IAS Prelims

All about IAS Prelims

IAS Prelims

Conducted by the  IAS Prelims/ Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) annually, the Civil Services Prelims (Preliminary) is common for all the candidates applying Civil Services Examination and Indian Forest Service Examination. The Prelims act as a process of choosing the best candidates for the Mains. Yes, the Mains! Just like your Finals.

What you score in the IAS Prelims is not counted in the final merit, as this just serves as a screening process.

Did you know about IAS Pelims?

The number of candidates selected for the Mains, is about 15 times the number of vacancies to be filled in the year. 


Come on! We don’t mean to scare you.

Many of you get scared only by looking at the vast syllabus it has. But here’s the secret to successfully cracking the Prelims. “Planning”.

The Prelims tests you in every stage, from your History knowledge to your Reasoning skills.

We know it sounds cliched to you, but it is the secret sauce to success.


Talking about the UPSC Prelims syllabus, here’s what IAS Prelims comprises of –

2 compulsory papers of 200 marks each –

  • General Studies Paper I
  • General Studies Paper II (CSAT).
Paper 1 – General Studies:

The first paper tests your overall knowledge about various aspects of Indian History, Geography, Polity, basic economics, and Environment.

But the most vital part of the paper is the Current Affairs, General Knowledge, which does not have any fixed portion, thus making the syllabus really huge. Again, we don’t mean to scare you. Remember, we talked about the ‘secret sauce’.

    • Current events of national and international importance.
    • History of India and Indian National Movement.
    • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
    • Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
    • Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
    • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation General Science
Paper 2 – CSAT (Aptitude Test)

The second paper in IAS Prelims is designed to test your aptitude in solving Reasoning, Analytical, Reading and Decision Making questions.

    • Comprehension
    • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
    • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
    • Decision-making and problem solving
    • General mental ability
    • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
Now let’s talk about how you will be ‘Marked’ in your IAS Prelims

The 2 papers are each of 200 marks. Here’s the marking break-up:

Papers General Studies CSAT
Total 200 200
Number of questions 100 80
Marks awarded for the correct answer 2 2.5
Marks deducted from the total for a wrong answer 0.66 0.833

The ‘Decision Making’ based questions and the unattempted questions do not attract any negative marks.

As for the schedule of the examination, it’s 2 hours for each paper. General Studies is conducted between 9:30 to 11:30 AM, and the CSAT between 2:30 to 4:30 PM.

Get in touch with us if you require any kind of query regarding IAS Exams. 😊


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