UPSC IAS Syllabus Exam Pattern & Structure 2017: Prelims & Mains

UPSC IAS Syllabus Exam Pattern & Structure 2017: Prelims & Mains

UPSC IAS Syllabus Exam Pattern 2017: The Union Public Service Commission has finally published an official notification for beginning the recruitment process for IAS Prelims 2017. UPPSC Application process has begun and the last date to submit online application is 27 March, 2017

Today we are going to share with you UPSC IAS Syllabus Exam Pattern for both Prelims & Mains. Scroll down to read more on the IAS Syllabus Exam Pattern 2017.


UPSC IAS Exam Pattern & Structure: Prelims & Mains

This article will cover UPSC IAS Exam Pattern for both Prelims & Mains. Let us first start with IAS Prelims.

IAS Prelims Exam Pattern

As per UPSC Notification, The Civil Services Preliminary Examination is objective type in nature. As per the latest IAS Exam 2017 pattern, there are 2 objective type papers in IAS Prelims 2017. These are:

  1. General Studies Paper-I
  2. General Studies Paper-II (CSAT)

Out of these two, marks for only General Studies-I will be taken into consideration. Civil Services Aptitude Test or CSAT is merely qualifying in nature and the candidate has to score minimum marks prescribed by UPSC to qualify. Both these exams are of 200 marks each.

What is the minimum qualifying marks to clear CSAT 2017? The Civil Services Aptitude Test is merely of qualifying nature with minimum qualifying marks of 33%.

The UPSC will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service Main Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper II and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination.

*Please note that the marks secured by the candidate in the preliminary examination will not be taken into consideration while preparing the final list of selected candidate.


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All India IAS Prelims Test Series 2017

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M Laxmikant Indian Polity 5th Edition

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Indian Economy

Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

Indian Economy is a comprehensive text, with detailed coverage of all topics in the UPSC Preliminary and Main syllabus. Written by a subject expert who has several books
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Geography of India

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Geography of India

History of India by Bipin Chandra

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Let us now move to the second phase of the IAS Exam i.e IAS Mains.

IAS Mains Exam Pattern 

IAS Mains is subjective type in nature unlike IAS Prelims, which is objective type in nature. Marks counted towards the Final Merit: It is the Main Exam whose marks matter while preparing the merit list.

Optional Subject: For IAS Mains, candidates have to choose one Optional Subject beforehand. This Optional subject is not a part of the Preliminary Test and is only mandatory at the Mains stage. As per the latest pattern, candidates can choose their Optional Subject from a list of 26 subjects, irrespective of their qualification. This means that an engineer/ doctor can choose from one of the humanities subjects as his optional and same goes for candidates who had Humanities subjects in their graduation. It is not mandatory to choose your subject of graduation as the Optional Subject.

Qualifying Papers on English & one Indian Language: Each candidate has to appear for these one paper on any of the Indian Language as well as one English paper. These papers are 300 marks each and are strictly of qualifying nature only. Their marks are not added to your Mains Score. However, it is mandatory for the candidates to clear both these exams for his/her Mains answer scripts to be evaluated. There is no such paper for IAS Preliminary Exam.

Now you are aware of the exam pattern of both prelims & Mains let us move to the IAS Syllabus for both Prelims & Mains.

UPSC IAS Syllabus Exam Pattern 2017: Prelims & Mains

Now let’s move further with the UPSC IAS syllabus for the upcoming examination. Below mentioned is complete syllabus for IAS Prelims & Mains 2017. Let us start with the first phase.

UPSC IAS Prelims Syllabus 2017

As stated earlier, IAS Preliminary Examination comprises two papers General Studies Paper-I & General Studies Paper-II i.e. CSAT. The syllabus of both these papers is given below:

Paper I – General Studies

Maximum Marks: 200

Duration: Two 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation
  • General Science.

Paper II- Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

Maximum Marks: 200

Duration: Two hours

  •  Comprehension
  • 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)

NOTE: The General Studies Paper II is qualifying in nature.

UPSC IAS Mains Syllabus 2017

As per the revised UPSC pattern, candidates have to appear for 9 descriptive papers as a part of IAS Main Exam. And out of these nine papers, marks for only 7 will be counted. The remaining two are merely qualifying in nature and the candidate has to score minimum marks prescribed by UPSC.


Candidates have to qualify two papers:

  • Paper A: English Paper
  • Paper B: Indian Languages (mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution).

These two exams are of 300 marks each. It is important to note that if a candidate fails to qualify any of these papers, his answer scripts for the remaining papers will not be evaluated. The Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all papers of the examination. Moving further to Mains Syllabus:

Paper A: English Paper

English UPSC Syllabus for English Paper for Civil Services Main Examination broadly follows as under:

  •  Comprehension of given passages
  •  Precis Writing
  •  Usage and Vocabulary
  •  Short Essays

Paper B: Indian Languages

Candidates have to pick one language among the list of languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The IAS syllabus for these Indian Languages will follow the following scheme:

  • Comprehension of given passages
  • Precis Writing
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Short Essays
  • Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa

Papers to be counted for Merit

As per the latest IAS Mains 2017 syllabus, each candidate has to appear for 7 papers whose marks will be added to his/her final score.

These papers are:

  • Paper I: Essay (250 Marks)
  • Paper II: General Studies Paper I (250 Marks)
  • Paper III: General Studies Paper II (250 Marks)
  • Paper IV: General Studies Paper III (250 Marks)
  • Paper V: General Studies Paper IV (250 Marks)
  • Paper VI: Optional Subject Paper I (250 Marks)
  • Paper VII: Optional Subject

The syllabus for each of these papers is given below:

Paper I: Essay

The essay is to be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice. Candidates will be required to write essays on specific topics. UPSC will give the choice of topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.

General Studies I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society
  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues. The Freedom Struggle, its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
  • History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.  Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Salient features of world’s physical geography.
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., 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.
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, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • 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.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • 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 and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, poverty and hunger.3
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, potential, citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of civil services in a democracy.
  • India and its neighbourhood relations: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
General Studies III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management Exam


  • 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 in various parts of the country, 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 and minimum support prices; 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, bio-technology 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 nonstate actors in creating challenges to internal security. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security, 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
  • 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, role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating great leaders, reformers and administrators, role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.
  • Attitude: content, structure, function, its influence and relation with thought and behaviour, 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 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. Case Studies on above issues.

Here we conclude our article on UPSC IAS Syllabus Exam Pattern 2017. Candidates who will be appearing for IAS 2017 can go through the above IAS syllabus exam pattern 2017.

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