Decoding GS-I for UPSC Mains 2020

Hey all Aspirants…!!!!

Welcome to VAJIRAO IAS ACADEMY.

Here, today we will begin our series “The Race to UPSC CSE 2020” where we will be talking about the strategies to crack the most prestigious exam of the country i.e. UPSC CSE 2020.

So, to begin with we will be starting with “Tips and Strategies to ace GS Paper-1”

The General Studies Paper-1 is one of the high scoring papers in the mains examination, a paper where most of the syllabus is related to the static portions. Once you are thorough with the syllabus and the standard books with a good understanding, the paper becomes quite easier to attempt.

Not that the paper only contains only factual questions or due to its static nature the question gets repeated, no. It only solidifies the fact that the GS-1 syllabus won’t see a change with respect to the contemporary current issues.

The paper contains numerous opinion based questions also which will require the aspirants to think about different factors on the topic and that too on the spot.

For instance consider the following question asked in UPSC Mains 2017:-

“Petroleum Refineries are not necessarily located to crude oil producing areas, particularly in many of the developing countries. Explain its implications.”

Now this is something which you won’t get directly from the books. Even though the question is somehow related to Geography section but as you see, not completely factual. A clear analytical thought process is required to attempt such questions.

To be true, most of the aspirants find the paper to be irritating as compared to the others. There is history with all its civilizations, ages, battles and so on. There is art and culture with thousands of paintings, temples, architectures, dances to remember. The paper sometimes become very cumbersome.

But what needed to be done is to be prepared with all the topics mentioned in the syllabus and perhaps substantiate it with newspaper readings.  A good hold on these topics are also going to help in your essay and optional preparations as well.

Syllabus and Booklist
The syllabus can be broadly divided into the following topics:-

  1. History
  2. Geography
  3. Indian Society
  4. Art and Culture
  5. Disaster Management

The foremost source to understand these subjects will to cover up the NCERTs from Class 6-12. The NCERTs will form a firm base for you to understand things better and moving on we will see what else to study.

TOPICS FROM SYLLABUS BOOKLIST/REFERENCES
Ancient History NCERTs,
India’s Ancient Past by R.S Sharma
Medieval History NCERTs
History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
Modern History* History of Modern India by Bipin Chandra, India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra
Spectrum by Rajiv Ahir/ Plassey to Partition by Shekhar Bandhopadhyay
Post-Independence History India Since Independence by Bipin Chandra
Previous year question papers, ‘Pradhan Mantri’ series on YouTube
Art and Culture Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania, NCERT Class 11th and 12th Culture textbook, CCRT website
Geography** NCERTs Class 6th-12th,
Certificate Physical and Human Geography by G.C Leong,
Indian Society and Social Issues Previous year questions, Yojana and Kurukshetra Magazines
Disaster Management Old NCERT Class-IX book

*You can read any of the books as per your convenience but Bipin Chandra is a must.
**For Geography you can also refer to D.S Khuler or Majid Husain

So, these are the books you can specifically refer to cover your GS-1 syllabus.

Tips and Strategies
As mentioned earlier, GS Paper-1 is a high scoring paper and thus it becomes imperative that you prepare well.

  • Have a detailed knowledge about all the topics mentioned in the syllabus.
  • While reading the books prepare your own comprehensive notes and at the end try to concise it in your own words.
  • Devote a considerable amount of time for maps and atlas also. It always proves handy in making use of maps for your GS-1 answers.
  • Do not get too much involved in any of the topics.
  • Make a proper use of internet to get through the smaller topics i.e. Post-independence history, disaster management, social issues etc.
  • Prepare a brief 50 word short note for each of the topic in the syllabus. This can be used to write introduction part of your mains answer.
  • Prepare an exhaustive list of current affairs from past one year and try linking its relevance to the static topics.

Needless to say, GS Paper-1 is boring. But, we can’t change it….Right it…!!!! But with a set mindset and proper approach, the paper can be aced and who knows, it may boost up your marks in the final list as well…!!!!!

One needs to understand the fact that UPSC Mains preparation is a time-taking initiative and every now and then challenges are bound to be encountered that will require you to step out of your comfort zone. The preparation requires time-effective actions intended to achieve our goals. Rest assured, start believing in yourself and be ready to brace UPSC with open and wide arms.

Stay tuned for next updates of the series….

Till then…….Think Positive, Stay healthy..!!!!!!!!



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