IAS Mains General Studies – I

The table below mentions the subjects included in UPSC Mains Paper-II which is also called the Mains GS 1 along with NCERT Notes on each subject

Subjects in GS Paper 1 Sub-Topics
  • Art & Culture
  • Modern History
  • World History
  • Physical Geography of India & World
  • Human Geography
Indian Society Demography, Social Issues, and Developments in Indian Society

Strategy for UPSC Mains GS Paper 1

The table below gives the focus areas in Mains GS Paper-I which an aspirant should focus on:

Subject Topics
Art & Culture
  • Classical dances
  • Temple architecture
  • Themes of ancient Indian history
  • Literature
Modern History
  • Four important agitations/movements: Swadeshi and Boycott movement, Khilafat and Non-cooperation movement, Civil Disobedience movement, Quit India movement.
  • Social/religious reform movements: personalities and their contributions
India after Independence & Political Philosophies
  • Admission of princely states
  • Role of important personalities
  • Important movements after 1947
  • Communism
  • Capitalism
World History
  • American, French, Russian and Industrial Revolution
  • World War I and II
  • Current affairs
  • International pages of The Hindu and The Indian Express
Society of India
  • Diversity in India
  • Women Empowerment
  • Issues in Indian Society
  • Cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes
  • Location of industries in India
  • Water bodies
  • Climate change
  • Natural Resources
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Detailed Structure of Mains General Studies Paper-I for IAS

The important features of the UPSC General Studies I Mains paper are:

01.There are 20 compulsory questions printed in Hindi and English which are to be answered in the language selected while filling out the application form. Questions that are answered in any other language are not evaluated.

02.The paper is of a total of 250 marks.

03.The word limit for 10 marks questions is 150 and 15 marks is 250.

04.From the history syllabus, there is a significant emphasis on Modern History topics with questions asked from Freedom struggle, Indian Renaissance, and related sub-topics.

05.From the Geography syllabus, the emphasis lies on current affairs related topics along with static sub-topics.

06.From the Indian Society syllabus, the questions are asked from topics like women empowerment, secularism, a culture of Indian Society, etc.


The detailed syllabus for UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-I (UPSC GS 1 syllabus) is tabulated below:

Topics Sub-Topics
  • Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
  • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
  • Post-independence Consolidation and Reorganization within the country.
  • History of the World will include events from the 18th century such as the Industrial Revolution, world wars, Redrawal of National Boundaries, Colonization, Decolonization, political philosophies like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism etc.— their forms and effect on society.
Art & Culture
  • Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
  • Salient features of World’s Physical Geography.
  • Distribution of Key Natural Resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).
  • Important Geophysical Phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
Indian Society
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • Role of Women and Women’s Organization, Population and Associated Issues
  • Poverty and Developmental issues,
  • Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  • Effects of Globalization on Indian society.
  • Social Empowerment
  • Communalism
  • Regionalism
  • Secularism.
Society of India
  • Diversity in India
  • Women Empowerment
  • Issues in Indian Society
  • Cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes
  • Location of industries in India
  • Water bodies
  • Climate change
  • Natural Resources

IAS Exam Pattern

Check the table below to understand the scheme and subjects of IAS examination:

UPSC IAS Exam Pattern of IAS Exam
Preliminary Examination
  • General Studies
  • Aptitude Test
Mains Examination
  • Qualifying
    • Paper-A (One of the 22 Indian Languages)
    • Paper-B (English)
  • Papers to be counted for merit
    • Paper-I (Essay)
    • Paper-II (GS-I)
    • Paper-III (GS-II)
    • Paper-IV (GS-III)
    • Paper-V (GS-IV)
    • Paper-VI (Optional Paper-I)
    • Paper-VI (Optional Paper-II)
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