UPSC Syllabus 2023 | Exam pattern & CSE Syllabus

UPSC CSE aspirants need to be well aware of the UPSC Syllabus 2023 before they appear for the examination. The UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) conducts the Civil Services Examination (CSE). The syllabus for the UPSC Civil Services Examination consists of three stages: the Preliminary Examination, the Main Examination, and the Interview (Personality Test).

UPSC Syllabus 2023
UPSC Syllabus 2023

Read More: UPSC CMS Recruitment 2023 | Written Exam Results Announced

UPSC: Preliminary Examination Syllabus 2023

UPSC Preliminary Examination has Two papers: General Studies (Paper I) and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) (Paper II). Both papers are of objective type (multiple choice questions). Paper I covers current events, history, geography, politics, economy, general science, etc. Paper II focuses on comprehension, interpersonal skills, logical reasoning, decision-making, etc. The marks of Paper II are not counted for the candidate’s ranking in the Preliminary Examination but are a qualifying paper.

Paper I: General Studies

General Studies



Current events of national and international importance

200 Marks

02 hours

History of India and the Indian National Movement
Indian and World Geography
Indian Polity and Governance
Economic and Social Development
General Science

Paper II: Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)
Topics Marks Time
Comprehension 200 marks 02 hours
Interpersonal skills including communication skills
Logical reasoning and analytical ability
Decision-making and problem-solving
General mental ability
Basic numeracy (Class X level)
English language comprehension skills (Class X level)

Both papers are of objective type (multiple choice questions) and are usually held on the same day.

UPSC: Main Examination Syllabus 2023

UPSC Main Examination is divided into Nine papers, including one qualifying language paper (Compulsory Indian Language) and two optional papers (candidates choose one). The language paper is meant to test language comprehension, translation, essay writing, and grammar. The optional paper is chosen from a list of approved subjects. The other papers cover essay writing, general studies (I, II, III, and IV), and two optional papers.

The Main Examination is a written examination and consists of nine papers. Out of these, seven papers are considered for ranking purposes while the remaining two papers are qualifying in nature:

Papers Total marks
Paper-A: Compulsory Indian Language 300 marks
Paper-B: English  300 marks
Essay 250 marks

General Studies I 

  • Indian Heritage and Culture
  • History and Geography of the World and Society
250 marks

General Studies II 

  • Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations
250 marks

General Studies III 

  • Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management
250 marks

General Studies IV 

  • Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
250 marks
Optional Paper I  250 marks
Optional Paper II  250 marks

List the optional subjects: 

Here is the list of optional subjects: 

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


Literature is an optional paper that many candidates choose as either optional paper I or optional paper II.

There are Various Literature languages like Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, etc.


UPSC Syllabus 2023: Personality Test

Candidates who qualify for the Main Examination are called for the Interview stage. This stage assesses the candidate’s personality traits, communication skills, and suitability for a career in civil services. The interview is usually conducted by a board of experts.

The final ranking of candidates is determined based on the marks obtained in the Main Examination (excluding the language paper) and the Interview stage. It is important to note that the Preliminary Examination serves as a screening test and the marks obtained therein are not factored into the final ranking.

Here are the general areas that the UPSC CSE interview might cover:

Topics in Personality Test

Current Affairs and General Knowledge:

    • National and international current events
    • Recent developments in politics, economy, science, technology, and society
    • Government policies and programs
    • Social issues and challenges

Background and Bio-Data:

  • Questions about your personal, educational, and professional background
  • Your interests, hobbies, and achievements

Ethics and Values:

  • Questions to assess your ethical and moral values
  • How you approach ethical dilemmas and decision-making

Problem-Solving and Analytical Ability:

  • Case-based questions to assess your problem-solving skills
  • Your approach to handling complex situations 

Indian Polity and Governance:

  • Questions about the Constitution of India
  • Structure and functioning of the government and public institutions

Economic and Social Development:

  • India’s economic challenges and growth prospects
  • Issues related to poverty, inequality, and development

International Relations:

  • India’s foreign policy
  • Global geopolitical trends and international challenges

Personality Traits:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership qualities
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Confidence and composure

Hobbies and Interests:

  • Questions related to your hobbies and interests
  • How do your interests relate to your potential role in the civil services

Local and Regional Issues:

    • Questions about your knowledge of your home state or region 

Academic and Professional Knowledge:

  • Questions related to your optional subject (if it’s an academic subject)
  • Relevance of your academic and professional background to the civil services
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