(IAS Planner) Compulsory Subjects Syllabus : (Paper I, Paper II & Paper III)


Scheme of Examination


(Paper I and Paper II)


This is one of the two compulsory papers. One has to qualify in both the compulsory papers if one wish to go through to the further stage. Here it should be note down that if candidate fails in any of these two compulsory papers, the other optional subjects will not be evaluated. The aim of the English paper is to test the candidate's ability to understand and express their ideas clearly in the English.
Those from non-English medium background might face some difficulty in English paper. There are statistics which shows that more than thousands candidates of hindi medium candidates fails in this compulsory paper English. Then the preparation should be made from some standard book. Note that the grammar is not much tested, but it is only the functional knowledge in the language. For people who are weak in English, buy a good grammar book, a dictionary and last 10 yrs English papers.

The pattern of questions is as follows:

  • Short Essay
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Précis writing
  • Translation from English to the Indian language and vice –versa.
  • Usage and Vocabulary

Tips for Comprehension

In the Comprehension section you have to find the answers to some questions from the given passage or content. First read the questions and then read the passage to write answers.

  • As you read underline the lines, which contain answers.
  • You should write answers in your own composition. Do not copy from the passage.

Tips for précis writing:

  • The précis should be written in your own language composition.
  • Examples, illustrations and quotations of the original passage should not be included in the précis.
  • No idea or point should be elaborated.
  • You should not add your own comments of criticisms in the précis.

Tips for short Essay:

The topic for the essay which you opt should be opt cautionaly, try to select those in which you have a good amount of vocabulary and have idea that how you express your views. More stress should be on the English language rather than the content. Sentences should have sound grammatical construction.


(i) Comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Precis Writing
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essay
(v) Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.

Similarly as English Language some candidates face difficulty with the Indian language paper. Candidates should ensure that they have functional knowledge in at least one Indian language. Regional language papers should be treat like the same.

Note 1 : The Papers on Indian Languages and English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.
Note 2 : The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).

We all know that these papers are only qualifying nature, but at the same time it cannot be ignored. This should be note that every year there are some candidates who get disqualified because they fail to clear either of these two compulsory papers. So ensure that you have the minimum knowledge about the languages. They are of a qualifying nature, but probably the most important.


Essay is one of the another Compulsory paper it carries 200 marks. For the selection and ranking point of view it is one of the important subject, in some extent it determines these are things. Unlike optional subjects, Essay paper doesn’t requires any specialization so any candidate could not have the benefit of their expertise. Ever since this paper was reintroduced in the scheme of examination in 1993, it has played a crucial role in determining the rank of the student. Most of the top rankers have scored above 55 per cent in this paper. Some candidates have also scored around 60 per cent which has helped them secure a position in the top ten ranks. However in no ways Essay paper can’t be termed as easy it has created a sort of storm among the candidates. Essay writing is an art it can’t be developed in overnight. Some candidate has the natural flow of writing, those will get added advantage other candidates who do not have these qualities will have to prepare Essay paper. General trend is that essay paper will contain 6 topics out of which one topic to be chosen. But now-a-days there are less options to chose for example since 2010 the option has been only 4 instead of 6 earlier used to be asked. There is no syllabus for essay. Anything can be asked. But, if we analyse previous year paper, we will find some root topics where almost each year questions are being asked. For example, there is at least one question on social issues i.e. women empowerment, gender equality, etc every year. So, the topic ‘Women Empowerment’ is a root topic. Environment, S&T, Energy Security, Sustainable Development, Democracy, judiciary and related topics could be in the root topics. These root topic can be prepared well before the examination. This is the only thing which you can do in this Essay section rest you have to decide in the Examination Hall.

How does one score high in the Essay paper? A two pronged strategy involving the correct choice of topic and the appropriate method of writing can be adopted.
Choice of Topic: It is advisable to choose the factual topics which are non-controversial in nature. Along with you should have depth knowledge in this chosen topic. Your “Pro” and “Against” should be very clear in your essay.

Method of writing: It is advisable to devote the first five to ten minutes in ‘zeroing in’ on two topics. The next five minutes can be spent thinking about both the topics and arriving at the one which is in your ‘comfort zone’.
Having decided on the topic, start brain storming - write down all the ideas that you have about the topic. At this stage, do not classify or systematise your points. Put them on paper randomly as they flow in. Later, arrange these ideas in a logical and sequential manner. Having arrived at the sequence, start writing, giving due care to the introduction, the nod and finally the conclusion.

Likely topics

Every year we can broadly sketch some topics which may come in the examination, the topics should be the happening of last one year or the topic was or is making news. For example now-a-days we can expect an essay on LOKPAL, this is hot topics its been in the news for almost months.

Suggested Reading:

  • Social issues by Ram Ahuja

  • Yojana

  • Kurukshetra

  • Frontline

  • India Today

  • The Hindu (especially Sunday Magazine)

  • Times of India

Courtesy: The Hindu