UPSC Civil Service 2020 notification information and preparation strategy

UPSC Civil service exam will provide a chance to join any of the 24 most demanding services of the Indian government. So success in preliminary exam is very essential for the candidates to reach their goal. This article provides information regarding the UPSC Civil Service preliminary exam, details of syllabus, exam pattern and preparation strategies for the exam.


UPSC Civil Service has got three stages in its examination- Preliminary exam, Main exam, and interview. To enter into the next stages, a candidate must first succeed in the preliminary exam. To succeed in the first level of the exam, a candidate must fully understand the depth of the syllabus he/she has to face in the preliminary exam, the pattern of exam, and the important strategies they have to follow to succeed in the exam. Candidates should keep in mind that they must work hard and smart to clear all the three stages of the exam in order to grab the topmost posts of the Indian government like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), etc.

CIVIL Service image

Nature of question papers

Preliminary exam include two question papers-General studies (Paper-1) comprising of 200 questions for 200 marks to be answered in 2 hours. General Studies (Paper-2) comprising of 200 questions for 200 marks to be answered in 2 hours.

Paper 1

Getting a high score in paper 1 is very essential as the filtration of candidates for the main exam starts here. Paper 2 is mainly meant for selection only. 33% of pass marks in paper-2 is enough to get selected in the preliminary exam. All questions will be in multiple-choice mode only. For each wrong answer, 1/3 mark will be cut. Questions will be asked in English and Hindi languages.

Paper-1 include questions from 7 important areas of general studies. They are:-
  • Current events of national and international importance

  • History of India and Indian National Movement

  • Indian Polity and Governance Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, and Rights Issues

  • General Science

  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives and General issues on Environmental ecology

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

  • Biodiversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization and General Science


include questions from 6 important areas of general studies. They are:-
  • Comprehension

  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability

  • Decision-making and problem-solving

  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level)

  • General mental ability

  • Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)

Standard of questions in preliminary exam

Questions in preliminary exam are based on factual data and application type. Candidates have to divide the syllabus into static and dynamic parts. Candidates have to concentrate well on static part first and then proceed to prepare the dynamic part next.

The questions asked in the Civil's preliminary exam are very unique in nature. So candidates have to get a clear idea regarding the nature and depth of questions asked in the exam. The variety of questions asked, weightage given to each type of question asked. The questioning pattern changes from year to year. Sometimes, the examiners give more weightage to history, sometimes to polity or sometimes to current affairs. So candidates must be thorough with all areas of syllabus equally to get through the preliminary exams successfully.

Every issue of the topics in the syllabus must be studied from different angles to imbibe the basic concepts perfectly. Solving and practicing a variety of questions will help to solve half of the questions from paper-1.

Analysis of Syllabus

The various areas of the syllabus and on what issues of topic one have to concentrate one must be very clear about it.

General studies

In this section Current Affair questions are mostly asked. General studies can be divided into Static and Dynamic parts. 1857 revolution and Indian geography come under the static part. Newspapers, Yojana Magazine, Press Information Beau-roe (PIB), Economic and Political weekly comes under dynamic part.

History of India and Indian National Movement

Questions usually asked on ancient India, Medieval India, Modern India and on the national movement of independence. Questions on ancient Indian history may be asked from Sindhi civilization, Harappan Civilization, India in the Vedic period, Mahajanapadas, Buddhism, Mourya dynasty, Middle-East invasions, south Indian dynasties. Questions from ancient history include Sindhi civilization, Rigveda, Buddha and Jain sculptures, places where Buddha lived and visited. Questions from Midi-veal history include North Indian and Deccan dynasties, Sultans, Muslim dynasties in India, Vijayanagar dynasty, Bhakti, Cultural and Religious movements, Moughal dynasties, entry of Europeans, etc. More questions can be expected from the Modern Indian History and the Indian National Movement.

Questions from important Historical Movements may be asked. They include Anglo-Mysore, Anglo-Maratha wars, Governor Generals and laws, Ryotwari & Mahalwari Systems, Partition of Bengal, Morley-Minto reforms, Tribal revolution, 1857 mutiny of sepoys, various civil disobedience movements, Indian Government laws (1858. 1909, 1919,1935, etc.), Important personalities in Independence movement (Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Ambedkar, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, Dadabai Naoroji, etc.), Pune pact, Round table meetings, Congress meetings, Cabinet Mission, August Offer, Social-religious movements, etc. are also important topics. NCERT books, Spectrum books on history are very useful in preparing for this section.

Culture and Arts

More questions usually will be asked from this part. We can get more information on Culture and Arts from NCERT books. Questions mostly will be asked on the sculpture of temples, monuments, pictorial sculpture, UNESCO recognized sites. Pictures printed in NCERT books on ancient history is the main basis for asking questions from this part. So details regarding those pictures have to be thoroughly revised. Sculptural aspects of Gupta, Mourya, Sangama dynasties have to be thoroughly prepared. More information regarding the cultural and sculptural values of those dynasties can be gathered from the Center for Cultural Resource and Training (CCRT) website.

Indian Polity

Questions on Indian government and governance, implementation of government programs comes under this category. Questions on constitutional bodies, various ministries, and their programs and on Civic services may be asked and so candidates have to concentrate on this section. Details on various constitutional bodies, their organization, functional activities of these organizations, missions, programs of these organizations, information, and details of these organizations can be obtained from various websites. Lakshmikanth polity book is a very useful resource for this purpose. Legal service, and the Press information bureau are the websites from where good information can be gathered on this part.

Science and Technology

6-10 class NCERT textbooks, Current Affairs magazines on Science and Technology are useful for preparing this section. Candidates have to concentrate on topics of Biotechnology, Biodiversity, IoT, 3D Printing, health care, IRS, Ramsenwear, API Apps., Cybersecurity, Space Satellites, Navigation systems, etc. to fare well in this section.


Questions on Economics are usually come from static part. Candidates must be thorough with Repo, Reverse Repo rate, basic concepts on CRR, etc. Statistic based economic issues, current affairs based on budget, economic surveys, newspapers are the main source for the preparation of the economic part. Reading NCERT books, Inter books for the preparation of the geography part is essential.

Welfare programs implemented by government

Important programs implemented by various ministries, nodal agencies, benefits caused through these programs, sections of people benefited or not benefited, etc. should be thoroughly studied. Detailed information regarding various government schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana, Ayushman Bharat, Samsad Aadarsh Gram Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, Digital India, Soil Health Card system, Shyama Prasad Rural Mission, etc. should be gathered to prepare well to answer questions on them.

Current Affairs

Newspapers have to be read in-depth to get detailed knowledge regarding national and international issues. Important points from newspapers should be noted on a daily basis. Importance should be given to factual points, Science and Technology information from newspapers for preparing the preliminary exam.

Attempt many model tests

During the preparation for Civil's Preliminary exam, candidates have to attempt at least 35-40 model tests. This will help the candidates to adjust themselves for time management, understanding questions and also helps to gain speed in answering. Questions got from unknown areas in model tests will help the candidates to gain more knowledge about new things. Attempting more model tests will strengthen candidates in all areas of their preparation.

Application for UPSC Civils examination

Number of posts to be filled through UPSC Civils 2020:- 796
Last date for Application online:- 03/03/2020
Examination entrance fee:- Rs.100 (No Fee for SC, ST, PWD, women candidates
Date of Preliminary exam:-31-05-2020
Age limit:- Minimum age 21 years and maximum age 32 years. (Reserve categories will have additional age relaxation according to the norms)
Website:-Official UPSC website

Get guidance for Staff Selection Commission Combined Graduate Level exams as well.


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