Strategy for Preparation of GS Mains and Study Material Part 1

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Getting Started

  • From a survey carried out amongst the Civil Services Aspirants, we observed, majority of the

  • Candidates’ stumbles at the first step itself mainly due to ‐

    • Without having proper idea of what to study and what not;

    • They will buy some books, will get some material from somewhere and will start preparing.

  • This is what we can say a very hasty and nasty approach towards an examination which is very crucial for you and your career.

  • As one said, doubt is the beginning of success. If we want to pursue the path of “Red Carpet”, first we need to raise doubts like ‐ what UPSC really expects from us? And how we know it?

  • Let’s ponder over it. UPSC interacts with us from three ways –

    • Syllabus

    • Yearly Question Papers

    • Results –

  • We should properly analyse it for understanding the exact expectations of UPSC.

Syllabus – a Road Map to Success

  • Syllabus is an outline or overview of a course, which details important aspects of subject and Expectations of examiners. –smart aspirants use the syllabus as a road map to success. For example ‐ when we start preparing for economy, we think topics which are important are related to Indian economy like poverty, unemployment, planning, agriculture, industry, banking etc.

  • However, if you go through syllabus first you will come to know that economy has been divided in two sections – Indian economy in paper I and economic interaction with the world in paper II. On the contrary to general expectations, second aspect (economic interactions with the world) now a day is much more important as compared to first from syllabus point of view. Topics like banking etc are not at all important from examination point of view. Topics like World Intellectual Property Organisation i.e. WIPO is more important than traditional topic like say budget and fiscal deficit.

Previous Year Question Papers

  • Before Starting Preparation of Any Topic First Go through Questions Asked on Those Topics in Previous Years. This Will Help in Getting Exact Idea About the Direction We Are Supposed to Follow During the Preparation of That Topic For Example ‐ if We Want to Prepare WTO, the Depth of Understanding Expected is Much More and Very Comprehensive Understanding of Current Affairs is Expected.

  • On the Contrary, for Preparing WIPO, Basic Understanding about Organisation, Its Objectives and India’s Perspective is Sufficient. Let Us Consider Another Example.

  • There Are Around Fifty Aspects of Constitution, but Election of President Will Be Relevant Only in the Year when Presidential Elections Are Actually Held. Such kind of information you can grasp only through previous years, question papers.

Study Material

  • Aspirant should know exact study material, either reference book, notes or a current events document before starting. Time should not be wasted in reading non‐standard or old material. Follow reference lists given on the portal correctly and in case of any doubts contact the administration

  • One should always remember that whatever the books are there in the reference list, are reference books and not the text books. Due care should be taken right from day one while referring those books.

  • For example ‐ you must have heard that NCERT books are very important to clear the basic concepts. Absolutely no doubt about it, but if you start reading all NCERT books from eight onwards, you will require at least three months for reading all those which is impossible. For history, rather than new NCERTs, old NCERTs for Standard XI and XII are more important.

How to Read

  • One must follow a structured approach while reading the resources like books, notes etc. Most of the aspirants lose their track while reading the material.

Reading 1-

  • Take an overview of the material.

  • Time should not be wasted

  • Within one sitting try to get answers to questions like –

    • How many pages are there to cover the topic?

    • What is the nature of topic‐ objective or analytical?

    • Are you comfortable with the topic?

    • Which part of the write‐up needs more concentration?

    • Are there any figures?

    • Which different questions can be asked?

    • Is the write‐up sufficient?

    • Is content properly linked with syllabus?

    • Do previously asked questions reflect in your thinking?

Reading 2

  • Careful reading of every detail of material

  • You should be confident about conceptual clarity at the end of second reading

  • Proper links should be established between your reading, notes and reference book if any.

How to Make Notes

  • No one can derive any common formula for preparing notes. It is always a perception of an individual. Following points should be remembered or considered while preparing notes

    • Notes are for noting down important aspects of content for a quick reference

    • To be confident about our understanding

    • To make additions to basic content

    • Should be of minimum words so that time will not be wasted while writing and revising

    • Do not forget to rearrange the content in your own words

    • Pages should be properly marked to avoid mismanagement later

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