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IAS Exam 2018 – Subjects & Syllabus

The IAS subjects as per the ics syllabus includes mostly all the subjects that we covered in school in the name of general studies. One has to study those and more. The IAS exam syllabus given by UPSC may appear simple on face value but requires a lot of study and understanding of each subject and its portions. The subjects in civil services are designed to judge you on your understanding of things around you as only and informed person can take informed decisions as a civil servant. IAS officers are policy makers and most of the services within the CS includes dealing with people and policies. It is with great deligence that subjects in the ias exam are chosen.

The UPSC Syllabus is divided into three sections:

Preliminary Syllabus

It is designed to evaluate a persons' understanding of current affairs and tests their ability in short duration of time. The preliminary paper is a compulsory and qualifying paper. Aspirant must clear the prelims exam to qualify to the next stage of the exam called Mains Exam. The prelims exam has two papers General Studies Paper I and General Studies (CSAT) Paper II (qualifying in nature) carrying a maximum of 400 marks.

UPSC Subjects for Prelims

The syllabus for the Preliminary Exams for Paper-I consists of 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 and General Science. This means that the subjects to be covered are roughly

  1. History
  2. Geography
  3. Political Science / Civics
  4. Economics
  5. General Science - Physics, Chemistry & Biology
  6. Environmental Science
  7. Sociology
We propose that all NCERT books related to these subjects must be read well.

Mains Syllabus

The mains syllabus for optional papers is generally of the honours degree level that is between the bachelors degree and the masters degree. It contains 9 papers, where there are two qualifying papers and seven papers counted for ranking and syllabus is framed according to the subjects with total of 1750 marks.

IAS Subjects for Mains

The syllabus for the mains is more widespread and teh subjects are roughly the same as the prelims except teh focus on Dissaster management, government policies and Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude. If you are preparing for the IAS exam we recommend that you prepare the same syllabus as the mains for your prelims too in the first level and during revisions you can focus only on what is mentioned in the prelims IAS exam syllabus.

Interview (Personality Test)

The UPSC Interview/personality test has no prescribed syllabus. The candidates will be interviewed by a Board of competent and unbiased members and will be questioned on matters of general interest and the candidate will be evaluated not only based on their intellectual qualities but also on social traits, interest in current affairs, mental alertness, critical power of adaptation, rational exposition, balance of judgment, variety and depth of interest, ability for social interconnection and leadership, logical and moral uprightness

What are the optional subjects in Mains exam?

Here is a list of subjects that can be taken as optional paper in the Civil Services (Mains) examination. The list is as per the UPSC prescribed subjects. Once you click on the listed links you will find all resources regarding that IAS exam paper and the syllabus. Knowing the IAS Syllabus thoroughly is one of the most important sections of making through the IAS exam conducted by UPSC.


UPSC subjects for IAS (Mains) Exam


IAS Academy Bangalore

Optional IAS subjects for Social Science


Optional IAS subjects for Science Subjects


IAS exam subjects of Engineering


Optional subjects for IAS exam for Commerce and Management


UPSC Optional IAS subjects for Indian Languages


UPSC Optional subjects for Foreign Languages


Useful Tips For Civil Services Exams

  1. IAS Exam Strategy
  2. Prelims Exam Syllabus 2018
  3. How To Prepare For Prelims
  4. Mains Examination Syllabus
  5. How to Choose Mains Subjects
  6. Guidance for Mains exam
  7. General Studies
  8. Essays for Mains
  9. English (Qualifying nature) for Mains
  10. Indian Languages for Mains
  11. Preparing for Mains
  12. How to Read
  13. How to Prepare Notes
  14. UPSC Question Papers
  15. UPSC Interview Questions