UPSC Prelims Syllabus

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UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2020

Civil Service (Preliminary) Examination Comprises two compulsory papers of 200 marks each.

Both the question papers will be objective type (multiple choice questions).


General Studies Paper – 1       (200 Marks)      Duration: 2 Hours

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 specialization

General Science

CSAT/ General Studies Paper- 2     (200 Marks)      Duration: 2 Hours


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)


For selection purposes, it is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination.

Therefore, a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in either of them.

Paper-II of Civil Services (preliminary) examination is a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%.


History of Ancient India


Prehistoric Period – Old stone age (Palaeolithic), Late stone age (Mesolithic) & New stone age (Neolithic).

Harappan Civilization- its’ origin & evolution, Town planning, Agriculture, Industries and crafts, Trade Society, The scripts & Chalcolithic communities of non-Harappan India

Iron age.

The Vedic age 1500bc–600bc- Migration of the Aryans, Economy during Vedic period, Features of the Vedic Society, Vedic Religion & Vedic Polity, The later Vedic Period (1000 to 600 BC), Post Vedic period.

Pre-Mauryan Period- Source of information, Polity, Mahajanapadas, Rise of Magadh, Persian Invasion, Alexander’s invasion.

Buddhism and Jainism.

Early Tamil Literature- The Sangam Age, Sangam Literature.

Mauryan Empire (321-185 BC)- Chandragupta Maurya (321–297 BC), Ashoka (269–232BC), Administration of the Mauryan Empire, Economy, Society, and Art in the Mauryan Empire, Decline of the Mauryan Empire.

Post-Maurya (200 BC to AD 300)- The Shungas

Gupta Dynasty- Society, Economy, Literature, Art and architecture, Religion, Science and technology, Administrative, Taxes and judicial system in the Guptas period.

Post-Guptas-The successors of Guptas & the age of smaller kingdoms. 

Early Medieval Period- Political Developments, Social and Economic Changes & Cultural Developments.

The Bactrians or the Indo-Greeks, The Shakas, The Parthians, The Kushanas, The Satvahanas, The Maitrakas, The Maukharies, The Pushyabhutis of thanesar, The Vakatakas, The Pallavas.

The Literature of Ancient India.


History of Medieval India


Arab invasion of India, Rise and spread of Islam, Mahmud Ghazni, Muhammad Ghori

Delhi Sultanate

[1] the Mamluks (AD 1206–AD 1290) (popularly known as slave dynasty)

[2] the Khaljis (AD 1290–AD 1320)

[3] the Tughlaqs (AD 1320–AD 1412)

[4] the Sayyids (AD 1412–AD 1451)

[5] the Lodis (AD 1451– AD 1526)

All these dynasties are collectively referred to as the Delhi Sultanate.

Delhi Sultanate- Administration, Economy, Architecture, painting and Music & Causes of the Downfall of the Delhi Sultanate.

The Bahamani sultanate.

The Vijayanagar empire.

Religion- The Sufi Movement, The Bhakti Movement, Kabir and Nanak, The Chishti silsilah, The Suhrawardi silsilah, Naqshbandi silsilah, The Gadri silsilah, Vaishnava bhakti & Sikhism.

Mughal Rule- Babar (1526-1530), Humayun (1530-1540), Akbar (1556-1605), Jahangir (1605-1627), Shah Jahan (1628-1658), Aurangzeb (1658-1707).

Mughal Rule- Establishment, Central administration, Provincial administration, Local administration, Mansab systeme, Jagir systeme, Decline of the Mughal empire.

Cultural Developments during the Mughal Era.

The Maratha powers.

Literature in the medieval period

Literature in south India in the medieval period

Music in the medieval period

Paintings in medieval India


Modern India- Indian National Movement


The Europeans in India- the Portuguese, the Dutch & the English.

Governor generals of India from 1772 To 1950

The dual system of administration of Bengal, Subsidiary alliances system, The doctrine of lapse, East India Company, Carnatic wars, Battle of Plassey, Third battle of Panipat 1761, Battle of Bexar 1764, Dual government of Bengal 1765-72, Anglo Mysore wars, The great Bengal famine 1770, The regulating act was passed 1773, Anglo-Maratha wars, Pitt’s India act-1784, Permanent settlement 1793, Censorship of press act, 1799, Charter act of 1813, Anglo-Gurkha war 1814-16 and treaty of sugauli, Pindari war 1817-18, Licensing regulations, 1823, Burmese wars, Charter act, 1833, Press act of, 1835, Macaulay’s education resolution, 1835, Anglo Afghan wars, Anglo-Sikh wars, Charter act of 1853, Charles wood’s despatch on education, 1854, Revolt of 1857, Licensing act, 1857

Government of India act, 1858, Indian councils act, 1861, Registration act, 1867, Vernacular press act- 1878, Factory act- 1881, Hunter commission – 1882, Ilbert bill controversy, 1883-84, Indian national congress – 1885, Indian councils act – 1892, Raleigh commission – 1902, Partition of Bengal – 1905, The swadeshi movement – 1905, Muslim league formed at Dhaka – 1906, Surat Congress(Surat split) – 1907, Newspapers act – 1908, Tilak convicted of sedition – 1908, Indian press act, 1910, Lucknow pact – 1916, Women’s University at Poona-1916, Home rule movement – 1915-16, August declaration of 1917, Saddler commission 1917 (Calcutta university commission, 1917), Montague-Chelmsford reforms-1919, The government of India act -1919, Rowlatt act – 1919, Jallianwala Bagh massacre – 1919, The hunter commission -1919, Khilafat movement – 1920,

Non-cooperation movement – 1920, Moplah rebellion – 1921, Chauri Chaura incident -1922

Swaraj party-1923, Madras province swarajya party-1923

Muddiman committee – 1924, Communist Party of India – 1925, Kanpur communist conference – 1925, Butler commission – 1927, Simon commission-1928, Nehru report – 1928, Fourteen points of Jinnah – 1929, Lahore session (purna swaraj) – 1929, Meerut conspiracy case – 1929, Civil disobedience movement – 1930, Gandhiji’s Dandi march – 1930, Dharasana satyagraha

Round table Conferences, Gandhi-Irwin pact signed – 1931, Civil disobedience movement second phase – 1931-1934, Communal award – 1932, Poona pact – 1932, Congress socialist party – 1934, Government of India act, 1935, Indian provincial elections, 1937, Resignation of congress ministries – 1939, August offer – 1940, Individual satyagraha – 1940-41, Pakistan resolution passed by Muslim league at Lahore – 1940, Cripps’ mission – 1942, Quit India movement – 1942, Wavell plan and Simala conference – 1945, Indian provincial elections, 1946, Cabinet mission plan – 1946, Direct action campaign – 1946, Interim government – 1946, Mountbatten plan – 1947 (Indian independence act 1947),

Revolutionary movement for Indian independence, Revolutionary movements in Bengal, Anushilan Samiti, Jugantar/yugantar, Hindustan socialist republican association, Revolutionary movement in Maharashtra, India house, Ghadar party, Trade union movement in India before independence, All India trade union congress, 1920


India and The world Geography


Branches of Geography- Physical, Human & Economic.

Origin of the Earth.

Solar system, The shape & size of the Earth, Motion of the Earth and it’s effect, Inclination of the Earth’s Axis and its’ effect, Local & Standard Time and International Date Line, The Earth & the Moon, Eclipse & phases of the Moon, Moon & Tides, Equinoxes and Solstices.

Understanding the Globe- Location, Latitude And Longitude, Equator, Prime meridian, Meridians, Tropic of cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Arctic Circle, Antarctica Circle.

Interior of the Earth- Internal forces and their Impact, Classification of Rocks.

Landforms- Landforms of the first order- Ocean & Continents, Tetrahedral Theory, Continental Drift Theory, Plate Tectonics Theory, Sea Floor Spreading, Plains, Plateaus, Mountains.

Volcanoes- Its’ types, distributions, features, Folding & Warping.

Earthquakes- Earthquake Waves, Shadow Zone, Origin of Earthquake & Isostasy.

Weathering & it’s types- Physical (Mechanical), Chemical & Biological.

Erosion- Landforms made by Rivers, Glaciers, Winds & Underground Water.

Classification and Distributions of world Soils.

The Atmosphere- Structure & composition, Atmospheric Pressure, Atmospheric Layers, Planetary and Celestial Atmosphere, Radiation Belts, Magnetic Storms, Aurora, the Ozone layer, Cosmic rays.

Weather and Climate- Insolation, Modes of Heat Transfer, Heat budget, Greenhouse Effect, and Global Warming, Distribution of Temperature, Thermal Anomaly, Range of Temperature, Mean Thermal Equator.

Winds- Planetary Winds, Shift in the Position of Planetary Wind Belts, Seasonal & Local Winds, Air Divergence and Convergence, The Jet Stream, Headley Cell, Walker Cell.

Humidity, Vapour Pressure, Dew Point and Condensation, Clouds, Dew & Frost, Fog, Smog, Mist, Haze, Precipitation, Rainfall & it’s distribution. Classification of Air Masses, Cyclones,

Hydrological cycles & Global Water Balance, Ground Water & Water Table, Oceans of the World, Salinity, Temperature of Oceans, Waves & Currents of Oceans.

 Human Geography- World Population and its’ Distribution, Migration- its’ types, causes & consequences, settlements, and its’ types. Recent Census-2011

Economic Geography- Types of Economic Activities, Types of Farming.

Animal rearing and Animal Products.

Forestry & Forest Products.

Minerals and Power Resources- Hydro Electricity, Thermal Power


Geography of India


Geological System of India- Archaean system, Dharwad System, Cudappah System, Vindhyan System, Palaeozoic System.

India- It’s location, area, boundaries & administrative division.

Physiography- the Himalayas and its’ ranges, Plains of India, Peninsular Plateau & Islands of India.

Drainage- Himalayan Rivers, Peninsular Rivers, West-flowing Rivers, East-flowing Rivers, Difference between the Himalayan and the Peninsular Rivers. Desert Drainage.

Climate- The Monsoon & its’ mechanism, the Seasons, Climate Regions, Floods & Droughts.

Soil and its’ Types, Conservation of Soils, Soil Pollution.

Natural Vegetation- It’s typed, Forests in India, Conservation of Forests.

Animal Life- Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Biosphere Reserves.

Agriculture- Crops, Types of Cultivation, Land use patterns, Agricultural regions, Agricultural Infrastructure, Animal Husbandry, Fishing, Irrigation & Power.

Mineral resources, Industries, Transport & Communication.

The population of India- Census of India, Density, Sex Ratio, Literacy, Trend of growth, Languages, Religions, Racial groups and Tribal Groups.

Remote Sensing, Aerial Photography, Remote sensing satellites, Space Imaging Program, Meteorological Satellites, Radar System, Lidar, Indian Space Program, Indian Remote Sensing Satellite, Indian Launch Vehicles, Indian Space Research Organization.


Indian Polity


Constitution of India- Its’ historical background and Salient Features, Basic Structure of the Constitution.

Preamble- Features of the Preamble, Amendment to the Preamble.

Union and its’ Territory- Article 1 to 4. Integration of Princely States, Dhar Commission and JVP Committee, Constitutional Provisions regarding Territories.

Citizenship- Article 5 to 11. Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship, Commonwealth Citizenship, Single Citizenship, Dual Citizenship for People of Indian Origin, Voting Rights to NRIs.

Fundamental Rights- Article 12 to 35. Features of Fundamental Rights, Types of Fundamental Rights, Suspension of Fundamental Rights, 44th Amendment Act, Types of Writs, Rights, and privileges available to citizens of India only, Rights and privileges available both to Indian citizens and foreigners.

Fundamental Duties- Article 51A.Features and Significance of Fundamental Duties, Difference Between Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties.

Directive Principles of State Policy- Article 36 to 51. Difference between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles, Classifications and Features of Directive Principles, 42nd, 44th, and 97th amendment.

The President- Powers, and Position of the President, Election of the President, Impeachment of President,

Vice President- Powers and Position of the Vice President, Election of the Vice President,

Prime Minister- Appointment of the Prime Minister, Power, and Functions of the Prime Minister.

Council of Ministers- Article 74 & 75. Composition of the Council of Ministers, Appointment and Responsibility of Ministers.

Cabinet Committees.

The Parliament- Article 79 to 122. Organization of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, System of Elections to Lok Sabha, Reservation of Seats for SCs and STs in Lok Sabha, Sessions and Joint Sessions of Parliament, Powers of Parliament, Privileges of Members, Parliamentary Committees, Devises of Parliamentary Proceedings, Legislative Procedure in Parliament, Budget in Parliament, Parliamentary Terms, Parliamentary Forums.

Supreme Court- Judges, Chief Justice, Procedure of the Court, Independence of Supreme Court, Jurisdiction and Power of Supreme Court, Power of Judicial Review, Public Interest Litigation.

State Executive- The Governor- Power and Functions of the Governor, Chief Minister- Power and Functions of the Chief Minister, Council of Ministers, The Advocate General.

State Legislature- Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council, Power and Functions of State Legislature, Legislative procedure in State Legislature.

High Court- Organisation High Court, Jurisdiction and Power of High Court, Judges, Independence of High Court, Control over Subordinate Courts, Administrative Tribunals, Family Courts, Lok Adalats, Nyaya Panchayat.

center-state Relations- Legislative, Administrative & Financial.

Inter-State Relations- Inter-State water dispute, Inter-State Councils, Inter-State Trade and Commerce.

Emergency Provisions- National emergency- Article 352, President’s rule or State emergency- Article 356, Financial emergency- Article 360, 44th amendment act.

Panchayat Raj- Balwant Rai Mahatma Committee, Ashok Mehta Committee, GVK Rao Committee, 73rd Amendment Act.

Municipalities- 74th Amendment Act, Composition and Duration of Municipalities.

Union Territories- Creation of Union Territories, Administration of UT,

Administrations of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas.

Constitutional Bodies- Election Commission, Union Public Service Commission, State Public Service Commission, Finance Commission, National Commission for SCs, National Commission for STs, Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities, Comptroller and Auditor General, Attorney General of India, Advocate General of State.

Non-Constitutional Bodies- Planning Commission, National Development Council, National Human Right Commission, State Human Right Commission, Central Information Commission, Central Vigilance Commission, Central Bureau of Investigation, Lokpal and Lokayuktas.

Co-operative Societies- Constitutional Provisions, 97th Amendment Act.

Official Languages- Union Language, Language of the Judiciary and texts of Laws, Protection of Linguistic Minorities.

Public Services- All India Services, Central Services, State Services,

Types of the Constitution Amendments- By Simple Majority of Parliament, By Special Majority of Parliament, By Special Majority of Parliament and Consent of States.

Special Provision for Some States in the Constitution of India

Political Parties- Party System in India.

Elections- Electoral System, Election Process, Electoral Reforms.

Indian Foreign Policy.

Current Indian Policy, Law and Scheme.


Indian Economy


Economics and Social Developments

Economy- Capital, State, and Mixed.

Sectors of Economy- Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.

Types of Economy- Agrarian, Industrial, and Service.

National Income- Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Net Domestic Product (NDP), Gross National Product (GNP), Net National Product (NNP),

Measuring Economic Growth and Development- National Income & Per Capita Income, Human Development Index (HDI), Gross National Happiness, World Happiness Report, Green GDP.

Evolution of the Indian Economy

Economic Planning- History of Planning, Types of Planning, Planning Commission, NITI Aayog, National Development Council, Five-year plans, Twenty-Point Program, MPLADS, Central Sector Scheme and Centrally Sponsored Scheme.

Economic Reforms in India- Liberalisation, Privatization, Globalization.

Inflation- Inflation in India, Types of Inflation- Wholesale Price Index (WPI), Consumer Price Index (CPI), CPI- Urban, CPI- Rural, Trends in Inflation, Protein Inflation.

Business Cycle- Depression, Recovery, Boom, Recession.

Indian Agriculture- Land Reforms, Green Revolution, Minimum Support Price, Issues in Agriculture Sector. Government Schemes, Second Green Revolution, WTO, and Indian Agriculture.

Indian Industry and Infrastructure- Industry Policy Resolutions, Disinvestment, Industry, and Environment.

India and the Global Economy, Indian Financial Market- Money Market & Capital Market.

Banking in India- Bank and Non-bank Institutions, Reserve Bank of India, RBI tools- CRR, SLR, Bank Rate, Repo rate, Reverse Repo rate. Development of Banking in India, Financial Sector Reforms. Foreign Exchange Management.

Foreign Trade and Foreign Exchange.

Insurance in India- Insurance industry, Insurance Reforms in India.

Security Market in India- Primary and Secondary market, Stock Exchange, SEBI.

International Economic Organizations and India- International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, OECD, World Trade Organization.

Public Finance in India- Budget, Fiscal Policy, FRBM Act 2003, Taxation Policy, Tax Structure, Public Expenditure, Finance Commission.

Sustainable Development- The Earth Summit Rio+10, Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Conference of Parties- Paris Agreement, India’s Strategy on Sustainable Development, National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC).

Poverty- Measurement of Poverty, GDP per Capita, Poverty Gap, HeadCount Ratio, Multidimensional Poverty Index.

Gender Development- Woman Empowerment, Gender Inequality, Gender Budgeting.

Demographics- Population of India, Population of Growth, Age Composition, State-wise population, Sex Ratio, Census, National Population Policy 2003.

Urbanization- Different types of Government Schemes.


Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change


Ecology, Ecosystem, Terrestrial Ecosystem, Aquatic Ecosystem,

Environmental Pollution- Pollution of Air, Water, land, Noise, Radio Active, Thermal & Bio. E-Waste, Solid Waste.

Renewable Energy- Solar, Wind, Hydro, Ocean Thermal, Geothermal, Fuel Cell.

Environmental Issues, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Biodiversity- Flora and Fauna Diversity, Biodiversity and Man, Threats to Biodiversity.

Wildlife in India- Biosphere Reserves in India, Endangered Animal in India, Endemic Species Exclusively from India, Wildlife Conservation Organization, Different Projects for the Conservation of Different Species.

Climate Change- Global Warming, Green House Effect, Ocean Acidification, Ozone Depletion, Climatic Cycles, Theories of Climate Change, International Initiatives on Climate, India and Climate Change, Mitigation Strategies.

Environmental Protection Policies, Environmental Organizations in India, International Environmental Conventions, Environmental Issues, and Health Effects.


General Science


Science and Technology

Biotechnology in Environment and Energy, Space and Satellite Technology Program in India, Defence Science Program and DRDO, Missile Technology Program in India, Nuclear Reactor Program of India, Nuclear waste Management, Cyber Crime, and Cyber Security.


Physical Quantities, Standards and Units, Properties of Matter, Heat, Wave Motion, Electromagnetic Radiation, Light, Sound, Magnetism, Static Electricity, Current Electricity, Atomic Structure and Emission of Radiation. Radioactivity and Nuclear Energy. Astronomy and Space Science- Celestial Bodies, Solar System.


Matter and It’s Nature, Chemical Reactions and The Chemical Equations, Structure of the Atom, Periodic Table of Elements, Chemical Bonding, Oxidation and Reduction, Oxygen and Air, Hydrogen and Water, Carbon and Its Compound, Nitrogen and Its Compound, Acid, Bases and Salts, Metals, Petroleum and Natural Gases, Iron and Steel, Colloids, Micelles, Agricultural Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Food Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Life Processes, Polymers and Plastics, Electrochemistry, Dyes, Biotechnology, International Symbols for Units, Carbohydrates, Protein, Nucleoproteins, Nucleic acids, Fats, Thermodynamics.    


Study of Life, Living and Non-Living Organisms, Cell- Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells, Plant and Animal Cells, Cell Division, Viruses, Viroid, Plant Tissue, Morphology of plant, Organisation in Animals, Organisms.

Nutrition in Plant and Animal, Respiration in Plants and Animals, Transport System in Plants and Animals, Excretion of Metabolic Wastes, Nervous System, Muscle Movement, Skeletal System, Reproduction in Plants and Animals, Plant Growth and Development, Genetics- The Science of Heredity, Plant Diseases, Animal Diseases, Environmental Biology, Origin and Evolution of Life, Animal Husbandry.



Here are 5000 Solved MCQs 

Indian Polity GK Questions with Answers Indian Economy GK Questions with Answers 
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