Decoding GS-II for UPSC Mains 2020

Hey all Aspirants….!!!!!

Welcome back to VAJIRAO IAS ACADEMY

Here, today in our series “The Race to UPSC CSE 2020”, we will be discussing about the “Tips and Strategies for GS Paper-2”. You can also check out the previous article of the series i.e. “Decoding GS-I for UPSC Mains 2020”.

Before we start, have a careful look at this instruction given by UPSC for mains examination:

“The questions are likely to test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues and ability to analyze and take a view on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.”

This instruction ought to be your guiding light round the clock in your preparation. All you need to do is have a basic understanding of the subject matter and develop the ability to analyze. You need not master everything. Remember the quote –“Jack of all trade, King of None.”

GS-2 is the paper which most of the candidates find hard to score. The diverse nature of the topics mentioned in the syllabus makes it all the more difficult. But noteworthy is that it is one of the most interesting papers of the exam as well. But we are repeating again, a clear mindset and proper approach is what all needed to ace any paper of UPSC mains.

The GS Paper-2 in stark contrast to GS Paper-1 is largely current affairs based, barring a very few portions towards the end of the syllabus. And so for this, the newspapers become a very potent tool. Many aspirants commit the mistake of spending too much time on the static portions. Although, it is important to read the basics first, but once done, you must be able to connect the dots with the current topics of related subjects as only this can help you answer the questions asked by UPSC.

If you analyze the previous year papers, you will find that almost all the questions of GS Paper-2 was dynamic in nature though they will also require a basic understanding of topics. Being well versed with contemporary development around will help you in such a case.

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

  1. Indian Polity and Constitution
  2. Governance
  3. International Relations
  4. Social Justice

Now, before reading anything, have a good look over the NCERT Polity textbook of Class 10th, 11th and 12th.

TOPICS FROM SYLLABUS

BOOK LIST/REFERENCES

Indian Polity and Constitution M. Laxmikanth
Governance Selective Reading from D.D Basu, 7th Report of 2nd ARC.
E-Governance – Concept and Significance (IGNOU)
International Relations Daily Editorials from ‘The Hindu’ Newspaper, Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor,
Min. of External Affairs website
Social Justice 2nd ARC Report, different government websites for regular updates on policies of the government

Looking at this pile up…..A question should be arising in your mind, as to how will you retain everything in your mind. Well, if you keep your resources as limited as possible, perhaps reading them multiple times then it will be easy to retain. At any cost you should avoid the temptation of doing research on a particular topic. As discussed earlier, “You just need to have basic understanding of the topics”.

Tips and Strategies

  • Make short notes for all the topics by scouting various sources. Stick only to one book for a topic, rather make use of internet better.
  • Practice ample amount of answer writing sessions. Develop a set structure of answer which suits your way of writing answers and stick to it.
  • Join the mains test series program immediately after the prelims examination. Do not wait for the prelims result to publish.
  • Daily Newspaper Editorials are a must. No compromise. Although making notes out of it is completely depends upon your convenience.
  • The answers you write in the exam should be concluded with a positive and futuristic view especially for GS Paper-2.

To sum it up, if you want to get through the mains examination and appear before the UPSC Interview Board, follow this simple mantra all the way…….

“Read, Re-read, Write, Revise, Repeat”

Stay tuned for further updates in the series…..



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