Civil Services Examination: Integrated approach for preparing General Studies

In the whole Civil Services Examination plan, General Studies has become the most significant constituent.

Be it Preliminary Examination, Main or even Personality Test, the information you pick has a vital role to play. For an effective preparation, candidates should formulate some tactics that make preparation sound and strategic.

Integrate Approach adopting Main Examination oriented preparation is the correct strategy for an effective Study-Plan.


The Civil Services examination has entered in a complete new orbit. First, the changes at Preliminary Examination in 2011 and now, with new format for Main Examination it has absolute transformation and this examination has ‘General Studies’ as the most significant element.
The syllabus, the question papers coverage and even the pattern of question is such that would require comprehensive understanding that includes conceptual clarity as well as updated information.

Earlier also the term ‘Integrate Approach’ has been extensively used for General Studies Preparation but, now, it has become the soul of preparation strategy.

Impact of new pattern for Civil Services Examination
It has been five years when the new format for Main Examination was announced. With each passing day candidates are realizing the importance of changes UPSC has brought in. Gradually, we are recognizing the impact of changes and how it has changed the way candidates prepare for Civil Services Examination.

Bit-by-bit, as things unfold with progress in preparation, candidates realize the importance of ‘time’ and a well-planned preparation strategy this examination necessitates.

Even a look at previous years’ Preliminary Examination General Studies papers reveal the dynamic approach adopted by UPSC to evaluate the candidate’s aptitude and range of information. So, preparing General Studies solely for Preliminary Examination is complicated.

That is the reason in past many years, candidate’s success strategy revolves around Integrated Approach for General Studies preparation and the role it plays is bigger as candidates are able to manage preparation better and have found better opportunities to score high marks.

What is the need?
With entry of talented, candidates with higher degree, the level of competition at first stage of examination has gone up and importance of Preliminary Examination has been felt.

So, as the situation demanded, to gain a competitive edge need is felt for greater focus on General Studies at Preliminary Examination level as well. Moreover, your chances of crossing Prelims solely depends on score you get in General Studies (Prelims Paper 1).

With domain of General Studies getting enormous, it would be strategic to look for an integrated approach for preparation where candidates undertake Main Examination oriented preparation to begin with.

The might of General Studies
In Prelims it has 100 per cent worth as Prelims Paper II is qualifying; and for Main Examination – 4 papers of General studies (1000 marks) plus Essay paper (250 marks) that gets more or less covered with General Studies preparation shows the impact this element make. 

Why to limit its role to written examination only, your knowledge, information and awareness would prove to be handy at the Interview stage also.

Do not repeat the same tired methods of preparation for General Studies that got candidates some mediocre marks in past.

Understand the present needs
When we talk of General Studies, be it Preliminary Examination or Main, current affairs is the name of the game. When we analyze the question papers most of the questions that are assigned to Economy section, Polity section, Geography, Ecology-Environment should actually assigned as current affairs questions.

It is not that only Current Affairs is to be pin-pointed; many constituents like History, Geography, Polity, Economic and social issues etc. are populating the syllabus for both stages.

The beauty of the questions lies in the way these are structured. The way two conceptions – traditional and dynamic are blended; innovative face of this examination emerges that makes it challenging.

So, by adopting integrated approach for preparation, while you will prepare for Main Examination, your Preliminary Examination Paper I get nearly prepared automatically. Not only this, an integrated preparation would always keep you in touch with the study-plan and your outlook would be wider and good-enough to encounter the intricacies involved at different stages of the examination.

This would prove to be strategic as the time saved can be put to use for other areas that needs greater attention.

So, don’t waste your precious time; engage yourself in activities that add value to your preparation. Speed at which you adept your preparation strategies would ultimately reflect in you end result.

You have a mission to accomplish; do it in style.

Last Update Sunday 3rd June 2018     

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