Important Topics of UPSC Examination

Important Topics of UPSC Examination


Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Civil Services Examination on an annual basis. Interested candidates have to apply for the examination through an application which the commission usually releases in February. The examination is considered one of the most competitive examinations of the country as it intends to recruit candidates for All-India Services. It is important to know about the syllabus of the examination which is standardly called the IAS Exam.


The preliminary examination is the first stage comprising two papers – GS Paper 1 and CSAT. Mains is the second stage which has GS Paper 1, GS Paper 2, GS Paper 3, and GS Paper 4 along with essay, language, and optional papers. Personality Test is the final stage that interviews candidates over their interests, education, hobbies, and exam-related issues. Let’s know the important subjects and related topics of each stage.

What are the subjects covered in UPSC Prelims?

The commission has given the following syllabus for the IAS Prelims:


Current events of national and international importance
History of India and the 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 specialization
General Science


There is no comprehensive detail about the Prelims Syllabus, however, there are topics that are important from the exam point of view. These are listed below:

Important Topics in UPSC History

Topics Important From Ancient History:

  1. Indus Valley Civilization (IVC)
  2. Vedic Age
  3. Post-Vedic Society
  4. Rise of the Mauryan Empire
  5. Ashoka’s Empire and Religious Policies
  6. Rock Edicts of Ashoka
  7. Post-Mauryan Empire
  8. Foreign Travellers in Ancient India
  9. Gupta Empire
  10. Sangam Literature
  11. South Indian Dynasties – Chola, Chera, Pandyas
  12. Megalithic Age
  13. Titles are given to kings of different empires

Topic Important from Medieval History:

  1. Vijayanagara Empire – Administration and Society
  2. Rajputs
  3. Rise of Marathas
  4. Invasion of Muhammad Ghori
  5. Invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni
  6. Slave Dynasty – Important Rulers, Administration
  7. Chronology of Delhi Sultanate
  8. Alauddin Khilji’s Market Reforms
  9. Muhammad Bin Tughlak’s market reforms
  10. Mughal Empire – Special Focus on individual policies, ideas brought by the emperors
  11. Miscellaneous – Kingdoms, poets, authors, travelers, etc.

Important Topics from Modern History

  1. Anglo-Maratha Wars
  2. Anglo-Mysore Wars
  3. Anglo-Sikh Wars
  4. Carnatic Wars
  5. Battle of Buxar
  6. Battle of Plassey
  7. British Legislation in India
  8. Indian Freedom Struggle
  9. Post-Independent India – Land Reforms

Important Topics in UPSC Polity

A polity can be covered from the one book called M.Lakximkanth’s Indian Polity. However, there are a few important topics that are a must-read:

  1. Important Articles of the Indian Constitution related to different constitutional posts and bodies.
  2. Fundamental Rights
  3. Fundamental Duties
  4. Directives Principles of State Policy
  5. Ordinance Making Powers of the President
  6. Governor’s Powers
  7. Amendments in the Indian Constitution
  8. Panchayati Raj
  9. Constitutional Bodies Like National Commissions for Schedules Castes, Schedules Tribes, Backward Classes, etc.
  10. Elections in India
  11. Parliamentary Proceedings of India

Important Topics in UPSC Indian Economy

Questions from the Indian Economy are majorly current-affairs based. Economic terms that are frequently seen in the news are focussed on in the question paper. Yet, there are a few concepts that are too important to be missed:

  1. National Income
  2. Unemployment in India
  3. Inflation
  4. Indian Tax Structure
  5. NITI Aayog’s performance evaluation
  6. Money Supple
  7. Banking Systems in India
  8. Basel Norms
  9. Financial Market
  10. Agriculture-related issues and developments
  11. Infrastructure related issues and developments

Important Topics in UPSC Indian Geography

Candidates can go by the index of the NCERT geography textbooks to complete the geography syllabus for IAS Exam. Yet, some important topics from the examination point of view are:

  1. Natural Vegetation of India
  2. Biosphere
  3. Composition of Earth
  4. Himalayas
  5. Indian River Systems
  6. Important peaks in India
  7. Atmosphere
  8. Biogeochemical cycles
  9. Types of mountains
  10. Weathering processes
  11. Cyclones, earthquakes, etc
  12. Atmospheric winds, layers, etc.
  13. Ocean waves, currents, etc.
  14. India’s physical geography
  15. Important places in the news

Important Topics in UPSC Environment

Environment subject too can be covered using daily current affairs. However, it is important to know a few concept-building topics like:

  1. Ecosystem
  2. Biodiversity
  3. Important international environment conventions
  4. Climate Change
  5. Government’s initiatives on climate change
  7. COP25
  8. COP24
  9. Montreal Protocol
  10. Kigali Agreement
  11. IUCN Redlist
  12. Ramsar Convention

How to cover UPSC Mains Syllabus?

UPSC Mains has a descriptive syllabus for each subject. There are four general studies papers covering different topics; UPSC Essay Paper that is a scoring paper given candidates are fully aware of its pattern; two language papers and two optional papers. Candidates have suggested follow the below-mentioned tips to cover their UPSC Mains syllabus on time:

  1. GS 1 is mostly static paper except for a few government schemes that are in the news for the Indian Society-related issues. Hence, aspirants should fix a time limit to finish this subject.
  2. GS 2 and GS 3 are current affairs-oriented examinations and hence a candidate should make notes from the newspaper while covering any such topic that is related to any of the given topics.
  3. GS paper 4 is based on ethics, integrity, and aptitude. The core terms can be studied using the internet wisely. A candidate should learn all the standard definitions of the key terms mentioned in the syllabus of the GS paper 4.
  4. Optional papers are based on the subject selected by the candidate. Candidates should try finishing their optional syllabus before the prelims examination so that they are left with an ample amount of time after prelims for revision.
  5. Language papers are qualifying in nature, hence candidates should just learn basic topics mentioned in the syllabus to pass the exam.

The examination is considered to be tough however, with proper planning one can clear the examination in its first attempt. UPSC 2021 exam dates are out and candidates planning to appear for this examination should start preparing for Prelims that is scheduled for 29th June.

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