UPSC EPFO Preparation 2021: Check Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Preparation Tips, Strategy and Best Books!

By Saroj Singh|Updated : April 2nd, 2021

UPSC EPFO Exam Preparation 2021: Like many other exams conducted by the UPSC, this exam is also highly competitive and the notification concerning 421 vacancies after 3 years, since 2017, makes it more competitive. As announced by the commission the UPSC EPFO exam date has been revised and the exam will be held on 9th May 2021.

  • Working for the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization, as an EO/AO is considered noble and prestigious. As an Enforcement Officer or as an Accounts Officer, one serves for ensuring the social security of the working classes in Indian society.
  • Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) provides social security to crores of employees in India.
  • EPFO largest social security organization in the World in terms of clientele and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.
Table of Content

UPSC EPFO 2020-2021 Syllabus, Exam Pattern and Weightage

In this article, we are discussing the detailed strategy to make the UPSC EPFO preparation journey easy. Before jumping on to the UPSC EPFO preparation it is highly essential to know about the detailed syllabus and the structure of the exam as prescribed by the Commission. To get the job role of Enforcement Officer (EO)/Accounts Officer (AO) candidates needs to go through two stages: Recruitment Test followed by the Interview. And the weightage to the exam stages is 75:25 respectively. The Recruitment Test will be a pen and paper-based written exam of objective type.


No. of Questions



Recruitment Test








Note: As per the latest update, the commission has changed the marking scheme. Now the Recruitment Test would be assessed for total of 300 marks and all the questions carry equal marks. No further information has been shared regarding the number of Qs.

UPSC EPFO EO/AO Exam Pattern 2020 - 2021

The duration of the Recruitment Test will be 2 hours and all the questions will carry equal marks. The medium of the test will be both in English and Hindi. There will be a penalty for each wrong attempt, in other words, negative marking prevails with one-third marks deduction. If any question remains un-attempted then no penalty or marks deduction.

Note: To appear in the Interview, the candidates need to secure minimum qualifying marks, as mentioned below:

Category Qualifying Marks


Qualifying Marks







UPSC EPFO Syllabus

The syllabus for the UPSC EPFO EO/AO examination, as suggested, can be broadly categorized into the following segments:

  • General English
  • General Awareness
  • Modern Indian History
  • Economic Affairs
  • Indian Polity
  • Social Security in India
  • Industrial Relations and Labor Laws
  • General Accounting Principles
  • Aptitude
  • General Science and Computer applications
  • Current Events and Developmental Issues

How to Prepare for the UPSC EPFO 2021 and Crack the Exam

We are discussing some of the effective tips to crack the UPSC EPFO 2020-2021 exam in the first attempt. With rising competition each day, it is of utmost importance to keep your preparation in check. Thus, for convenience, we are here with the most followed strategies for cracking the UPSC EPFO exam in your first chance.

Strategy to crack UPSC EPFO Exam in First Attempt

There are some critical requisites that a candidate must have for cracking and acing the UPSC EPFO 2020-2021 Exam preparation.

  1. Prioritize and Plan: Go through the previous year papers of all the exams conducted by the UPSC (last three years recommended). Thoroughly analyse and identify your weak and strong areas. Diligently come up with your strategy.
  2. Understand the EPFO syllabus: It is very important to not only remember but understand the demands of the exam and that starts with understanding the syllabus. Keep the syllabus handy either in the form of PDF in your mobile or desktop screen or take the printout and stick to the wall/notice board where you often study.

UPSC EPFO Preparation tips

  1. Keep an eye on the larger goal: While studying the topic, remember the larger goal, in association with the smaller tasks which prove effective in achieving larger goals. Therefore, plan accordingly and this can be ensured if the candidate knows the UPSC EPFO syllabus well. It keeps the preparation focused!
  2. Stick to one source: Do not do a single topic from multiple sources; it is advisable to stick to one source and rehearse as many questions as possible. This will help in learning and retaining in a better way. In the age of information overload, it is often seen that the focus gets shifted easily from the goal.
  3. Revise form Self-Notes: Whatever you learn in these six months must be recorded in the form of short notes, as it helps to recall better and minimize mistakes in the exam. It becomes more critical as there is a one-third penalty for each wrong attempt.

How to Clear for UPSC EPFO Exam 2020 - 2021 in 5 Months?

With the rescheduling, the UPSC EPFO EO/AO is in the fifth month from now on, and the exam will commence on 9th May 2021 across India.

UPSC EPFO Preparation Online

As the online classes are time and cost-effective, also candidates can prepare its own pace, unlike the classroom teachings. If you are among those who have not prepared much or need some direction for effective revision with complete coverage of the syllabus, then you are on the right page. To ace, the preparation and sure a rank in the merit require effective and diligent preparation are highly recommended. Amid the prevailing circumstances, online classes are the best resources to effectively prepare for competitive exams like UPSC EPFO, among others.

UPSC EPFO Topic Wise Preparation Strategy and Tips

  • General English: To effectively cover this section, it is advisable that the candidates for the Hindi background do not have to feel overburdened as this segment is doable.
    • Newspaper reading is beneficial to have command over the vocabulary, and grammatical aspects asked in the English segment.
    • Previous year paper assessment gives a glimpse that questions in English asked of moderate level and not very tough. Therefore, to prepare for English newspaper reading is very effective to cover this segment comprehensively.
  • General Awareness (Modern Indian History, Indian Economic Affairs and Indian Polity):
    • This segment holds importance and high weightage as Modern Indian History and Indian Polity have a crucial share of the whole examination.
    • To effectively cover Modern Indian History – Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir is one of the best books that can be comprehensively covered to have better command over the history segment. Covering this, nearly all the questions can be well addressed.
    • Book by Laxmikanth can cover Indian Polity.
    • To cover the Indian Economy, the nature of the examination does not require the book by Ramesh Singh to go through.
    • The basics of the Economy can be covered through Sanjeev Verma, and current affairs concerning economics can also be covered through standard sources such as newspapers and monthly magazines.
  • Current Events and Developmental Issues:
    • Current Affairs, as a separate segment can be covered by the monthly magazine of any institute can be picked up, go through for the last one year!
  • Social Security in India can be divided into two segments:
    • Govt Schemes (welfare schemes)
    • Institutions- EPFO, ESIC, ILO (establishment, governing structure, basic philosophy).
  • Aptitude, in this examination, is asked of the SSC - CGL Level; therefore, R.S Aggarwal can be practised.
  • Industrial labour laws and General Accounting Principles-
    • Industrial Relations is a dynamic topic and multidisciplinary academic field that requires regular updating. Candidates must know about the complex interrelations between employers and employees, labour/trade unions, employer organizations and the state.
    • EPFO EO/AO by Chaudhry Publication authored by Sonu Vohra and Karan Chaudhary.

Note: But we recommend our expected faculties for complete and effective coverage so that you do not miss out on any of the concepts that can secure a rank.

  • General Science and Computer applications: this segment is having a very vast syllabus, for this Lucent can be referred, and the majority of the concepts can be cleared.

Best UPSC EPFO Books for Exam Preparation

The toppers’ recommended booklist is as follows:

  • General English - For Vocabulary - “Word Power Made Easy” and “30 Days”
  • For Grammar - “Basic English Grammar” and “Intermediate English Grammar” by Raymond Murphy and “Cambridge Phrasal Verbs Dictionary”
  • Indian Freedom Struggle - Lucent GK- for factual questions
  • NCERTs of Class XI-XII and Spectrum’s “A Brief History of Modern India” for having good command over basics
  • “India’s Struggle for Independence” by Bipan Chandra (for further reference)
  • Indian Polity - M. Lakshmikant is the best source. Cover it thoroughly!
  • Indian Economy- NCERTs (Class XI- Indian Economic Development, Class XII- Macroeconomics)
  • Selectively read “Indian Economy” by Mishra and Puri
  • Budget Document
  • Economic Survey - At the very least, revise the introduction and summary of each chapter
  • Current Events and Developmental Issues Covering one year’s current affairs is enough.
  • Stick to any national newspaper either “The Hindu” or “The Indian Express”. For Hindi medium students – “Jansatta” and “Business Standard” are recommended.
  • The second-best alternative would be to follow any of the monthly ‘Competition Magazines’
  • Govt publications such as - Kurukshetra and Yojana magazine
  • General Accounting Principles - NCERTs of Class XI & XII
  • TS Grewal’s Double Entry Bookkeeping
  • TS Grewal’s Analysis of Financial Statement
  • B.Com Accountancy Book of IGNOU (selective)
  • Industrial Relations and Labour Laws - Labour Laws: Among the four labour codes, Govt has come up with only two, i.e., (a) Code on wages and (b) Code on Social Security. Get a good hold of them.
  • Keep a track of recent initiatives of Govt. measures, such as Ease of Doing Business Index, Economic and welfare measures, etc.
  • Frequently refer to Govt websites, such as- EPFO website, Ministry of Labour and Employment Website, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Finance, PIB etc
  • General Science and Knowledge of Computer Application - Cover NCERTs of Class VI to X for basic concepts
  • Sci & Tech and recent developments can be covered from: (a) Science Reporter Magazines and (b) RSTV Science Monitor (refer selectively)
  • Awareness regarding Current developments helps in attempting questions.
  • For Computer Applications, stick to NCERTs of Class XI and XII for the basics
  • Social Security in India - Most of the topics can be clubbed with polity to help understand it better. The schemes and institutions framed for this purpose like the ongoing schemes of GoI- Atal Pension Yojana, Shram ManDhan Yojana, PM-KISAN Yojana, etc., can be covered.

Do take help of the Internet for the updation (be selective!):

  • EPFO website
  • Ministry of Labour and Employment Website
  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
  • Ministry of Women and Child development
  • Ministry of Finance
  • PIB
  • General Mental Ability and Quantitative Aptitude
  • Tata McGraw Hill CSAT manual
  • Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning by R.S, Agarwal

Overall UPSC EPFO Strategy and Preparation

UPSC EPFO 2020-2021 Revision Course

With the wholesome briefing about the planning and strategy making, at last, a few additional tips:

  • As the Question Paper of the UPSC EPFO EO/AO Recruitment Test is of 100 marks of 120 Qs. It is important to attempt 90+ Qs with accuracy.
  • With five months remaining it is advisable to practice Aptitude during these days, in this manner, it can be assured that accuracy level is increased with each passing day and hence candidates can have an edge.

Wish you all the best!

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