Syllabus IAS Exam Details and Syllabus


The IAS exam, also known as the Indian Administrative Services Examination is one of India’s most sought-after, toughest, and prestigious exams in India, attracting lakhs of aspirants every year.
The Civil Services exam is conducted in three phases:
Phase 1: Preliminary Examination - Objective Section
Phase 2: Main Examination - Subjective Section
Phase 3: Interview
- The Interview will be of 275 marks.
- The Written Examination will be of 1750 marks total.
- The Interview/Personality Test will be of 275 marks.
- The grand total will be 2025 marks.



- For the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
- For the Indian Revenue Service, a candidate must be one of the following:
A citizen of India
A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India
- For other services, a candidate must be one of the following:
A citizen of India
A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan
A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India


A candidate must be between the ages of 21 to 32 years as on 1st August, 2017. For OBC the upper age limit is 35, and for SC and ST the limit is 37 years. For the Physically Disabled (Blind, Deaf, and Orthopedic) the upper limit is 42 years.
Jammu and Kashmir Domicile, the upper limits are:

General Category: 37 years

OBC: 40 years

SC/ST: 42 years

PH: 50 years

Educational Qualifications:

For appearing in the exam, the candidate must be a graduate in any stream from any university recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Candidates who have appeared in the qualifying exam and are awaiting results are also eligible to apply, provided they submit the certificate of qualification along with the mark sheet to the UPSC before the main exam.
A candidate applying for IFS exam must possess a bachelor’s degree in one of the following: animal husbandry and veterinary science, botany, chemistry, geology, mathematics, physics, statistics and zoology, or a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, forestry or engineering from a recognized university.

Number of Attempts

General category - 6 attempts

OBC category - 9 attempts

SC/ST category - unlimited

Physically Disabled (Blind, Deaf, Orthopedic) general Category - 9 attempts

Physically Disabled (Blind, Deaf, Orthopedic) OBC category - 9 attempts

Physically Disabled (Blind, Deaf, Orthopedic) SC/ST category - unlimited

Appearing to attempt one of the papers in the preliminary examination is counted as an attempt, but failing to attend is not counted as an attempt.

Preliminary Examination

Preliminary exam or Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) is the first phase of the civil services exam.
Preliminary exam consists of two papers and both of them are compulsory.
Each exam is of 200 marks.
These two papers are General Studies Paper - I and General Studies Paper - II.
The preliminary examination is meant for screening the candidates. The marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination by a candidate who qualifies for the Mains Exam will not be taken into account for determining their final order of merit.

Pattern of Preliminary Examination

Both the papers consist of multiple choice questions.
The paper is in two sets - English and Hindi.
Each paper is about 2 hours. Exceptional cases of candidates suffering from disabilities such as blindness or cerebral palsy, will get 20 minutes extra per hour in each paper.
In General Studies Paper - II, the candidates have to qualify the exam with minimum 33% to qualify.
Preliminary Examination Syllabus

Paper I

- Current events of national and international importance.
- History of India and 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, Bio-diversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization General Science.

Paper II

- English language comprehension skills (Class X level).
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability.
- Decision making and problem solving ability.
- General mental ability.
- Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc. - Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. - Class X level).

Mains Examination

The Phase II tests a candidate’s academic knowledge in depth and his/her ability to present understanding in a reasonable way.

Pattern of Mains Examination:

Mains exam consists of 9 papers, in which two are qualifying papers of Any Indian Language and English.

The Indian Language Paper and English are of 300 marks each.
The candidate is required to clear these two papers to qualify, but the marks obtained in them will not be considered or counted.
The Essay is of 250 marks.
The four General Studies papers are 250 marks each (1000 in total).
The Optional paper I and II are of 250 marks each.
Besides the Language and English papers, the rest of the seven papers can be written in either English or any of the languages mentioned as in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Mains Examination Syllabus

1. Any Indian Language Paper
- Comprehension
- Precis Writing
- Usage and Vocabulary
- Short Essays
- Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa

2. English
- Comprehension
- Precis Writing
- Usage and Vocabulary
- Short Essays

3. GS Paper I
- Indian Heritage and Culture
- History and Geography of the World and Society

4. GS Paper II
- Governance
- Constitution
- Polity
- Social Justice
- International relations

5. GS Paper III
- Technology
- Economic Development
- Bio diversity
- Environment
- Security
- Disaster Management
- Indian Economy

6. GS Paper IV
- Ethics
- Integrity
- Aptitude

7. Essay Paper
- Any Topic/Topics

8. Optional Paper I (as opted by the candidate)

9. Optional Paper II (as opted by the candidate)


Only candidates qualifying the Main examination will be eligible for the interview or personality test.
Candidates will be interviewed by Board members.
The objective of this interview is to assess the candidate’s personal suitability for a career in the public services.
Besides that candidates are also judged on intellectual and moral integrity, mental alertness, leadership, critical powers of assimilation, balance of judgment, clear and logical discussion, variety and depth of interest.
The technique of the interview is not that of a strict cross-examination, but a natural and direct conversation which is intended to reveal the mental qualities of the candidate.
The interview test is not intended to be a test your specialized or general knowledge which has been already tested through the written papers.

How to Apply?

The application procedure has been entirely made online at the preliminary level and UPSC e-admit cards can be downloaded from the
UPSC official website -

FEE structure

Candidates applying offline (through common application form) are required to pay a fee of Rs. 100/- through a single Central Recruitment
Fee Stamp.
All Female Candidates and candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes are not required to pay any fee.
Physically handicapped persons are exempted from the payment of fee provided they are otherwise eligible for appointment to the Posts to be filled on the results of this examination on the basis of the standards of medical fitness for these Posts (including any concessions specifically extended to the physically handicapped).
Candidates applying on-line (excepting female/SC/ST/PH candidates who are exempted from payment of fees) are required to pay a reduce fee of Rs. 50/- either by remitting the money in any branch of SBI by cash, or by using the net banking facility of SBI or by using visa/master credit/debit card.