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UPSC Civil Services Exam 2021 Syllabus:

The UPSC CSE exams have been widely regarded as one of the most challenging tests in India. Every year, millions of aspirants dream of passing the UPSC Civil Services Examination and being selected for those prestigious jobs. Hence, applicants should plan their schedule and strategy following the exam pattern and syllabus. It is recommended that you thoroughly read the UPSC syllabus 2021 before beginning your preparation.

The UPSC exam stages and UPSC syllabus for the Civil Services Examination are listed below:

It comprises 3 stages:

  • Preliminary Examination (Objective Type)

  • Mains Examination (Descriptive Type)

  • Personal Interview (Personality Test)

UPSC Syllabus 2021: Prelims

The Prelims examination consists of two papers:

  • General Studies Paper - 1

  • General Studies Paper - 2 (CSAT)

The UPSC Prelims syllabus has been provided below:

Paper Subjects Total Marks Duration
1 General Studies (GS) 200 2 hours
2 CSAT 200 2 hours

The General Studies Paper- 1 covers the following topics:

  • Current events of national and international importance

  • History of India and the Indian National Movement

  • Indian and World Geography

  • Indian Polity and Governance

  • Economic and Social Development

  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change

  • General Science

The CSAT paper covers the following topics:

  • Comprehension

  • Interpersonal skills, including communication skills

  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability

  • Decision-making and problem solving

  • General mental ability

  • Basic numeracy

UPSC Syllabus 2021: Mains

The second phase of the UPSC examination is the CSE Mains, which a candidate can attempt only after clearing the Prelims examination.

The main objective of this section is to assess the academic knowledge of the candidate and their ability to present their understanding of the given topic in the stipulated time.

The UPSC Mains syllabus is given below for your reference.

Paper Subject Marks
Paper - Ⅰ Essay 250
Paper - Ⅱ General Studies – I 250
Paper - Ⅲ General Studies – II 250
Paper - Ⅳ General Studies – III 250
Paper - Ⅴ General Studies – IV 250
Paper - Ⅵ Optional Subject – Paper I 250
Paper - Ⅶ Optional Subject – Paper II 250
  • Essay: In this paper, candidates are expected to write essays on various topics. They are expected to cover relevant information on the topic and write their ideas in orderly. Candidates would also be evaluated and graded based on their ability to express themselves practically and precisely.

  • General Studies – I: This paper covers Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and society. The Emphasis will be on art forms, literature, architecture, significant events, personalities, issues, post-independence consolidation, globalization, social empowerment, the world's physical geography, and more.

  • General Studies – II: This paper covers governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations. Emphasis is on the functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, Parliament and State Legislatures, Representation of the People’s Act, Government Policies, Welfare Schemes, Role of Civil Services, and more.

  • General Studies – III: This paper covers Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management. Emphasis is on the topics of Government budgeting, supply chain management, land reforms, liberalization, science and technology, and more.

  • General Studies – IV: This paper covers the topics of Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. Emphasis is also on the human interface, Emotional intelligence, contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers, probity in governance, and more. This is to test the ability of the candidate to approach various issues of the domain mentioned above and his/her problem-solving skills.

Civil Services Exam Syllabus for Optional Subjects

Agriculture Botany
Commerce and Accountancy Geography
Law Mechanical Engineering
Physics Public Administration
Zoology Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
Chemistry Economics
Geology Management
Medical Science Political Science and International Relations
Sociology Anthropology
Civil Engineering Electrical Engineering
History Mathematics
Philosophy Psychology
Statistics Literature in selected languages

UPSC Personality Test/Interview

The UPSC personality test is the final stage of the Civil Service Examination. Aspirants who work hard and persevere through the other stages should maintain their motivation and confidence in order to make their dreams a reality. Here are some insights about the UPSC Personality test/ Interview:

  • Candidates who clear the UPSC Prelims and Mains are qualified for the final phase of the UPSC Personality Test/Interview.

  • The objective of interview is to assess the suitability of the candidate for a career in the Civil Services Sector.

  • The interview will be for 275 marks while the written examination is for 1750, which sums up to 2025 marks, based on which the candidate would be selected for a career in the Civil Services.

Generally, a set of seasoned UPSC board members will review a candidate's personal interview based on general awareness, personality traits, logical responses, and so on. On the other hand, veterans and expert panellists look for competencies and characteristics that indicate a candidate's potential to be deserving of coveted ranks. Some of them have been mentioned below.

  • Decision-making capability

  • Stress management

  • General Alertness

  • Logical Reasoning

  • Unbiased observations

  • Depth of knowledge

Reference Videos

Here is a link to the best UPSC Personality Test guidance from our toppers and faculties:

  • Strategy to Ace UPSC Personality Test By Shabbir Sir : Video link

  • UPSC Topper Gunjan Singh’s (AIR-16) Interview: Video link

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