UPSC Civil Service Prelims 2020 Exam Pattern/Syllabus/Study Materials

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2020- Study Materials/ Exam Pattern/ Best Books

UPSC Prelims Syllabus: The Civil Services Exam is a three-stage gateway process and one has to qualify first to be eligible for the second round.

  • 1st Stage: Preliminary Examination
  • 2nd Stage: Main Examination
  • 3rd Stage: Personality Test/Interview Round

The first stage of the civil services exam is known as civil service prelims. It is an offline screening test that comprises of two papers, General Studies and Aptitude. All the questions asked in civil service preliminary exams are of objective or MCQ type. Let us have a detailed look at Civil service exam pattern, marking schemes and UPSC prelims syllabus 2020.

UPSC (IAS) Prelims Exam Pattern

The UPSC civil service prelims exam pattern specifies various aspects of the exam like marking scheme, type of questions, time duration, the total number of questions, subjects, sections, etc. ` UPSC Prelims Exam PapersDurationQuestionsMarksPaper I – General Studies2 Hours100200Paper II – Aptitude2 Hours80200TOTAL  400


Aspirants preparing for civil services are advised to go through civil service prelims syllabus carefully before opting for any books for civil services. There are 2 papers in the Prelims exam. First is General Studies and the second one is Aptitude or commonly known as Civil Services Aptitude Test ((CSAT)).  Let us have a look at UPSC Prelims syllabus.

General Studies Syllabus (Paper I)

General studies paper-I is one of the most important aspects of civil services prelims examination. The general studies paper 1 is consist of 100 questions of total 200 marks. One has to score great to be eligible for civil service mains exam. The syllabus of General studies is as followed.

S.No Topics to be Covered Elementary Resource
1. History of India and Indian National Movement NCERT History Books from Class 6 to 12. (Download PDF)
2. Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the world NCERT Geography Text Books from Class 6 to 12. (Download PDF)
3. Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political system, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights issues etc. NCERT Political science Textbooks (Download PDF)
4. Economic and Social development – sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives etc. NCERT Economics Textbooks from class 9 to 12. (Download PDF)
5. Current events of national and international importance Newspapers & Magazines like The Hindu, CSR, Yojana
6. General science Current Events & NCERT Science Textbooks (Download PDF)
7. General issues on environmental ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate change that does not require subject specialisation Follow national and international events of climate change and science magazines like Science Reporter, Pratiyogta Darpan

Aptitude Syllabus

Unlike General studies marks scored in Aptitude is not counted for the Mains. But a candidate must have to score at least 33% marks in this paper to be eligible for Mains. Aptitude is a paper of 200 marks comprises of total 80 questions. The syllabus of Aptitude is as followed.

S.No Topics to be Covered Elementary Resource
1. Comprehension       Wren & Martin Click here to Buy)
2. Interpersonal & com skills
3. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)
4. Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level. (will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation)
5. Logical reasoning and analytical ability Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning by R.S.Agarwal (Click here to Buy)
6. General mental ability
7. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc. – Class X level) Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level) Quantitative Aptitude by R.S.Agarwal  (Click here to buy)
8. Decision-making and problem-solving CSAT Decision Making Problem Solving & Interpersonal Skills by Prem Shankar Jha (Click here to buy)

Online Test Series for UPSC Preliminary Examination

If you have been through the UPSC prelims syllabus then its time to check the level of your knowledge with these specially designed test series. The test contains a paper on General Awareness, Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude and other High Valued Subjects. Aspirants preparing for Different state and central level Competitive examination are advised to solve these test series to gain Speed and Accuracy required for the prestigious Examination. 

Study Material and Notes for UPSC Exam: 

 Best of Luck Aspirants..!!!

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