In the UPSC exams, the General Studies (GS) section holds a large share of marks. To conquer the exam and become a civil servant, you need to ensure that your GS preparation is strong enough to score high marks. It is applicable to both the UPSC Prelims and Mains examination.
Hence, if you are a UPSC aspirant, having the right preparation strategy for General Studies is a must. Before diving into how to conquer GS in the UPSC Mains exam, let’s first go through its syllabus quickly. Then, we will discuss the strategy based on crucial tips by toppers and the expert faculties.
UPSC Mains General Studies (GS) Syllabus
The IAS Mains exam has a total of nine papers, out of which four are related to General Studies. These include GS I, GS II, GS III, and GS IV. Each paper has a maximum mark of 250, with candidates are given three hours to answer each paper. What this means is that the General Studies section totals 1000 marks in the IAS Mains.
Below is the syllabus for each GS paper:
UPSC Mains General Studies I:
The questions in this paper are related to:
- Heritage of India
- Culture of India and its society
- World Geography
- Modern history and world history
UPSC Mains General Studies II:
In the second paper of GS, you will find questions related to:
- International relations
- Constitution of India
- Indian Polity
- Social Justice
UPSC Mains General Studies III:
In the third paper of GS, the syllabus covers the following topics:
- Economic development
- Disaster management and security
UPSC Mains General Studies IV:
The last part or the paper of GS in IAS Mains covers the below topics:
Tips to Prepare for General Studies in UPSC Mains Exam
Cover each topic thoroughly
Before starting your preparation, make sure to note down the complete syllabus or get a physical copy printed for your assistance. According to the syllabus, start studying the topics one by one. You must be able to write 250+ words related to all the sub-topics after studying it. For instance, study India Geography in Hindi and then try to write about it.
Moreover, you need to understand that GS requires you to have peripheral knowledge about various topics. So, it would be better to work on a diverse range of topics rather than obsessing over selected topics. Create a balance of time assigned to each topic.
Solve Previous Year Papers
Have the IAS Mains question papers of the last five years by your side. Go through these papers to get an idea about the breadth and depth of questions asked in UPSC Mains. You will also understand which topics are more important, such as Indian history in Hindi.
Once you prepare for each section, start solving the previous years’ papers and check how many questions you can answer effectively.
The science and technology section can be covered the best with the use of the internet. While books are good for it, you can gain extensive knowledge about each topic from various quality blogs and sites. This will help you to cover the technology trends and relevant topics extensively.
Additionally, the internet can be your best buddy for the current affairs section as well, especially for General Studies II and General Studies III.
Leave Enough Time for Revision & Practice
Revision and practice play the most vital part before appearing for the exam. For this, you must leave adequate time to revise everything properly. You might have studied all the topics with a preparation strategy but if you appear in the exam without proper revision, you will face issues in writing the answers correctly. Revision helps you in recollecting everything you have learned.
Along with revision, the UPSC exam also requires immense practice. You can practice with numerous mock tests and solving previous years’ question papers. Many IAS aspirants make the mistake of studying a lot but avoid revision or practice. Mock tests help you to test the level of your preparation and also allow you to find your weak points and strengths. With this, you can work on your weaknesses and be able to crack the GS section in the UPSC.
Moreover, there are ten papers to be answered in the IAS exam. If you don’t practice, it will cause anxiety and stress during the exam. You simply can’t afford it.
Choose Right GS UPSC Books
Since the syllabus of General Studies is a bit longer compared to other subjects in the UPSC, it becomes crucial to choose the right books and study material. As suggested by experts and toppers, below is the list of some top books for General Studies (all papers):
General Studies- I Books
- Indian Art and Culture — Nitin Singhania
- India’s Struggle for Independence — Bipan Chandra
- India after Independence — Bipan Chandra
- History of Medieval India — Satish Chandra
- Ancient India — R.S Sharma
- Geography of India — Majid Husain
- World Geography — Majid Husain
- World Atlas (Orient Black Swan)
- Certificate Physical and Human Geography — G C Leong
- Fundamentals of Physical Geography — NCERT Class 11
General Studies- II Books
- Indian Polity — M. Laxmikanth
- Introduction to the Constitution of India — DD Basu
- International Relations — Pushpesh Pant
General Studies- III Books
- Indian Economy — Nitin Singhania
- Environment and Disaster Management — Tata McGraw Hill
- Challenges to Internal Security of India — Ashok Kumar
General Studies- IV Books
Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination — Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary
Create Strategic Notes
While covering all the topics from the books is essential, you should create notes for yourself to study strategically and quickly. It will also help you to revise faster in less time. You can customize your notes according to your scores in the mock tests and prepare better. Also, don’t lookout for the perfect notes by others. You must create your notes yourself, whether it is for world geography in Hindi or any other subject.
By following the General Studies Strategy for UPSC Mains mentioned above, you can conquer the GS section and prepare yourself to crack your dream exam. Knowing the complete syllabus, choosing the right books, creating notes, etc. are essential for a more robust preparation.