The first area to focus on, once an aspirant decides to write the UPSC Civil Service Exam is the syllabus of the exam. UPSC had made some changes to the pattern of the Preliminary Exam in 2011 and the Main Exam in 2013. Scheme and Subjects in the UPSC Civil Services Exam as per the latest pattern are given below.
The latest UPSC syllabus is prepared as per the UPSC corrigendum on March 26, 2013. Detailed UPSC syllabus for Prelims and Mains is available in the highlighted link.
Preliminary Examination :
The Examination shall comprise two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each. The papers are called GS Paper 1 and GS Paper 2 respectively. GS Paper 1 is General Awareness oriented while GS Paper 2 focuses mainly on the mental ability of the candidate. As per the latest update, only the marks of Paper 1 will be counted for the Prelims ranking. Paper 2 will be qualifying in nature. Candidates need to secure 33 percent marks in Paper 2.
The written examination will consist of the following papers:
Paper‐ A (One of the Indian languages to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution). 300 Marks
Paper‐ B English 300 Marks
Papers to be counted for merit
- Paper‐I Essay 250 Marks
- Paper‐II General Studies–I 250 Marks (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
- Paper‐III General Studies –II 250 Marks (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
- Paper‐IV General Studies –III 250 Marks (Technology, Economic Development, Bio‐diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
- Paper‐V General Studies –IV 250 Marks (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
- Paper‐VI Optional Subject – Paper 1 250 Marks
- Paper‐VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 250 Marks
Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks
Personality Test – 275 Marks
Grand Total 2025 Marks
Analysis of Revised IAS Mains Syllabus :
Removal of one optional subject (2 papers) is compensated by the addition of 2 GS papers, and new different sections like World History, World Geography, Ethics etc. There are a few sections which lost importance as per the new syllabus. Topics not mentioned in the latest mains syllabus include
- Indian Geography (except economic geography of India).
- Current Events (Not given as a separate section, but it’s sure that almost all questions will be related to current affairs).
A closer look tells us that the entire prelims syllabus is included in the revised mains syllabus. But the latest GS mains syllabus is definitely bigger and vast than the previous one which existed for decades.
The ideal strategy for any IAS aspirant who is a starter would be to cover the GS Mains syllabus in detail first, giving stress first to common areas (for prelims and mains) and that would give the concept clarity regarding all major topics. Once the foundation for prelims and mains is made, the candidate can look into the additional topics included in the mains syllabus. The Prelims-cum-Mains strategy followed by ClearIAS.com will help candidates pass prelims and mains in a single attempt.