Strategy for General Studies Preliminary Examination
What are the techniques to increase UPSC exam marks? Which strategy should be adopted to clear the IAS exam, as per the latest requirements?
Exam skills are equally important as Knowledge to crack UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE). Our unique products like IAS Prelims Online Test Series incorporate both subject-knowledge as well as exam-skills.
Success in UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) = 50% Knowledge + 50% Skills (Strategies).
Strategy to handle the Prelim Exam:
Remember that the Paper-I or the General Studies is the deciding factor for qualifying the Prelims examination. The basic tip for the examination hall is one should read the questions carefully and thoroughly before selecting the correct answer. If a question cannot be answered immediately, one should move to the next question. After going through the whole question paper and answering all the questions, one may get back to unanswered questions. Since there is negative marking, one should avoid making guesses. Time management is very vital during the examination. Since there is only a minute or more to answer a question, speed and accuracy is the key to handle this exam. This can be done so by taking mock test with all its seriousness at preparation level.
General Studies Paper-I Syllabus
- Current events of national and international importance
- History of India and Indian National Movement
- Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World
- Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc
- Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc
- General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change
- General Science
Strategy for General Studies Paper 1:
There are some basic tips to handle General Studies Paper 1 for the Prelims examination. An in-depth understanding of subjects given in the syllabus can help candidates to prepare for the prelim exams in a much better way.
Since the syllabus does not give much detail of the topics to be studied under each subject it is expected to gain knowledge of them that should be slightly below the graduation level but definitely above the high school level. Also increasingly question are related to recent current affairs and events. Students should prepare current affairs for at least 12-15 months before the date of exam.
How to tackling General Studies Paper I ?
There are 100 questions to be answered in two hours, each question carries two marks. While the correct answer will fetch 2 marks, a wrong answer means a loss of 0.66 marks.
The 100 questions can be grouped into three categories:
- Multiple Choice Questions – single response correct
- Multiple Choice Questions – multiple response correct
- Multiple Choice Questions – Matching type
The number of questions asked from different sections varies each time and there is no fixed rule for this. The nature of questions asked are generally on basic principles, their application, factual information and current affairs. Some questions are based on applied aspects of principles and factual information. It has been found that many of the questions overlap with more than one section of the syllabus.
The answer to the question require analytical bend of mind. So mere reading NCERT high school texts books is insufficient and in depth knowledge is required to handle this paper. The best way should be to adopt an integrated approach for preparation that is combining Prelims and the Mains study together. One should make efforts to understand the concepts and principles and then strive to find their applications in various fields.
The new addition in the syllabus since 2011 is on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change. So, considerable attention must be given to this area along with General Science.
Considering the nature of the examination the strategy for Prelims should be to focus on greater rather than intensive reading. Since one is expected to know everything so only basics of each of the discipline need to be mastered, avoiding the element of over stretching the preparations at Prelims stage.
The best way would be to have the NCERT books for conceptual clarity and do in depth study of relevant topics from graduation level text books. One should have a good general studies book at its sides for reference because here most of the reading material is available at one source. Regular reading of newspapers and magazines and periodicals is essential to master over current developments in economic, political and social issues and policy changes.
Strategy for General Studies Paper II:
Syllabus of Paper-II
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability
- Decision-making and problem solving
- General mental ability
- Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level),
- Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)
How to handle Paper-II
The paper II or aptitude test may look complex at the surface but scratching it a bit it’s not a difficult nut to crack. The best strategy, to read the basic concept first and develop a fair understanding of the question asked in each section. The pattern of allotting specific number of marks for specified section for each syllabus is followed for the paper II.
As you know Prelim Paper 2 is now only of qualifying in nature. You are required to score just 66 marks out of 200 to qualify this paper. Even if you score higher marks it won’t be counted in merit list of Prelims results. But if you score less than 66 marks, you won’t be able to qualify the Prelims hurdle. However, the question is what all you may prepare to obtain the qualifying marks in prelims paper II.
If you can prepare just four topics well you can very well obtain 66 marks. These are; a) Comprehension, b) Decision Making c) Data Interpretation, d) Interpersonal Skills.
Comprehension: If you analyze the previous 3-4 year papers, you will find that at least 5
Comprehension passages are asked in every year. Since it’s the easiest of all, you can easily score 50 marks from just Comprehension passages alone. Decision Making: At least 5 questions are asked on Decision Making and you can attempt them without any fear since there is no negative marking in it.
Rest of the marks can be obtained from Data Interpretation and Interpersonal Skills questions.