IAS Exam is conducted in 3 successive stages- Prelims, Main, and Interview test. The prelims stage is an objective test of 400 marks whereas Main is a subjective paper of 1750 marks followed by a personality test of 275 marks. IAS Prelims is qualifying in nature while performance in main and interview round determine the merit of successful candidates. Check IAS Exam Pattern
Practice Free All India IAS Mock Tests free of cost
IAS Syllabus is vast and includes everything a candidate aspirant can think. Candidates require a comprehensive study of all the topics. To understand the IAS syllabus and type of questions asked in the exam candidates can go through IAS practice papers.
Both prelims and main exam have different syllabi viz:
The Indian Administrative Service exam officially called as Civil Services Examination (CSE) is the premier administrative civil service of the Government of India. Hierarchy-wise, IAS is the highest administrative post among the 24 services like IPS, IFS (Foreign), IAAS, IRS, IDAS, CAPF-AF to name a few.
|Paper||Questions & Time||Marks|
|General Studies Paper I||100 Questions - 2 Hours||200|
|General Studies Paper-II (CSAT - Qualifying only)||80 Questions - 2 Hours||200 ( Marks not considered)|
|IAS Syllabus 2020 for Paper 1|
|Current events of national and international importance||History of India and Indian National Movement|
|Indian Polity and Governance Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, and Rights Issues||Economic and Social Development‐Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, and General issues on Environmental ecology|
Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World
|Biodiversity and Climate Change ‐ that do not require subject specialization and General Science||(-)|
Read Current Affairs (Polity and Governance Part II) before appearing for IAS exam
|IAS Syllabus for Paper 2|
|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)|
Check IAS Selection Process
|No. of Papers||Two (2) compulsory papers|
|Type of Questions||Objective (MCQs)|
|Total Marks||200 marks each (400 marks)|
|Duration of Exam||2 hrs. each (20 mins extra for a candidate with Locomotor Disability & Cerebral Palsy)|
|Negative Marking||Yes, one-third (0.33) as a penalty|
|Medium of Exam||Bilingual (Hindi and English)|
Section-wise Questions Distribution
|Paper 1||General Ability Test (GAT)||200|
|Paper 2||Civil Services Aptitude Test||200|
Sample Questions for IAS Prelims
IAS Prelims comprises of two papers- General Studies (Paper I) and Civil Service Aptitude Test (Paper-II). These are conducted in two shifts- morning and evening shifts. Given below is the brief information of previous year IAS Prelims Exam Analysis:
Go through the practice of previous years’ papers of IAS Exam free of cost
|Main Examination – The written exam will consist of the following papers:|
|Qualifying Papers||Paper A (Indian Language) – Check Languages
Paper B (English)
|Paper to be counted for Merit||Paper I – Paper VII|
Detailed Syllabus of IAS papers included in the scheme of IAS Main are given as follows:
|IAS Syllabus for Main History||IAS Syllabus for Main Medical Science|
|IAS Syllabus for Main Geography||IAS Syllabus for Main Philosophy|
|IAS Syllabus for Main Electrical Engineering||IAS Syllabus for Main Law|
|IAS Main Economics Syllabus||IAS Syllabus for Main Mathematics|
|IAS Main Geology Syllabus||-|
|Essay||Candidates have to write an essay on a specific topic. It must be kept close to the subject of the essay to arrange the ideas in an orderly fashion and to write concisely. Credit is given for effective and exact expression|
|General Studies I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society||Indian culture, aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times, Modern Indian history and major personalities|
|The Freedom Struggle, important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country, Post‐independence consolidation and reorganization within the country|
|History of the world, industrial revolution, world wars, re-drawl of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies, capitalism, socialism, Salient features of Indian Society and Diversity of India|
|Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty, and developmental issues, urbanization, Effects of globalization on Indian society, Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism, world’s physical geography,|
|Natural resources, factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries, Important Geophysical phenomena, earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone, geographical features and their location‐ changes in critical geographical features (including water‐bodies and ice‐caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.|
Read Current Affairs (Polity and Governance Part II) before appearing for IAS exam
|General Studies II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations||Indian Constitution historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure, Functions, and responsibilities of the Union and the States, challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels|
|Separation of powers, redressed mechanisms and institutions, Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries, Parliament and State Legislatures, structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers, and privileges|
|Structure, organization, and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity, Representation of People’s Act.|
|Mechanisms, laws, institutions, and Bodies constituted for the protection of vulnerable sections. Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.|
|Important aspects of governance, transparency, and accountability, e-governance‐ applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability, and institutional and other measures.|
|Role of civil services in a Democracy India and its neighborhood relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India, Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries, Indian diaspora. Important International institutions, agencies, and fora their structure, mandate.|
|Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial bodies. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors, Development processes, and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, and charities.|
|Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial bodies. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors, Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities|
|General Studies III: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management.||Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development, and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. Government Budgeting.|
|Major crops cropping patterns, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers, Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies.|
|Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks, and food security.|
|Technology missions; economics of animal- rearing. Food processing and related industries in India‐ scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. Land reforms in India. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy, and their effects on industrial growth.|
|Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc. Investment models. Science and technology - developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.|
|Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, biotechnology, and issues relating to intellectual property rights. Conservation, environmental pollution, and degradation, environmental impact assessment, Disaster, and disaster management. Linkages between development and spread of extremism.|
|Role of external state and non‐ state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; money laundering and its prevention, Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.|
|General Studies IV: Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude||Issues relating to integrity, probity in public life. Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.|
|Human Values, lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; the role of family, society, and educational institutions in inculcating values. Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence, and persuasion.|
|Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion towards the weaker‐ sections. Emotional intelligence‐ concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world.|
|Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions, laws, rules, regulations, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate Governance.|
|Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.|
|Optional Subject- Paper 1 and 2||Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Commerce and Accountancy, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Geography, Geology, History, Law, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Science, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics and Zoology||250+250 (500)|
|The literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English|
Check IAS Mock Tests 2020 for free of cost
|No. of Papers||Two (2) – written test (9 papers) and an Interview test|
|Type of Questions||Subjective|
|Total Marks||Written Test: 1750 marks | Interview Test: 275 marks (with no qualifying marks)|
|Duration of Exam||3 hrs each|
|Medium of Exam||Hindi and English (other than the literature of language papers)|
Here is the brief about all the papers in IAS Main:
|Paper 1||Essay writing||250|
|Paper 2||General Studies I Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society||250|
|Paper 3||General Studies II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations||250|
|Paper 4||General Studies III Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management||250|
|Paper 5||General Studies IV Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude||250|
|Paper 6||Optional Subject – Paper 1||250|
|Paper 7||Optional Subject – Paper 2||250|
|Sindhi||Devanagari or Arabic|
|Santhali||Devanagari or Olchiki|
IAS Mains is a written and descriptive exam. Given below is the overall IAS Main Exam Analysis of the previous year:
Read on to know complete and updated IAS Syllabus for Prelims and Mains and also some useful books to score better marks in IAS.
Read about How to prepare for the IAS interview?
It is very much important for a candidate who appears for IAS to choose the right kind of books. They cover all important topics that are covered in IAS Syllabus. These books help you understand the pattern of the exam more effectively. Given below is a list of some important IAS Books that are must to refer for a better score. Also, Check IAS 2020 Preparation Tips
|History Of Modern India (History)||Bipan Chandra|
|India’s Struggle For Independence (History)||Bipan Chandra|
|India’s Ancient Past (History)||R.S. Sharma|
|History Of Medieval India (History)||Satish Chandra|
|The Wonder That Was India (Culture)||A.L. Bhasham|
|Indian Art and Culture (Culture)||Nitin Singhania|
|Geography of India (Geography)||Majid Husain|
|Oxford School Atlas (Geography)||Oxford|
|Certificate Physical and Human Geography (Geography)||Goh Cheng Leong|
|Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations (Polity)||M. Laxmikanth|
|Indian Economy (Economy)||Ramesh Singh|
|Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure (Environment)||Rajagopalan|
|Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains (Environment)||Khuller|
|CSAT Paper – 2 Manual by TMH or CSAT-II||Arihant|
|Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning||R. S. Aggarwal|
Solve General Studies Paper I mock Test before IAS Exam
Download Link Paper I
Download Link Paper II
Ques. How to download IAS syllabus for UPSC?
Ans. You can download the UPSC mains and prelims IAS syllabus from the official website of UPSC. You can also check a gist of the IAS syllabus 2020 from here.
Ques. How should I cover the whole syllabus of UPSC?
Ans. You must follow a strategic study plan to cover the entire IAS syllabus of prelims and mains for the IAS exam. On average, you must begin the preparations at least 6-7 months before the Prelims. Certain topics, depending on the optional you have chosen will coincide with the prelims and general paper syllabus. It is best to start preparing for the mains in parallel to prelims as the gap between mains and prelims is very short.
Ques. How to plan for the UPSC 2021?
Ans. If you are aiming to ace in UPSC 2021, this is high time to start the preparation. Check the pros and cons of the different optional subjects and also prioritize your interests to determine the optional beforehand. Begin the preparation for the prelims and optional simultaneously. Also, consider the other exams with which the IAS syllabus overlaps and whether you can attempt them as well based on the preparations you are taking up for UPSC 2021.
Here’s how to pick the right optional subject for UPSC.
If you are studying alone, check out this link for tips.
Ques. Does the IAS syllabus of UPSC changes every year?
Ans. The UPSC Syllabus does not change every year and it is more or less static except for the current affairs syllabus which will always be evolving for obvious reasons.
Ques. How long does it take to prepare for UPSC?
Ans. UPSC preparation can take as long as one year depending on your aptitude and how familiar you are with the IAS syllabus. If you are not in touch with studies for a long time, you will need a longer time to prepare.
*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.