Economics for UPSC – How to Prepare Economics for UPSC?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Economics for UPSC: Economics has a vast syllabus and covers a wide range of topics. It is part of both the Prelims and Mains syllabus which makes it one of the most important subjects from the UPSC exam. Economics for UPSC includes topics such as economic growth, poverty, fiscal policy, social issues, the Indian economy, budgeting, land reforms, etc. Candidates would require different strategic approaches to prepare economics for UPSC Prelims and Mains owing to their exam pattern difference.

Economics is also an optional subject in the Mains exam, and candidates can expect a few economics-related questions in the Interview round. As economics is part of the three stages of the Civil Services Exam it becomes important to cover it in the best possible way. Here we will be sharing some tips, strategies, study materials, and notes to prepare Economics for UPSC that would make the preparation easier.

Economics for UPSC

If you are preparing for the UPSC Civil Services Exam, you must know that Economics is an unavoidable part of both Prelims and Mains. Candidates also get an option to choose economics as their optional subject. In Prelims, objective types of questions are asked related to economics. However, in Mains candidates would have to appear in subjective type questions, and here answer writing becomes crucial. It advised that candidates should go through the right books, and study material, and have a solid preparation strategy to cover Economics for UPSC.

Economics Syllabus for UPSC

Before starting the preparation for Economics, candidates need to know the topics they need to cover. Creating a mind map of the Economics syllabus for UPSC becomes important so that aspirants won’t miss the important topics. The syllabus for Economics in Prelims and Mains is different. Let’s analyze the economics topics covered in both Prelims and Main below.

UPSC Prelims Economics Syllabus

Economics for UPSC Prelims includes topics namely: Economic growth and development, Inclusion, Poverty, Social issues, Demographics, Fiscal policy, budget, population composition, health, sanitation, and international financial institutions. Candidates can expect moderate to tough difficulty level of questions in Prelims. The focus areas from the Economy Prelims syllabus are:

  • Economic Growth and Development
  • Trending news related to the above-mentioned topics
  • Poverty
  • Inclusion
  • Fiscal Policy
  • Demographics
  • Social issues

Economics Syllabus for UPSC Mains

GS-3 syllabus includes economics, and it comprises various topics related to economic development, budgeting, inclusive growth, the Indian economy, employment, effects of liberalization, inclusive growth, land reforms, investment models, and issues related to growth. Candidates must practice answer writing as Mains is subjective in nature. Candidates have to write long answers related to these topics in the Civil Services Exam for Mains.

How to Prepare Economics for UPSC?

To fetch good marks in Economics for UPSC, candidates have to focus more on application-based knowledge of the core ideas, trending financial and economic concerns, economic trends, and knowledge on how to approach these topics. That’s why we have mentioned the best strategic approach that would help candidates cover economics in Prelims and Mains efficiently, and effectively.

Economics Preparation Strategy for UPSC Prelims

  • The first stage of the UPSC preparation is to be familiar with the economics syllabus for Prelims. Candidates should give equal attention to all the economics topics covered in the Prelims.
  • Aspirants should begin their preparation with NCERT books to build a sound theoretical foundation. After that, they should cover the Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh.
  • After completing the core books candidates should read Union Budget, and Economic Survey 2022 to gain insights into recent trends in the Indian economy. In addition, current affairs related to economic, and government programs should be given the utmost priority.
  • When the economics preparation for UPSC is completed, candidates should solve the UPSC previous year question papers to test their knowledge.
  • Regular revision of the topics should be done in order to recall all the important concepts throughout the exam.

Preparation Strategy for Economics for UPSC Mains

  • UPSC Mains requires a different preparation approach, as in this paper candidates are expected to develop an application-based understanding of economic concepts and represent them in a clear manner.
  • Candidates should go through the advanced Economic Books for UPSC like Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh or Sanjiv Verma to gain an in-depth understanding of economy key concepts.
  • It is advised not to study from too many sources at once during preparation. Limiting the sources would be a great way to make the best use of time.
  • Remember to make crisp economy notes which would not only help you memorize concepts in the long run but also make your revision period easier.

Economics Notes for UPSC

Economics for UPSC is vast, and it covers both static and dynamic parts of economics. Apart from books, having access to economic notes can aid in the preparation, and can be immensely helpful to the candidates. Candidates are advised to make their own hand-written notes that will come in handy during last-minute preparation. They can also refer to online available resources if they don’t have enough time. Below we have provided economics notes that candidates can refer to for effective preparation.

Economics Optional for UPSC

As we have mentioned earlier, Economics is also available as an optional subject in UPSC Syllabus. Candidates who have taken economics as their option, must go through the complete syllabus, and come up with a strategic approach to cover the topics. The topic-wise distribution of questions in the economics optional subject is given below.

Topics Expected Number of Questions
Indian Economy 40-45
Money, Banking & Public Finance 10-15
Growth and Development 10
Statistics 7-10
International Economics 15-20
Micro and Macro Economics 35-40

Economics for UPSC: Best Books & Study Material

There are a ton of books available to cover Economics for UPSC. However, not all of them would help to cover the economics syllabus. That’s why it becomes crucial to make the right selection to make the best out of preparation time and utilize time in the best possible way. The best books and study materials for economics are:

  • Indian Economy – Mishra-Puri, Dutt-Sundaram, Ramesh Singh
  • The Economics of Development & Planning – by M. L. Jhingan
  • International Economics – by H.G. Mannur
  • Macroeconomic Theory – by M. L. Jhingan and NCERT book
  • Modern Microeconomics – A. Koutsoyiannis and NCERT book
  • Newspapers
  • Public Finance – H.L. Bhatia

Answer Writing Tips for Economics in UPSC Mains

Answer writing in UPSC Mains can be a tricky job, and you have to do it strategically to fetch maximum marks. While writing answers for economics in UPSC, try to use graphs wherever possible. It will enhance your answers, and you will be able to justify your response in a better way.

  • Give a good amount of real-life examples to make your answers more reasonable.
  • Don’t try to use equations too much, instead use graphs for a better representation of your answers.
  • Using the current technical words in your sentence becomes crucial, as economics is a precise science.
  • Try to justify your answers with figures and data as much as possible. It shows that you have adequate knowledge, and command over the concepts.
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