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First step towards your dream!

Indian Administrative Service(IAS) is a part of Civil Services Examination of India and it is considered one of the toughest competitive exams in India. The exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) for the recruitment of officers for the All India Administrative Civil Services.

The preliminary examination comprises of objective type questions. The syllabus is vast and one must be able to understand the areas from which questions are expected. Practice make a man perfect, but at the same time, it is also true that you need to get 'proper practice" so that you can gainfully use that in the real test.

In order for you to find the important areas you need to have a broader look at the syllabus with relevant trends in the previous exams. So let's begin exploring them!


History of India and Indian National Movement

Ancient History forms an integral component of GS Paper 01 within the Indian History section. This is because 5-6 questions are regularly asked in the exam from this section.

Pre-historic India, Indus valley Civilization, Society in the Vedic age, Principles of Upanishads and Development of Art and Architecture are areas of immense importance. Apart from these, Beliefs & Rituals, Philosophies & Doctrines, Places & Kingdoms associated with Buddhism and Jainism, Sangam age form core of this section.

Medieval History was known for its unpredictability but mostly the questions revolve around, various kings who ruled the country, their policies and administrative systems, the society & the economic system, various religious movements, teaching of saints & gurus of Bhakti and Sufi Movements, Political organization in the Mughal era, Maratha Empire.

Modern India is important in order to understand the attitude and policies of British Government towards India and to understand the socio-economic condition of Indians under British rule. Important topics in this regard are Socio-religious reform movements, Revolt of 1857, Early Political Associations and Formation of Congress including the Ideologies of Moderates and Extremists, National Movements after 1915, Gandhi Era.

Art and Culture is very crucial to understand heritage of our country. The candidates, who are going to become the civil servant of the country, need to understand the culture background of the are and the people they intend to serve. These days more questions are being asked from this section. Important areas of focus are Rock-cut Architecture, Temple Architecture, Various Dance forms of India, Music and Musical Instruments, Religions of India, Indian Theater form, Puppetry etc.

Indian and World Geography

World Geography can be broadly divided into various categories like General Geography & Geomorphology, Climatology & Oceanography, Human Geography & Indian Geography.

Under Geomorphology, topics like Universe, Landforms and their evolution, changes on Earth's surface are very much important from exam point of view.

Precipitation, composition and structure of atmosphere, climate of different regions of world should be studied very extensively in Climatology.

Some topics like population, migration, transport, agriculture under the heading of Human Geography need conceptual clarity and updated information

Indian Geography is the most important section in Geography part. Majority of the questions asked in Preliminary examination are from this section only. Under Indian Geography topics like, location physiography, drainage pattern, natural vegetation & soil, monsoon, irrigation, population, disaster management, are very important and should be covered with regional aspects too.

Environment and Ecology has become the most important part of Prelims exam over the past few years. It can be broadly divided into Environment, Ecology, Biodiversity and Disaster Management.

Topics like pollution, soil conservation, acidification of oceans, ecosystem, food web, ecological succession, eco-sensitive zones are very much relevant.

Aspirant should also have in depth knowledge on topics like biodiversity conservation, biological diversity, national biodiversity conservation plan, endangered species and protected areas like biosphere reserves.

Disaster management can't be ignored in today's scenario where we have frequent natural disasters, so disasters should be studied with the reasons, their outcomes and their management. Latest conferences, summits, action plans and initiatives should also be studied religious.

Indian Polity and Governance

Aspirant need to understand that the importance of Indian Polity and Governance, lies in understanding the political and administrative system of the country. In order to understand the setup of the government from top to bottom, it is important to study Indian Polity. The whole of the polity and governance syllabus can be broadly categorized into different parts like constitutional evolution, citizenship and right issues, government bodies and contemporary developments.

Constitutional Evolution section is most important in terms of understanding the constitutional framework. The topic like Preamble, Different Schedules and Articles of the Constitution, Constitutional Assembly, Amendments in the Constitution are very relevant from the exam point of view. Apart from related provisions, focus should also be on amendments related to these topics.

Questions from Executive and Legislative sections, generally come in the form of statements. So in this section focus should be on comparative study of structure, power, privileges of different executive and legislative organs of the Indian States.

In the Judiciary section, focus should be on appointment, removal, procedures and jurisdiction of different courts. Questions also come in relation with current affairs topics like judicial review, judicial activism and PIL.

Indian Economy

To start with the preparation of Economy one should start with the basics and go towards the current happenings and their implications. Economy can be broadly categorized in several parts like basic economic indicators, features of Indian Economy, economic growth and notional income, money and banking, monetary and financial system and poverty, unemployment and welfare programs. In this section, Basic Economy indicates that aspirants should focus on topics like GDP, GNP,NNP, per capita income, national income, etc.

Feature of Indian Economy includes topics like characteristics of Indian Economy and policy making, five year plans, mixed economy. backward institutional and social framework, sector wise growth, etc.

Aspirants should also focus on topics like types of money; money market, inflation, banking system, role of RBI. Apart from these, topics like budget, balance of payment, tax policies, bond and securities, share market, public finance, financial reforms are very much relevant from the exam point of view.

Last but not least, aspirant should have in-depth knowledge of different welfare programs run by the government in the direction of eliminating poverty and generating employment. The programs like MNREGA, NRLM, Indira Gandhi Awas Yojana, Rashtriya Saksharta Mission are very important in this regard.

General Science

Physics: UPSC asks very basic questions from this section but asks question which are relevant for our day to day life. Topics like electro magnetic light(reflection, refraction, dispersion), force of nature like gravity, mechanics, applied physics are important from exam point of view.

Chemistry: Under this section, direct as well as application based questions with broader aspects have been asked in the prelims exam. Topics like solution, colloids, atoms, molecules, carbon dating, electrovalent, covalent forces, periodic tables, chemical reactions and equations organic compounds and fuels are relevant from exam point of view. Apart from that, it is important to understand various synthetic materials like cement, glass and fertilizers used.

Biology: It is one of the important section from which number of direct questions are asked by UPSC regularly. Aspirant should focus on topics like cell division, enzymes, inhibitors, the concept related to bacteria, virus and protozoa. Concepts of digestion system, respiration system, various disorders associated with various systems are also important from the examination perspective. The question related to health and diseases are also asked. Genetics and evolution is one of the most important and interesting topics to understand because it forms the basics of bio-technology, Green Revolution, etc.

Science and Technology: This section includes all the contemporary developments in the field of space, nuclear and biotechnology. UPSC regularly asks a significant number of questions from this section. Important topics that should be focused more by the aspirant are Computer and Information Technology, bio-technology which includes, genetic engineering, cloning, etc. Other topics like Indian Space Programme, Indian Nuclear Programme and Indian Defence Programme are also required for clear understanding.

General Knowledge

General Knowledge is a tough area to crack for UPSC Prelims because there is no beginning and no end. One should therefore try and prioritize areas from where questions are most likely to be asked. It can be broadly divided into some topics like current events, general awareness of India and the world, awards and honors, sports and international organization. All these sections should be updated regularly with current changes.

General awareness of India and the World includes geographical, political, historical, religious, social, economical and cultural aspects of information regarding India and abroad. Also keeping in mind about the current changes in these aspects like geographical boundary, political organizations of a country.

Under the Awards and Honors section, focusing on topics like National Awards including civilian awards, Gallantry awards, literary awards and the personalities upon whom these awards are conferred recently.

International Organizations like UNO, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFCCC different conventions and their current meetings and agreements should be given emphasis.


With this I'm concluding this post and to remind you again, this is the first post in the UPSC Made Simple series. The next few articles will be related to individual topic wise elaborations.

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