UPSC Syllabus 2023 and Exam Pattern, Know Important Topics

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UPSC Syllabus 2023

Starting the preparation journey for the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) requires a thorough understanding of its syllabus and exam pattern. We will break down the details of the UPSC CSE by providing a comprehensive overview of its syllabus and exam pattern. From the three stages of the examination to the detailed subjects and topics covered, we will provide you with the knowledge necessary to navigate this rigorous selection process successfully. In this blog, we will provide you with the UPSC Syllabus 2023 and Exam Pattern.


UPSC Exam Pattern 2023

UPSC CSE exam is held in three phases in order to arrive at a merit list for the available vacancies. The three phases are:

  • UPSC Prelims
  • UPSC Mains
  • Interview

The exam pattern of each exam is presented in a tabular format as follows

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

PaperNo. of Qs.MarksExam Duration
General Studies Paper-I (GS Paper 1)100200 Marks2 Hours
CSAT- Paper–II80200 Marks2 Hours

Note: UPSC Prelims Paper 1 marks will be counted to determine the merit list whereas the CSAT Paper-II will be of qualifying in nature (33% marks required).

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern

PaperUPSC Mains Exam PapersDurationMarks
Paper – ACompulsory Indian Language (One of the Indian Languages to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution)3 Hours300 Marks
Paper – BCompulsory English3 Hours300 Marks
Paper – IEssay3 Hours250 Marks
Paper-IIGeneral Studies–I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – IIIGeneral Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – IVGeneral Studies– III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – VGeneral Studies– IV (Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – VIOptional Paper– I (Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects)3 Hours250 Marks
Paper – VIIOptional Paper-II3 Hours250 Marks
Total1750 Marks
Personality Test/Interview275 Marks

Note: Papers A & B is of Qualifying in Nature (25% i.e. 75 marks required). Whereas marks of Paper I to VII will be counted to determine the final order of merit.

UPSC Interview

  • Candidates who have cleared the UPSC Mains Exam are called for an interview or a personality test, here the candidates are interviewed by a board that is appointed by the UPSC.
  • The candidate will be interviewed by a board based on the details and interests updated by him/her in the Detailed Application Form (DAF).
  • The objective of the interview is to assess the suitability of the candidate for civil services
  • In the personality test, the candidates must be very well versed in their field of study as well as current affairs both at the national and international levels.
  • This interview is more of a conversation that is aimed at gauging the mental as well as the analytical ability of the candidate.
  • The grand total is arrived at by adding the marks obtained in the mains exam and the interview out of the maximum possible marks of ( 1750 +275 = 2025). Based on this number, the merit list is prepared.

UPSC Syllabus

UPSC released the official notification on 1st February 2023 and a detailed syllabus was also released along with the notification. Candidates must check the syllabus for both the prelims and mains in order to have a clear understanding of the exam.

UPSC CSE Prelims Syllabus 2023

UPSC prelims consist of 2 papers:

  • Paper 1 – General Studies
  • Paper 2 – CSAT

Note* Download the notification for the detailed list of topics for each paper

Syllabus for UPSC General Studies Paper (Paper I)

  • 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
  • General Science.

Syllabus for UPSC CSAT Paper (Paper-II)

  • 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 Mains Syllabus 2023

UPSC Syllabus for Mains Examination consists of the syllabus of GS papers and Optional papers. UPSC Mains Syllabus 2023 is mentioned in detail in the official notification.

Paper – IEssay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)
Paper-IIGeneral Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
Paper – IIIGeneral Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)
Paper – IVGeneral Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)
Paper – VGeneral Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)
Paper – VIOptional Subject – Paper I
Paper – VIIOptional Subject – Paper II

We hope this blog gave you a better understanding of the UPSC Syllabus 2023. To read more such blogs, visit the Oliveboard website!

UPSC Syllabus 2023 – Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 Is UPSC Preliminary examination qualifying in nature?

Ans. Yes, UPSC Preliminary examination is qualifying in nature and the marks obtained in this exam will not be considered for the final merit list.

Q.2 Will there be negative markings in the UPSC Prelims?

Ans. Yes, only the prelims of UPSC CSE have a negative marking.

Q.3 From where can I check the UPSC Syllabus 2023?

Ans. Candidates can check the detailed UPSC Syllabus 2023 in this blog.


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