General Studies (GS) Paper in the Civil Service Main Examination
General Studies (GS) Paper
From the Indian economic reforms to the geography of the sub-continent, from modern day history to current national issues and from developments in science and technology to India’s international relations, the General Studies (GS) paper in the Civil Services Main examination will have it all. Think of any topical or GK-based matter and you cannot escape it in this tough round.
With two papers of 300 marks each the GS requires some careful planning for its preparation and execution. The paper has changed and is now not only more current events oriented but also related to comparable international occurrences. You will notice that the topics are more analytical as compared to those asked in the previous years.
For instance, a topic like ‘Nuclear polity, issues and conflicts’ is at present under the government’s scanner and questions will ask for rationale ways to deal with any nuclear conflicts in the future. Similarly, in ‘India’s economic interaction with the world’, the focus will be on the dynamics of India’s changed economic relations in the global perspective.
Every year, there are a few new issues about which you will be quizzed but the topics more or less remain the same. The pattern of the question paper, howerver, has now changed and this will affect your answering techniques.
Become a data bank
A simple fact which is often overlooked during one’s preparation is that the GS does not test your in-depth knowledge. The Board seeks to assess your basic grasp and that’s all. However, you cannot afford to skip any topic — the GS is more of a memory test where you have to amass details and not concentrate on just quality.
You have ample of sources for information — newspapers, magazines, journals, the internet… However, when there is an overdose, it becomes difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. So, be particular in what you read and where you read it from. Stick to a few reliable information sources and be regular. Dig out your old NCERT books of the 10+2 level, which experts consider the Bible for the GS.
Take a daily dose
Interestingly, this is one paper which needs to be brushed up every day because the content is so wide-spread. Your preparation technique thus should be different from the rest of the six papers. Most aspirants tend to prepare for the GS paper in the Mains before doing so for the Prelims. But if you haven’t done this, then there is still time to work out a schedule which fits in a few daily dedicated hours for the GS. Do not try to leave GS for the last few days. The tables will turn against you when you discover how much you need to learn to ace this round.
Identify your weak areas and plug the gaps. Underline important points or make notes which will help you to recall faster. Highlight important areas — all these tips will save your time and energy levels. Good luck!
Rupashree Mitra, Deccan Chronicle