UPSC Prelims Exam – Preparation Strategy for Science and Technology

Science and Technology for UPSC

Science and Technology forms a crucial part of prelims syllabus which covers both static and dynamic portion. Mostly analytical questions show up in this section. In recent years, UPSC is placing high importance on dynamic cum analytical aspect of Science and Technology.

Science and Technology acts as a best tool of administration. Growth in this sector is proportional to development of country. Any candidate who aspires to be a part of administration must be familiar with the significance attached to the tools at his/her disposal. 

The importance of Science and Technology in prelims can be judged by the number of questions asked over the past few years. The number varies from year to year but the importance cannot be undermined. Let’s look at the detailed account of the number of questions from this particular section in UPSC prelims examination over the years.

Questions

Questions from Science & Technology can be seen in Prelims General Studies Paper 1 as well as in General Studies Paper 3 of Mains. The science portion of the syllabus deals with subjects like Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Application of various sciences is dealt in the technology part. Questions can be asked from all the latest technologies like Nano-technology, Information technology, Biotechnology, Defense technology, Biotechnology, Space-technology, etc.

Science And Technology Syllabus For UPSC Prelims

“General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation General Science.”

CHALLENGES:

  • Syllabus for this subject is not well defined by UPSC and thus making the subject vast, vague and a dynamic topic to prepare.
  • Inadequacy of concise study material and much more difficult to find study material in regional languages.

 

PREPARATION STRATEGY:

Science and Technology demands clarity of concepts as almost all the questions are of analytical nature. Candidates face problems in this section owing to its unpredictable nature of the questions asked and absence of fixed resources. Hence it is advised to have an in-depth understanding of the static sources, know your facts right and gain an analytical perspective by keeping a track of dynamic sources. The basic approach to prepare for this section is to get accustomed with the current developments across all domains of Science & Technology.

  1. Strengthen the basics: NCERT’s covers the basics and builds a good foundation. Science NCERT books from class VI to class X should be given a thorough reading while, XI and XII NCERT books should be approached selectively. This ensures that a candidate is equipped with the terms and concepts which can aid to understand more advanced books. Hence it is advised to go through them in the initial stages of preparation. Focus should be placed on the science behind natural phenomenon. This way learning can be fun.
  2. Previous Year papers: Analyze questions from previous year’s papers from Science and technology section and this helps one understand the topics frequently asked and relevant. This helps a candidate to direct his/her preparation in the right track.
  3. Priority Areas: It is important to prioritize sub-topics inside the main subject. It is not an essential to do complete research in Physics to solve the questions. Questions from this section are pretty basic and generic and more in accordance with current happenings or some phenomenon in news. Similarly, the number of questions asked in Biology is more than Chemistry or Physics. And even in Biology, more focus on Zoology and Microbiology than Botany. So have clarity in topics like genetics, micro-organisms, physiology, diseases, etc. Coming to chemistry, nuclear chemistry is very important. For latest technological developments, it is advised to follow the Science and Technology section of The Hindu. Also keep a track of developments in the field of research and contribution, Nobel Prize winners related to Science. The chapters on Environment can be covered to a great extent from NCERT book though it overlaps with environment and ecology.
  4. Interlinking of Concepts: Interlinking of static sources with current affairs forms an important step in preparing for this subject. UPSC also places importance on effects or use of science and technology to society.
  5. Current Happenings: As mentioned earlier, focus on current happenings are extremely relevant to the field of Science and Technology. By analyzing previous year’s papers thoroughly, one can easily realize that the reasons for most questions to have appeared are because it was in the news. The best way to keep a track of all current developments is to religiously follow Science and Technology section of “The Hindu”. Few guidelines to follow are not to solely look out for facts and events, but also have a close eye for the ongoing issues, problems they faced and relevance of breakthroughs made. Dive a little deeper for issues which pose a certain problem in having a clear understanding.
  6. Practice and Evaluate: It is vital to keep practicing various test series as one may come across new questions that could have been overlooked while actual preparation. And it minimizes silly mistakes on the D-day. It is also advised to make concise notes in your own language which can be used for further reference.

 

SOURCES:

  1. The Hindu
  2. NCERT Books (VI to class X) and selected topics from XI & XII
  3. The Frontline
  4. Science Reporter
  5. India Year Book
  6. Yojana and Kurukshetra

 

Let’s look at a few examples from PRELIMS 2016 – SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Q1: Consider the following statements:

The Mangalyaan launched by ISRO

  1. Is also called the Mars Orbiter Mission
  2. Made India the second country to have a spacecraft orbit the Mars after USA
  3. Made India the only country to be successful in making its spacecraft orbit the Mars in its very first attempt

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Ans. C

Explanation: The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is also called Mangalyaan. India is the only country to be successful in making its spacecraft orbit Mars in its very first attempt. India is the first Asian country and ISRO is the fourth space agency to send a satellite to the Red Planet.

Q2: ‘Net metering’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of promoting the

  1. Production and use of solar energy by the households/consumers
  2. Use of piped natural gas in the kitchens of households
  3. Installation of CNG kits in motor cars
  4. Installation of water meters in urban households

Ans. A

Explanation: Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.

Q3: Which one of the following is the best description of ‘INS Astradharini’ that was in the news recently?

  1. amphibious warfare ship
  2. nuclear -powered submarine
  3. torpedo launch and recovery vessel
  4. nuclear – powered aircraft carrier

Ans. C

Explanation: INS Astradharani is Indian Navy’s first totally indigenously-designed and built torpedo launch and recovery vessel.

 Q4: Which of the following statements is/are correct?

Viruses can infect

  1. bacteria
  2. fungi
  3. Plants

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Ans. D

Explanation: Viruses are can infect all living organisms plants animals and micro-organisms

Q5: India is an important member of the ‘International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor’. If this experiment succeeds, what is the immediate advantage for India?

  1. It can use thorium in place of uranium for power generation
  2. It can attain a global role in satellite navigation.
  3. It can drastically improve the efficiency of its fission reactors in power generation
  4. It can build fusion reactors for power generation.

Ans. d

Explanation: ITER is R&D on Nuclear fusion, which is safer, cleaner and inexhaustible source of energy. These are of prime consideration for India.