: UPSC Syllabus for Prelims

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy 

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2021 Pdf :

Phase 2: Mains Examination Syllabus​

The IAS Mains examination constitutes the 2nd phase of the Civil Services Examination. Candidates who have successfully qualifying in the prelims exam will be allowed to write the IAS Mains exam. This is a descriptive type(conventional) paper-based exam in which the candidates need to write long answers for the questions.

PaperSubjectMarks allotted
Paper – IEssay Paper 250
Paper – IIGeneral Studies I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)250
Paper – IIIGeneral Studies II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)250
Paper – IVGeneral Studies III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management) 250
Paper – VGeneral Studies IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)250
Paper – VIOptional Subject Paper I 250
Paper – VIIOptional Subject Paper II250
IAS Main (written)Total 1750

Phase 3: Interview/Personality Test (275 Marks)

  • Candidates who will qualify the IAS Mains Exam will be called for the ‘Personality Test . These candidates will be interviewed by a Board appointed by the UPSC.
  • The interview round is held to assess the candidate’s social traits and his interest in current affairs.
  • The interview aimed to explore the mental qualities and analytical ability of the candidate.

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2021 Pdf :


Most frequent questions and answers

The total number of subjects in the IAS exam is 48. There are 25 subjects and 23 literature languages subjects to choose from.

No, IAS syllabus is very much static and before changing the syllabus, the UPSC needs to take approval from the Ministry of Personnel and Training.

IAS Exam syllabus can only be prepared with the right strategy. The candidates need to study the fundamentals first and then go for the application part of the topics. Interlinking the topics is the key to scoring more marks in the IAS exam.

This is because the NCERT syllabus is the starting point for preparing for the UPSC exam. CBSE pedagogy is more inclined to build a strong foundation for the students in the subjects being taught, while ICSE gives the right amount of weight to projects and lab work


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