Now, as you saw in the previous section, in the preliminary
examination there are two papers.
We discussed the “syllabus” of the General
in the last section. However, as we saw, the syllabus is quite large
and vague. However, to prepare for it, you could do the following:
FIRSTLY: For this paper, it is very important to be updated in
“current affairs” in all fields.
For History, Economy, Polity, etc, you should read
Class 11 and 12 books published by the NCERT. Here
are some NCERT e-book downloads that you can use free!
For general knowledge and objective-type questions, refer to
the book “General Knowledge Refresher by O.P.
According to IAS topper of 2000, Sorabh Babu Maheshwari, you
must read “Competition
issues from December to May. Just go through them and try to pick as
many facts as you can. Also solve the previous years' General Studies
Prelims and Model Papers published in Competition Success
When studying for General Studies, you should try to read up
business and political magazines, newspapers etc. that you can. This
has two advantages. It will give you a good control over the English
language. This "good control" helps you in many of the papers like the
"essay paper", the "English qualifying paper" etc. It will also keep
you updated with the latest facts and current affairs.
However, do not over do this. You should not waste your time
a lot and picking up very few facts! You must try to read only things
that matter and take an extra effort to look out for things that could
be asked in the exam papers!
Before you prepare for the optional subject paper, you first
need to select the optional subject.
What subject should you take?
If you have got your
“bachelor’s” degree in a
particular field, and you are confident about that field then
choosing that subject as your optional subject would be a good idea.
It would be wise to look though the syllabus of the subject
selecting and seeing whether you have covered all of the topics in your
degree course and how well you feel you know those topics. You could
take a look at the syllabus from here.
Another strategy is to select a subject like
or “History” if you can mug-up a lot of facts.
subjects help some people to score really well in the prelims and this
is what gets them to their “Mains Exam”!
One important thing to remember: After the prelims, you are
going to get much time to prepare for the “Main
you get selected. It would make a lot of sense to try to study both
“General Studies” as well as the
Subject” properly, as if you are studying for the Mains! At
one optional subject of the mains will be almost over! If you do this,
your load for the mains will reduce a lot!
How to study for the optional subject?
Well, there are many different subjects and it would not be practical to explain how to study for each individual one. However, we shall help you with the general way to go about it!
Obtain the latest syllabus for the civil service exam you will
giving. Then, gather up all your books, and cover the topics of the
syllabus while SIMULTANEOUSLY referring to the question papers and
seeing the kind of questions that are asked on each topic!
Now, as you know, the paper will be a multiple choice questions paper. So, people look though the syllabus and make the mistake of assuming something like, “This cannot be asked as a multiple-choice question! What can they possibly ask?” This is a BIG mistake!
They can convert just about anything into a confusing multiple
choice question. So a good understanding of all the concepts
the syllabus is a must!
Another thing to remember, when you start to study for the prelims, you might tend to want to focus more on the “optional subject” since you already know it and it is easier! Do not do this! Make sure you concentrate on the “General Studies” paper also. If you do not, you will just not reach the Mains!
Remember also not to over concentrate on the
Studies” paper. It has fewer marks than the optional
subject. So, basically, do not “over” or
“under” focus on any one! Do both in the right
(We know that all this is easier to say than do!)
Now, let us assume that you have given your Prelims exams and are now going in for the MAINS, let us see how to tackle them…
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