Tips : How to prepare General studies for 2010 Prelims

Most people make mistakes in thinking that in prelims
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G/S is important

Opt. Subject : 300M G/S : 150 M

So lets put more effort in 300 M of Opt. Subject at the cost of G/S. But that's wrong way cause its really tough competition and just because you are ignoring G/S doesn't mean other serious candidates are doing the same. So Prepare G/S very well.

Recommended BOOKLIST
first is you get all of your weapons ready. that's buy following books or get them xerox. don't do like you buy one book now and once you finish reading it then you go buy another book (cause you'll waste time going to market buying every time. ) all your tools have to be on your table no matter when you want to use it. buy them all at once and then lock yourself in the room. and start preparing NCERT- History, Geography, Economy & Science (10-12) They don't ask direct questions from it much, but you need to study it only for make your base concepts clear. (more on it written ahead.) I've posted Downloadable NCERT books here 1. Spectrum : History of Modern India 2. Wizard India 2009 ( this one has everything exam oriented , including the side issues, so you don't have to see original Govt. 's India 2009)- there are many such books available from different publications but I used this one. All the famous place/ language/people/art/dance/ nuke sci/agri/industry/dams/army/ everything is covered in this book. Paper set of Previous Years UPSC G.S. Prelims 1. You can use Arihant/ Wizard/Unique/Chronicle anyone But make sure that Its topic wise and not year wise (i.e. 2001,2002) and that it has explanation for every answer. 2. I recommend Arihant's paper set. Wizard Indian Polity .

3. Again lot books from other publications too but I use this one. And I'm not a topper – so my recommendation of books doesn't chance as per the magazine in which my interview is getting published. The Hindu / Indian Express. 4. Don't read Times of India – its more about 'masala/spicey news' : what's imp. From G/S point of view come in above newspapers only. Atlas - Mapbook (Orient Longman or any other ) 5. They ask map question like 4 countries given and you've to identify which river is going through etc etc- you need to be familiar with world map. Subscription to Yojana – Kurukshetra 6. Published by Government of India, about its schemes, rural Development etc Any one magazine 7. Chronicle or 8. Wizard This is going to cost good money, but its like a business – you've to invest your time , energy and money to get this job. Also this is not the ultimate list – you can use different books- what matter is you must be able to clear your concepts from the book.

Some friends asked me how about the 'material'?
In Delhi there are many good publications which cover them short and sweet, But they're good only if you are basics are clear from NCERT. Some examples are M'n'M series' / New Vishal booklets on History, Economy etc. Daulat Khan's Current Affairs and many more. Frankly speaking I don't use much 'material' cause I've never been to Delhi nor can I afford those materials. I depend on newspapers and magazines and internet for my G/S preparation. and, Gone are the days when conventional stuff was being asked. And you could answer almost all question from TMH G/S manual or Brilliant's Material etc

Nowadays the questions are 'out of the box', + UPSC makes sure no questions are asked from big coaching classes' material (read the 'avoid March-April Flood' topic below.) Bottom line is These mags or coaching classes don't write off something from sky, Whatever they write – they've compiled from newspapers, std reference book And internet. All they do is present it in a nice bullets and points , boxes and tables format. You can use any of it, It doesn't make much difference. The requirement is you should be able to understand it and clear your concepts.

Don't directly use PT Special Issues if you are unfamiliar with that subject.
From December 2009- all these mags will start publishing PT (prelim test) Special issues. Most people make the mistake of directly taking the PT special issue as final solution of G/S. e.g. when Geography special issue comes, they'll preparing nothing else but from those 15 pages of mag. Only and believe that their G/S Geography is finished. Disadvantage is These mags give lot data and facts so you feel happy but they don't explain the basic concepts and principles 1. i.e in Geography special issue – you'll hardly see any map. So whatever you read- you'll remember for a fraction of seconds only. Same way they won't explain in user friendly manner- how monsoon comes and everything. 2. In Economy they always take "after LPG" (liberelisation –pvtzngloablisation ) disinvestment , FDI upto 100% allowed etc etc but never talk of why LPG came? for that you've read NCERT and if you don't then entire PT issue of Economy won't get down in your long term memory. So unless you're a B.Com,- DO refer NCERT to clarify the basic economic concepts 1st. 3. If you are a science graduate then you can directly use the PT special physics-chemistry,biology but you are an Arts /Comm. Grad then you won't grasp much of it unless you get some basics cleared from NCERT.


Most people have this bad habit, They don't read newspaper regularly but see the entire months 'current capsule' in the mag And think that their 'currents ' is good. Disadvantage you are only learning the 'facts' but not the heart of the current issuewhere it came from and which direction its moving. 1. in mags they've page limit, because they've to put big coaching classes advertisement with toppers photos on every second page, so they can't discuss everything in detail like a newspaper /its editorial. So they end up giving you some facts and data and bullets – and you feel happy. But won't help you in prelims. 2. Mags don't cover many things like in newspaper you'll come across in the economy section that Kishore biyani is the owner of Big Bazar and Pentaloon, but this thing never mentioned in mags but this question was asked in 2008. (That Kishor Biyani is associated with Retail business.)

How to do the currents then?
Keep a diary and note down the thing that you are sure the mags won't be writing. Same way if you come across some good editorial, then cut and paste It in in a file. (I use old rough full scape note and stick them with glue on it.) That's it. Refer the paper set and see what UPSC has been asking from each topic and prepare accordingly from the books mentioned above. Sometimes mags don't cover entire G/S in their cycle (of December to April) So you might need to find and buy the older PT special issues for certain topics like Mental Ability , Chemistry-Physics, Ancient – Medieval India- so don't forget.

Since G/S is so vast – its not possible to make notes of everything but at least do it for imp topic that you think you'll forget if you don't keep revising. And rest of the things are getting covered in your Current Affairs Diary.

Why make notes? And How to make notes? – I've explained that on this page.

Do practice the mental ability sums
Most people only glance over the solved sums- but unless you try your hand on it- you won't master it.

More the better

Do practice Test papers

Lots of practice test paper set (different from UPSC previous years solved papers) are available in the market. Use them. Most people only practice 3 test G/S paper given in the April issue of Mags, but you've to solve and practice as many as you can so it gives you speed, & accuracy.

Many people would advice you (especially this 'Faculties' & many of those who did not clear the prelims) (I've not cleared the prelims either- I failed in 2008's attempt ) "oh you are a arts grad? Ok then don't waste lot of time in Science portion – instead concentrate on Geography / History" "oh you are a Science Grad? Ok then don't waste time in economy is you can't understand- instead concentrate on Science portion" "economy is worth only 5 marks in prelims so don't waste time on it."

But that's wrong approach – you've to be good in all of them, ignoring anything completely will hurt you. you at least need to have basic idea of each. i.e. they don't ask some extremely tough question from Chemistry generally but they ask easy stuff like What's blue vitriol etc. – and if you are ignoring even such easy stuff then only God can help you. at the same time going through entire Mishra Puri for 5M Economy is waste of energy but at the same time its shameful to not to even know what's GDP , GNP, Budget etc. Remember it's a tough competition. Just because you are ignoring one section doesn't mean other serious candidates will do the same.

AND you've 11 months in your hands – time limit is not an issue.

Strengthen your strength and make sure your weakness is well hidden Ie. If you like polity – then make sure you are well prepared enough that even on the toughest paper you can get 12/15 correct in polity , but if you are weak and uninterested in economic then at least make sure you are not so dumb that you can't even answer basic GDP/GNP/Inflation /CRR questions.

When the March end comes- you'll see a flood of material from Delhi. (if you go to some coaching class OR studying in group) – you'll notice that all your friends are Xeroxing some imp notes that came from some big classes of Delhi. Most people go greedy and stop their routine preparation and concentrate on that imp thing only but UPSC doesn't ask anything from it (just like they did not ask anything from Vaji's Current affairs notes this time lol- don't waste your time AND money on Xeroxing it) And finally

DO read the question before answering
Consider following questions Q.1 Consider following statements and chose the incorrect statement i. Gandhi was a lawyer ii. Gandhi is preached truth and non-violence. Ans 1. 2. 3. 4. Only 1 Only 2 Both 1 & 2 Neither 1 or 2.

So the correct answer is D. BUT many people are under stress and haste so when they see statement I and 2 – they think oh yes both are true, so they'll tick 'C' as true answer. You don't make that mistake- read it carefully what they've asked. (correct statement or incorrect statement) That's why I said practice test papers- they'll give you more accuracy and speed dealing with such questions.

UPSC questions are tricky, many times you feel like "oh yes this must be the answer" BUT if you've not read it earlier in some book/newspaper or magazines then its most likely you'll be wrong in it. even if you get only 50 or 40 correct answers in the paper- never ever take blind risk of attending the answers you don't know cause you're going to lose marks. (0.33 per wrong answer) if you feel that the question paper is hard- then its hard for the rest of the India as well, so if you can't answer something - chances are a lot others won't be able to answer it either. (provided that you really have prepared good.) So in that case by taking risk you're degrading your own score. so don't get scarred in the exam hall. its all about walking in with confidence and walking out with confidence - bluffing & guessing ain't gonna help. This isn't a sure shot strategy cause the only person that used it ,is me, and I've not yet got my prelim 2009 result. Previously I had given prelims in 2008 and I did not clear it cause I was really poor in G/S. (Because I had done the mistakes in preparation like most people do as explained above) This time in my 2009's attempt I had followed this strategy I told you This time I've answered 70/150 in G/S. lets see where it takes me.

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