Civil Service Preliminary Exam pattern,Syllabus and Booklist

To crack one of the toughest exams of the Country, you need to start preparing right away. The first step leading towards your preparation is to know and understand the syllabus completely.

Civil Services Preliminary Examination

The Civil Services Exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) each year. The Civil Services exam is conducted in 2 stages – Prelims and Mains. There are two papers in Prelims exams – namely Paper I and Paper II. Paper I tests you on General Studies and Paper II tests you on Aptitude. Qualifying Paper I lets you appear for the Mains examination. Paper II is only to analyze you i.e it is only of qualifying nature.The marks scored in Paper II are NOT added for the overall merit of the Civil Services Preliminary Examination.

CSAT Paper I (General Studies)

200 Marks

Duration: Two Hours

Number of Questions: 100

Paper I Syllabus (General Studies)

  1. Current Affairs: Events of national and international importance
  2. History of India and Indian National Movement
  3. Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic geography of India and the World.
  4. Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  5. Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  6. General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change (no subject specialization required)
  7. General Science

Recommended Books for Paper I

Current events of national and international importance

India Year Book(Should read selective chapters if time is constraint)

Newspapers – The Hindu,Indian Express (Can follow any one,Read only editorials of the other IE if following THE HINDU)

Economic Survey(Very Important both for Prelims and Mains)

Any Monthly Current Affairs magazine to fill any gap in newspaper reading

Xaam’s UPSC Prelims 2020 Online test Series 200 Tests Rs1990

History of India and Indian National Movement

New NCERT for classes 6-12 (Click here to download )

Read Tamil Nadu Board books of Class 11 and 12 if you find old NCERT boring. (Click here to Download) (Download Old NCERT here)

Specturm /India Struggle for Independence

India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipin Chandra

India’s Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania

NCERT-An Introduction to Indian Art Class 11

Indian and World Geography -Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World

NCERT books of classes 6th-8th (World Geog.- Land and People)

NCERT books of classes 9th,11th,12th

Certificate Physical and Human Geography – GC Leong

Oxford School Atlas

Indian Polity and Governance

NCERT books for classes 11th, 12th

Indian Polity – Laxmikanth

Economic and Social Development

NCERT books for classes 11,12

SRIRAM’s IAS notes

Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh(Can skip if you understand the basic concepts and read Sriram Notes thoroughly

Economic Survey ,Budget

General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change


Biology NCERT 12 (Chpt 13-16); Chemistry NCERT 12 Part2 (Chapter 12,13,14)

Shankar IAS Environment Book Current Affairs

General Science

TMH manual Science part

Current Affairs And last but not the least ,Solving Previous years papers is a must(Click here)

CSAT Paper II (Aptitude)

200 Marks

Duration: Two Hours

Number of Questions: 80

Civil Services Preliminary Exam General Studies Paper 2 is popularly known as CSAT. There are many who call not only the General Studies Paper 2, but also the complete preliminary stage exam as CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test). Aspirants should note that a terminology like “CSAT” is nowhere mentioned in the UPSC notification.

Paper II Syllabus

  1. Comprehension
  2. Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  3. Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  4. Decision making and problem solving
  5. General mental ability
  6. Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude etc.) (Class X level), Data Interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
  7. English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level).
  8. Questions relating to English Language Comprehension skills of Class X level. (will be tested through passages from English language only without providing Hindi translation)

Recommended Books for Paper II

Best way to prepare for paper 2 is solving mocks weekly.Since it is a qualifying paper and you need to score only 66 out of 200 one should not dwell much upon it.Reading too many books for paper 2 is not recommended.Solve past papers to get the idea and then weekly practice is enough.

Confused on how to start?Prepare with us
Xaam Prelims 2020 Online test series and guidance program.AIR|24/7 doubt resolution and support|Time bound mini and Full mocks|Hindi and English medium|2 years of Current affairs

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