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How To Prepare For General Studies

Strategy for General Studies Preliminary Examination 2019

The UPSC notification of 2011 for the Civil Services preliminary examination has made changes in the pattern of Preliminary examination. The Preliminary Examination consists of two papers of objective type (multiple-choice questions) carrying a maximum of 200 marks each. There are 100 questions for the Paper I and 80 questions for Paper II. The Question Papers are set in English & Hindi.

The syllabus for Preliminary Exams Paper-I includes mainly the current affairs for which the candidates have to update themselves with the national and international happenings all over.
While the Paper – II (CSAT) covers the analytical or as generally called as aptitude test, is the paper where a candidate has to score at least 33% to qualify for the Civil Services (Mains).

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.

Strategy for General Studies Papers (Mains) under new Syllabus

There are four papers for General Studies that is introduced from 2013. Each of them carry 250 marks and in total they make 1000 marks. With the gravity of Civil Services Mains examination now being shifted to General Studies, it's very important to have a sound strategy for its preparation, as now score of General Studies has become the passport of success.

Students should go through current National issues and topics of social relevance, major happenings at the national level during the last one calendar year. Issues of social relevance that affect the lives of people should always be dealt in detail. National newspapers, news magazines, journals and periodicals are good source of information to prepare topics related to different papers of General Studies. Here is strategy for each paper according to its syllabus;

Subjectwise Strategy for General Studies

Strategy for Economics Portions

In the last few years, in the Prelims, about 10-18 questions have been asked from economics. That's more than 10% of the question paper! In the Mains exam much of paper three is economics and in paper two some areas relate to economics. So being aware of the economic changes constantly happening around us and understanding them is a great help. Newspaper reading for this section is a must. Text books are only there for concepts but current relevance is of utmost importance and it can change in a day.

In the light of the above analysis, you need to definitely know the concepts of GDP, REPO, Reverse REPO, Cash reserve ratio (CRR), Statutory liquidity ratio (SLR), Inflation indices, Growth, Inclusion and Development. Based on these concepts you need to ask questions like 'Why we do we need to reduce CRR', 'What happens when the Reserve Bank increase REPO rates' etc. You need to associate concepts with national and international issues. Also in the prelims the questions are very tricky and only a clear understanding of these concepts and their differences can enable you to give the right answers.

Some of the major topics to be covered are

  • Indian Economy: Banking, Money supply in India (Public Finance), Taxation Structure (India), Insurance, Niti Aayog (Economic Planning) Stock market and Exchange (Fundamentals), Progress of economy from the pre-British to the British and after. LPG reforms, Demographic dividend, Human development, Money & Capital markets, Agriculture, Industries and Services.
  • Economic Theory: Demand & Supply, Indexes, Marginal utility, Opportunity cost, Production substitution, inflation, Business cycle.
  • Infrastructure: Information & communication technology, Transport and Energy etc. Poverty, Social security / Aadhar, subsidies (Fuel subsidy), growth and development.
  • Sustainable development and climate change in India. Economic implications of Climate change and Development vs Environment debate. Indicators like HDI, GII, iHDI, Gini etc.
  • International Economics: External trade, External Assistance, International Economic Organisation, Reports, International Bodies like WTO, World Bank etc.
  • Current Issues like GST, Niti Aayog, Fourteenth Finance Commission, Land reforms, Labour reforms, Foreign Trade Policy (yearly)and such tax reforms and commissions. Govt. policies and social security schemes like Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana etc. Flagship programmes like Swacch Bharat, Make in India, Digital India and Committees like Shome Committee, Nachiket Committee, PJ Nayak Committee etc.

    For people who have never ever had an interest in the subject, it can be a real tough deal to understand the economic jargon that they will read everyday. The best thing to do is give the reading a bit more time. If you don't understand a term or a policy, go to the internet and read about it. If still in doubt ask about it in IAS forums. Once you feel You have started tounderstand things go through the previous years question papers and try to answer the questions on economics.

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