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IAS Exam

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IAS Exam Syllabus

Exam is conducted in three Stages

  • Stage 1 - Preliminary
  • Stage 2 - Mains
  • Stage 3 - Interview

IAS Preliminary examination

1st stage of IAS exams which is considered as screening level and qualifying in Nature, whose marks are not counted for final ranking but compulsory for qualifying to Mains.

Consisting of two objective type papers

Section Subject No of Questions Marks Duration
Paper 1 General Studies 100 200 2 hours
Paper 2 CSAT 80 200 2 hours
  • General studies Paper - Consists of 100 MCQ’s, Each carrying 2 marks
  • CSAT(Civil service Aptitude Test)- Consists of 80 MCQ’s Each carrying 2.5 Marks
  • Both the papers are conducted on same day with interval of 2 hours
  • Negative Marks – There will be penalty of 1/3rd marks for each wrong answers
  • Unanswered questions are not counted for Negative marking.

IAS Prelims syllabus

IAS Prelims General studies syllabus

Prelims General studies tests the candidate's knowledge on Following subjects all at the level of 6th to 12th standards of NCERT Syllabus.

  • Current Events
  • Indian History
  • Indian National movement,
  • Indian and world geography,
  • Indian polity Panchayti Raj system and governance,
  • Economic and social development,
  • Environmental ecology,
  • Biodiversity, climate change
  • General science, Art and culture

IAS Prelims CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test),

Prelims CSAT tests the candidate's skills in the following subjects

  • English Comprehension,
  • Interpersonal Communication Skill
  • Logical Reasoning,
  • Analytical Ability,
  • Decision Making,
  • Problem Solving,
  • Basic Numeracy,
  • Data interpretation,
  • Mental ability.
Note – CSAT is qualifying in nature and the marks obtained in this paper are not counted for merit. However, it is mandatory for the candidate to score a minimum of 33 per cent in this paper to qualify the Prelims exam

IAS MAIN Exam Pattern

IAS Main examination consisting of 9 papers of conventional (essay) type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven are counted

  • Language Papers
  • Essay writing
  • General studies 1
  • General studies 2
  • General studies 3
  • General studies 4
  • Optional subject Paper 1
  • Optional subject Paper 2

IAS Mains Language papers

These papers are meant for testing the verbal and writing skills of Indian and English language which are not counted for final ranking but compulsory for qualifying.

IAS Mains are Descriptive Written exam

Main examination consisting of 9 papers of conventional (essay) type, in which two papers are qualifying and only marks of seven are counted

Paper Subject MarksDuration
Paper A One of the Indian languages 300 3 Hours
Paper B English Compulsory 300 3 Hours

IAS Mains Compulsory Papers for ranking

Paper Subject MarksDuration
Paper I Essay (Two sections, each carrying 125 marks) 2503 Hours
General Studies 1 Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society 2503 Hours
General Studies 2 Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and international relations 2503 Hours
General Studies 3 Science and Technology, economic development, bio-diversity, environment, security and disaster management 2503 Hours
General Studies 4 Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude 2503 Hours
Optional Paper Two papers on one subject to be selected by the candidate from the list of optional subjects (250 marks for each paper) 5003 Hours for each paper
Grand Total Marks Written Exams 1750

IAS Interview – Personality test

Personality Test (Interview) 275
Total Marks 2025

IAS Mains Syllabus

General Studies Paper 1

  • Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history include the significant events, personalities, issues during the middle of the eighteenth century until the present
  • Various stages and important contributors and contributions from different parts of the country in ‘The Freedom Struggle’
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
  • History of the world includes events, forms and effect on the society from 18th century like world wars, industrial revolution, colonization, redraw of national boundaries, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc
  • Salient aspects of Diversity of India and Indian Society
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and remedies
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent; factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world including India
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes
  • Salient features of world’s physical geography

General Studies- PAPER II

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
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressed mechanisms and institutions
  • Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
  • 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
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • 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
  • Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger
  • Role of civil services in a democracy
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • India and its neighborhood- relations
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

General Studies- PAPER III

Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
  • Government Budgeting.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • 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
  • Economics of animal-rearing.
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Disaster and disaster management.
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  • 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
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

General Studies- Paper IV

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude:

This paper includes questions to check the candidate’s’ attitude and approach to issues relating to integrity, probity in public life and his/her problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by him/her while dealing with society. Questions may utilize the case study approach to determine these aspects and covers area:

  • Ethics and Human Interface- Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships
  • Human Values- lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating 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, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption
  • Case Studies on above issues