UPSC 2023 – Exam Date, Eligibility, Syllabus, Exam Pattern


    The Examination shall comprise of two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each.


    • Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions) and each will be of two hours
    • The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33% .
    • The question papers will be set both in Hindi and
    • Details of the syllabi are indicated in Part A of Section


The Written Examination will consist of the following papers:— 

UPSC Mains Exam
Qualifying Papers Marks
Paper-A One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from 
the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution
Paper-B English 300
Papers Counted for Merit
Paper-I Essay 250
Paper-II General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society) 250
Paper-III General Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations) 250
Paper-IV Genera Studies-III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management) 250
Paper-V General Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude) 250
Paper-VI Optional Subject – Paper 1 250
Paper-VII Optional Subject – Paper 2 250
Sub Total (Written Test) 1750
Personality Test 275
Grand Total   2025

Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects from amongst the list of subjects given in para 2 below:—

Note :

  • The papers on Indian languages and English (Paper A and paper B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for
  • Evaluation of the papers, namely, ‘Essay’, ‘General Studies’ and Optional Subject of all the candidates would be done simultaneously along with evaluation of their qualifying papers on ‘Indian Languages’ and ‘English’ but the papers on Éssay’, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 25% marks in ‘Indian Language’ and 25% in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying
  • The paper A on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalya, Mizoram, Nagaland and
  • The paper A on Indian Language will not, however, be compulsory for Candidates belonging to Persons with Benchmark Disability (only Hearing Impairment sub-category) provided that they have been granted such exemption from 2nd or 3rd language courses by the concerned education Board/University. The candidate needs to provide an undertaking/self declaration in this regard in order to claim such an exemption to the
  • Marks obtained by the candidates for the Paper I-VII only will be counted for merit ranking. However, the Commission will have the discretion to fix qualifying marks in any or all of these
  • For the Language medium/literature of languages, the scripts to be used by the candidates will be as under :—
Languages And Script
Language Script Language Script
Assamese Assamese Bengali Bengali
Gujarati Gujarati Hindi Devanagari
Kannada Kannada Kashmiri Persian
Bodo Devanagari Konkani Devanagari
Malayalam Malayalam Manipuri Bengali
Marathi Devanagari Nepali Devanagari
Odia Odia Punjabi Gurumukhi
Sanskrit Devanagari Tamil Tamil
Sindhi Devanagari or Arabic Telugu Telugu
Urdu Persian Maithilli Devanagari
Santhali Devanagari or Olchiki Dogri Devanagari

Note :

For Santhali language, question paper will be printed in Devanagari script; but candidates will be free to answer either in Devanagari script or in Olchiki.

UPSC Optional Subjects List for Mains Exam
Agriculture Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Antdropology Botany Chemistry
Civil Engineering Commerce and Accountancy Economics Electrical Engineering Geography
Statistics Sociology Physics Philosophy Medical Science
Political Science and International Relations Public Administration Psychology Mechanical Engineering Matdematics
Zoology Geology History Management Law
Literature of any one of tde following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maitdili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Maratdi,Nepali,Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santdali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu,Urdu and English.

Note :

  1. The question papers for the examination will be of conventional (essay)
  2. Each paper will be of three hours
  3. Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except the Qualifying Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India or in English. Notwithstanding this, the Candidate will have the choice to write the Optional Papers in English also if candidates opt to write Paper I-V except the  Qualifying  Language Papers, Paper-A and Paper-B, in any one of the language included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of
  4. Candidates exercising the option to answer Papers in any one of the languages included in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution of India mentioned above may, if they so desire, give English version within brackets of only the description of the technical terms, if any, in addition to the version in the language opted by Candidates should, however, note that if they misuse the above rule, a deduction will be made on this account from the total marks otherwise accruing to them and in extreme cases; their script(s) will not be valued for being in an unauthorized medium.
  5. Candidates should note that if any irrelevant matter/signages/marks etc. are found written in the answer script(s), which would not be related to any question/answer and/or would be having the potential to disclose the candidate’s identity, the Commission will impose a penalty of deduction of marks from the total marks otherwise accruing to the candidate or will not evaluate the said script(s) on this
  6. The question papers (other than the literature of language papers) will be set in Hindi and English
  7. The details of the syllabi are set out in Part B of Section

Interview/Personality Test

  1. The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have  before  them a record of the candidate’s career. The candidate will be asked questions on matters  of  general  interest.  The  object  of  the Interview/Personality Test is to assess the personal suitability  of  the  candidate  for  a  career  in  public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers.  The  Interview/Personality  Test  is  intended  to judge the mental calibre of a candidate. In broad terms this is really an assessment of not only intellectual qualities but also social traits and interest in current affairs. Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition,  balance  of  judgement,  variety  and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
  2. The technique of the Interview/Personality Test is  not  that  of  a  strict  cross-examination  but  of  a natural, though directed and  purposive  conversation  which  is  intended  to  reveal  the  mental  qualities  of the candidate.3. The Interview/Personality Test is not intended to be a test either of the specialized or  general knowledge of the candidates which has been already tested through their written papers. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own State or Country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth.


Note: Candidates are advised to go through the Syllabus published in this Section for the Preliminary Examination and the Main Examination, as periodic revision of syllabus has been  done  in  several subjects.

Part A—Preliminary Examination

Paper I – (200 marks)                                                                                       Duration: Two hours

  • Current events of national and international
  • History of India and Indian National
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the
  • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues,
  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives,
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject
  • General

Paper II-(200 marks)                                                                                     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, ) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class X level);

Note 1 :  Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33% .

Note 2 :  The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type.

Note 3 :  It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in case he/she does not appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.

Part B—Main Examination

The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and  depth  of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

The nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers (Paper II  to  Paper V) will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized  study.  The questions will be such as to test a candidate’s general awareness of a variety of subjects, which will have relevance for a career in Civil Services. The questions are likely to test the  candidate’s  basic understanding of all relevant issues, and ability to analyze, and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.

The scope of the syllabus for optional subject papers (Paper VI and Paper VII) for the examination is broadly of the honours degree 1evel i.e. a level higher than the bachelors’ degree and lower than the masters’ degree. In the case of Engineering, Medical Science and law, the level corresponds to the bachelors’ degree.

Syllabi of the papers included in the scheme of Civil Services (Main) Examination are given as follows :—


The aim of the paper is to test the candidates’ ability to read and understand  serious discursive prose, and to express ideas clearly and correctly, in English and Indian language concerned.

The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :

  • Comprehension of given
  • Precis
  • Usage and
  • Short

Indian Languages :—

  • comprehension of given
  • Precis
  • Usage and
  • Short
  • Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.

Note 1 : The papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2 : The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).



Essay: Candidates may be required to write essays  on  multiple  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
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities,
  • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the
  • 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 — their forms and effect on the society.
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their
  • Effects of globalization on Indian
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism &
  • Salient features of world’s physical
  • 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 , 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
  • 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
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of
  • 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 Polit.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and
  • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other
  • 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
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human
  • Issues relating to poverty and
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance• applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other
  • Role of civil services in a
  • India and its neighborhood-
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.


General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Government
  • 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
  • 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
  • Land reforms in
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways
  • Investment
  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio•technology and issues relating to intellectual property
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
  • Disaster and disaster
  • Linkages between development and spread of
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal
  • 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
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


  • This paper will include questions to test the candidates’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him in dealing with Questions may utilise the case study approach to determine these aspects. The following broad areas will be covered :
  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Case Studies on above