UPSC Mains Exam 2024 – syllabus, dates, exam pattern

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UPSC Civil Services 2024- Overview

Exam Name UPSC Civil Service Exam 2024
Recruiting Organization Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam Level Pan India / National Level
Age Limit 21 years to 32 years (excluding age relaxation)
Application Fill up Mode Online
No. of Exam Stages 3 stages; Prelims, Mains and Personality Test
Educational Qualification Graduates or Relevant Degrees
Exam Frequency Once a year
Exam Mode Offline / Pen & Paper
Prelims Exam Date 28th May 2024
Mains Exam Date 1st April 2024
Interview Date To be notified
Admit Card Release Date To be notified
Vacancy To be notified
Vacancy To be notified
Posts Group A and Group B Officers

UPSC CSE 2024 Important Dates

The UPSC calendar for session 2024 is released now. The exam dates have been released we have enlisted the important dates for the candidates, take a look at it -

UPSC 2024 Important Events Schedule
UPSC CSE 2024 Notification Release Date February 14th, 2024
UPSC CSE 2024 Prelims Exam Registration February 14th, 2024
UPSC Application Last Date 2024 March 05, 2024
UPSC CSE 2024 Prelims Admit Card Release Date April/May 2024
UPSC CSE 2024 Prelims Exam Date 28th May 2024
UPSC CSE 2024 Mains Admit Card Release Date To be notified
UPSC CSE 2024 Mains Exam Date 20th September 2024
UPSC CSE 2024 Interview/ IAS interview Date To be notified

Also Read - UPSC Prelims Exam 2024 – eligibility, dates, pattern, Syllabus

UPSC IAS Mains Exam Pattern 2024

The UPSC Mains exam consists of 9 papers. These include 4 General Studies Papers, 1 Essay Paper, 2 Language Papers, and 2 Optional Subject Papers.

Unlike the Preliminary exam, there are no penalties for wrong answers in the Mains exam.

The papers have questions that require descriptive answers, testing candidates' thorough understanding of the subjects.

Qualifying Papers Marks
One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution
Papers Counted for Merit &nnbsp;
General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
General Studies-II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Genera Studies-III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
General Studies-IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Optional Subject - Paper 1
Optional Subject - Paper 1
Optional Subject - Paper 2
(Written Test)
Personality Test
Grand Total

Here are the key highlights:

  • There are two Qualifying Papers: one in "Any Indian Language from the Eighth Schedule" and the other in "English Language Paper."
  • To pass, candidates need to score at least 25% in each of these qualifying papers, which equals 75 marks each.
  • The other seven papers are important for scoring and contribute to the final merit list.
  • Candidates can choose to answer the scoring subjects in either English or any of the eight scheduled languages.
  • In Paper VI and Paper VII, candidates must select one subject from the provided table as their Optional subject.

UPSC Optional Subjects List for Mains Exam

Agriculture Civil Engineering Statistics
Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science Commerce & Accountancy Sociology
Anthropology Economics Physics
Botany Electrical Engineering Philosophy
Chemistry Geography Medical Science
Zoology Geology History
Law Political Science & International Relations Public Administration
Mechanical Engineering Mathematics Management

You can choose to study literature in one of these languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, or English.

UPSC IAS Syllabus for Main Exam- Subject-wise

Here's a simplified explanation:

In the Language Papers, also known as "Paper A" and "Paper B," candidates choose any one language from the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, as listed in the table below. The second language paper is always English. Candidates must use the script specified for the chosen language, as indicated in the table below.

Language Script Language Script
Assamese Assamese Gujarati Gujarati
Kannada Kannada Bodo Devanagari
Malayalam Malayalam Marathi Devanagari
Odia Odia Sanskrit Devanagari
Sindhi Devanagari or Arabic Urdu Persian
Santhali Devanagari or Olchiki Bengali Bengali
Hindi Devanagari Kashmiri Persian
Konkani Devanagari Manipuri Bengali
Nepali Devanagari Punjabi Gurumukhi
Tamil Tamil Telugu Telugu
Maithilli Devanagari Dogri Devanagari

Here's a simplified version of the UPSC IAS Syllabus for language papers and Indian Heritage, Culture, History, and Geography:

Language Papers (Paper A and Paper B):

  • Essay - 100 marks
  • Reading comprehension - 60 marks
  • Precis Writing - 60 marks


  • English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) - 20 marks
  • Compulsory language to English - 20 marks
  • Grammar and basic language usage - 40 marks

Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography:

  • Indian culture covers Literature, Art Forms, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Modern Indian history includes significant events, personalities, and issues from the mid-18th century until today.
  • The Freedom Struggle - stages, contributors, and contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within India.
  • World history - events, impacts on society from the 18th century like world wars, industrial revolution, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies.
  • Diversity of India and Indian Society.
  • Role of women, population issues, poverty, urbanization, social empowerment, communalism, regionalism, and secularism.
  • Distribution of natural resources globally, including South Asia and India, and factors affecting industry location.
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society.
  • Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, and geographical features.
  • World's physical geography features.

UPSC Mains General Studies II Syllabus

Here's a simplified version of the IAS syllabus for GS 2:

Polity and Indian Constitution:

  • Understanding the roles and responsibilities of the Union & States and challenges in the federal structure.
  • Exploring how power is divided among different government bodies and resolving conflicts.
  • Learning about the Judiciary, Legislature, and Executive branches of government.
  • Studying State and Parliamentary legislatures, government departments, and the influence of pressure groups.
  • Knowing key aspects of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Examining the appointment, functions, and powers of constitutional posts and bodies.

Social Justice:

  • Studying welfare schemes for vulnerable sections and evaluating their performance.
  • Understanding laws and institutions dedicated to protecting and developing vulnerable sections.
  • Analyzing issues in social sectors like hunger and poverty management.


  • Understanding e-governance applications, successes, and limitations.
  • Studying the role of Civil Services in a democracy.

International Relations:

  • Learning about India's relationships with its neighbors.
  • Examining international agreements involving India and other states.
  • Analyzing how policies of other countries affect Indian interests and the Indian diaspora.
  • Understanding international entities, institutions, and their structures.

UPSC Mains General Studies III Syllabus

Here's a simplified version of the UPSC Mains syllabus for GS 3:

Economic Development:

  • Understanding the Indian economy and planning-related issues.
  • Studying government budgeting and inclusive growth challenges.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy.
  • Exploring infrastructure elements like ports, airports, roads, etc.
  • Knowing about investment models like Public-Private Partnership (PPP).


  • Analyzing cropping patterns across India.
  • Studying irrigation techniques, storage, marketing, transportation, and challenges in agriculture.
  • Exploring e-technology applications in agriculture.
  • Economics of animal rearing and food processing industries.
  • Understanding farm subsidies, minimum support prices, and food security issues.

Science & Technology:

  • Studying recent technological developments and their impacts.
  • Recognizing Indian achievements in science & technology.
  • Exploring indigenous technological innovation and developments.
  • General awareness of Space, IT, Robotics, Computers, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.
  • Understanding intellectual property rights issues.


  • Conservation efforts and environmental pollution.
  • Understanding Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Disaster Management & Security:

  • Study of disaster management laws.
  • Exploring challenges to internal security from non-state actors and external states.
  • Analysis of extremism and internal security challenges like cyber security.
  • Awareness of security agencies and forces and their roles.

Also Read - UPSC 2024: Exam Date, Eligibility, Notification, Syllabus

UPSC Mains General Studies IV Syllabus

Here's a simplified version of the UPSC GS 4 syllabus:

Human Interface & Ethics:

  • Understanding the essence of ethics in human interactions.
  • Exploring different dimensions of ethics.
  • Ethics in both public and private relationships.
  • Learning about human values and their importance.
  • Recognizing the role of family, society, and education in shaping ethical values.


  • Understanding how attitude influences behavior and thoughts.
  • Exploring political and moral attitudes.
  • Learning about persuasion and social influence.


  • Understanding the foundational values and aptitude required for civil services.
  • Emphasizing integrity, impartiality, dedication to public service, and compassion towards society's weaker sections.

Emotional Intelligence:

  • Understanding emotional intelligence and its application.
  • Recognizing the importance of emotional intelligence.

Contributions of Philosophers and Thinkers:

  • Learning insights from global and Indian philosophers and thinkers on moral concepts.

Ethics in Public Administration and Civil/Public Service Values:

  • Recognizing ethical issues in public administration.
  • Understanding dilemmas and ethical concerns in government and private institutions.
  • Exploring ethical governance, accountability, and transparency in government.

Ethical Issues in Funding and International Relations:

  • Understanding corporate governance and probity.
  • Exploring concepts of public service and governance.
  • Recognizing challenges of corruption and ensuring quality service delivery.

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