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UPSC CSE Prelims Exam Pattern 2023

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UPSC conducts Prelims exam followed by Mains and interviews to shortlist eligible aspirants for various Group A posts in Indian Civil services. Being a UPSC candidate, you have to plan a proper strategy for each stage. After the Prelims exam, you will get only 3 to 4 months, which is not sufficient to prepare for the Mains exam. If you wish to secure enough marks to crack the prelims cutoff and want to grab the most prestigious job in the government sector then a proper understanding of the syllabus and exam pattern is a must. In this article, we have provided a detailed UPSC syllabus and exam pattern for the Prelims and Mains exam.

The syllabus is the most important aspect to lead your preparation on the right path. If you are planning to begin your preparation for UPSC 2023 exam then keep tracking your preparation with the official syllabus.

UPSC exam is conducted in three stages that are Prelims, Mains and interview or personality test. The prelims exam is an objective type paper to shortlist candidates for the main exam. The main exam consists of nine descriptive exams along with an essay and an optional paper. Candidates who qualify for all papers in the main exam will be called for an interview round.

UPSC interview is about assessing candidates’ attentiveness, intelligence, the balance of judgement and other qualities like integrity, honesty and leadership skills.

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UPSC Prelims syllabus 2023

The first stage of the UPSC exam is prelims and is qualifying in nature. This exam is conducted to shortlist candidates for the main exam. Prelims exam consists of two papers namely General Studies paper first and General Studies paper second or CSAT or civil service aptitude test. Aspirants have to secure minimum of 33% marks on CSAT paper.

Some important points to keep in mind

There will be a negative marking of one-third mark for each wrong answer but no mark will be reduced for unanswered questions. There are two marks for every correct answer in the General Studies paper first.

And 2.5 marks will be awarded for each correct answer in a paper second, CSAT.

Marks obtained in the Prelims exam will not be counted for the final merit list.

Paper second or CSAT will be a qualifying paper with a minimum mark of 33%.

Prelim syllabus for general studies paper 1

  • Current affairs of National and International importance 
  • History of India and the 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, biodiversity and climate change 
  • General Science.

Prelim syllabus for paper second CSAT

  • Comprehension 
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability. 
  • Decision making and problem-solving ability
  • General mental ability 
  • Basic numeracy 
  • Data Interpretation

UPSC mains syllabus

Candidates who qualify for the Prelims exam will be eligible to appear for the main exam. 

The main exam is the most scoring and rank deciding stage of the IAS exam process.

UPSC mains exam pattern 2023

UPSC mains exam consists of 9 papers and applicants have to score minimum qualifying marks in each subject. Both language papers are of qualifying nature and the rest of the papers will be scored.

Qualifying papers

1-Paper A

one of the Indian languages to be selected by the student from the language included in the 8th schedule to the constitution

2-Paper B English

Papers that are scoring

  1. Paper 1st Essay 
  2. paper 2nd General Studies 1
  3. papers 3rd General Studies 2
  4. paper 4th General studies 3 
  5. paper 5th General studies 4 
  6. paper 6th Optional subject paper 1 
  7. paper 6th Optional subject paper 2

Personality test or interview

The final stage of the IAS exam is a personality test or interview. The marks obtained in the interview are counted for the merit ranking process along with the Mains examination marks. 

The preparation strategies for the written exam and interview are different. 

The interview board assesses the candidate’s suitability for a civil service career and associated responsibilities. The interview panel consists of unbiased and competent observers having a record of the candidate’s career. They will judge the aspirants’ mental and social traits by asking questions for example mental alertness, clear and logical exposition, critical powers of assimilation, balance judgement, the ability for social cohesion, leadership quality, depth of interest, intellectuality and moral integrity.

Some common questions regarding IAS exam pattern

In this article, we have covered everything that you should know about the IAS exam patterns. Utilise this knowledge to make your own strategy to prepare for the IAS exam. Clearing the UPSC exam is not an easy task as lakhs of candidates appear for this exam every year but only a few are selected. 

You can clear this exam easily with the proper planning, right guidance, consistency and hard work. Hence, you need to understand the exam pattern properly to clear your doubts and have a clear picture of the exam pattern.

It is important to understand the IAS exam pattern properly because it will help to understand what to study and what to skip. Divide the syllabus according to your strengths and weaknesses.

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