How to prepare GENERAL STUDIES in UPSC?

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is a national level competitive exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to recruit in prestigious Indian Government services like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS. The first paper for CSE is Preliminary exam that tests the candidates on two grounds. PRELIMINARY TEST – UPSC GENERAL STUDIES General Studies for IAS is a general awareness paper. The syllabus for UPSC general studies is listed below:-

  1. Current events of national and international importance.
  2. History of India and Indian National Movement.
  3. Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  4. Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  5. Economic and Social Development Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
  6. General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
  7. General Science.

Understanding the GS Pattern for UPSC

The maximum marks allotted for General studies for UPSC Prelims is 200 where a candidate has to answer 100 questions within a span of 2 hours. It should also be noted that 33% or 0.67 marks are deducted for every wrong answer. To master General Studies for UPSC prelims one needs to get down to basics and understand the concepts rather than mugging up facts/data. Linking the syllabus with the important current affairs developments that have an impact on India or her diaspora should be the focus area. One needs to prepare a plan and follow it religiously. To begin, one can start with Indian Polity and prepare notes from M. Laxmikanth – which is a standard book one needs to follow to clear GS for UPSC. After finishing polity, one can start with Economy/Geography to proceed further.

For economy, apart from ‘Indian Economy’ by Ramesh Singh, one needs to follow business section of any leading National newspaper. Geography is another important aspect and reading/understanding NCERT books from 6th – 12th is a must and sure shot way to success. For Modern History, go through ‘India’s struggle for Independence’ by Bipan Chandra. It covers all aspects of India’s freedom struggle – required for both prelims as well as mains. It should be noted, however, that your entire preparation process must be aligned with the newspapers which is actually a bible for general studies for UPSC prelims.

A special focus should be dedicated to cover Environment and Science & Technology portions of UPSC syllabus. Significant help in this regard will come from Newspapers and IUCN website. Art & Culture is another promising and ‘difficult’ aspect in the syllabus and, on an average, 6-8 questions are asked every year from this section. CCRT website and ‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by the Spectrum Publications is of great help in these sections. It should be kept in mind that motive of the Prelims examination is to test an aspirants’ recalling and memorizing power. Therefore, one needs to invest a significant amount of time in taking Mock Tests that’ll help immensely. Taking Prelims-based Test series should be an integral part of the entire preparation process. Best of Luck!

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