UPSC Mains Exam 2024 - syllabus, dates, exam pattern

UPSC Mains Exam 2024 - syllabus, dates, exam pattern

UPSC Mains Exam 2024 - syllabus, dates, exam pattern

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

UPSC IAS Mains Exam Pattern 2024


The UPSC Mains examination pattern comprises a total of 9 papers, including 4 General Studies Papers, 1 Essay Paper, 2 Language Papers, and 2 Optional Subject Papers. Unlike the Preliminary examination, there is no provision for negative marking in the Mains examination. The papers are designed with descriptive-based questions, testing candidates' comprehensive 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  
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


Key Highlights

1. The two Qualifying Papers are "Any Indian Language from the Eighth Schedule" and "English Language Paper."
2. To qualify, candidates must score a minimum of 25% in both qualifying papers, equivalent to 75 marks each.
3. The remaining seven papers are scoring in nature, and their marks contribute to the final merit list.
4. Candidates have the option to answer all the scoring subjects in either English or any of the eight scheduled languages.
5. For Paper VI and Paper VII, candidates must choose 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

Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and English.


UPSC IAS Syllabus for Main Exam- Subject-wise

Structure of the Language Papers :

The structure of language papers i.e., "Paper A" and "Paper B" has been discussed in the below table. The candidates have to select any one language from the Eighth Schedule of theIndian Constitution which are given in the table below. The second language paper is fixed i.e, English. Candidates have to use the corresponding script for the language as mentioned 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

Note: For the Santhali language, the question paper will be printed in the Devanagari script, but the candidates are free to answer either in the Devanagari script or in Olchiki


UPSC IAS Syllabus Questions asked in both language papers are:

1. Essay - 100 marks
2. Reading comprehension - 60 marks
3. Precis Writing - 60 marks
4. Translation:
(a) English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) - 20 marks
(b) Compulsory language to English - 20 marks
5. Grammar and basic language usage - 40 marks


Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society:

1. Indian culture covers the salient features of Literature, Art Forms, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
2. Modern Indian history include the significant events, personalities, issues during the middle of the eighteenth century until the present
3. Various stages and important contributors and contributions from different parts of the country in 'The Freedom Struggle'
4. Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
5. History of the world includes events, forms and effects on the society from the 18th century like world wars, the industrial revolution, colonization, redraw of national boundaries, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.
6. Salient aspects of Diversity of India and Indian Society
7. Role of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and remedies
8. Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
9. Distribution of key natural resources across the world including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent; factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world including India
10. Effects of globalization on Indian society
11. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes
12. Salient features of world's physical geography.


UPSC Mains General Studies II Syllabus

The IAS syllabus for GS 2 encompasses subjects such as Polity, Constitution, Governance, International Relations, and Social Justice. Here is a detailed breakdown of the key points:

Polity and Indian Constitution:

  • Responsibilities and functions of the Union & States, addressing challenges and issues related to the federal structure, finances, and devolution of powers to local levels.
  • Examination of the segregation of power among various government bodies, redressal mechanisms for conflict and dispute management, and an overview of various institutions.
  • Exploration of the organization, structure, and functions of the Judiciary, Legislature, and Executive.
  • Insight into State and Parliamentary legislatures, government departments & ministries, and the roles of pressure groups, both formal and informal, in the polity.
  • Understanding key features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Examination of the appointment, functions, and powers of various constitutional posts and bodies, along with an overview of quasi-judicial, statutory, and regulatory bodies.
  • Analysis of governmental interventions and policies aimed at sectoral development.

Social Justice:

  • Exploration of welfare schemes by the Centre and states for vulnerable sections, evaluating the performance of these schemes, and understanding laws, mechanisms, bodies, and institutions dedicated to the protection and development of vulnerable sections.
  • Analysis of issues in the development and management of social/service sectors, particularly those related to hunger and poverty.


  • Exploration of key aspects of governance, including e-governance applications, successes, potential, accountability, transparency, models, limitations, and the role of citizen charters and other measures.
  • Understanding the role of Civil Services in a democracy.

International Relations:

  • Study of India's relationships with its neighbors.
  • Examination of various international groupings and agreements involving India and other states.
  • Analysis of the effects of policies and politics of other countries on Indian interests and the Indian diaspora.
  • Understanding key international entities, institutions, agencies, their mandates, and structures.

UPSC Mains General Studies III Syllabus

The UPSC Mains syllabus for GS 3 encompasses subjects such as Economic Development, Environment, Disaster Management & Security, Technology, and Biodiversity. Here is a detailed breakdown of the key points:


  • Examination of the Indian economy and planning-related issues.
  • Study of government budgeting.
  • Analysis of inclusive growth and associated challenges.
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy (post-1991).
  • Exploration of infrastructure elements such as ports, airports, roads, energy, railways, etc.
  • Understanding investment models like PPP (Public-Private Partnership).


  • Analysis of predominant cropping patterns across the nation.
  • Study of various irrigation techniques and systems, storage, marketing, transportation of agricultural produce, and associated challenges.
  • Exploration of e-technology applications in the agricultural sector.
  • Economics related to animal rearing.
  • Study of industries related to food processing in India, including their significance, scope, upstream-downstream requirements, location, and supply chain management.
  • Examination of problems related to farm subsidies, minimum support prices, objectives of the Public Distribution System, and issues related to food security and buffer stocks.

Science & Technology:

  • Study of recent technological developments and their impacts.
  • Recognition of Indian achievements in science & technology.
  • Exploration of indigenous technological innovation and developments in new technology.
  • General awareness of Space, IT, Robotics, Computers, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.
  • Examination of problems related to intellectual property rights.


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

Disaster Management & Security:

  • Study of disaster management acts and laws.
  • Exploration of challenges to internal security posed by non-state actors and external states.
  • Examination of the development and spread of extremism.
  • Analysis of internal security challenges related to communication networks.
  • Fundamentals of cyber security, money laundering prevention, and challenges to security in border areas.
  • Recognition of the connection between organized crime and terrorism.
  • Awareness of various security agencies and forces and their mandates.

UPSC Mains General Studies IV Syllabus

The IAS syllabus for GS 4 focuses on evaluating candidates' integrity, ethics, and aptitude. This paper assesses their approach, attitude, and problem-solving capabilities, with questions presented in a case-study format. Here are the major topics outlined in detail from the UPSC GS 4 Syllabus:

Human Interface & Ethics:

  • Essence of ethics, determinants, and consequences in human interaction.
  • Dimensions of ethics.
  • Ethics in public and private relationships.
  • Human values.
  • Role of family, society, and educational institutes in developing ethical and moral values.


  • Content and influence of attitude on behavior and thought.
  • Relationship between attitude, behavior, and thought.
  • Political and moral attitudes.
  • Persuasion and social influence.


  • Foundational values and aptitude of civil services.
  • Integrity, non-partisanship, impartiality, objectivity, dedication to public service, and compassion towards society's weaker sections.

Emotional Intelligence:

  • Concept and application of emotional intelligence.
  • Utility of emotional intelligence.

Contributions of Philosophers and Thinkers:

  • Insights from global and Indian philosophers and thinkers on moral concepts.

Ethics in Public Administration and Civil/Public Service Values:

  • Problems and status associated with ethics.
  • Dilemmas and ethical concerns in private institutions and government.
  • Regulation, rules, laws, and conscience as sources of ethical guidance.
  • Ethical governance and accountability.

Ethical Issues in Funding and International Relations:

  • Corporate governance.
  • Probity in governance.
  • Concept of public service.
  • Governance and probity and their philosophical basis.
  • Transparency, information sharing in government, and right to information.
  • Codes of ethics, conduct, citizen’s charters, and work culture.
  • Quality of service delivery and utilization of public funds.
  • Challenges of corruption.

Also Read - LBSNAA: India’s Civil Services Training Academy

UPSC Syllabus for Optional Subjects

Candidates can check the UPSC syllabus for Optional Subjects as discussed in the official PDF, the links of which is given below.
Optional Subject UPSC Syllabus
Public Administration UPSC Public Administration Syllabus
Anthropology UPSC Anthropology Syllabus
Political Science & International Relations UPSC Political Science & International Relations Syllabus
Sociology UPSC Sociology Syllabus
History UPSC History Syllabus
Geography UPSC Geography Syllabus


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