UPSC Prelims | Civil Services Preliminary Exam Preparation

How to prepare for UPSC civil services preliminary examination | UPSC Prelims 2020

The UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination (UPSC Prelims exam) includes two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each.

IGeneral Studies2003 HoursMarks Accounted
IIAptitude Test2003 HoursQualifying

Paper-I: General Studies

UPSC Prelims General Studies Paper I intends to test the general awareness of a candidate in a wide range of subjects including History, Indian Economy, Indian Polity, Geography, Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, International Relations and current affairs.


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

Important Pages for UPSC Prelims GS Paper I Preparation:

RajRAS Sections:

How to Prepare Guides


Paper-II: Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)

UPSC Prelims CSAT paper intends to assess the aptitude of the candidate in solving ‘Reasoning and Analytical’ questions, apart from ‘Reading Comprehension’ and the occasionally asked ‘Decision Making’ questions.


  • Comprehension;
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability;
  • Decision making and problem solving;
  • General mental ability;
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level),
  • Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. — Class X level);

Important Pages for Civil Services Prelims CSAT Preparation:

  • Books
  • Notes
  • Previous Years papers
  • Mock Tests

UPSC Prelims 2020: Important Notices

01/07/2020Change of Centre allowed
05/06/2020Pre Dates Revised due to Covid-19:
The UPSC civil service prelims exam will be conducted on October 4, 2020
while the main exam will be conducted on January 8, 2021
Download Revised Exam Calendar
12/02/2020UPSC Civil Services Notification: Download PDF

UPSC Prelims – General Instructions

  1. Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions) and each will be of two hours duration.
  2. The General Studies Paper-II of the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination will be a qualifying paper with minimum qualifying marks fixed at 33%. Hence, of all people who qualify in Paper-II ranking will be prepared based on marks obtained in Paper-I and candidates will be selected for mains examination.
  3. The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. 
  4. The purpose of preliminary examination is only to select candidates for mains examination & marks obtained are not counted in final rankings.
  5. The number of candidates to be admitted to the Main Examination will be about 12 to 13 times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year through this examination. 
  6. While the General Studies (GS) paper I consists of 100 questions, while the CSAT paper II consists of 80 questions.
  7. Both papers have negative marks for wrong answers marked to the tune of 1/3rd of the total marks assigned to that question. Questions that are not attempted do not attract any negative marks.
  8. General Studies (Generally conducted between 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM) and Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) (Generally conducted between 2:30 PM to 04:30 PM)
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