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UPSC Examination 2024: Eligibility, Syllabus & Preparation

This article discusses the UPSC Examination covering the UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains, their syllabus, preparation strategies in detail.


The UPSC Examination, is held annually by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The official notification for the IAS Exam 2024 was released on February 14, 2024. The preliminary phase of the UPSC Examination for 2024 is set to occur on May 26, 2024, while the mains will commence on September 20, 2024. Once the final stage of the IAS 2023, which is the interview stage, concludes, the UPSC Exam for 2024 will commence.

Important Dates

According to the UPSC Notification 2024, below mentioned dates are deemed important.

Date Of Notification14th Feb 2024
Exam Registration Commencement Date14th Feb 2024
Last Date To Fill The Application5th Mar 2024 till 6PM
UPSC CSE Mains Exams20th Sept 2024

UPSC Examination: Prelims

The most recent announcement from the Union Public Service Commission has revealed the syllabus for the UPSC Prelims. The UPSC Prelims Exam for 2023 occurred on May 28th, 2023, while the forthcoming UPSC Prelims 2024 is slated for May 26th, 2024. With General Studies (GS) 1 and GS 2 (CSAT) papers constituting the initial phase, candidates must thoroughly understand the UPSC Prelims Syllabus to prepare effectively for the upcoming IAS Exam. Encompassing subjects such as history, geography, economics, science, polity, and current affairs, the UPSC Prelims Syllabus provides comprehensive coverage across various topics.

General Studies: Paper 1

Duration2 Hours
Total Questions100
Total Marks200
Mode of ExamEnglish/Hindi
Correct Answer+2
Wrong Answer-0.66 (-1/3 of the total allotted marks to the question)
Question TypeMCQ

GS Paper 1: Syllabus

The UPSC Prelims Syllabus for 2024 outlines several key areas assessed in the exam, including Indian Polity, History, Indian and World Geography, Economic and Social Development, Environmental Ecology, Current Affairs, and General Science.

  1. Indian Polity and Governance: This section covers topics such as the Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, and Rights Issues.
  2. History: This encompasses the History of India and major events, along with the Indian National Movement.
  3. Indian and World Geography: This includes the Physical, Social, and Economic Geography of India and the World.
  4. Economic and Social Development: This addresses aspects like Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, and Social Sector initiatives.
  5. Environmental Ecology: This discusses general issues concerning Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change without requiring specialized subject knowledge.
  6. Current Affairs: This focuses on current events of both national and international significance.
  7. General Science: This examines the latest topics related to science and technology.

To know about the UPSC Prelims Syllabus in detail, click here

General Studies: Paper 2

General Studies Paper 2, also known as CSAT, serves as a qualifying examination, meaning candidates must score above a predefined minimum cut-off to progress to the UPSC Mains examination. Successfully clearing the cut-off for this aptitude-based exam is mandatory to qualify for the UPSC Mains examination.

Duration2 Hours
Total Questions80
Total Marks200
Correct Answer+2.5
Wrong Answer-0.83
Un-attempted QuestionNo Marking
Qualifying Marks66

GS Paper 2: Syllabus

General Mental Ability:

  • Application in Time and Work Problems
  • Proficiency in solving Mixtures and Allegations
  • Calculation of Simple Interest and Compound Interest
  • Application of Permutation and Combination
  • Solving problems related to Pipes and Cisterns
  • Application of Mensuration formulas
  • Solving problems related to Time, Speed, and Distance
  • Understanding concepts related to Boats and Streams
  • Application of Partnership problems
  • Proficiency in Geometry
  • Understanding Algebraic expressions

Basic Numeracy:

  • Understanding of Number System
  • Application of Divisibility Rules
  • Utilization of Remainder Theorem
  • Mastery of Square Roots & Cube Roots
  • Handling Surds & Indices
  • Proficiency in Ratio & Proportion
  • Grasp of Percentages
  • Competence in Averages
  • Fluency in Decimal Fractions
  • Knowledge of HCF & LCM
  • Skill in Simplification
  • Understanding Set Theory

Data Interpretation:

  • Analysis of data presented in Charts
  • Interpretation of information using Venn Diagrams
  • Solving Mathematical Puzzles
  • Arranging elements in Seating Arrangement problems
  • Understanding and solving Case lets
  • Decision Making based on given information

Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability:

  • Decoding patterns in Coding and Decoding
  • Identifying relationships in Analogies
  • Recognizing patterns in Series
  • Application of Mathematical Reasoning
  • Determining rank in Ranking problems
  • Analyzing Statements and Assumptions
  • Evaluating Statements and Arguments
  • Understanding Cause and Effect relationships
  • Interpretation of Punch Lines
  • Solving problems related to Clocks
  • Understanding Calendars
  • Application of concepts in Cubes and Dice

Problem Solving Skills:

  • Application of Critical Thinking
  • Analysis of problems
  • Making informed Judgements
  • Drawing Conclusions and Arguments
  • Assessing problems intelligently
  • Applying Analytical Reasoning
  • Effective Resolution of problems


  • Understanding passages in Reading Comprehensions
  • Building Vocabulary
  • Drawing Inferences and Conclusions
  • Summarizing passages effectively
  • Evaluating information critically

Interpersonal Skills:

  • Effective Communication skills
  • Utilizing Emotional Intelligence
  • Application of Problem Solving techniques

To know about the UPSC Prelims Syllabus in detail, click here

UPSC Examination: Mains

Candidates who have successfully passed the preliminary exams are eligible to participate in the Mains exams. Meeting the qualifying criteria for each paper at this stage is crucial, as it directly impacts their scores and rankings. The Mains exam assesses a candidate’s academic knowledge and their ability to articulate their understanding effectively within the specified time frame and according to the question’s requirements. It is mandatory for candidates to attain the minimum passing marks in all nine papers of the mains exam. The language papers, namely English and Indian Language papers, are considered qualifying papers, while the remaining papers, including GS-I, GS-II, GS-III, GS-IV, Essay paper, Optional Paper 1, and Paper 2, are graded.

Qualifying Papers:

PaperNameTotal Marks
Paper AEnglish300
Paper BAny Indian Language300

Languages to choose from: According to the UPSC Examination Syllabus, candidates can choose one language from the below listed languages.

  1. Assamese
  2. Bengali
  3. Hindi
  4. Gujrati
  5. Nepali
  6. Punjabi
  7. Sanskrit
  8. Tamil
  9. Telugu
  10. Urdu
  11. Sindhi
  12. Odia
  13. Bodo
  14. Dogri
  15. Santali
  16. Marathi
  17. Maithili
  18. Kashmiri
  19. Manipuri
  20. Kannada
  21. Malayalam
  22. Konkani

Merit Papers:

PaperNameTotal Marks
Paper 1Essay Paper250
Paper 2General Studies I250
Paper 3General Studies II250
Paper 4General Studies III250
Paper 5General Studies IV250
Paper 6Optional Subject-I250
Paper 7Optional Subject-II250

UPSC Mains Exam Structure: Paper A & Paper B

Total Marks300 Marks/ paper
Duration3 Hours/ paper
Essay100 Marks
Reading Comprehension60 Marks
Grammar40 Marks
Precis Writing60 Marks
Translation(i) English to a compulsory language (20 Marks)
(ii) Compulsory language to English (20 Marks)
Qualifying Marks75 Marks/ paper

UPSC Mains Exam Structure: Merit Based Paper

EssayNo Prescribed Syllabus Provided By UPSC
GS-I(i) Indian Culture
(ii) Modern Indian History
(iii) History & Geography Of The World
GS-II(i) Indian Constitution
(ii) Governance
(iii) Polity
(iv) International Relations
GS-III(i) Indian Economy
(ii) Environment
(iii) Science and Technology
(iv) Disaster Management
(v) Security
GS-IV(i) Ethics and Human Values
(ii) Attitude
(iii) Aptitude

(iv) Ethics In Public Administration
(v) Emotional Intelligence
Optional Paper- IOne Out of 25 Subjects Has To Be Chosen
Optional Paper- IIOne Out of 25 Subjects Has To Be Chosen

Optional Subjects To Choose From:

  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Commerce & Accountancy
  • Economics
  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Chemistry
  • History
  • Law
  • Botany
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Zoology
  • Physics
  • Philosophy
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Statistics
  • Public Administration
  • Medical Science
  • Geology
  • Psychology
  • Political Science & International Relations
  • Anthropology
  • Civil Engineering

For detailed UPSC Mains Examination Syllabus, click here

UPSC Subject-Wise Preparation Strategy

Indian Polity

  1. NCERT Books: Begin your preparation with NCERT textbooks focusing on Indian Polity, such as “Indian Constitution at Work” (Class 11) and “Political Theory” (Class 11).
  2. Learn About Indian Constitution: Study deeply about the Indian Constitution, considering it the cornerstone of Indian Polity. Familiarize yourself with its articles, schedules, and amendments, and create detailed notes highlighting key provisions. Stay abreast of current political developments in India and globally.
  3. Learn fundamental concepts: Learn fundamental concepts such as federalism, separation of powers, fundamental rights, and directive principles. Give particular emphasis to areas like the parliamentary system, elections, and governance.
  4. Solve Previous Years’ Papers: Solve previous years’ UPSC question papers to grasp the question patterns and difficulty levels, aiding in better preparation.


To excel in the UPSC history optional subject, follow these steps:

  1. Understand the UPSC Syllabus: Begin by thoroughly grasping the UPSC syllabus for the history optional subject. This provides a clear roadmap for your preparation.
  2. NCERT Books: Start your preparation with NCERT textbooks for history spanning classes 6 to 12. These books offer a solid foundation and cover essential historical concepts.
  3. Note-taking: While studying, make concise and organized notes. This practice facilitates quick revisions and helps in retaining crucial information effectively.
  4. Analyze Previous Year Question Papers: Analyze UPSC previous year question papers to discern the pattern and types of questions asked. This examination of past papers offers valuable insights into the exam’s expectations and aids in refining your preparation strategy.


  1. Begin with NCERT Textbooks: Lay the groundwork with NCERT geography textbooks. Start with “Fundamentals of Physical Geography” (Class 11) and “India – Physical Environment” (Class 11) for fundamental concepts. Progress to advanced topics using “India – People and Economy” (Class 12) and “Fundamentals of Human Geography” (Class 12).
  2. Atlas Books and Map Reading: Utilize atlas books like the “Oxford School Atlas” or “Atlas of the World” to enhance map reading skills. Understand concepts like latitude, longitude, and various map types.
  3. Focus on Core Concepts: Grasp fundamental geographical concepts such as climate, landforms, population, urbanization, and regional geography. Utilize diagrams, charts, and maps to reinforce your understanding.
  4. Practice Map-based Questions: Regularly practice map-based questions, as they are frequently encountered in the Prelims examination.
  5. Solve Previous Year Question Papers: Analyze previous years’ UPSC question papers to familiarize yourself with the question patterns and level of difficulty, aiding in better preparation.


  1. Understand the UPSC Economics Syllabus: Begin by thoroughly understanding the economics syllabus outlined by UPSC. Access the syllabus for both Prelims and Mains on the official UPSC website. Create a checklist of topics to cover based on the syllabus.
  2. NCERT Books: Lay the foundation with NCERT textbooks for economics. Start with “Indian Economic Development” (Class 11) and “Macroeconomics” (Class 12).
  3. Stay Updated with Current Economic Issues: Stay abreast of current economic issues in India and globally by regularly reading newspapers like The Hindu, The Indian Express, and Business Standard.
  4. Analyze Economic Survey and Union Budget: Analyze the Economic Survey and the Union Budget of India as they are crucial sources for UPSC economics questions. Focus on understanding key economic indicators, policies, and initiatives.
  5. Refer to Economic Journals and Magazines: Supplement your knowledge by reading economic journals like the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) and magazines like Yojana.
  6. Emphasize Current Affairs: Economics is a dynamic subject, and current affairs play a significant role in UPSC examination. Stay updated with recent developments, practice writing, and develop a comprehensive understanding of economic concepts to excel in the CSE.

Environment And Ecology

  1. Stay Updated with Current Environmental Developments: Regularly read newspapers, magazines, and online sources to stay updated on environmental policies, conservation efforts, and international agreements.
  2. Subscribe to Environmental Magazines: Consider subscribing to magazines like “Down To Earth” and “Environment and Ecology” for comprehensive coverage of environmental issues and solutions.
  3. Study Major Environmental Laws and Policies: Familiarize yourself with major environmental laws and policies in India, including the Wildlife Protection Act, Forest Conservation Act, and the National Action Plan on Climate Change.
  4. Understand India’s Biodiversity: Gain knowledge about India’s rich biodiversity, wildlife conservation efforts, and the significance of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and biosphere reserves.
  5. Learn About Climate Change: Understand climate change, its impact on India, and the country’s initiatives to combat it, including commitments under international agreements like the Paris Agreement.
  6. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): Understand the EIA process and its significance in environmental governance. Learn how environmental clearances are granted for development projects.
  7. Connect Environmental Issues with Other Subjects: Recognize the interconnectedness of environment and ecology with subjects like economics, governance, and public health to understand their holistic impact.
  8. Government Policies and Initiatives: Be well-versed in government policies and initiatives related to the environment and ecology, such as the National Action Plan on Climate Change and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Art And Culture

  1. Study Historical Background and Evolution: Dive into the historical background and evolution of Indian art and culture. Explore the contributions of different dynasties, empires, and periods to India’s rich cultural heritage.
  2. Explore Various Art Forms: Learn about the diverse Indian art forms, encompassing classical and folk forms. Delve into the characteristics and significance of classical dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, and Odissi, as well as music forms like Hindustani and Carnatic music.
  3. Familiarize with Artists and Personalities: Familiarize yourself with renowned artists, musicians, dancers, and their notable contributions to Indian art and culture.
  4. Understand Architectural Styles: Study the architectural styles exhibited in various historical monuments and temples across India. Understand the distinct features and significance of architectural styles such as Dravidian, Nagara, Mughal, and Indo-Islamic architecture.
  5. Discover Cultural Practices and Festivals: Explore the cultural practices, traditions, and festivals prevalent in different regions of India. Gain insights into the cultural significance of festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Eid, and others.
  6. Connect Art and Culture with Current Affairs: Relate your knowledge of art and culture to current affairs topics, particularly when discussing the preservation of cultural heritage, cultural policies, and government initiatives aimed at promoting and safeguarding Indian art and culture.

Science And Technology

  1. Stay Updated with Current Developments: Remain informed about the latest developments in science and technology by regularly reading newspapers, magazines, and online sources.
  2. Explore Reputable Websites: Explore reputable websites such as the Department of Science and Technology and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for official information and updates.
  3. Study Major Scientific Institutions: Study the major scientific institutions and research organizations in India, including ISRO, DRDO, CSIR, and ICMR, and their contributions to science and technology.
  4. Address Ethical and Social Issues: Be prepared to discuss ethical and social issues related to science and technology, such as privacy concerns, biotechnology ethics, and the impact of automation on employment, in essays and answers.
  5. Connect with Other Subjects: Connect science and technology with other subjects like environment, governance, and economics. Understand how technological innovations influence various aspects of society and governance.

UPSC Interview

Candidates who have passed the UPSC Civil Services Main Examination 2024 are eligible for the UPSC Interview 2024. To proceed, qualified individuals must submit the Detailed Application Form II (DAF-II) online through

Join iQuanta’s dedicated UPSC Facebook group to get latest updates, daily quiz and be a part of the winning clan.

Indrajeet Singh
Indrajeet Singh
The mastermind behind IQuanta, Indrajeet Singh is an expert in Quant and has devised some ingenious formulae and shortcuts to significantly cut down on the time taken to solve a problem

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