UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024, Know the Complete UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus

UPSC Mains Syllabus

UPSC Mains Syllabus: The UPSC Mains Syllabus is very vast and need to be understood by the UPSC aspirants before starting the UPSC Mains Preparation. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is India’s premier central recruiting agency responsible for conducting the Civil Services Examination. The examination is a multi-stage process that comprises the Preliminary Examination (Prelims), Main Examination (Mains), and the Personality Test (Interview). Among these, the UPSC Mains holds paramount importance as it assesses the in-depth knowledge, analytical skills, and overall understanding of candidates on a wide range of subjects. In this article, we will decode the UPSC Mains syllabus to provide a comprehensive guide for aspirants.

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024 Overview

Below is the Overview of the UPSC Mains Syllabus:

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus Overview

UPSC Mains Paper  UPSC Mains Subject  UPSC Mains Syllabus
Paper I Essay Writing Candidates are required to write essays on multiple topics covering social, political, and economic issues
Paper II General Studies I Indian Heritage and Culture, History, Geography, and Society of India and the World
Paper III General Studies II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, International Relations, and related topics
Paper IV General Studies III Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management
Paper V General Studies IV Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
Paper VI Optional Subject Paper I Candidates have the option to choose one subject from the list of approved subjects
Paper VII Optional Subject Paper II Candidates have the option to choose one subject from the list of approved subjects
Paper VIII Indian Language (Qualifying Paper) Candidates have the option to choose one subject from the list of approved subjects
Paper IX English (Qualifying Paper) Candidates need to demonstrate proficiency in the English language

UPSC Mains Syllabus in Detail

Below is the detailed UPSC Mains Syllabus:

I. General Studies Papers

  1. Paper-I: Essay (250 Marks): The essay paper aims to test candidates’ ability to express their thoughts coherently and concisely on various issues. It covers a wide range of topics, including social, economic, political, cultural, and philosophical aspects. Aspirants should develop their writing skills and be well-versed with current affairs to tackle this paper effectively.
  2. Paper-II: General Studies-I (250 Marks): This paper focuses on Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society. Aspirants should study topics like Indian art and architecture, ancient and medieval history, world history, and social issues related to globalization, poverty, and urbanization.
  3. Paper-III: General Studies-II (250 Marks): General Studies-II encompasses topics such as Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations. Aspirants should have a thorough understanding of the Indian political system, public policy, and the various challenges faced by the country.
  4. Paper-IV: General Studies-III (250 Marks): This paper examines Economic Development, Technology, Environment, Biodiversity, Disaster Management, Security, and related topics. Aspirants should focus on concepts like sustainable development, agriculture, industry, and disaster management policies.
  5. Paper-V: General Studies-IV (250 Marks): General Studies-IV evaluates candidates on Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. Aspirants should delve into topics like ethics and human interface, emotional intelligence, and ethical governance to develop a well-rounded perspective.

II. Optional Subject Papers

Candidates need to choose one optional subject from a list provided by the UPSC. The optional subject consists of two papers (Paper-VI and Paper-VII), each carrying 250 marks. Aspirants should select an optional subject that aligns with their strengths and interests. The wide array of subjects includes History, Geography, Public Administration, Sociology, Political Science, Literature, and many more. The UPSC offers the following list of optional subjects for the Mains examination:
  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  3. Anthropology
  4. Botany
  5. Chemistry
  6. Civil Engineering
  7. Commerce and Accountancy
  8. Economics
  9. Electrical Engineering
  10. Geography
  11. Geology
  12. History
  13. Law
  14. Management
  15. Mathematics
  16. Mechanical Engineering
  17. Medical Science
  18. Philosophy
  19. Physics
  20. Political Science and International Relations
  21. Psychology
  22. Public Administration
  23. Sociology
  24. Statistics
  25. Zoology
  26. Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, and English.

III. Language Papers

  1. Paper-A: Indian Language (Qualifying Nature): Candidates need to choose one Indian language from the prescribed list. The paper tests their proficiency in the chosen language, including comprehension, grammar, and usage skills.
  2. Paper-B: English (Qualifying Nature): Similar to the Indian Language paper, the English paper evaluates candidates’ English language proficiency. It assesses their comprehension, grammar, and usage skills.

Importance of Optional Subjects

The UPSC mains examination consists of nine papers, out of which two are optional subjects. The optional subjects carry substantial weightage and play a pivotal role in determining an aspirant’s final rank. Scoring well in these subjects can significantly boost an individual’s chances of success. Additionally, selecting an optional subject that aligns with an aspirant’s strengths and interests can make the preparation process more engaging and enjoyable.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Optional Subject

  1. Interest and Aptitude: Opt for a subject that genuinely interests you and that you are passionate about. A genuine interest in the subject will help you stay motivated during the long hours of study and enable you to grasp the concepts more effectively.
  2. Background and Academic Qualifications: Consider your educational background and academic qualifications when choosing an optional subject. A familiarity with the subject matter or prior knowledge can give you an advantage in understanding the concepts and preparing for the examination.
  3. Availability of Study Material and Guidance: Adequate study material and guidance are crucial for effective preparation. Evaluate the availability of quality resources and coaching facilities for the subject you are considering. A lack of resources and guidance can make the preparation process arduous.
  4. Scoring Potential: While it is essential to choose a subject you enjoy, it is equally important to assess its scoring potential. Look at the previous years’ trends, success rates, and average scores in different subjects to understand the subject’s relative scoring potential.
  5. Synergy with General Studies: Consider how well your chosen optional subject complements the General Studies papers of the UPSC mains examination. There may be overlapping topics or concepts, which can provide an advantage during preparation and revision.

UPSC Mains Syllabus Most Popular Optional Subjects

While the choice of optional subjects should be based on individual interests and strengths, some subjects have traditionally been more popular among UPSC aspirants. Here are a few subjects that have been preferred by candidates:
  1. History: History has been a popular choice among aspirants due to its interesting narrative style and the availability of extensive study material.
  2. Geography: This subject appeals to candidates with an affinity for maps, diagrams, and an understanding of the physical and social aspects of the Earth.
  3. Public Administration: Suitable for candidates with an interest in governance, administrative structures, and public policy.
  4. Sociology: Sociology attracts candidates with an interest in social structures, social change, and sociological theories.
  5. Literature: Literature as an optional subject offers candidates the opportunity to delve into the world of language, poetry, and literary analysis.

UPSC Mains Syllabus FAQs

Q1. What is the UPSC mains syllabus?

Ans. The UPSC mains syllabus refers to the prescribed curriculum for the Main Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India. It consists of nine papers, out of which seven papers are considered for ranking purposes. The papers include Essay, General Studies I, General Studies II, General Studies III, General Studies IV, Optional Paper I, and Optional Paper II.

Q2. What are the subjects included in the UPSC mains syllabus?

Ans. The subjects included in the UPSC mains syllabus are as follows: 1. Essay: Candidates are required to write an essay on a given topic. 2. General Studies I: This paper covers Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society. 3. General Studies II: It includes Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations. 4. General Studies III: This paper covers Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management. 5. General Studies IV: It focuses on Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. 6. Optional Paper I: Candidates have the option to choose one subject from a list of optional subjects. 7. Optional Paper II: Candidates have to choose a second subject from the list of optional subjects.

Q3. How should I prepare for the UPSC mains syllabus?

Ans. To prepare for the UPSC mains syllabus, it is essential to have a systematic approach. Here are a few tips: – Understand the syllabus: Read and analyze the syllabus thoroughly to understand the topics and subtopics. – Study material: Gather relevant study material, including textbooks, reference books, and current affairs magazines. – Make a study plan: Create a comprehensive study plan, allocating time for each subject and topic. – Notes making: Make concise notes while studying, highlighting important points for quick revision. – Answer writing practice: Practice writing answers to previous years’ question papers and mock tests to improve your writing skills and time management. – Current affairs: Stay updated with current affairs, national and international news, and their relevance to the topics in the syllabus. – Optional subject preparation: If you have optional subjects, dedicate sufficient time to understand and master the chosen subjects.

Q4. Are there any changes in the UPSC mains syllabus in recent years?

Ans. There were no significant changes in the mains syllabus. It is always advisable to refer to the official UPSC website or the latest notification for any updates or changes in the syllabus.

Q5. Can I choose any subject as an optional subject in the UPSC mains?

Ans. The UPSC provides a list of optional subjects from which candidates can choose one subject for Optional Paper I and another subject for Optional Paper II. However, there are certain restrictions and guidelines to be followed. The list of optional subjects is published by the UPSC, and candidates should choose from those subjects only. The choice of optional subject should be based on personal interest, availability of study material, and understanding of the subject. It is important to choose a subject that one can study and comprehend effectively to score well in the examination.

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