Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Exam - List of UPSC Subjects for Prelims and Mains

by Vajiram & Ravi


04:30 AM

The UPSC compulsory subjects are the ones that all aspirants must attempt in the Civil Services Prelims and Mains exam. These subjects are designed to test your knowledge and understanding of a wide range of topics, including History, Geography, Polity, Economics, and current affairs. Only a well-informed person can make informed decisions as a civil servant, so it is important to prepare well for these UPSC subjects.

The list of compulsory subjects for the UPSC Exam includes:

  • General Studies Paper 1 of the Preliminary Examination
  • Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)
  • General Studies Papers 1 to 4 of the Mains Examination
  • Essay
  • Two Language papers
  • In addition to the compulsory subjects, aspirants must also choose one optional subject in the Main Examination.

Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Exam

The UPSC Civil Services Examination is held in three stages - UPSC Prelims, Mains Examination and Personality Test. The UPSC Preliminary Examination consists of two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. All the Subjects covered under the UPSC Syllabus for Prelims Exam are compulsory in nature.

The next stage, which is the Mains Examination, consists of 9 papers that are all compulsory to attempt to qualify UPSC Mains. All the aspirants who have qualified Prelims are eligible to sit for the Mains Examination.

  • The syllabus for UPSC Language Paper A, Essay Paper, and GS papers 1,2,3 and 4 is common for everybody.
  • Aspirants can choose their Optional Subject out of the list of 26 Optional subjects provided by UPSC.
  • The aspirant also gets to make a choice to choose the Language for the Indian Language paper.

UPSC Subject List for Prelims Exam

The UPSC Civil Services Examination is a challenging exam that tests the knowledge and abilities of candidates aspiring to become civil servants. The compulsory subjects for the UPSC Prelims are carefully chosen to assess the candidate's knowledge of the world around them and their ability to make informed judgments.

The following are the compulsory papers included in the UPSC subject list for Prelims Paper-1:

  • Current affairs of national and international importance
  • Environment, Ecology, and Biodiversity
  • Ancient, Medieval and Modern History of India
  • Art and Culture
  • Indian polity and governance
  • General science and technology
  • Indian and world geography
  • Economic and social development
  • Social Issues

These subjects are designed to test the candidate's knowledge of a wide range of topics that are relevant to the role of a civil servant. For example, the history subject will test the candidate's knowledge of India's past and its development, while the polity subject will test their knowledge of the Indian government and its political system.

UPSC Subjects for CSAT

The UPSC Prelims General Studies Paper-II, also known as the CSAT Paper, is designed to assess the applicant's interpersonal and communication skills, as well as their capacity for logical reasoning. The syllabus for the CSAT covers the following topics:

  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability: This section tests the applicant's ability to think logically and solve problems. It includes questions on topics such as syllogisms, analogies, and problem-solving.
  • General mental ability to solve problems: This section tests the applicant's general problem-solving skills. It includes questions on topics such as spatial reasoning, number aptitude, and verbal reasoning.
  • Basic numerical problems: This section tests the applicant's ability to solve basic numerical problems. It includes questions on topics such as number properties, arithmetic operations, and data interpretation.
  • Data interpretation: This section tests the applicant's ability to interpret data presented in charts, graphs, and tables.
  • English language comprehension skills: This section tests the applicant's ability to read and understand English language passages.

The CSAT is a qualifying paper, which means that candidates must score at least 33% in order to qualify for the next stage of the examination. The paper is of 200 marks and has a duration of 2 hours.

UPSC Mains Subject List

The UPSC Civil Services Main Examination consists of both compulsory and optional subjects. The compulsory subjects in the UPSC Mains examination are:

  • Essay Paper: Candidates are required to write two essays, choosing one topic from each section. This paper evaluates the candidate's ability to articulate ideas and express them in a coherent and structured manner.
  • GS Paper 1: This paper covers a range of topics, including Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society, and issues related to globalisation, social empowerment, and communalism. All the subjects in this Paper are compulsory in nature.
  • GS Paper 2: This paper focuses on Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations. All the subjects in the paper are compulsory in nature for every aspirant.
  • GS Paper 3: This paper covers compulsory subjects like Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management.
  • GS Paper 4: Also known as the Ethics Paper, it deals with Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. It evaluates the ethical and moral dimensions of candidates.
  • Indian Language Paper: This paper tests the aspirants' proficiency in an Indian language of their choice. One of the Indian languages listed in the Constitution’s Eighth Schedule needs to be selected by the candidate. Hence, the choice of subject is different for each aspirant.
  • English Language Paper: This subject Paper is compulsory for all. Similar to the Indian Language Paper, the English Language Paper is of a qualifying nature, and the marks are not counted in the final ranking.
  • Optional Paper 1: Aspirants can choose an optional subject from the list provided by UPSC. This paper consists of questions related to the chosen optional subject.
  • Optional Paper 2: This is the second paper for the optional subject that the aspirant has chosen.

UPSC Subjects for Personality Test

The UPSC interview round, also known as the Personality Test, is the final stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examination selection process. It is conducted to assess the candidate's overall personality, communication skills, and suitability for a career in the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Foreign Service, and other central services. When it comes to compulsory subjects for the interview round, the questions asked during the interview can cover a wide range of topics, including the candidate's background, hobbies, current affairs, general knowledge, ethical dilemmas, situational questions, and their optional subject. The purpose is to assess the candidate's knowledge, analytical abilities, and personality traits.

How to Prepare for UPSC Prelims Subjects?

The UPSC Preliminary Examination consists of two papers, General Studies Paper 1 and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). To prepare for General Studies Paper 1, candidates should follow the following strategy:

  • Read newspapers and magazines: This will help you stay up-to-date on current affairs, which is an important part of the General Studies Paper 1 syllabus. UPSC Magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra are a must-read for aspirants.
  • Analyse previous year question papers: This will help you understand the kind of questions that are asked in the exam and the way the questions are framed.
  • Make your own notes: This will help you consolidate your knowledge and make it easier to revise for the exam.
  • Use NCERT textbooks: The NCERT books are a good starting point for your preparation. They are comprehensive and written in a clear and concise manner.
  • Take mock tests: This will help you assess your preparation level and identify your areas of weakness.

By following these tips, you can improve your chances of success in the UPSC Preliminary Examination.

FAQs on UPSC Subject List

What are the Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Exam?

The compulsory subjects for UPSC Exam are Polity and Governance, History, Geography, Science and Technology, Social Issues, Environment and Ecology, Art and Culture, World History, etc.

What are the Compulsory Subjects for UPSC Mains?

The compulsory Subjects in UPSC Mains include Ancient History, Medieval History of India, Modern History, Post Modern History, World History, Indian and World Geography, Science and Technology, Social Issues and Environment and Ecology, art and culture.

How to Prepare Subjects List for UPSC?

To prepare your own UPSC subject list, have a look at the UPSC syllabus released by the Commission in the latest notification. Go through the Prelims and Mains syllabus sections, and note down the subjects under each stage of the exam.

How many subjects are compulsory in UPSC Mains?

All the subjects in UPSC Mains are compulsory in nature. Candidates only get the choice of choosing their own subject for Language Paper- 1 and the Optional Subjects.

What are the 5 compulsory subjects in UPSC?

The 5 compulsory subjects for UPSC are Indian Polity, Indian and World Geography, Indian History- Ancient, Medieval and Modern, Environment and Ecology and Science and Technology.

Is Mathematics a compulsory subject in the UPSC Exam?

Mathematics is not a compulsory subject in the UPSC Mains examination, but it can be taken as an optional subject. However, a basic knowledge of mathematics up to class 10th is essential to do well in the Prelims CSAT Paper.