This post has been written keeping first timer in mind or those who want to try CSE exam in coming years. This will help in clarifying how to see UPSC CSE syllabus and how to prepare various topics. First thing first, Keep a print out of syllabus or its PDF copy. Read,re-read and try to get a bird’s eye view of the syllabus. Structure it in the form of broad categorisation. This will help in deciding your priorities on what to focus, what to cover, how much time to devote to a particular topic, issue, discussion etc.
I will give you a few heads-up. You can work upon it further.
Prelims syllabus: GS paper and CSAT paper.
GS paper mainly covers 7 themes:
- Current events
- History of India(and not world), with particular focus on Indian National Movement
- Geography:India & World
- Polity & Governance
- Environment, bio-diversity and climate change
- Economic and social development: Poverty, inclusion, social sector initiatives ( here government schemes need to be focused)
- General Science
This information will help you in your strategy for prelims. Don’t read world history for Prelims, focus more on modern Indian history compared to the ancient and medieval, environment is a big portion, the polity is a big portion ( Laxmikanth becomes so crucial).
For mains syllabus:
GS-1: 4 broad categories
- Indian heritage & Culture
- History of India & World
- Geography of India & World
- Society ( women, children, old age, urban issues, migration etc topics)
Along with this, you need to see the exact words in the syllabus and orient your preparation in that direction. For example “ Effects of globalization on Indian society” is the one small part of the stated syllabus by UPSC for GS-1. This can come in the form of what is the effect of globalization on women, children, older people, culture, crime in India. So you have to prepare that part of the syllabus in all possible dimensions. Hence keep a copy of the syllabus.
GS-2: 4 broad categories
- Polity & Governance
- Social Justice
- IR( International relations)
Constitution covers all aspects of our holy document, starting with historical evolution to comparison with other constitutions. There have been direct questions on CAG, Article 360 in recent years. So just hone your Laxmikanth knowledge again.
Polity & Governance covers the latest development in Indian administration: From election to various constitutional amendments, issues of the judiciary, executive, centre-state relationship, federal structures.
Welfare schemes, government policies, poverty, hunger, protection of vulnerable sections are covered under social justice. Read the exact words from the syllabus, check previous years question papers and prepare accordingly.
GS-3: 5 broad categories
- Indian Economy
- Internal security
- Disaster management
- Environment & Biodiversity
- Science & Technology
Indian Economy is the biggest block and covers many dimensions: from planning to resources allocation, agriculture, manufacturing, service sectors ( sectors of the economy), subsidies, PDS, Animal husbandry, cropping pattern, budgeting, inclusive growth, employment-unemployment scenario, infrastructure etc. These are keywords and each keyword needs to be prepared in a 360-degree manner.
For example, if you look at syllabus it mentions “Infrastructure: Energy, ports, roads, airports, railways etc”.
Now to prepare this syllabus topic, you need to cover all major happenings in these mentioned sectors: road, rail, airport, shipping, energy.
You see energy in itself can be a big topic: from renewable energy ( wind, solar) to energy-economy linkages. You need to read government policies in all these sectors.
So go through the exact syllabus and prepare the topics in this manner.
GS-4: For ease, it can be categorised in 2 parts: Section A ( Theory) and Section B ( Case studies).
Section A deals with theoretical aspects like the meaning of various words: integrity, ethics, morality, beliefs, value system etc. An important section is “foundational values for civil Services”. This covers various values like integrity, impartiality, neutrality, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections. This is an extremely & extremely important part of the syllabus, not only for section A and case studies but also for your future, once you get selected. So prepare this part thoroughly.
With this background information, devise your own ways to get acquainted with the syllabus. Ensure that your efforts are not misdirected and you will see the results very soon.
All the best.
P.S: You can get the official CSE syllabus PDF from this website.