UPSC Prelims 2023: Exam Date, Syllabus, Cut Off, Notes

By Balaji

Updated on: May 30th, 2023

UPSC Prelims, which is an elimination round, is the first stage of the Civil Services exam held annually by the Union Public Service Commission. As per the official calendar, the UPSC Prelims 2023 exam date is 28th May 2023. UPSC Civil Services is one of the toughest exams in India, and every year, lakhs of candidates apply for it, which makes it highly competitive. This year, UPSC Prelims notification 2023 was released on 01 February 2023, along with activating the online application form link. The last date to apply was 21 February 2023.

Those who are planning to appear for the exam must check the last minute preparation strategy for UPSC Prelims to score well in it. Candidates who clear the Prelims exam appear for the Mains examination, followed by the Interview. This post will cover all the details an aspirant should know about UPSC Prelims 2023. It will allow the aspirants to be prepared accordingly and strengthen their preparation strategy.


UPSC Prelims 2023

Union Public Service Commission has released the UPSC Prelims 2023 exam schedule. Per the calendar, the Prelims exam is all set to take place on 28 May 2023. Candidates who wish to appear for the upcoming examination must fill out the application form first.

General Studies 1 and CSAT are the two papers of the UPSC CSE Prelims. While CSAT is a qualifying exam, your selection for the Mains is based on your performance on the General Studies paper. It implies that the General Studies Paper cut-off will consider your UPSC Prelims score.

UPSC Prelims 2023 Overview

Here is a brief overview of the UPSC Prelims that will help you get a better understanding of the examination:

Parameters Details
Exam Date 28th May 2023
Duration 2 hours each for GS-1 and CSAT
Language English and Hindi both
Mode Pen and Paper; candidates need to fill the OMR Sheet with a black ballpoint pen.
UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern There are two papers, GS Paper 1 and CSAT Paper 2; both are MCQ Type
Subjects History, Polity, Geography, Economy, Science & Technology, Environment, and Current Affairs. Aptitude for CSAT.
Total Marks 200 marks (CSAT is qualifying with just 33% marks).
Documents Required Admit Card, Valid ID Proof, Passport Size Photograph
Qualifying Marks UPSC Cut Off for Paper 1.

For CSAT, it is 33% of the total marks.

Weightage One needs to qualify for the UPSC Prelims to sit for the UPSC Mains Exam. Marks of the Prelims are not added to the calculation of the final merit list.
Information required to login Application Number and Date of Birth
Official Website and Helpline Number

011-23098543 / 23385271 / 23381125 / 23098591

UPSC Prelims Exam Date 2023

Candidates preparing for UPSC Prelims 2023 must know the exam dates so they won’t miss any upcoming events and deadlines. All the candidates are required to apply for Prelims before the last date. Candidates can check out the important dates for UPSC Prelims 2023:

UPSC Prelims 2023 Events Dates
Notification Date 01 February 2023
Application Start Date 2023 01 February 2023
Last Date to apply 21 February 2023
Admit Card Release Date To be Notified
UPSC Prelims 2023 Exam Date 28 May 2023

The candidates who clear the UPSC Prelims will appear for the Mains exam from 15 September 2023 onwards. Earlier, the 2022 exam was conducted on 05 June 2022. The UPSC Prelims exam pattern consists of two papers – GS paper 1 and CSAT paper 2. The exam was held in two shifts with a 3-hour break in between. Candidates who had successfully filled up the UPSC Online Application appeared for the IAS Prelims Exam. The results for the same were declared on 22 June 2022.

Quick Revision Notes for UPSC Prelims 2023

Revision notes for the UPSC Prelims exam can help candidates to quickly revise the subject-wise topics in less time just before the exam.




  • Constitution of India: Preamble, fundamental rights, fundamental duties, and directive principles of state policy.
  • Government and Governance: Parliament, President, Prime Minister, Supreme Court, and Election Commission.
  • Important Acts and Amendments: RTI Act, GST Act, and recent constitutional amendments.


  • Basic Concepts: GDP, inflation, fiscal policy, monetary policy, and economic planning.
  • Sectors of Economy: Agriculture, industry, and services sectors.
  • Government Policies and Initiatives: Make in India, Digital India, and Pradhan Mantri schemes.

Science and Technology:

  • Basic Physics, Chemistry, and Biology concepts.
  • Recent scientific and technological developments include space missions, IT advancements, and biotechnology.

Environment and Ecology:

  • Biodiversity: Importance, endangered species, and conservation measures.
  • Environmental Issues: Climate change, pollution, waste management, and sustainable development.
  • Environmental Laws and Conventions: Wildlife Protection Act, Paris Agreement, and Ramsar Convention.

Current Affairs:

  • National and International events of the past year.
  • Government schemes, policies, and initiatives.
  • Major awards, sports events, and cultural developments.

Remember to refer to study materials, textbooks, and previous year’s question papers for a more comprehensive understanding. Also, practice solving mock tests and quizzes to enhance UPSC Prelims exam preparation.

UPSC Prelims Notification 2023

The commission released the UPSC Prelims 2023 notification on 01 February 2023. Candidates who wish to appear for the upcoming exam must download the UPSC Notification to ensure a complete understanding of the exam. As per the update, the application process for all aspirants began from 01 February onwards, and the last date to apply online was 21 February 2023.

UPSC Prelims Exam Time

The commission conducts the UPSC Prelims across the country in various exam centres on the same day. There are two papers in the Prelims, so the exam is held in two shifts. The time duration is two hours for each paper, with a gap of 3 hours between them.

Paper Time
UPSC Prelims Paper 1 – GS 09:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M.
UPSC Prelims Paper 2 – CSAT 02:30 P.M. to 04:30 P.M.

UPSC Prelims Application Form

The commission releases the UPSC Prelims form along with the official notification. Candidates must check the UPSC Eligibility before applying for the Prelims exam. Candidates who wish to apply for the CSE vacancy must fill out the online form and appear for the UPSC Prelims.

How to Apply for UPSC Prelims 2023?

Candidates who want to apply for UPSC Prelims 2023 need to follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Visit the official website of UPSC.
  • Step 2: Click the UPSC Prelims 2023 application form.
  • Step 3: Enter the required details in the asked fields to register.
  • Step 4: After that, the registration ID and Password will be sent to your given phone number and email.
  • Step 5: Log in using the ID and Password.
  • Step 6: Fill rest of the application form.
  • Step 7: After that, upload the scanned documents.
  • Step 8: Make the payment, and check all the details in UPSC Prelims 2023 application form before submitting.

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern

The UPSC Prelims 2023 exam consists of two papers: General Studies 1 and General Studies 2 (CSAT). The CSAT exam is qualifying in nature, and candidates must score more than 33% to qualify for this paper. On the other hand, General Studies 1 will determine the selection in UPSC Prelims.

  • The questions asked will be objective type (MCQ with 4 options).
  • There is a negative marking of 1/3rd marks for every incorrect answer.
  • The UPSC Prelims paper is in both English and Hindi.

Let’s look at the UPSC Exam Pattern for the Prelims exam in the table below:

UPSC Prelims Exam Pattern
Paper Name No of Questions Marks Time Exam Nature
General Studies Paper 1 100 200 2 Hours The score will decide the selection
General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT) 80 200 2 Hours Qualifying

UPSC Prelims Marking Scheme

The UPSC Prelims paper is objective type and contains negative markings. UPSC Prelims is a difficult stage of the IAS Exam as it has negative markings, and one must clear the cut-off to proceed further.

Paper For Every Correct Answer Negative Marking
Prelims Paper 1 2 Marks – 2*100 = 200 0.66 (1/3rd Marks)
Prelims Paper 2 2.5 Marks – 2.5*80 = 200 0.83 (1/3rd Marks)

UPSC Prelims Syllabus

The UPSC Prelims syllabus is released along with the official UPSC Syllabus in the official notification. The syllabus includes topics from two papers: General Studies Paper 1 and General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT). The commission releases the UPSC Prelims Syllabus in English and Hindi.

Candidates must download the syllabus for UPSC Prelims for both Paper 1 and Paper 2 to fully understand the scope of topics and plan the preparation strategically. Check the detailed syllabus of Prelims below:

UPSC Prelims

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for Paper 1 – General Studies

According to an official notification, the General Studies syllabus for the UPSC Prelims exam covers the following topics:

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for Paper 2 [CSAT]

The UPSC CSAT Syllabus for the Prelims exam includes the following topics as per official notification:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills (communication skills)
  • English language comprehension skills – Class X level
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Basic numeracy includes numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc. (Class X level)

UPSC Prelims Question Paper

One of the best ways to prepare for the upcoming UPSC Prelims is by solving UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to get a better picture of what to expect in the exam. Candidates must find the right strategy and work hard with sincerity and dedication to clear the UPSC Civil Services Prelims exam on the first attempt. However, enormous hard work done by a candidate will only be effective if it is done correctly.

Candidates must be familiar with the questions asked in the UPSC Prelims. That’s why it becomes inevitable to refer to UPSC Prelims Previous Year Question Papers to keep track of the trends and strengthen your preparation. As the CSAT paper of Prelims is qualifying, it becomes even more important to download and practice UPSC CSAT Question Papers.

UPSC Prelims Question Paper 2022

Below we have provided the direct link for UPSC Prelims 2022 Question Paper. You can download the question papers and kickstart your preparation for Prelims 2023.

UPSC Prelims Question Paper 2021

Below we have provided a direct link to download the UPSC Prelims 2021 Question Paper. It will help the candidates practice and prepare in the best way possible for UPSC Prelims 2023:

UPSC Prelims Analysis

UPSC Prelims is known to surprise candidates with its unpredictable moves. That’s why candidates have to be very careful. Candidates must see the trends and analyze what to expect in UPSC Prelims 2023. Knowing how many questions will be asked from each section of the Prelims syllabus would be very helpful. That’s why we have broken down the UPSC Prelims 2022 and Prelims 2021 below in the table:

UPSC Prelims Analysis 2022 – GS Paper 1

The subject-by-subject analysis for GS Paper 1 in the UPSC Prelims is as follows:

Subject Number of Questions
Ancient History 1
Art and Culture 7
Economy 17
Medieval History 4
Modern History 4
Environment & Ecology 17
Science & Technology 14
Geography 12
Polity 13
Total 100

UPSC Prelims Analysis 2021 – GS Paper 1

The following is the specific topic analysis for GS Paper 1 in the UPSC Prelims exam:

Subject Number of questions
Current Affairs 27
Economy 10
History 20
Environment & Ecology 11
Science & Technology 08
Geography 10
Polity 14
Total 100

How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims 2023?

Candidates who are preparing for UPSC Prelims need to have a solid preparation strategy to crack this paper. That is why we have come up with a robust UPSC preparation strategy that is recommended by the toppers to ace the Prelims. Go through the below-mentioned tips to know how to prepare for UPSC Prelims:

  • Candidates must emphasize the Current Affairs section for UPSC Prelims and stay updated with recent incidents and information. Some of the useful sources for current affairs preparation are The Hindu/ The Indian Express Newspapers, Yojana Magazine, and Economic and Political Weekly.
  • Candidates need to start their preparation for UPSC Prelims and Mains simultaneously, and just 3 months before the Prelims exam, their focus should only be on the exam preparation. Go through the UPSC Mains Syllabus to ensure that you cover all common topics.
  • Going through the previous year’s question papers would help gauge your level. In addition, by practicing the question papers, you will be able to understand the UPSC Prelims exam pattern and the important topics in a better way.
  • Make sure to make notes for the revision. Noting down the important points would give your that extra push just before the exam.
  • Start with NCERT Books for UPSC, as the questions asked in the Prelims will check a basic understanding of the concepts, and NCERTs would be a great source for that.
  • Questions in the UPSC Prelims would be objective in nature, and that’s why candidates must attempt as many mock tests as possible. It will also help in reducing negative markings.

UPSC Prelims Books

Candidates must be conscientious when choosing the books for the IAS Prelims exam. The exam demands a high conceptual understanding of topics and good preparation for current affairs. For Prelims, finishing all the NCERTs books is recommended, as they will help you strengthen your foundations. Additionally, the NCERTs are written in simple language that beginners can easily understand. Learn How to Read NCERT for UPSC to ensure maximum usage and better understanding.

After finishing the NCERT textbooks, candidates can jump into the standard books for the UPSC Prelims. The subject-wise list of important books for IAS Prelims is as follows:

  • Polity: M. Laxmikanth
  • Economics: Ramesh Singh
  • History: History of Modern India by Bipin Chandra
  • Geography: NCERT + Goh Cheng Leong
  • Indian Art and Culture: Nitin Singhania
  • Environment: NCERT Biology Class 12 selected chapters
  • The Hindu for Current Affairs

UPSC Prelims Notes

You can’t miss out on the UPSC study material while preparing for the Civil Services Prelims examination. The UPSC Prelims notes play a big role in exam preparation, and studying from the right notes would be highly efficient and effective. It is highly recommended that aspirants make their own study notes for the exam, as it helps in revision. UPSC Prelims exam gives more weightage to quality over quantity; therefore, effort must be on revising the syllabus multiple times.

UPSC Prelims Cut Off

The UPSC Prelims cut-off is the minimum mark required for candidates to qualify in the exam and be eligible for the Mains round. The cut-off varies depending on the category of the candidate. The UPSC Prelims cut off will be released after the declaration of the result.

  • Candidates who have scored more than the cut-off will be qualified for the next stage of the exam.
  • The UPSC Prelims cut off only depends on the score of General Studies 1 only, as General Studies 2 is qualifying in nature, where the candidate needs to score at least 33%.
  • The cut-off will depend on the number of vacancies, the number of candidates who applied, and the difficulty level of the exam.

Note: The cut-off for UPSC Prelims 2021 was 87.54, while for Prelims 2020, the cut off for General Category was 92.51.

UPSC Prelims 2022 Answer Key

The official answer key of UPSC Prelims 2022 will be out along with the final result in May 2023. Meanwhile, candidates can check and download the answer keys of General Studies Paper 1 and CSAT from the direct links below. These are prepared by our subject matter experts and contain the right answer to every question.

Paper UPSC Prelims Answer Key 2022 PDF
GS Paper 1 Download PDF
CSAT Download PDF

UPSC Prelims Result

The UPSC Prelims Result will be declared within a few weeks after the completion of the Prelims on the official website of UPSC. The UPSC Prelims Result 2022 was released on 22 June 2022 on the official website for the exam, which took place on 05 June 2022. The candidates who have qualified for the Prelims exams will be allowed to appear for UPSC Mains.

How to Check the UPSC Prelims Result?

Here are the following steps to check the UPSC Prelims result:

  • Step 1: Go to the official website of UPSC.
  • Step 2: Click on Written Results.
  • Step 3: Click on Civil Services Prelims Result.
  • Step 4: Download the PDF to see the list of candidates who have cleared the UPSC Prelims.

UPSC Prelims vs Mains

The Prelims and Mains are two different stages of the UPSC exam. The UPSC Prelims is the first stage, and Mains is the second stage of the exam. The difference between Prelims and Mains is given below:

  • The UPSC Prelims follow an objective type paper pattern, whereas the Mains is of a descriptive type pattern.
  • In Prelims, questions are mostly to the point, factual, or one-liners, but in Mains, the questions are of descriptive type, assessing the candidate’s analytical and critical thinking ability.
  • The UPSC Prelims consist of two papers, GS Paper 1 and CSAT. In Mains, there are 9 papers in total, where the 2 language papers are qualifying, and the rest 7 papers comprise of essays, General Studies subjects, and the Optional Subjects for UPSC.
  • The time duration for both the papers of Prelims is 2 hours. The Mains have papers of 3 hours each.
  • There is no concept of an Optional Subject in UPSC Prelims, but for Mains, a candidate needs to select an optional subject from the list of 48 Optional Subjects given by the Commission.
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