August 21, 2020

How To Prepare Science And Technology For UPSC Civil Services Exam: UPSC Prelims & Mains

If there is one exam that requires you to know everything under the sun, it has to be the UPSC civil services exam. The UPSC wants all-rounders, which is why the Humanities student ends up studying science and the science student is introduced to the world of Arts. By bringing in the subject of science and technology for UPSC, the commission has ensured that only well-rounded personalities achieve some of the highest posts in the country.

As an Arts student, this subject is probably your Achilles heel, and as a science student, you are perhaps wheeling under its vastness. Below we address both these issues and assist you in designing a well-researched strategy and these include the science and technology questions in UPSC prelims of previous years.

Syllabus of Science and Technology for UPSC

The subject forms a part of both the UPSC prelims as well as the Mains syllabus (sub-topic of GS Paper 3). For IAS prelims you need to have an overview of everything, from theoretical aspects and fundamentals of Physics, Chemistry and Biology to the latest technological developments, space travel etc.

Science and Technology for UPSC Syllabus or the Mains

  • Science and Technology current affairs- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, space travel, computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

More on Science and Technology for UPSC

These are the sub-topics of GS Mains Paper 3 that come under Science and Technology. If you observe the trend in the previous year’s papers you will notice two things:

  1. The number of questions on the topic can be anywhere between 8 and 19. In 2011 the highest number of questions (19) appeared, while the past 3 years have only seen 8 to 9 questions.
  2. The questions primarily focus on current happenings in the field of science and tech rather than detailed theoretical knowledge.

For example, the IRNSS Mission has been in the news and the UPSC formulated a question asking about Standard Positioning System and Precision Positioning System along with the Mission. So a static topic gained importance because of its mention in recent news.

Again in 2016, the aspirants were asked to list features of Indian Government’s Mission on Nanoscience and Technology along with a short note on the importance of nanotechnology. Therefore, pay attention to the static portions of technologies that are trending currently.

2. What to Study for Science and Technology Current Affairs

For a better understanding, we have split the subject into:

  1. Science
  2. Technology


This forms the static aspect of the paper. A general overview and basic understanding of fundamental concepts is the only requirement. Pay more attention to biology rather than chemistry and physics. Within biology, focus on human anatomy more rather than plant anatomy. Microbiology and biotechnology have emerged as important topics too.


Current affairs is central to technology as most questions focus on it. The following areas are important:

  • Government policies and announcements in the field of Technology. Any new developments enlisted by the Ministry of science and technology must not be skipped.
  • Day to day technology. Themes you come across on a daily basis like RFID, GPRS, 4G, Internet of Things, Bluetooth etc. must be familiar to you.
  • Take a note of the recent Noble Prize winner’s research fields along with the achievements of Indians in other important forums. Any new inventions/ discoveries also need to be read. For example, the questions on Graphene and Stem Cells were asked in the exam as they pertained to new research by Noble Prize winners.

Know more about science and technology questions in UPSC prelims, click here