UPSC GS Syllabus 2023 – General Studies Syllabus List for UPSC Exam

By Balaji

Updated on: March 22nd, 2023

UPSC GS syllabus is defined by the Union Public Service Commission. UPSC Exam is conducted every year to recruit candidates for the posts in IAS, IPS, IFS, and IRS. It is considered to be one of the toughest exams in India. So, it is important for a candidate to get familiar with the Syllabus and the exam pattern.

UPSC GS syllabus for Prelims is divided into two- Syllabus for UPSC CSE Prelims General Studies Paper I and Syllabus for UPSC CSE Prelims General Studies Paper II. While the UPSC Mains is a written examination with nine papers (Out of which 4 papers are from general studies) including various topics from different subjects. In this article, the aspirants will learn about the UPSC GS Syllabus for Prelims and Mains Exam.

Table of content

  • 1. UPSC GS Syllabus 2023 (more)
  • 2. UPSC GS Syllabus for Prelims Paper I and II (more)
  • 3. Exam Pattern of UPSC General Studies (more)
  • 4. UPSC GS Syllabus for Mains Paper II, III, IV, and V (more)
  • 5. Exam Pattern for UPSC Mains (more)
  • 6. Books and Study Material to Prepare General Studies Syllabus (more)
  • 7. Tips to Prepare UPSC GS Syllabus (more)
  • 8. Points to Remember while Studying UPSC GS Syllabus (more)

UPSC GS Syllabus 2023

General Studies Syllabus holds significant importance in UPSC Prelims and Mains exam. UPSC Syllabus for Prelims is split into two sections, one for each paper. Objective-type questions with multiple choice from the GS syllabus are asked in Prelims Paper I and Paper II with 200 marks each.

UPSC GS Syllabus PDF

In the Mains exam, General Studies is considered as a more extensive subject. The Mains exam consists of four General Studies exams. All these exams have different UPSC GS Syllabus. Apart from these 4 exams, General Studies is a significant topic for the Essay paper, where topics are chosen randomly.

UPSC GS Syllabus for Prelims Paper I and II

In order to appear for the UPSC Mains exam, one must clear the UPSC Prelims Cutoff, as Prelims is the first stage of selection. For this, one must prepare the UPSC syllabus for prelims papers I and II thoroughly. Here is the detailed topic-wise General Studies Syllabus in Prelims:

UPSC GS Syllabus Prelims Paper I

  • General Science
  • General issues on Climate Change, Bio-diversity, and Environmental Biology
  • Economic and Social development
  • Indian Polity and Governance
  • Indian Geography
  • World Geography
  • Indian History
  • Indian National Movement
  • Current events that have international and national importance

UPSC GS Syllabus Prelims Paper II

  • General mental ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Comprehension
  • Basic numeracy (level-class 10)- Data interpretation, Orders of magnitude, Numbers, and their relations.

Exam Pattern of UPSC General Studies

UPSC Exam is conducted in two phases – UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains, followed by the interview. UPSC Prelims is an objective type examination wherein questions are asked from the General Studies Syllabus.

You should also be familiar with the exam pattern of General Studies along with the UPSC GS syllabus to prepare yourself for effectively utilizing your time during exams. The exam pattern for the general studies in UPSC Prelims is as follows:

GS Papers in UPSC Paper Type Total Number of questions asked Maximum Marks Negative Marking Medium language Duration of the exam
General Studies I Objective Type 100 200 Yes Hindi and English 2 hours
CSAT- General Studies II Objective Type 80 200 Yes Hindi and English 2 hours

UPSC GS Syllabus for Mains Paper II, III, IV, and V

The candidates can appear for the exam only if they clear the Prelims cut-off. Mains exam is a descriptive exam that judges the professional knowledge of a candidate. The GS Syllabus for UPSC Paper II, III, IV, and V for Mains exams are as follows:

UPSC GS Syllabus for Mains Paper II

  • Geography of the World and Society – This GS subject in UPSC contains topics like Salient features of the world’s physical geography, Important Geophysical phenomena, Distribution of key natural resources, and effects of globalization.
  • History of the World and Society – (Socialism, capitalism, communism), decolonization, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, the industrial revolution, world wars.
  • Indian Culture – Architecture from ancient to modern times, Art Forms, and features of Literature.
  • Indian History – Personalities, issues during the middle of the 18th century till now, significant events, the freedom struggle, Post-independence consolidation, and the Reorganization of India after Independence.

UPSC GS Syllabus for Mains Paper III

UPSC GS Syllabus for Mains Paper IV

UPSC GS Syllabus for Mains Paper V

  • Aptitude
  • Integrity
  • Ethics

Exam Pattern for UPSC Mains

UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 exams. Of these nine papers, 2 are optional, and 4 belong to general studies with 250 marks each. The general studies for UPSC are divided into 4 parts. The UPSC Mains Exam Pattern is as follows:

Subject Paper Maximum Marks Duration of the exam
Compulsory Indian Language Paper A 300 3 hours
English Paper B 300 3 hours
Essay Paper I 250 3 hours
General Studies I Paper II 250 3 hours
General Studies II Paper III 250 3 hours
General Studies III Paper IV 250 3 hours
General Studies IV Paper V 250 3 hours
Optional I Paper VI 250 3 hours
Optional II Paper VII 250 3 hours

The candidates can choose either Hindi or English as a medium language for UPSC Prelims. However, they can choose their preferred language from the following Indian languages and scripts to appear for the UPSC Mains Exam apart from Hindi and English.

Santhali- Devanagari or Olchiki Sindhi- Devanagari Malayalam- Malayalam
Maithili- Devanagari Sanskrit- Devanagari Konkani- Devanagari
Dogri- Devanagari Punjabi- Gurumukhi Kashmiri- Persian
Bodo- Devanagari Odiya- Odiya Kannada- Kannada
Urdu- Persian Nepali- Devanagari Gujarati- Gujarati
Telugu-Telegu Marathi- Devanagari Bengali- Bengali
Tamil-Tamil Manipuri- Bengali Assamese- Assamese

Books and Study Material to Prepare General Studies Syllabus

There are specific books and study materials suggested by toppers and experts. Students beginning their UPSC preparation can refer to the following sources for studying UPSC GS Syllabus for Paper 1 and Paper 2.

Books for GS syllabus for UPSC – Paper 1

Mentioned is the list of suggested books for studying the UPSC GS 1 Syllabus. Additionally, there are some prominent textbooks students generally prefer during UPSC preparation.

Books Recommended Author
Certificate Physical and Human Geography Goh Cheng Leong
History Of Modern India Bipan Chandra
Indian Art and Culture Nitin Singhania
India’s Struggle For Independence Bipan Chandra
India After Gandhi Ramchandra Guha (History)
Norman Lowe OR History of Modern World Jain and Mathur (World History)
Social Problems In India Ram Ahuja. (Indian Society)
Oxford School Atlas Oxford (Geography)
The Wonder That Was India A.L. Basham (Culture)
Geography of India Majid Husain
India’s Ancient Past R.S. Sharma. (Culture)

Study Material and Books for UPSC GS Syllabus – Paper 2

To thoroughly cover the UPSC general studies syllabus, a candidate can assemble the below books, newspapers, and articles.

  • ‘Indian Polity’ book by Laxmikanth
  • NCERT Class 11 – Indian Constitution at Work
  • Refer to The Hindu Articles, Economic Survey, Press Information Bureau (PIB), and ARC reports for studying Governance subject
  • Read selected articles from ‘The Hindu’ newspaper for Social Justice
  • Visit MEA Website and read selected articles from ‘The Hindu’ for International Relations.

Tips to Prepare UPSC GS Syllabus

UPSC Prelims and Mains syllabus for General Studies preparation requires dedication and proper strategy if a candidate wants to ensure the best results. Here are some of the expert tips that can help you in preparing the General Studies Syllabus to clear UPSC:

  • Before starting the preparation for the UPSC GS Syllabus, the candidates must understand the topics required to cover the syllabus.
  • Strategies should be made to plan the preparation of the syllabus as per the understanding.
  • Knowing the Syllabus is not enough to prepare for the exam, one must know the exam pattern as well.
  • The candidates can go through the last 10 years’ question papers of UPSC to judge the exam pattern. It would also be helpful in learning the kind of questions being asked in the exam.
  • The candidates must start by gaining basic knowledge about the GS subject list and various topics.
  • They can start with NCERT and other UPSC Books. Also, making notes will be a great help while covering the wide GS UPSC syllabus.
  • Practicing the descriptive questions along with the objective type will enhance time management, and they can check their preparation by attempting mock tests.

Points to Remember while Studying UPSC GS Syllabus

While preparing for the UPSC GS Syllabus for the Mains Exam, the candidates must remember certain essential things. It includes:

  • Brief yet relevant details about the General Studies topics.
  • Repetitions should be avoided.
  • Draw diagrams or tables wherever necessary.
  • Never end the answer with a negative note.
  • Mention all the important conventions, laws, figures, facts, and articles.
  • The handwriting and structure of the article should be clear.
UPSC Articles
UPSC CSAT Syllabus UPSC Prelims Syllabus in Hindi
IPS Syllabus UPSC Mains Syllabus in Hindi
UPSC Optional Syllabus List of Current Affairs Topics
NCERT Books for UPSC Free UPSC Study Material
UPSC Previous Year Question Paper 7-5-3 Rule of Answer Writing
Best Newspaper for UPSC Daily Current Affairs for UPSC
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