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How to track UPSC

Preliminary Examination (Usually takes place in May or June)

Stage I

Paper I Paper II (Qualifying only, Marks will not be added for cutoff calculations)
General Studies Apptitude
1. History of India and Indian national movement 1. Comprehension
2. Indian and World Geography- Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the world 2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills
3. Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political system, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights issues, etc. 3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
4. Economic and Social development – sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives etc. 4. Decision making and problem solving
5. General issues on environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate change-that donot require subject specialization 5. General mental ability
6. General science 6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) (Class X level), Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)
8. Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level. (No Hindi Translation will be given for this part only)
Duration – 2 Hours Morning Slot – 9:30 am to 11:30 am
Total Marks – 100 Questions X 2 = 200 Marks
1/3rd Negative for wrong Answers
Duration – 2 Hours Evening Slot – 2:30 pm to 04:30 pm
Total Marks – 80 Questions X 2.5 = 200 Marks
1/3rd Negative for wrong Answers

Exam Pattern

Exam Pattern

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Suggestive Booklet

Suggestive Booklet

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.


Exam Pattern

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Strategy and Suggestive Booklist

Stage I - Preliminary Examination

  • The Basic purpose of the preliminary examination is to screen out the non-serious and naïve candidates. UPSC asks questions from the concepts of basic understanding along with the current awareness to judge the analytical and awareness capability of the candidate. The paper I is being called as GENERAL STUDIES and the UPSC is stating it as GENERAL, thus it is being literal in the nature of the examination. So, aspirants have to take it as in general sense only without doing graduation and PhD on the concepts.
  • Just STUDY ( not learn or cram ) the subjects thoroughly and do the same activity atleast 5 times ( so that it will retain in your brain without cramming it. You cannot cram all of the curriculum. You are not a computer) before appearing in the examination. Do not, we repeat, DO NOT appear in the examination or any test series without preparing for that. Either you’ll depress yourself or lose the motivation for that.
  • Just do not, again we repeat DO NOT gather the study material just because you have been told by your Uncle’s friend’s son who is preparing or prepared. Just read the material you already have 5 times and then move to other material. The list given here is already very exhaustive and more than enough if you can study them 5 times prior to your prelims.

(Download Comprehensive study Material from the Institute, compiled from all the standard books and NCERTs along with the notes of the faculty and selected candidates and also get the one to one Strategy)

General Studies PAPER 1


  • Ancient History – Old NCERTs ( Approx. 5-7 questions )
  • Medieval History – Old NCERTs ( Approx. 1 or None )
  • Modern History – Old NCERTs, Bipin Chandra/R.C. Guha/Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir ( Approx. 10-12 questions )
  • Majority of the Questions in the prelims will be from Modern India and also it will cover a major portion in the Mains, so, detailed understanding and analysis is required with this part.


  • Physical Geography – NCERTs from 6th to 12th Class ( Approx. 6-7 questions )
  • Indian Geography – NCERTs from 6th to 12th Class ( Approx. 5-6 questions )
  • World Geography – Majid Hussain ( Approx. 2 questions )
  • Human Geography – NCERTs 12th Class ( Approx. 2 questions )

Indian Economy

  • NCERTs – 11th and 12th
  • Ramesh Singh – Selective Chapters
  • Economic Survey ( Approx. 12-15 questions )

Indian Polity

  • M Laxmikanth ( Approx. 15-20 questions)

General Science

  • NCERTs – 6th to 10th Class
  • Physics – Selina Publications 9th and 10th Class (Without doing numerical and formulae(Approx. 6-8 question))
  • Chemistry – Selina Publications 9th and 10th Class (Without doing numerical and formulae(Approx. 6-8 question))
  • Biology – Selina Publications 9th and 10th Class (Without doing numerical and formulae(Approx. 6-8 question))
  • Questions will be of the basic kind specifically from GENERAL science. So, in that case, you do not have to do a Ph.D. on the subjects. Just a general understanding of your surrounding is required.

Science and Technology

  • The Hindu Sci. and Tech.
  • Questions in this section will be current affairs specifically.


  • Shankar IAS Book
  • Ministry of Environment and Forests (Approx. 15-20 questions)

Art and Culture

  • NCERTs 11th and 12th
  • CCRT Website
  • Nitin Singhania (too much info though) (Approx. 5-8 questions)

Current Awareness

  • Online various sources
  • The Hindu OR Indian Express (Approx. 8-10 questions)

PAPER 2 Aptitude

Comprehension (approx. 25-30 questions)

  • Regular reading of the news paper and practice papers from any online source

Interpersonal skills including communication skills (approx. 7-10 questions)

  • TMH General Studies Manual for paper II

Logical reasoning and analytical ability (approx. 7-10 questions)

  • R.S. Aggarwal for reasoning

Decision making and problem solving (approx. 5-7 questions)

  • TMH Manual for paper II

General mental ability (approx. 5-7 questions)

  • R.S. Aggarwal Reasoning

Basic numeracy and Data Interpretation (approx. 5-10 questions)

  • R.S. Aggarwal and M Tyra or Fast Track Mathematics

English Language Comprehension skills (Approx. 10 questions)

  • Regular Reading and Any online source.

Practice, Practice and Practice. Is all about this paper. You have to score passing marks i.e. 66/200 only. The marks of paper II will not be counted in the final merit of the prelims. But That doesn’t mean you have to take it lightly. Many strong contenders of MAINS examinations flunked out from the prelims only just because they failed to score 66 marks in paper II. So, take it seriously.

Stage 2 - Mains Examination

  • General Studies 1, 2, 3 and 4 – 250 marks each – 1000 Marks
  • Optional Paper 1 and 2 – 250 Marks Each – 500 Marks


  • 1. Essay paper – 250 Marks
  • 2. Language paper ( English and Hindi ) 250 Marks each ( qualifying only ) – 500 marks
  • Total – 1750 marks

UPSC assesses the comprehension capacity of the aspirant by the stage of examination. Once, you have cleared prelims, clearly, you are enough capable to learn the things. Now is the stage where your capability to comprehend the learnt part will be judged. UPSC will be asking questions from the current awareness only and your diverse understanding of the concept will be judged along with the proficiency of yours to comprehend that part into given word limit (150 or 250 words questions). You will have to cover the questions within the stipulated time and the word limit only. You have to prioritise between most important, important and least important into your answer sheets and pen them down as being asked.

No ornamental language is required in the Mains examination. People have this myth in their minds that UPSC requires bombastic English like The Hindu, since you have been following it( the newspaper) and it is obvious that you might develop the vocab of the newspaper and will be putting it down into you answer sheets as well. It will be a disaster. You have to write your answers in a layman language (English of 12 standard) which anyone shall understand even without the basic understanding of the concept you’re writing about. Since, you have covered so much books during the preparation of prelims (70%) , for mains, you just have to put little extra efforts to cover 30% of the new portion of the syllabus you’ll encounter in mains.

General studies 1 – 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 or 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, redrawal 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.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society.
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
  • Salient features of world’s physical geography. Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); 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 waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes

Additional Booklist for GS 1

Indian Society by Ram Ahuja

Selected material from IGNOU

History NCERTs 8th to 10th class

ICSE Board History books 9th and 10th class

Yojana and Kurukshetra ( last 1 year )

General Studies Paper 2 – 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 dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
  • Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, 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 development and management of Social Sector or 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.

Additional Booklist GS 2

Ministry of External Affairs

IGNOU BA and MA notes of IR

Foreign policy by SumitGanguly or Rajiv Sikri ( not Both )

Follow the Current Affairs

General Studies Paper 3 – 250 Marks

(Technology, Economic 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.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology 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 terrorism.
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Additional Booklist for GS 3

Book on Internal Security by IPS Amit Kumar

Follow the Current Affairs

Follow the related editions in Yojana

NCERTs social sciences 6th to 12th

General Studies Paper 4 – 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 utilise 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 Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections.
  • Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and 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.
  • Case Studies on above issues.

Additional Booklist for GS 4

Administrative Reforms Commission Report

Lexicon by Niraj Kumar

Stage 3 – Personal Interview– 275 Marks

  • Grand Total – 2025
  • All the best ….!
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