Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Exam – List of UPSC Subjects for Prelims and Mains

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Exam are mandatory subjects for candidates to attempt in the CSE exam. The UPSC compulsory subjects are designed to test your understanding of things around you as only an informed person can make informed decisions as a civil servant. The list of compulsory UPSC subjects includes General Studies Paper 1 of Prelims, CSAT, GS Papers 1 to 4 in the Mains exam, Essay, and two Language papers.

Candidates need to prepare for all these subjects to clear the exam. Apart from Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Exam, candidates need to choose an optional subject in the Mains as well. In this article, we have mentioned all the Compulsory Subjects for UPSC, along with the UPSC Subjects List for Prelims and Mains.

Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Exam

As you know, there are three stages of the UPSC Exam – Prelims, Mains, and Interview. The first stage of the exam, has two papers, namely General Studies-1 and General Studies-2 (CSAT). All the subjects in the UPSC Prelims are compulsory in nature.

After clearing the Prelims, candidates will be eligible for the Mains exam. The UPSC Mains comprises 9 papers, two of which are optional papers. Candidates can choose one optional subject from the list of 48 Optional Subjects for UPSC. Apart from the two optional papers, the other 7 papers will be compulsory.

However, in Paper A, candidates will get an option to choose their choice of Indian Language.
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Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Prelims Exam

The UPSC Prelims is the screening test, and the selected ones will be qualified for the Mains. The duration of the exam is two hours, and it carries 200 marks. The questions are of multiple-choice objective types. The UPSC Prelims Syllabus is divided into two papers: General Studies-1 and General Studies-2 (CSAT).

Below we have provided the UPSC Subject List for each paper in the UPSC Prelims.

UPSC Subjects List for Prelims (General Studies-1)

Being able to make judgments as a public servant requires knowledge of the world around you, hence the UPSC subjects in the civil services exam are made to assess your level of knowledge. As a result, the subjects are decided thoughtfully.

The UPSC Compulsory Subjects for Prelims Paper-1 are:

UPSC Subjects for CSAT

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate an applicant’s interpersonal and communication skills as well as their capacity for logical reasoning. The following subjects/topics are covered in the CSAT syllabus:

  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • General mental ability to solve problems
  • Basic numerical problems that include numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc. up to Class X level and Data Interpretation including charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc. up to Class X level
  • English Language Comprehension Skills (Class X level).

Compulsory Subjects in UPSC Mains

The UPSC Mains is the second stage of the exam, and the candidates who clear Prelims get to appear in the Mains exam. The UPSC Mains Syllabus consists of four General Studies papers. All the subjects mentioned in the general studies papers are compulsory. Candidates also need to opt for an optional paper in the UPSC Mains exam.

Below we have mentioned all the UPSC Mains Subject List.

Paper Subject
Paper-I Essay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)
Paper-II General Studies – I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
Paper-III General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)
Paper-IV General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)
Paper-V General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)

IAS Subjects List for UPSC Mains

Candidates should concentrate on the required IAS Subject List for UPSC Mains in addition to the list of Indian Languages for Paper A and the two mandatory papers for optional subjects in the Mains examination. The UPSC Mains Subject List includes:

UPSC Prelims Subjects – Preparation Tips

As we have mentioned above, the UPSC Prelims include two papers, General Studies-1 and General Studies-2 (CSAT). To prepare for General Studies for Prelims, candidates must follow the strategy given below.

  • Candidates need to give their time to newspaper reading and Magazine reading. UPSC Magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra are a must for aspirants.
  • Candidates need to go through the UPSC Previous Year Question Paper to understand the kind of questions asked in the prelims and the way the Commission has been framing the questions.
  • Not making your own hand-written notes would be a big mistake. That’s why it is highly recommended to make NCERT Notes during preparation.
  • For Prelims, candidates must strengthen their foundation with the help of NCERT Books for UPSC. The NCERT textbooks are easy to understand and written in simple language that would be helpful for the candidates.
  • Once you complete the syllabus, test your preparation level by taking UPSC Mock tests, of any reputed IAS online coaching.

How to Prepare Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Mains?

There are four general studies papers, one essay paper, two qualifying papers, and two optional papers in the UPSC Mains exam. To secure fruitful results in the UPSC Mains, candidates need to ace the General Studies papers that are compulsory in nature. Below we have prepared a strategy to ace these compulsory subjects of the UPSC Mains Syllabus.

  • As the papers in UPSC Mains are subjective in nature, candidates need to practice essay writing.
  • Candidates get limited time for the examination, so they must complete their papers on time. Practicing UPSC Mains question papers and giving mock tests would help the candidates to finish their papers on time.
  • The answers should be interesting and must grab the attention of the examiner to score well.
  • Candidates need to have access to some advanced-level UPSC Books for the Mains.
  • Candidates must be dependent only on credible sources. They shouldn’t just trust any source.
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