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Fundamentals for UPSC Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (UPSC CSE) Preparation
Construction of knowledge in your mind is the key because only you have to reproduce this knowledge in exam. Teaching (Instructions) from books / coaching class / digital media are methods of giving knowledge to you but far more important is how much have you gained (construction of knowledge in your mind) and for that only your efforts will matter. Memorising is short lived. Learning is lasting as you have put in efforts to understand each topic. In objective exams there is no shortcut to learning
Remember learning can be effectively undertaken when you understand what is known to you, what remains to be known and initiate steps to bridge the gap. Third party only will be able to tell you what is not known to you. Here self assessor is effective tool. Once you have identified gap in topic or key concept (questions done incorrectly in self assessor), first try to resolve it yourself by referring to any standard book. Thereafter take help of your colleagues or teacher. Kindly do not leave these gaps unattended/ unresolved. Fill them same day as next day you tend to forget and there are other topics to be completed in your schedule. Master this topic well before moving. Rome is built brick by brick.
The key in competitive exam is:
It is important how much you know about a subject but what is more important is how much you know more than others. That is what differentiates a winner from a loser
Exam Specific Preparation
The preparation for UPSC CSE OR CSAT is ongoing process throughout you studies but best time to specifically start concentrating is about 12 months from main exam. You have to plan your prelims, main and if possible interview together. You cannot simply wait for prelims result to start preparing for next level. The time left for mains will be too short and you will risk losing this chance.
Be Mentally Ready
It will be combination of determination, hard work, strategic thinking and improving personality
Ensure you just don’t take it as a hobby but be a serious contender from day one
UPSC CSE CSAT Preliminary
UPSC CSE Paper I - Preparation for General Studies for Prelims
The content of UPSC General Studies is vast and as such more wide coverage rather than intensive coverage is preferable.
The UPSC first paper under the new syllabus will be more or less like the current general awareness paper, with additional topics such as climate change and biodiversity. Candidates will be tested on their knowledge of current events of national and international importance, Indian history, the Indian national movement, Indian and world geography, Indian polity, Panchayati raj, public policies and rights. Economic and social development, sustainable development, environmental sciences and general science is the part of first paper.
UPSC General Studies (GS) has to be prepared on quite a different plane because the content of this paper is too spread out and because any issue, major or minor, can be asked objectively. Traditionally, 10 + 2 level books of NCERT or any state education board had been covering a major part of the content but, these days, the items in news during the last one year or so, are being asked quite frequently. Problems are generally faced in everyday science (by the candidates with social sciences background) or in mental ability or in the fundamentals of economics. The most important aspect for the preparation of GS Prelims, therefore, is to identify the loop-holes and plug them urgently.
Many of you prepare a subject in terms of "reading" (once, twice, thrice etc.) with or without underlining the important facts. It results not only in longer time of preparation, but also many important points may skip. Also, even if you underline the highlighting points, most of you have the tendency to read the text in full while going for the subsequent readings. It is, therefore, advisable that texts must be read once and all important points (likely to be forgotten) recorded separately so that you need not study voluminous texts again. This would save on your time and should result in greater efficiency.
UPSC CSE Books and periodicals
For Current events of national and international importance – News papers for national events are Hindu, Times of India ,Economic Times and India Today. For international events Time, Economist and New York Times (can be seen on web)
For History of India and Indian National Movement - Class 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th History NCERT Books . You can also use study material from TestBag Academy for precise point wise compilation. For cultural questions, candidates can take the help of books of NBT on Indian Music, Dance, Drama, Painting etc.
Some other books which are of good help particularly in mains (start studying for mains along with prelims as it will also help during prelims) - A Wonder That Was India by A.L. Basham, India’s Struggle for Freedom by Bipin Chandra , Modern India by B.L. Grover and A History of India by Romila Thapar
For Indian and World Geography - Class 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Geography (old editions) NCERT Books. You can also use study material from TestBag Academy for precise point wise compilation
In addition as map related questions are being asked, a good atlas preferably Oxford School Atlas or Orient Longman can be of good help.
Some other books for geography are
India Census Report and a good dictionary on Geography (Penguin) would be handy
Indian Polity and Governance - Class 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Political Science NCERT Books . You can also use study material from TestBag Academy for precise point wise compilation
Other books for reference and mains
Economic and Social Development - Class 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Economics NCERT Books . You can also use study material from TestBag Academy for precise point wise compilation
Other books for reference and mains
General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate change
No specific books (you can take help of TestBag study material) but there should be understanding of bio-sphere covering some important areas as Greenhouse effect, Ozone layer depletion, Use of fertilisers and pesticides, Wildlife protection, Soil chemistry, Management of domestic and industrial waste, Pollution of noise, air, water and soil and control measures, Ecosystem, Management of non-degradable substances, Edible and ornamental, Sewage disposal and cleaning of rivers, Nuclear energy, Radiation hazards, Gas leak, Wind power, Bio-energy, and Environmental laws and acts.
Further you should undertstand concepts on environment and sustainable development covering following areas
Atmospheric pollution - global warming, greenhouse effect, acid rain, and ozone layer depletion;
Water pollution - international standards of drinking water, importance of dissolved oxygen in water, bio-chemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand;
Land pollution - pesticides;
Strategy for control of environmental pollution - the management of waste and green chemistry;
Economic growth and development, current challenges of economy, poverty and environmental degradation;
Importance of protecting the environment;
Environment and behaviour-_ reducing environmental stresses;
Understanding life on earth - world climates, natural vegetation, soil, water, drainage system, transport and communication;
Natural hazards and disasters (earthquakes, cyclones, floods, droughts and landslides) and their management;
Population and biotic community;
Eco system and species;
Conservation of natural resources including wildlife conservation;
Growth of human population and its effect on environment;
Economic importance of trees;
Damage to environment by overexploitation of natural resources;
Impact of ill planned industrialisation;
General Science – Class 6th, 7th, 8th 9th, 10th Science NCERT Books . You can also use study material from TestBag Academy for precise point wise compilation. Some chapters from NCERT 11th and 12th Class on Applications in Biology and Ecology are of help.
Other books are
A good dictionary on science and technology to understand scientific terms particularly for non-science students
General Science is a vast topic. However following particularly in human physiology and day to day natural phenomenon for non-science student is helpful
The cell: Shapes and size, cell structure, cell organelles, Difference between
animal and plant cells.
Plant Physiology – Roots, Photo synthesis, Respiration in plants.
Circulatory system – Blood, The Heart, Lymphatic systems.
Respiratory system – Respiratory system of man, Mechanism of respiration, respiratory disorders.
Excretory system – Organ of excretion, internal structure of Kidney and Functions, Regulation of Urine formation, Artificial Kidney.
Nervous system – Structure of neuron, various nervous system, Reflex action, the eye – structure, function working and common defects of eye, the ear – structure and function, tongue, skin etc.
Reproductive system – Human reproductive system, fertilization, artificial inseminations, parturition.
Endocrine system – Endocrine glands in man and function of hormones.
Fundamental of Genetics.
Nutrition – carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins etc. and deficiency diseases.
Muscles and joints.
Health and Disease – Cancer, T.B., Polio, Leprosy, Acids, Hepatitis, Dengue etc.
Other General Books and Magazines
2. Science Reporter (CSIR)
3. Manorama Year book
Study yourself from any good book preferably one topic at a time for about 1 hour
Thereafter take a ten to fifteen minutes self test in self assessor on each topic of the subject studied by you to assess level of understanding achieved in the topic studied. These tests draw questions from a large and specific knowledge pool based on your selection criteria. Kindly ensure that there is sufficient challenge in your self test. Your number of questions be more than 10 for the topic, (in keyconcept based on keyword they can be even less than 10), level of questions should be at least L1 and L2 and time should be bare enough to solve questions. If there are some specific concepts in topic studied by use, take tests on them also by inputing suitable keyword in self assessor.
Analyse results. For questions done incorrectly refer to books to understand where have you gone wrong. Try to complete this exercise alone. Alternatively take help of your mentor. The mentors can be your teacher in coaching class. To economise time prefer coaching if necessary only in subjects where you are weak.
Thereafter retake test with new set of questions. Once confident, move to next topic. This is active learning as you have yourself put in efforts to understand topics. You will start enjoying your studies and these concepts will be long lasting in you mind
- to be continued for covering Paper II and Mains -
Kindly Note : The information provided here is just indicative information and is provided on "as is" and "as available" basis . We make no claims on accuracy and reliability of the information. For correct/current information kindly contact concerned college/institution/authorities.