Overview of the UPSC Syllabus
Without beating much around the bush let me get straight to the point. The UPSC exam is a 3-phase affair:
Phase 1 is the UPSC Preliminary Examination, also called UPSC Prelims. This exam contains questions of the objective type.
Phase 2 is the UPSC Mains Examination, also called UPSC Mains. This exam contains descriptive-type questions.
Phase 3 is the Personal Interview round conducted to test the Personality of the Candidate.
UPSC Prelims Syllabus
Starting off with the UPSC syllabus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you if I say that the syllabus is pretty vast in its own right.
However, the UPSC Prelims examination is basically conducted for the purpose of screening only. Thus if you clear the Prelims exam, you will be eligible for the Mains exam.
Also, your Prelims marks will not be considered in your final order of merit, provided you manage to make it through to the interview round.
The UPSC prelims examination comprises 2 papers, namely the General studies paper and the CSAT paper or the Civil Services Aptitude Test.
UPSC Mains Syllabus
Remember what I wrote about the Himalayan valley reminding me about the syllabus of UPSC, it was actually the Mains syllabus that came to my mind then.
The vastness of the IPS/IAS syllabus for the Mains is quite capable of stirring up anxiety-ridden shivers in even the most seasoned aspirants.
This is because only the candidates that are able to successfully clear Phase 1, or the Prelims, are allowed to appear for the Phase 2 or Mains exam. In other words, only the candidates that are able to score above the UPSC cut offs for the Prelims are then allowed to take the Mains exam.