Pulse Phase

How to Prepare for General Studies?

General studies are the spinal bone in UPSC preparation. Whether you believe it or not but the intensity of your preparation for the General Studies subject will decide your result. In this article, you would learn certain things about how to prepare for General Studies.

  • Must do things for better preparation / How you can score more in your GS Paper
  • Why General Studies are so important
  • What books to read for General Studies Subjects

Many students prepare for General Studies for 600 Marks which is true as well but they often ignore that knowledge of General Studies subjects help them in Essay writing and as well as in Interview. Considerably, this subject alone can help with 1100 marks.

The strategy to study GS should be very loud and clear because this is something that will decide your result.

To get the answer to the main question of the article “How to prepare for general studies”, please read the complete article.

Few Must TO DO things for General Studies Preparation

  1. Make clear and concise notes to save time and effort both – Many students commit this mistake of not making self notes. This is the worst thing to do in your Civil services preparation. Also, don’t follow others’ notes because every UPSC aspirant has a different understanding.
  1. Refrain from using Guides, Preparatory books and textbooks as well – Your answers need to be original because your answers are checked by a highly educated faculty and they have loads of papers to check. You have very less chance of passing the exam Unless you write the correct answers in your language.
  1. Never run away from the previous year question paper – Your 10% of preparation time should go in exploration of previous year question papers. Reading previous year question papers helps you decide the redundant topics and saves your time.
  1. Prepare for Mains before Prelims examination – You should always prepare for UPSC Mains exam first because you only get 4 months to prepare for it once you qualify the preliminary examination. Also, remember preliminary is just a qualifier exam. Prelims marks are not added for the cut-off list in IAS exam.

Why are General Studies subjects so important?

Being an IAS officer means you should have basic knowledge of everything which is happening around you. You need to be very dynamic which is the top most requirement of this job.

That is why General Studies knowledge should be sound of every IAS candidate. As mentioned in the above, it approximately accounts for 1100 marks which is a very huge proportion of the total marks.

“Always Remember UPSC doesn’t prepare IAS, they hire IAS”

If you have a better understanding of General Knowledge or in layman’s language what is happening around then you can surely become a good administrator. This is why you should be very through with this subject.

Now Let’s look into Subject and useful books for General Studies Preparation for Civil Services exam.

Mainly General Studies are categories into two parts i.e. Conventional Subjects and General Knowledge.

General Knowledge & Current Affair Preparation

This is the most important part of any competitive examination. Moreover, for the Civil Services exam, it gets even tougher. This is where you need to be very vigilant about what you read.

Just knowing the current affair or what just happened is not enough. You also need to know all the significant aspects of the event. To give an example here, we will talk about the recent America China Trade deal. Apart from knowing the deal’s importance, you also need to know its history, earlier drafts of the bill, the historical timeline etc.

Take reference from NewsPaper for the topic and to widen the knowledge seek help from Google and Wikipedia. The Hindu is the best News Paper. Most importantly, you should daily go through the editorial page of this newspaper. This also helps you to frame answers, especially in Mains exams.

In short, going in-depth of any current affair is very important to clear the UPSC exams. Thus, follow good online resources.

General Studies preparation tips, Books and references for Conventional Subjects

  1. Indian Economics – Economy is an integral part of any country. No country can prosper without a good economy and UPSC understands it well. Thus, students are checked on this subject. You could expect a good amount of questions from this subject.

Important Books for Economics

  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh or by Dutt and Sundaram
  • Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri,

Don’t forget to read Newspapers and make a note of all the recent changes in economic policies. There have been several initiatives and changes done by the recent Government to boost the economy during COVID thus you read economic surveys very carefully.

  1. Government Policies and Programs – Several Policies are programs to strengthen the nation and you must be aware of all the policies. For rural programs and policies, refer to the Kurukshetra and Yojana Magazine.

This Magazine is issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Further, you should also refer to Indian Year Book but read it carefully because most of the topics are redundant.

You should also read about India’s relation with other countries. Again, reading the NewsPaper is the best way to broaden your GK base.

  1. Geography – Without understanding the Geography of a nation, you won’t be able to administer it well. Therefore, Prelims and Mains both exams have questions from Geography.
Important Books (How to prepare for General Studies)
  • Geography of India by Majid Husain – Buy Now
  • World Atlas
  • Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
  • Certificate Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • NCERT Class 11
  1. Indian Constitution – Book by DD basu titled “Introduction to the constitution of India” should be read thoroughly to cover this topic. You should read every page of it and make notes to revise it.
  1. Indian History – To prepare for this paper, understanding the previous paper is must. Reason is very simple because history is a very long and deep subject. Always refer to the previous year question paper to remove obsolete topics and save time.
Important Books for Indian History
  • An Introduction to Indian Art Part 1: NCERT books of Fine Arts Class XI
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • Ancient India by R.S Sharma

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  3. Top 10 Strategies to prepare UPSC Exam
  4. 7 Tips to Increase Score in UPSC CSE Prelims Exam