UPSC Syllabus, Eligibility, Age, Qualification and Booklist: 2019

UPSC Syllabus, Eligibility, Age, Qualification and Booklist: 2019

Everything You Need To Know About UPSC: UPSC Syllabus

In this article you will know about UPSC Syllabus, pattern of UPSC exam, Eligibility of UPSC exam, Age and Qualification of UPSC CSE as well as Booklist for UPSC Prelims and Mains.

What is UPSC?

UPSC is India’s central agency which conducts exams like- Civil Service Exam. CSE(Civil service examination) is a National level competitive examination in India, conducted by Union Public Service Commission [UPSC] for the recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India.

UPSC Civil Service Exam(CSE) is conducted in three phases –

  1. Preliminary Exam
  2. Mains Exam
  3. Interview{Personality test}
upsc syllabus

List Of Services In UPSC [IAS]

All India Services

  1. Indian Administrative Service
  2. Indian Police Service 
  3. Indian Foreign Service    

Group ‘A’ Services 

  1. Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service   
  2. Indian Audit and Accounts Service   
  3. Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
  4. Indian Defence Accounts Service
  5. Indian Revenue Service (I.T.)    
  6. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
  7. Indian Postal Service   
  8. Indian Civil Accounts Service
  9. Indian Railway Traffic Service   
  10. Indian Railway Accounts Service   
  11. Indian Railway Personnel Service   
  12. Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force
  13. Indian Defence Estates Service   
  14. Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)    
  15. Indian Trade Service   
  16. Indian Corporate Law Service 

Group ‘B’ Service   

  1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer′s Grade)
  2. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
  3. Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’  
  4. . Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’   
  5. Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’ 

Challenges in UPSC Exam

In UPSC Preparation, there are two main challenge i.e. –

  • Psychological challenge
  •  Knowledge’s challenge

Psychological– As you know all of you UPSC(IAS) is the toughest exam across India, and in this exam anyone can appear who have done graduation in any stream like Science, Commerce, Arts, Doctor, Engineer, MBA. Students from all over India appear in UPSC IAS exam, and there are various attempts per person; thereby Psychological pressure generated and this is reasonable.

Knowledge– In Knowledge point of view, anything can come in the UPSC CSE exam. There are many uncertainties in this exam like how many questions will come from which subject? Now, these days almost 75% questions come from current based and there are many sources of Current Affairs like Radio news, Newspaper, Magazines, etc.
How will you handle these things?

UPSC Eligibility Criteria

For All India Services (IAS and IPS), the candidate must be a citizen of India.

For Other Services like IRS, IAAS, IRTS, etc. the candidate must be either

1. a Citizen of India, or

2. a Citizen of Nepal, or

3. a Subject of Bhutan, or

4. a Tibetan refugee, who came over to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or

5. a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Note 1: Provided that a candidate belongs to categories (2), (3), (4) or (5), he/she must have a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India.

Note 2: Further, candidates belonging to categories (2), (3) or (4) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.

Note 3A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.

1. Educational Qualification for UPSC

To be eligible to apply for an IAS officer post, a candidate must have at least one of the following education degree or qualification:

  • An education grade/degree from a Central, State or a Deemed University under the UGC Act.
  • An education grade/degree attained through correspondence or distance education course.
  • An education grade/degree on completion of the course from an open university.
  • An education grade/degree/qualification granted recognition by the Government of India in consideration of standing equivalent to one of the above.
  • An education grade/degree identified as applicable by an Act of Parliament.

Obtaining the right education degree should be the basic objective for an IAS Officer aspirant.

Candidates meeting the below criteria can also appear for the UPSC CSE:

  • Individuals who have given the graduation exam or the equivalent (relevant as per the Government of India) exam or higher examinations, and are still waiting for the exam results scheduled to appear in the same year of the IAS exam, can sit for the paper.
  • Individuals who have cleared the final MBBS degree exam but may not have finished their MBBS internship.
  • Individuals who have cleared the final paper of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI), ICSI and ICWAI.
  • Only candidates who possess a degree from a private university meeting the set conditions as specified above.
  • Only candidates who have a degree from a foreign university granted recognition by the Association of Indian Universities.

The aspirant needs to submit the proof of eligibility from the designated or practicing authority or representative from the university or institution they pursued the course from at the time of appearing for the UPSC Main Exam.

Candidates who are not able to furnish the proof will not be allowed to appear for the examination.

Any candidate who has appeared or intends to take the CSE exam and is waiting for their results is considered eligible to take the IAS preliminary exam.

They are still required to submit proof of clearing the final (education qualification) exam alongside the Detailed Application Form (DAF) submission for the UPSC CSE Mains.     

2. Age limit for UPSC IAS

The regulated age criteria for individuals who wish to take the written UPSC CSE exam is subject to many important related conditions.

Applicants should have attained a minimum age of 21 years and a maximum age permissible age of 32 years as on 1st August 2019, as per the official age criteria. This means candidates should not have been born earlier than 2nd August 1987 or after 1st August 1998.

The following table indicates the maximum age limit and the number of attempts allowed for all the categories:

CategoryAge LimitNumber of Attempts
General CategoryUpper age limit is 32 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is 6
OBC CategoryUpper age limit is 35 yearsNumber of attempts allowed is 9
SC / ST CategoryUpper age limit is 37 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is Unlimited
Physically Handicapped CategoryUpper age limit for General Category Candidates is 42 Years OBC Category Candidates is 45 Years SC/ST Category Candidates is 47 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is Unlimited in all the cases
J & K Domicile CandidatesUpper age limit for General Category Candidates is 37 Years Upper age limit for OBC Category Candidates is 40 Years Upper age limit for SC/ST Category Candidates is 42 Years Upper age limit for Physically Handicapped Candidates is 50 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is the same as specified above for the General, OBC, SC/ST, Physically Handicapped category students
Ex-Servicemen CandidatesUpper age limit for General category is 37 Years Upper age limit for OBC category is 40 Years Upper age limit for SC/ST category is 42 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is the same as specified above for the General, OBC, SC/ST, Physically Handicapped category students
Disabled Defence Services Personnel* conditionalUpper age limit for General category is 37 Years Upper age limit for OBC category is 40 Years Upper age limit for SC/ST category is 42 YearsNumber of attempts allowed is the same as specified above for the General, OBC, SC/ST, Physically Handicapped category students

How to prepare for UPSC

First of all, You should ask questions from yourself-

  • Why CSE?
  • Why IAS?
  • Why IPS?
  • Why a government job?

Ask yourself and then begin your preparation.

Is 1 year enough to prepare and crack UPSC CSE?

upsc quotes
upsc cse

The Beginning

  • Do a little research on your own about book list, pattern, and rigors of the exam.
  • Watch topper’s interviews
  • Figure out your place of preparation for the next 18 months at least (till Mains/Interview)
  • Make the environment conducive for studying(ex-maps and lighting in the room)
  • Get the book and let the fun begin

Optional Subject selection

Are you confused in optional subject selection? and thinking which optional subject is best i.e. Sociology? or History? or Geography? or Anthropology? or Public Administration? or Literature?……………………

Consider these point in the selection of optional subject and take a final decision –

  • Background/Graduation subject (is the best choice)
  • Interest
  • Availability of material nearby you/Online
  • Guidance by seniors in that subject (if available)
  • Or Select optional within 2-3 months of reading all GS.

Newspaper for UPSC IAS

A newspaper is the most crucial aspect of your preparation. Almost 70-75% of the portion coming from current based therefore current affairs preparation is very important and it can be possible through Newspaper, AIR News, and RSTV, PIB News and more online resources.

I suggest you follow THE HINDU Newspaper blindly and if possible The Indian express.

UPSC Syllabus for Prelims and Mains


  • The Examination shall comprise of two compulsory paper of 200 marks each.
  • Both the question papers will be the objective type (multiple choice questions)
  • 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 English.
  • Each paper will be of two hours duration.

General Studies – Paper I                                                   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 specialization
  • General Science

CSAT – Paper II 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)


UPSC SYLLABUS: Mains Examination

Summary of the Latest Pattern of Civil Services (Mains) Examination
Paper – A
Language -300 Marks
Candidate can take any Modern Indian language but this paper is of qualifying nature

Paper – B
English -300 Marks
This paper is of qualifying nature

Paper – I
Essay – 250 Marks
Can be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice

General Studies-I 250 Marks
(Indian Heritage and Culture,
History and Geography of the World and Society)

General Studies -II: 250 Marks
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

General Studies -III 250 Marks
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster

General Studies -IV 250 Marks
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Marks carried by General Studies papers are 4X 250=1000

Optional Subject – Paper 1 -250 Marks
Optional Subject – Paper II -250 Marks

The candidate is allowed to take up literature as an optional subject “without the condition of having it at the graduation level.”

Sub Total (Written test) 1750 Marks-
Marks of English and Language will not be counted in the total tally of marks for the
written exam. So, the total of the Mains exam will be 1750 Marks Only.

Interview/Personality Test – 275 marks
This part of the exam comes only after the results of the mains exams are declared.
Candidates can give preference for the language in which they may like to be
interviewed. UPSC will make arrangement for the translators. THE marks fetched in
this stage of the exam is combined with the marks obtained in the UPSC mains.

Grand Total 2025 Marks

A candidate is allowed to use any one language from the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution or English as the medium of writing the examination.

UPSC Syllabus for Mains Examination in details 


Essay – 250 MarksTo be written in the medium or language of the candidate’s choice.
The candidate is required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of subjects will be given. They are expected to keep their thoughts closely to the subject and arrange their ideas in orderly fashion and be concise. Credit will be given to effective and coherent expression.


General Studies-I 250 Marks (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, redrawing 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 the 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: 250 Marks (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 disputes redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries

Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, the 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 the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
Important aspects of governance, transparency, and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Role of civil services in a democracy.

India and its neighborhood- 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 250 Marks (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity,
Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

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. indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology 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 non-state 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

Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate


General Studies -IV 250 Marks (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

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 society. Questions may utilize 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 relationships.

Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and
administrators; the role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior;
moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance, and compassion
towards the weaker-sections.

Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and

Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the 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 the above issues.


Optional Subject – Paper I -250 Marks


Optional Subject – Paper II -250 Marks

Interview/Personality Test – 275 Marks

1. The candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his/her
career. He/she will be asked questions on matters of general interest. The object of the
interview is to assess the personal suitability of the candidate for a career in public service by
a Board of competent and unbiased observers. The test is intended to judge the mental
caliber of a candidate. In broad terms, this is really an assessment of not only his/her
intellectual qualities but also social traits and his/her interest in current affairs. Some of the
qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical
exposition, a balance of judgment, variety, and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion
and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.
2. The technique of the interview 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 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.

UPSC Optional Syllabus 

Here are the list of all optional subjects syllabus for UPSC Mains Exam

Booklist for UPSC Prelims and Mains

upsc prelims booklist
upsc booklist for mains


  • Make your own Notes
  • Concise and Easy to carry
  • Easier to revise
  • Things You write down will stick in your memory better


  • Knowledge gained by reading is put to test in a limited period of time so, practice in a simulated environment(cold or summer)
  • Join any test series (Online/Offline)- evaluate where you failed in these tests
  • Mains – answer writing practice from various online resources

Other Resources

Since this exam is very wide so only a few sources are not sufficient therefore follow these resources-

  • RSTV – Desh desantar/ Big picture
  • Down to earth magazine
  • website, Livemint, BBC, and AIR audio news
  • IDSA website
  • PIB updates
  • Study IQ videos for current affairs
  • Social media accounts of various ministers, UN organizations for information on different reports/news policies


A timetable for 12 months (overview)
  • 6 months- Complete GS static syllabus+NCERT+Standard books
  • 4 months – Optional subject
  • 3 month – Revision + Practice

           =12 Months

Why Previous year Qs?
Pattern and previous year Questions

  • Helps in outcome based study
  • Helps you filter relevant subtopics
  • Gives an idea about the mindset of UPSC


  • Coaching institutes will make me an IAS officer
  • Only very intelligent people can clear this exam
  • You need to study everything under the Sun (that is not the case)

Also Read …

UPSC Syllabus in Hindi  Click here

Books for UPSC Prelims Click here

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