Strategy for Prelims
Looking at the pattern in which
questions have been framed in General Studies (GS) from 1985 onwards, one is
tempted to say that possibly the principle design of the examiners is to
eliminate candidates rather than test their mental calibre.
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
have not correctly followed in all the years the pattern of allotting specific
number of marks for specified for each syllabus expect for the area on Mental
Such being the current trend of setting the GS paper in the Preliminary Exam,
candidates have no option but to bank upon chosen optional subjects while making
reasonable amount of preparation for all areas of GS. Besides, it is wise to
prepare these areas from the view-point of the Main Examination. The areas to be
taken care of are Modern India, Polity, Indian Economy, Geography, Current
Events and General Science.
Considering the general nature of the examination the tactics must be to focus
on greater rather than intensive coverage. One is expected to know history,
science, polity, geography, economy and other such disciplines, all at the same
time. However, only basics of each of the disciplines is needed. Hence one must
concentrate on basics and acquire as much facts about basics as possible but
avoiding the element of over-kill in preparations.
While preparation for the Prelims large coverage is the key word. By going
through large source of information it is expected that an image is built in the
mind which will reflect the details. Do remember that human memory skills work
better when there are less emotional in-puts or anxiety about inability to
recall on account of exam-related stress.
Here is a brief dos and don'ts:
Final preparation must
start by testing self with the revision-type Model Test Papers.
Do not get discouraged by
initial low score.
Emphasis on your
Keep testing yourself at a
Make a mental note of areas
you have covered and what remains to be covered.
Be analytical in response.
Do not overstretch yourself
area of coverage-wise.
Revise your stuff a number
A calm mental state is most
Since there is no negative
marking in the exam, it is suggested not to leave any questions unanswered.
An intelligent guess can be
made wherever necessary.
Do not get stuck at any
question. Move on from question to question and attempt the difficult ones
at the end.
In the first round, attempt
only the answers which you are sure of.
In the next round, try to
eliminate as many options as you can and darken the ovals which are the only
one left out after elimination.
If you are confused between
just two options, it is advisable to make an intelligent guess.
If you are left with about
five to 10 minutes, select one option out of A,B,C or D and go on dealing
with the left out questions.
Strategy for Mains
History of Modern India and
Indian Culture: The subject is like a story and there could be linkages
between two questions. Students thus need to ensure that the entire syllabus is
covered in detail while revising history.They can, however, do without preparing
portions which appeared last year in the main stage of the examination. The
general trend is that there are no repetitions from last year's papers, but once
in a while students could be in for a surprise. The part relating to Indian
culture will cover all aspects from ancient to modern times.
Geography of India: Students should concentrate on human and economic
geography. Human section includes issues related to population. There will be
questions based on the Human Development Report prepared by United Nations
Development Programme. The World Development Report of World Bank deals in
different aspects of economic geography like safe drinking water. Students
should emphasise less on classical geography like types of soil and rocks. The
stress should be on preparing cultural and economic geography and issues related
Indian Polity: Different aspects of the Constitution like Supreme Court
judgment during the past one year are important. At macro level, students need
to know in detail issues like imposition of President's Rule in Bihar, why it
was imposed and under what circumstances, significance of Bommai Judgment while
implementing the same are important.
Current National issues and topics of social relevance: Students should
go through major happenings at the national level during the last one calendar
year. National newspapers, news magazines, journals and periodicals are good
source of information to prepare topics related to national issues. Issues of
social relevance which affect the lives of people should always be dealt in
India and the World:
Indian's relations with major world powers like US, China, Russia, France, UK
and European Union should be covered in detail. The recent positive developments
in Indo-US relations particularly in areas like civilian nuclear energy deal,
space cooperation and education will be important in this year's examination.
Immediate neighbours like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar too
play an important role in India's foreign policy. Disputes with Pakistan and
China on the one hand and Bangladesh and Nepal on the other have come to play an
important role in India's tryst to create a space in world politics. There
should be focus on India's role in her neighbour's internal politics like maoist
insurgency and return of democracy in Nepal. Issues related to illegal
immigrants from Bangladesh too are important in this year's paper.
Indian Economy: The change of guard at the Centre has brought an
ideological shift in how we manage our economy and issues related to taxation
and spending pattern. There is more emphasis on the social sector, winding up of
Ministry of Disinvestment, issues related to privatisation or profit earning and
loss-making PSU entities. Queries related to disinvestment of government
entities in a transparent manner too have come to play an important role during
the past one year.
The role of government in our public life like running utility services too has
become a matter of debate during the last few years. Areas like atomic energy,
manufacturing of military goods should continue to remain in the public sector
but the government should not own enterprises. The role of the government should
be limited to budgetary support and providing direction on different policy
matters like social work.
International Affairs and Institutions: Reforms in United Nations
Security Council (UNSC) and formation of G-4 to bid for permanent seats in the
Security Council and US' role during the entire process will be important this
Developments in the fields of S&T,communications and space: Scientific
development during the last one year, focus on development of AIDS vaccine, stem
cell research, focus on non-renewable sources of energy and manned space are
must during the revision. Geological disasters like earthquakes are still not
being predicted inspite of technological advancements. Is it then justified to
spend heavily on space research?
Statistical analysis, graphs and diagrammes: This section tests the
candidates' ability to draw conclusions from information presented in
statistical, graphical or diagrammatical form and to point out deficiencies
Writing the paper: Students should be focussed in terms of language, and
they should ensure that the answers are as close as possible. The examiner is
usually in a hurry and if provided with facts and coherent replies,his job
becomes easier. The answers should not be lengthy and written in a precise
manner. Word limit should be adhered to, wherever mentioned. Students should
focus on providing their side of justification in a jiffy. Repetitive and
elaborate replies should be strictly avoided.
Strategy for Mains - India and
Paper two of General Studies in
the Main Examination starts with the segment - India and the world. It
accounts for around 50 marks out of 300 in this paper. Earlier this was part of
a wider segment called issues of national and international importance. But in
recent years, realising the significance of India's foreign policy, it has been
segmented as a separate area and with focus on India's interaction with rest of
Pandit Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India is regarded as the architect
of our foreign policy. He used foreign policy as an instrument to defend and
strengthen India's newly-won independence, territorial integrity and
sovereignty. His principles of 'Panchsheel' and non-alignment remained the
guiding principles for successive prime ministers. During the time of Indira
Gandhi, a growing assertiveness was quite evident in the Indian Foreign Policy,
be it victory in the Bangladesh war of 1971 or merger of Sikkim in 1975 inspite
of the Chinese protest. Her son Rajiv Gandhi believed in 'travel diplomacy'. As
he had no ideological baggage to carry when he entered politics, he could
interact with both superpowers - USA and USSR, with equal ease during the Cold
The end of Cold War heralded a new era for India too. With the beginning
of economic reform, India started giving emphasis to 'economic diplomacy'.
Consequently, India's relationship with major economies of the world like USA, E
U, ASEAN improved considerably.
India and Pakistan continue to have a relationship that can be summed up
as that of 'blow hot - blow cold'. Kashmir remains the most contentious issue,
but the two countries finally seem to agree on a 'composite dialogue' within the
sphere of bilateral ties. India's relationship with other smaller neighbouring
countries of South Asia improved considerably in the mid 1990s largely because
of the 'Gujral Doctrine'. This doctrine, which became as famous as its
propounder enjoined upon India to give unilateral concessions to the smaller
neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
without expecting any gains in reciprocity. A significant change seen in the
recent times is the thrust given to normalising the relationship with China.
Though we have outstanding border disputes but they have been kept on the
backburner for the time being. At the same time, there has been more emphasis on
enhancing the bilateral economic ties.
Our relationship with the USA is the hallmark of Indian foreign policy
after the Cold War. The two countries have found 'natural allies' in each other
mainly because of their common economic interests, common threats from
international terrorism and common views on international security. On the other
hand, India continues to have cordial ties with her time-tested friend Russia.
It remains our biggest defence partner followed by Israel. Post-Cold War period
has witnessed a change in India's foreign policy on West Asia. In 1993, India
established diplomatic ties with the state of Israel keeping in view our
security concerns. At the same time, India has not abandoned the cause of
Palestinian Arabs. Finally, India's nuclear policy is an integrated part of our
foreign policy. For India, its nuclear weapons are more as a deterrent or an
insurance against extreme threats than weapons usable during war.
The General Studies (Main) Paper II includes international organisations
too. The United Nations is the world's largest and most-vital organisation. It
is formed of six main organs, which are the General Assembly, Security Council,
Economic and Social Council (ELDSOC); Trusteeship Council, International Court
of Justice (ICJ) and Secretariat, alongwith specialised agencies like WHO,
UNICEF, UNESCO, UNHRC and others. Then, there are various other international
organisations like G-8 or a group of world's most industrialised nations, G-77
or a group of world's developing countries and G-15 or a more compact version of
G-77. There are organisations too which focus on certain other subjects like
OPEC, OIC, NATO, NAM, among others. One must know the outcome of their latest
summits or meets, among others. SAARC is an exclusive organisation of
seven South Asia Countries. One can see that it has become a victim of political
rivalry between India and Pakistan, its two biggest members. Still efforts are
being made to save it and the latest 'Islamabad Summit' has ignited that
process. The European Union is perhaps the world's most successful regional bloc
alongwith ASEAN and NAFTA. Finally, one can expect questions on leading
international non-governmental agencies like Amnesty International, Red Cross,
World Wide Fund for Nature and Greenpeace. Needless to say, India's involvement
in these organisations should be emphasised while preparing this segment for
General Studies Paper II of Main Exam.