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Civil Service Preliminary Syllabus 2020

IAS Syllabus 2020

The Union Public Service Commission conducts the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination every year, which is common for the all candidates applying for Civil Services Examination and Indian Forest Service Examination. This exam acts a primary mechanism for selection of candidates for the Civil Services (Main) Examination. Please download the common upsc syllabus pdf for both the exams.


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Civil Services Preliminary Exam 2020 (objective) will be conducted on 31st May 2020. The notification was issued on the 12th of February. The last date for receipt of applications was 3rd March 2020. Candidates are expected to check the eligibility criteria before going to apply. One of the primary criteria is that candidates must have Bachelors degree in any discipline from a recognized university. Candidates appearing in the final year exams can also apply. The Main Exam (written) 2020 will start from Septemper 18, 2020.

The UPSC Prelims exam is meant to serve as a screening test only. The marks of Paper 1 are alone considered for making the merit list for this exam. Only those candidates who have qualified the Prelims can write the Mains exam. The marks scored in the Prelim exam is not counted in the final tally of the Mains exam or the Interview.

The number of candidates who qualify the Prelims Exam is about twelve to thirteen times of the total of the approximate number of vacancies that has to be filled in that year in the various Services and Posts.

It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the papers of Prelim exam to be qualified for the evaluation purposes. The candidate will be disqualified in case he or she appears in only one paper of the Prelims exam.

What is the syllabus for Civil Service Preliminary Examination (2020)?

The Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II). The questions will be of multiple choice, objective type. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for the main exam. Its a one day exam with two sessions which in offline mode, where you get to mark your answers on the given space in the question paper.

Paper 1 - General Studies:

This includes areas like; Indian National Movement, Indian Polity, Basic Economic Understanding, Geography. While these are static part of the syllabus, the dynamic part includes current affairs, General Knowledge and that does not proper definition, thus making the syllabus quite vast.

Paper II - Aptitude Test:

Paper II is dynamic in nature and includes mathematics, reasoning, analytical ability, and interpersonal skills. All these areas require spot mental ability.

The Paper II is now of only qualifying nature and its mark is not counted while making the merit list. However, it is mandatory for the candidate to score minimum 33 per cent in this paper to qualify the Prelims exam.

The question papers are set both in Hindi and English. Blind candidates are allowed extra time of twenty minutes for each paper.

How to Prepare for Civil Service Prelims Examination

UPSC Civil Services Exam 2020 Prelims Syllabus Pattern

Paper - I Syllabus

General Studies - This paper marks will be counted for getting to write the Civil Services Mains exam. 200 Marks Two Hours

Paper- II (CSAT) Syllabus

Aptitude test (CSAT) - This paper is of qualifying nature, but candidate must score at least 33% marks in this paper. However, marks of this paper are not counted for writing the Mains examination. 200 Marks Two Hours

Negative Marking:

AS per the UPSC prelims syllabus, there is "Negative Marking" in the Prelims exam. For every wrong answer, 1/3rd of marks allotted for every question will be reduced from the correct tally of score. So candidates need to be extra careful while making wild guesses in the prelim exams.

IAS Prelims Syllabus

The syllabus for the Preliminary Exams for Paper-I:

The syllabus for the Preliminary Exams for Paper-II:

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problemsolving
  • 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 1: The questions in both Paper-I (current affairs) and Paper-II (aptitude test) will be of multiple choice, objective type for 200 marks each and the time allotted for each paper is two hours.

Note 2: The CSAT aptitude test or Paper-II will be a qualifying paper only with a minimum of 33% to be secured to qualify for the Mains exam.

Note 3: It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the papers of Civil Services (Prelim) examination. The candidate will be disqualified in case he or she appears in only one paper of the (Prelims) exam. So appearing in both the papers is mandatory for the evaluation of the (Prelims) exam.

A set of sample questions as per upsc syllabus for both Papers has been given below for reference for prospective candidates.

UPSC Exam Mains Syllabus for Civil Services Examination

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