First step to the Civils

An in-depth understandingof subjects in the General Studies Paper of the Civil ServicesExam can help the aspirantsail through.

The civil services preliminary examination conducted by the UPSC has two papers in General Studies under the revised scheme of examination. The examination in General Studies Paper I is a two hour test where students have to answer 100 questions. Each question carries two marks. While a correct answer gets a candidate two marks, an incorrect one means a loss of 0.66 marks.

The syllabus does not give much detail of the topics to be studied under each section. Preparation Strategy

The questions are based on basic principles and their application, factual information and current affairs.

Questions based on applied aspects of principles and factual information have been asked in previous years. Mere reading of NCERT texts does not give the reader a sufficient depth to handle such questions.The number of questions asked from different sections has varied over time.

Many of the questions asked in the examination overlap with more than one section of the syllabus.

While preparing for this examination, the candidate should adopt an integrated approach. One should understand the principles and then strive to find their applications in day-to-day life.

The principles of anaerobic degradation, for example, find application in the generation of biomass energy as well as pollution of water bodies. Likewise, while studying about river valley civilizations, an understanding of alluvial soils and their importance comes handy. One should start with the basics and for this NCERT books texts are useful. It should be followed by in depth study of relevant topics from graduation level text books in relevant subjects.

In the examination hall one should read the questions carefully and thoroughly before selecting the correct answer.

Time management is also vital during the examination. If a question cannot be answered immediately, one should move to the next question marking it as unanswered on the question paper. Since a wrong answer is negatively marked, one should avoid making wild guesses.

Dr Surender Singh is Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Shivaji College, University of Delhi.




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