There is a common UPSC syllabus pattern for services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) to name a few. However, different stages of the IAS exam have different syllabi. The UPSC Prelims syllabus focuses on general and societal awareness which is tested by objective-type (MCQ) questions. The UPSC Mains syllabus is much more comprehensive as this stage comprises nine theory papers.
The Civil service 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: UPSC Prelims Exam
The Preliminary Examination is composed of two components:
1) General Studies
|I||General Studies (GS)||200||2 hours (9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)|
|II||CSAT||200||2 hours (2:30 PM to 4:30 PM)|
2) Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
- 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. To qualify for the Civil Services Mains, a candidate must attempt both the papers.
- Further, the UPSC 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.
- 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.
The two papers of the IAS prelims are discussed in detail below:
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 UPSC Prelims syllabus for CSAT intends 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.