Expected Topics in UPSC Prelims 2020 Question Paper

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Services Examination (CSE) annually. It takes place in three stages – Prelims, Mains and Interview. This year, Prelims is going to take place on 4th October 2020. Aspirants should know the relevance of important topics that can be asked in the prelims question paper. This article will help you list down all the important topics for the preliminary stage of the exam.

The preliminary stage of the examination has two papers – General Studies and CSAT. There will be 100 questions in UPSC Prelims 2020 Question Paper of general studies while 80 questions in CSAT. The UPSC exam pattern is briefly mentioned below:

UPSC Exam Pattern

Prelims Paper 1 – General Studies – 100 Questions

Paper 2 – CSAT – 80 Questions

Mains Nine Papers;

One Essay paper, Two language papers, Four general studies papers and Two optional papers

Interview Personality Test for 275 marks

Now let us know the importance of UPSC prelims and the important topics from the subjects asked in the examination as it is always important to do UPSC Prelims Analysis before you sit for the exam.

Important of UPSC Prelims and Important Topics

CSE prelims marks the first stage of the most coveted examination. While it has two papers, only marks in paper 1 which is general studies count to declare a candidate successful for the next stage. Paper 2 which is CSAT is qualifying in nature and one has to secure 33% of the total marks. The marks that a candidate scores in the IAS prelims are not considered in the final merit list. Having mentioned that, the importance of prelims does not weaken. An aspirant should know why Prelims is important

  1. It is the first stage of the examination.
  2. Only after clearing this stage, a candidate shall be allowed to take mains examination.
  3. The examination is of objective type and carries 200 marks for each paper.
  4. There is a negative marking of 1/3 of the total marks in prelims paper.
  5. There is a cutoff which a candidate has to surpass to stand successful for the mains exam.

Hence, an aspirant should not take CSE preliminary examination lightly and should have the right strategy to crack the prelims examination in the first attempt. Know the important topics asked in UPSC prelims paper below.

What are the important topics asked in UPSC Prelims?

Analysing the past trends of the questions asked in the preliminary examination, an aspirant can devise a perfect strategy with the right blend of smartness and hardwork. Let us first know the important subjects that make the most of the question paper:

  1. History
  2. Indian Polity
  3. Environment
  4. Current Affairs
  5. Geography
  6. Indian Economy

From the above-mentioned subjects, there are a few important sections which a candidate should not miss to study and revise. Those important sections or topics are mentioned below:

  1. History – Ancient, medieval and modern Indian history make the subject. From Ancient India, aspirants should focus on:
    • Indus Valley Civilization
    • Bhakti Movement
    • Foreign Travellers in Ancient India and their literary works
    • Gupta Period
    • Buddhism and Jainism with their founders and tenets.

In Medieval history, aspirants should focus on:

  • Administrative policies and societies of Chalukya dynasty, Rajputs, slave dynasty
  • Mughal empire with special focus on the administration and the art and culture
  • Vijayanagara empire
  • South Indian kingdoms like cholas
  • Maratha empire and their administration

In Modern History, aspirants should focus on:

  • Advent of Europeans in India
  • British Expansion in India with special focus on Battle of Plassey and Buxar
  • Legislative initiatives in British India
  • Systems like dyarchy; land revenue policies like ryotwari system, permanent settlement
  • Peasant movements
  • Freedom struggle movements and impact
  • Evolution of Indian National Congress
  • Terms of governors-general and viceroys
  1. Indian Polity – Aspirants should focus on the following topics:
  • Evolution of the Constitution – Sources of Indian Constitution
  • Union and state executives
  • Fundamental Rights, duties, and important articles
  • Directive Principles of State Policies
  1. Geography – The important topics are:
  • Earth evolution
  • Population growth
  • Geomorphology
  • Indian geography
  • World regional geography
  1. Indian Economy – Aspirants should focus on the important economic terms mentioned in the economic survey of the year and the union budget. Apart from that, an aspirant should also be well-versed with important economy-related topics cropping up in the news from time-to-time.
  2. Environment is current affairs oriented with a general focus on the important climate phenomena.
  3. Current Affairs makes one of the important parts of the prelims papers. An aspirant should be religiously following a daily newspaper and making notes out of it.


The examination is one of the toughest examinations in the country with lakhs of aspirants applying for it. Preparing for important topics that can be asked in UPSC Prelims 2020 Question Paper by analyzing the trend can help you score better than most of the candidates.

A candidate should not miss on revision and test series before the examination as these hold the key to a perfect ending to the examination.

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