What is the correct strategy to prepare General Studies ?

Preparation for Civil Services Examination revolves around General Studies; be it Preliminary Examination or Main, General Studies importance can't be ignored.

As such, UPSC is in inventive mode and it is clearly visible in the quality of questions being asked in the examination.

While preparing for General Studies, the coverage of contemporary issues has made newspaper reading a must. Be it Prelims or Main examination, you cannot undermine the value of current events and contemporary developments.


One thing that can be predicted about General Studies with surety is that only comprehensive preparation covering all aspects of the syllabus can help you in General Studies paper - be it Prelims or Mains.

There is a definite shift in UPSC approach where questions are being asked even from traditional areas but with focus on contemporary developments. The best way to deal with effective preparation is to divide the syllabus in to areas where traditional knowledge is at work and the other, which are dynamic in nature.

Now, it is all about back to basics, the knowledge gained in past years, awareness and life experiences. With some conceptual, analytical and application based questions, General Studies is not easy to handle as many candidates do not understand the way papers are framed.

To start with, one can start with basic books; NCERT books which helps in laying foundation and helps in making basic concepts clear. After this first step of learning, one has to raise himself to the next level through focusing on contemporary issues and developments

The most important factor while preparing general studies is adopting integrated approach. Few constituents like Indian Economy, Polity, Geography, Modern Indian History and current affairs are figuring in both Prelims and Main Examination General Studies syllabus. So, any preparation aimed at Main Examination would automatically cover the Preliminary Examination requirements and will help you perform better.

It is essential to have thorough understanding of what you are reading and developing clarity on issues and their application is the essentials aspect which should be clear to the candidates from day one.

The coverage of contemporary issues has made newspaper reading a must. Be it Prelims or Main examination, you can not undermine the value of current events and contemporary developments.

General Studies – Main Examination

The scenario has completely changed after CSE 2013 and the change in domain of General Studies has forced candidates to alter their preparation strategies.

Although, the syllabus for 4 papers is well defined; but, you have to adopt a comprehensive preparations approach with interlinking concepts within and across the disciplines.

Sometimes, you come across questions that are really new and seem unknown. For such situations, you need to have a wider coverage of topics and active use of internet as resource during preparation can lend some help.

Answer-writing practice is a must that helps in presentation as well as in managing time well.

Test-Series is quite a handy tool in evaluating preparedness and covering areas that needs attention. With such practice, you cultivate habit of writing a brief answer based on information and understanding.

General Studies Paper IV is considered as less effort; more productive. With some serious effort, you should look at the requirements, particularly case-studies etc to score good marks.

Make a strategic move

Your fortune in Preliminary Examination solely built around your performance in General Studies Paper I as Paper II is mare qualifying.

Main Examination primarily depends upon performance in 4 papers of General Studies. The might of General Studies (1000 Marks) in Main Examination (Written) says it all.

Preparation for Civil Service Examination is a long journey. Make a beginning, and as you move on, you will gain lots of insights, learning newer things would make things alive and make your voyage pleasant.

Last Update Monday 23rd April 2018     

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