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UPSC Syllabus 2024 for Prelims, Mains & Interview – Download PDF

Topics Covered: UPSC IAS Syllabus 2024 – Prelims Syllabus for Paper 1 (General Studies) & Paper 2 (Civil Services Aptitude Test), Mains Syllabus for Language Papers, Essay, General Studies 1, General Studies 2, General Studies 3, General Studies 4 & Optional Subjects, and Download Latest UPSC Syllabus PDF 2024

The UPSC CSE is one of the most popular yet competitive examinations in the country. Lakhs of candidates apply each year, yet only few get selected in the final process.  

While many aspirants are initially enthusiastic and highly motivated when they think of starting their preparation for UPSC CSE.   

The first step towards preparing for this exam is to have a thorough knowledge of the syllabus.   

Knowing the syllabus in detail would greatly benefit in understanding the exam’s structure also help in highlighting the important topics to cover. 

With UPSC syllabus 2024 being so immense, it will not be an easy journey, but with determination, smart work and focus you can definitely clear this exam.   

Therefore, on that note I will be discussing with you about the IAS syllabus 2024 in detail which will cover the syllabus for  Prelims, Mains and Interview.   

So, without further due, let’s get started!   

Table of Content –  UPSC Syllabus for Prelims, Mains & Interview 

What is the UPSC syllabus 2024? 

The official notification for UPSC exam 2024 has been released, hence, it is important for candidates to go through the latest UPSC 2024 syllabus provided along with it. 

The UPSC syllabus has been clearly defined for Prelims and Mains which will help you get an overview and have better understanding of the exam’s nature. 

To begin with, there are 3 stages in the UPSC Civil service examination which are as follows: 

    • UPSC Prelims: The first stage of the UPSC exam cycle is the Preliminary exam. There are 2 papers, each containing a total of 100 and 80 objective–based questions respectively. Both the papers are of 2 hours each with 1/3rd negative marking.  
    • UPSC Mains: The second stage is the Mains exam. There are a total of 9 papers and the exam is descriptive in nature.  The time duration is 3 hours for each paper with no negative marking. 
    • Personality Test: The final round is the Personal Interview which is conducted to assess the personality of the candidate.  

If you want to know more details regarding UPSC Syllabus 2024 without having to read the entire article, I have prepared a pdf for you on the same, which contains in-depth information regarding the IAS syllabus for prelims, mains and interview.    

You can download this UPSC Syllabus pdf 2024 by just clicking on this button below.   

Moving on, I will now start off with the first part of the article which is the UPSC prelims syllabus. But before we proceed to UPSC syllabus, you can click on the latest eligibility criteria for UPSC exam to check the qualifications required for appearing in this exam.  

UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024

You can go through the UPSC Prelims Syllabus 2024 to understand the exam’s pattern which is both dynamic as well analytical in nature. Prelims is the first step in this three- stage exam journey and is also considered as screening stage.

The Prelims exam comprises of 2 papers, namely: 

    • The General Studies (GS) 
    •  The Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

An important point to note here is that a negative marking of 1/3rd is allotted for wrong answers in both the papers – GS Paper 1 and CSAT.  

UPSC Prelims Syllabus Overview
PaperSubjectsNo. of QuestionsTotal MarksDuration
1General Studies (GS)1002002 hours
2CSAT802002 hours

Talking briefly about both the papers, while the marks required to clear the GS Paper or Paper 1 is decided by the cutoff released by UPSC.  The CSAT paper is qualifying in nature, as the minimum score required to clear the paper is 33% or 66 marks out of 200 marks.   

However, your prelims marks will not be considered in your final order of merit, provided you manage to make it through to the interview round.  

If you want to know about the UPSC Prelims exam pattern in further detail, you can check out my article on the same.  

Prelims Syllabus of UPSC CSE

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for Paper 1: General Studies (GS)

This GS paper or paper 1 is designed to test your overall knowledge about your surroundings and the world, and to test how observant you are as a person, by asking questions related to current affairs.

The UPSC prelims syllabus 2024 for the GS paper would consist of topics from a wide range of subjects such as Polity, Geography, History, Economy, Science and Tech, Environment.

Now, I have written down the list of major topics from the UPSC Prelims syllabus which broadly cover for GS Paper (Paper 1) below: 

    • Current events of national and international importance
    • History of India and Indian National Movement
    • Indian & World Geography – Social, Physical, Economic Geography of the World and India.
    • Governance and Polity in India –Rights Issues, Constitution, Public Policy, Political System, Panchayati Raj, etc.
    • Social & Economic Development –Social Sector initiatives, Demographics, Sustainable Development, Inclusion, Poverty, etc.
    • General issues on Biodiversity, Environmental Ecology, & Climate Change – these topics do not require subject specialization.
    • General Science

Now, if you are wondering where to cover all these topics from, read the blog that I have written on best books for UPSC CSE preparation. 

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UPSC Prelims Syllabus for Paper 2: Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

UPSC Prelims Syllabus for Paper 2: Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) 

The Paper 2 or the CSAT is conducted to test your reasoning, comprehension, and analytical abilities and is qualifying in nature.

The CSAT paper includes questions from the subjects like Reasoning & Analysis, Quantitative Aptitude and Reading Comprehension. It also tests your decision-making skills by asking questions pertaining to the same. 

Given below is the list of major topics of the UPSC syllabus 2024 from which questions are asked in the CSAT Paper: 

    • Comprehension
    • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
    • Analytical ability and Logical Thinking
    • Problem Solving and Decision Making
    • General Mental ability
    • Basic Numeracy, i.e. orders of magnitudes, numbers & their relations, etc (class 10 level)
    • Interpretation of Data (charts, tables, graphs, data sufficiency, etc. – Also class 10 level)

To understand better how to effectively prepare for the exam, you can read my blog on preparation strategy for UPSC exam. 

So, this pretty much sums up the IAS syllabus 2024 for the Prelims exam. Now it’s time to discuss the UPSC Mains syllabus in detail.

UPSC Mains Syllabus 2024

By knowing the UPSC Mains 2024 syllabus, you will get an overall idea of the descriptive nature of this exam. 

There are a total of 9 papers in the UPSC syllabus for the Mains exam which includes 1 essay, 2 language papers, 4 General Studies papers and 2 optional papers with the time duration of 3 hours is provided to complete each paper.  

I have provided a table listing all the subjects of the 9 papers comprising the Mains syllabus along with their weightage and nature:    

UPSC Mains Syllabus Overview
Paper AAny Indian Language (compulsory) - qualifying paper300 Marks
Paper BEnglish - qualifying paper
Paper 1Essay (you can choose to write it in a medium of your choice)250 Marks
Paper 2General Studies 1 (Indian and World History, Culture, Heritage, & Geography)
Paper 3General Studies 2 (Polity, Constitution, Governance, International Relations & Social Justice)
Paper 4General Studies 3 (Economic Development, Technology, Disaster Management & Security, Biodiversity)
Paper 5General Studies 4 (Aptitude, Ethics, & Integrity)
Paper 6Optional Subject: Paper 1
Paper 7Optional Subject: Paper 2

An important point to note is that all the papers except for the 2 language papers included in the UPSC Mains syllabus 2024 can be written in any of the languages mentioned in Schedule 8 of the Indian Constitution.

Syllabus of UPSC Mains Essay (No topics prescribed)

The UPSC syllabus 2024 for Essay in the Mains exam is not specifically defined. For this paper, you are expected to keep a close watch on the essay topic and to write your points in a concise manner.  

You would need to write 2 essays from a list of given topics in the paper. The maximum marks allotted for this paper is 250 marks.  

The key highlights from the UPSC Mains syllabus are provided in the image below:  

Mains Syllabus of UPSC CSE

UPSC Mains Syllabus for General Studies 1 (GS 1)

The IAS syllabus for GS 1 includes the Culture, History, Heritage & Geography of India and the World. I have listed down below the points in detail: 

  • Culture of India: Major aspects of the various Indian art forms, Architecture & literature of India, from ancient to modern India.


  • Modern Indian History
      • Personalities from the mid 18th century to the present, issues, Important events, etc.
      • Stages of the freedom struggle and the people who played a part in it.
      • History from the post-independence perspective and the reorganization and consolidation of the Indian states following that.
  • World History
      • World events from the 18th century onwards and their effects on society & the world at large. (Industrial Revolution, World Wars, delineation of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, effects of political philosophies like communism, capitalism, etc.)
  • Society
      • Society of India, its diversity and important aspects.
      • Population and issues related to it, the role of women and women-led organizations in Indian societies, poverty, and development-related issues, urbanization, problems due to it and solutions, etc.
      • Communalism, regionalism, & secularism in India, social empowerment.
      • Globalization and its effects on Indian society.
  • Geography
      • Important natural resources around the globe especially in South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent; factors affecting the location of the primary, secondary and tertiary sector industries across the world along with India.
      • Key geographical phenomena and their causes like tsunamis, earthquakes, cyclones, volcanic activities, etc.
      • The various geographical features and their locations, changes of features with a location like water bodies and polar ice caps, effects of these changes on flora and fauna.
      • Key features of the planet’s physical geography.

UPSC Syllabus for Mains paper: General studies 2 (GS 2)

The IAS syllabus for GS 2 includes the subjects of Polity, Constitution, Governance, International Relations, and Social Justice. I have listed below the points in detail:


  • Polity and Indian Constitution
      • Responsibilities and functions of the Union & States, challenges and issues related to the federal structure, finances, and devolution of powers down to the local levels, and the challenges that lie therein.
      • Segregation of power between the various government bodies, redressal mechanisms pertaining to conflict, and dispute management and the various institutions.
      • Organization, structure, and functions of the Judiciary, legislature, & Executive.
        State and Parliamentary legislatures:
      • Departments & Ministries of the government; pressure groups and their informal/formal roles and associations in the polity.
      • Key features of the Representation of people’s Act
      • How the various constitutional posts are appointed, their functions, & powers. Also, those of the various constitutional bodies.
      • Various quasi-judicial, statutory, and regulatory bodies.
      • The various governmental interventions and policies are aimed at developing various sectors.
      • The development sector and its processes – the role of SHGs, NGOs, and other associations and groups, institutions, and other stakeholders.
  •  Social Justice
      • Welfare schemes issued by the Centre and states for vulnerable sections, the performance of these schemes; laws, mechanisms, bodies and institutions set up for the protection, and development of the vulnerable sections.
      • Issues in development and management of the social/service sectors.
        Problems pertaining to hunger and poverty.
  • Governance
      • Key aspects of governance, e-governance- applications, successes, potential, accountability and transparency, models, limitations; citizen charters, and other measures.
      • The role of Civil Services in a democracy.
  • International Relations
      • India and its relationship with its neighbours
      • Various international groupings and agreements involving India and other states.
      • The effects of policies and politics of other countries on Indian interests and the Indian diaspora.
      • Key international entities, institutions, agencies, their mandates, and structures.

UPSC Syllabus for Mains paper: General studies 3 (GS 3)

The UPSC Mains syllabus for GS 3 includes the subjects of Economic Development, Environment, Disaster Management & Security, Technology, and Biodiversity. I have listed below the points in detail:


  • Economy
      • The economy of Indian and planning-related issues.
      • Government budgeting.
      • Inclusive growth and issues/challenges associated with it.
      • Liberalization and its effects on the economy (post-1991).
      • Infrastructure – Ports, Airports, Roads, Energy, Railways, etc.
      • Investment models like PPP, etc.
  • Agriculture
      • Predominant cropping patterns in various parts of the nation, various types of irrigation techniques and systems, storage, marketing, transportation of agricultural produce, and challenges/issues related to it; use of e-technology in the agricultural sector.
      • Rearing of animals and the economics related to it.
      • Industries related to food processing and its kind in India – significance and scope, upstream-downstream requirements, location, supply chain management.
      • Problems related to indirect and direct farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Objectives of Public Distribution System, functioning and its limitations, revamping; food security and buffer stock issues; technological missions.
      • Land reforms in India
  • Science & Technology
      • Recent technological developments and their effects.
      • Indians and their achievements in science & technology.
      • Indigenous technological innovation and the development of new tech.
      • General Awareness of Space, IT, Robotics, Computers, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.
      • Problems related to intellectual property rights.
  • Environment
      • Conservation
      • Pollution of the environment and its degradation
      • EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment)
  • Disaster Management (Act, laws, etc.)
  • Security
      • Challenges to internal security (non-state actors and external state)
      • How extremism develops and spreads.
      • Internal security challenges pertaining to the communication networks.
      • Fundamentals of cyber security; money laundering and how to prevent it.
      • Challenges to security and managing security in border areas; the connection between organized crime and terrorism.
      • The names of the various security agencies and forces and their mandates.

UPSC Syllabus for Mains paper: General studies 4 (GS 4)

The IAS syllabus for GS 4 includes topics that will test you on your sense of Integrity, Ethics, and Aptitude.

The GS 4 paper has questions to check the approach and attitude that you might employ in situations requiring integrity and uprightness, and superior problem-solving capabilities. Questions asked in the GS 4 paper are case-study based. 

I have listed below the major topics from the UPSC GS 4 Syllabus in detail:


  • Human Interface & Ethics
      • The essence of ethics, the determinants & consequences in human interaction.
      • Dimensions of Ethics
      • Ethics in public and private relationships
      • Human values.
      • The role of one’s family, society, and educational institutes in developing ethical and moral values in him/her.
  • Attitude
      • The content of attitude.
      • The influence of attitude in behavior and thought.
      • The relation of attitude to behavior and thought.
      • Political and Moral attitudes.
      • Persuasion and social influence.
  • Aptitude
      • The foundational values and aptitude of civil services.
      • Integrity
      • Non-partisanship and impartiality.
      • Objectivity
      • Dedication to serving the public
      • Compassion towards society’s weaker sections.
  • Emotional Intelligence
      • The concept of emotional intelligence
      • The application and utility of emotional intelligence.
  • Contributions of Philosophers and Thinkers
      • From the world and India to the concepts of morality.
  • Ethics in Public Administration and Civil/public service values
      • Associated problems and Status
      • Dilemmas and Ethical concerns in private institutions and the government
      • Regulation, rules, laws, and conscience as the source of ethical guidance
      • Ethical governance and Accountability
      • Consolidation of moral and ethical values in governance
      • Ethical Issues in funding and international relations
      • Corporate governance.
  • Probity in Governance
      • Concept of public service
      • Governance & probity and its philosophical basis
      • Transparency & information sharing in government
      • Right to Information
      • Codes of ethics
      • Codes of conduct
      • Citizen’s charters
      • Work culture
      • Quality of service delivery
      • Utilization of public funds
      • Challenges of corruption

UPSC Mains Syllabus for Optional subject (2 papers – Paper 1 and paper 2)

For the optional subject papers, you need to choose a subject of which you have an in-depth understanding. 

The UPSC allows you to choose one optional subject from out of a total of 26 different subjects. There’ll be 2 papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2 of 250 marks each pertaining to the subject that you choose. 

Having said that, I have shared a table listing all the optional subjects for UPSC, below: 

UPSC Optional Subjects
AgricultureAnimal Husbandry & Veterinary ScienceAnthropologyBotany
ChemistryCivil EngineeringCommerce and AccountancyEconomics
Electrical EngineeringGeographyGeologyHistory
PhilosophyPolitical Science and International RelationsPsychologyPublic Administration
ManagementMedical ScienceStatisticsMechanical Engineering

UPSC Syllabus for Language Papers: (Any Indian Language & English)

Literature subjects for language papers likewise the UPSC optional subjects, are a part of the Mains Exam, in these papers there’d be: 

    • An essay question of 100 marks where you’d have to select one out of a few given topics. 
    • 5-6 questions related to reading comprehension: of a maximum of 60 marks. 
    • Precis writing questions worth 60 marks which you’d have to attempt on special answer sheets with grid lines. 
    • Translation-based questions: English to the chosen Indian language & vice versa for 20 marks each, totaling 40 marks. 
    • Questions based on grammar, synonyms, sentence corrections, and basic language usage, of a total of 40 marks. 

While English language is a compulsory subject for language paper, the following is the list of 22 subjects from which you can pick your most appropriate literature subject for language paper: 

UPSC Languages

Factors for Choosing Optional and Language Subjects

It is imperative that you choose your optional and language subjects after proper consideration. These are some factors that you should keep in mind:

  1. Analyzing the optional subjects: My initial advice is to analyze the optional syllabus. It’s important to consider the length of the syllabus and the general studies subjects to be covered. 
  2. Familiarity with the subject: Although aspirants come from different streams, the optional subject should be a leverage. Therefore, it’s advisable to choose an optional subject that you are familiar with. 
  3. Having reliable study materials: Preparing for a 500 marks optional paper is no cakewalk and require appropriate study resources. Ensure you have access to good study material for the relevant subject.  
  4. Choosing a subject of interest: Avoid going after a subject with high success ratio. Instead, select a subject based on your interest. You will be assessed on your answers’ understandability, thus you should pick a subject that you have an interest in or are comfortable with. 

The best strategy is to score about 52-55% in your optional paper to ensure an overall good score as the marks obtained in optional and GS papers can determine the final selection of a candidate.  

In case you have commerce and management as your subjects, you can check the UPSC commerce and management syllabus we have provided.  

What is the syllabus for the IAS Interview?

There is no IAS Interview syllabus per se, as the purpose of this interview is to assess the personality of the candidate for a career in public service by a Board of competent and unbiased observers.  

Some of the qualities to be judged are mental alertness, critical powers of assimilation, clear and logical exposition, balance of judgement, variety and depth of interest, ability for social cohesion and leadership, intellectual and moral integrity.  

The interview consists of 275 marks. hese are some points you should look at:

  1. Try preparing for questions that may revolve around your personal details like ethnicity, hometown, community, childhood, your educational institutions, etc.  
  2. Prepare for questions that will revolve around your interests and hobbies.  
  3. Prepare for all questions related to your experiences mentioned on your CV and what challenges and learnings you have applied from them.  
  4. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest in the current events taking place both within and outside their own state or country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries.  
  5. Prepare for hypothetical questions by practicing situation- based questions before the interview.  

The interview round not only evaluates the candidate intellectually but also judges the candidate’s social traits and interest in current affairs.  

You can take a careful look at the trends in latest UPSC cutoffs to maximize your preparation and score well in the exam.  

How is Analyze UPSC Syllabus 2024?

Analyzing the UPSC syllabus 2024 before starting your exam preparation is important for aspirants in multiple ways.

The first step in analyzing the syllabus is to carefully go through it and divide the subjects in topic-wise manner.

The syllabus contains both static and dynamic portions, so the next step you must take is to segregate these topics into these two sections.

After doing so, gather the study resources and cross check if all these topics are covered.

Lastly, go through the previous year papers to identify the important topics and assess their weightage.

Repeat the entire process daily until you memorize the syllabus entirely. There are various advantages to analyzing the IAS syllabus beforehand, as given below:

    • Familiarity with the syllabus helps in assessing your strengths and weaknesses.  
    • Strategizing a study plan becomes easy with detailed knowledge of the syllabus.  
    • Once you analyze the syllabus well, it also helps in selection of your optional subject.  

A thorough analysis is the foundation of a good strategy. You can check the analysis of Commerce and Management optional subject. 

How to cover UPSC syllabus 2024? 

It is essential to understand the UPSC Syllabus 2024. Once you know the syllabus thoroughly, you can start strategizing a study plan to cover all the syllabus.  

    • There are various books available on the market, so it is important to carefully make a concise booklist after researching.  
    • Always have the printout of UPSC syllabus laid Infront of you to easily track your progress. You can also refer to the syllabus I have provided above.  
    • Practice UPSC previous year question papers after covering every section for efficient learning. You can check IAS past year papers to know the type of questions asked.     
    • Revision is 85% of the game. Hence, to improve your retention, you must revise.  

So, to master the UPSC IAS Syllabus 2024, consistency is the key. It’s always advised to keep reading interdisciplinary subjects or books for light reading sessions in between breaks. Basically, the quest for knowledge should never end.  

Before I conclude you can also check the UPSC mock tests we have provided to ensure holistic preparation strategy that will secure your chances of success in the upcoming UPSC examination. 


I am confident that all your doubts related to the topic of the syllabus have now been cleared.

I have comprehensively discussed the UPSC syllabus 2024 for all three stages, which include the Prelims, Mains and the Interview, in a detailed and section-wise manner.

This will help you to strategize your preparation accordingly. As the basis of a good preparation for an exam lies in how well you know its syllabus.  

All the best and stay motivated!! 

CEO of Anujjindal.in

About Anuj Jindal


Anuj Jindal, the founder, is an ex-manager from SBI, with an M.Com from Delhi School of Economics. He also has a JRF in Commerce & Management and NET in HRM, along with more than 5 years of experience in the field of Education.

UPSC CSE – Related Resources

FAQs: UPSC Syllabus for IAS Exam

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    What is the latest UPSC Syllabus 2024?

    The UPSC Prelims syllabus 2024 which consists of General Studies Paper 1 and CSAT include subjects such as History, Polity, Indian constitution, Science & Tech, English Comprehension, Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude.   

    Whereas the UPSC Mains syllabus 2024 is comprised of 1 essay, 2 Language Papers, 4 GS Papers and 2 Optional Papers.  

    The syllabus of these papers includes subjects like Modern Indian History, World Geography, International Relations, Indian Economic development, Disaster Management and Ethics, Aptitude and Integrity.   

    To know all the subjects in detail, you can check UPSC syllabus 2024 for CSE has been provided above.    

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    What is the syllabus for UPSC Prelims? 

    The syllabus for UPSC Prelims is as follows: 

    • GS paper 1 syllabus includes subjects like History, Polity, Economy, Environment, Geography, Science and Tech. 
    • The CSAT syllabus or Paper 2 includes English comprehension, logical reasoning and analytical skills.  

    The syllabus for both the papers has been explained in detail in this blog above. You can check the UPSC Prelims Syllabus. 


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    What are the optional subjects in UPSC? 

    The UPSC provides a list of 26 optional subjects for CSE Mains, some of which are as follows: 

    • Commerce and Accountancy,    
    • Management, 
    • Geography, 
    • Economics    
    • Political Science,   
    • History etc.  

     You can check complete list of UPSC optional subjects  mentioned above in the blog. 

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    Is the Prelims and UPSC Mains Syllabus different? 

    Yes, the UPSC Prelims Syllabus and UPSC Mains Syllabus are different in terms of total number of papers in both phases, e.g., –  

    • There are 2 papers in Prelims and 9 papers in Mains examination. 
    • Objective– based questions are asked in prelims and descriptive questions in mains exam.  
    • There is also an addition of some topics in Mains exam.

    To learn about the UPSC syllabus (Prelims + Mains), you can go through them in the blog above. 

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    What is the syllabus of UPSC Mains? 

    The UPSC Mains syllabus has defined set of paper subjects that the candidates are required to cover in order to prepare for Mains Examination. These papers are as follows: 

    • 1 Language Paper of your choice   
    • 1 English Language Paper   
    • 1 Essay Paper   
    • 4 General Studies Papers   
    • 2 Optional Subject Papers  

    The syllabus prescribed for these papers include topics such as Ancient, Medieval and Modern History, Polity, Governance, Internal Security, Science and Tech, Ethics, Aptitude and Integrity.  

    The IAS Syllabus has been talked about in detail in this blog above. To go through the UPSC Mains Syllabus, click here. 

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    How to choose the optional subject for the UPSC Mains Exam? 

    There are a few factors you need to take into consideration before choosing an optional subject such as: 

    • Your graduation subject 
    • Access to subject material 
    • Familiarity and interest in a particular subject 

    For better understanding of such factors, you can check this video on How to choose the UPSC Optional Subject. 

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    Does the syllabus for UPSC CSE change every year?
    No, the UPSC CSE syllabus remains the same every year and no major changes are made to the syllabus.    

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    What is the syllabus for UPSC Interview?
    There is no specific syllabus mentioned for UPSC Interview. An interview is conducted to assess the personality of the candidate; therefore, a candidate is expected to take avid interest in current affairs as well as have analytical abilities and social traits such as leadership skills and moral integrity.  

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    Are all the papers of UPSC Mains exam conducted in a single day?
    No, the examination for UPSC Mains which includes 1 essay, 2 Language Papers, 2 optional papers and 4 GS papers is held within the time period of 5 days.  

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