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The UPSC exam pattern for the Preliminary stage consists of two papers, conducted on one day. Both the papers comprise objective type questions with multiple choice of answers. The prelims examination is a qualifying stage to filter candidates for the mains exam.

The marks secured at this stage are not counted towards the final merit list

General Studies (GS)  -  2 hours (9:30 AM to 11:30 AM)

CSAT - 2 hours (2:30 PM to 4:30 PM)

Syllabus for GS Paper (Prelims Paper I)

 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, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation.

 General Science

Syllabus for CSAT Paper (Prelims Paper-II)

 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)