UPSC: When you start preparing for Mains GS Paper I, it is important to understand the important topics. Knowing important topics and sections will help you to prepare that section very minutely and in between the lines so that you don't leave any questions unattempted in the exam. Candidates who are writing UPSC Civil Services Mains 2020 exams can utilize the below given topic-wise preparation strategy for GS Paper I in their preparation schedule. Before beginning with the strategy, it is important to go through the GS Paper I syllabus.
The UPSC of GS Paper I Syllabus broadly covers Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society. To make it easier for the aspirants, we have broadly divided the entire syllabus into 5 Sub-sections and have discussed the preparation strategy of each section separately.
Strategy to Prepare GS Paper I - Art & Culture Section
In the General Studies Paper I, Arts and Culture, also known as the ‘Indian Heritage and Culture’ covers 15 % of the total questions. This makes the section extremely important. The topics include Art forms, literature, Architecture from ancient to modern times.
➨ NCERT as the Primary Reading Source
The primary source of reading these topics should be the NCERT books. Before referring to any other sources to read, aspirants must start with Class 6-12th History NCERT books. While reading, prepare notes on topics related to art and culture. Along with the above NCERT books, one can also refer to NIOS Book on art and culture.
Strategy to Prepare GS Paper I - Modern History & Freedom Struggle
➨ Modern Indian history begins from about the mid 18th century until the present. Lay focus on significant events, personalities, issues. It is important to keep an eye on current affairs related to these events (50, 100, 200 anniversary of any event, etc.). Also, refer to UPSC Previous Years’ Question Papers and observe the kind of questions asked from this part of the syllabus.
➨ Freedom Struggle demands specific knowledge of its various facets and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country. It is important to study important books related to the Freedom Struggle. Spectrum and Bipin Chandra’s Struggle for India’s Independence are the most sought after books for most UPSC aspirants. Important is to re-read the book and be clear with the facts. It helps in memorizing and writing better answers.
➨ Post-Independence India mostly deals with the impact and effects of Independence on the Indian economy, society, and culture. Relate this section with the current affairs. Aspirants can read Bipin Chandra’s India Since Independence or any other relevant reference book.
Strategy to Prepare GS Paper I - World History Section
World History includes events from the 18th century such as the industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc., their forms and effect on society. Revision is considered an essential part of the preparation for World history as this topic is not included in the Prelims preparation, hence needs extra time and revision. Dates of events and wars should always be mentioned accurately.
Strategy to Prepare GS Paper I - Physical Geography Section
➨ Candidates should always begin their preparation with NCERT books. Make your own notes while referring to NCERTs and other books. These needs prove to be of great help during revision. Try to memorize definitions and terms related to this section.
➨ Keep an eye on current affairs and the latest news on various disasters and countries affected by them.
➨ Include graphs and maps in your answers. This will make your answers more appealing and understandable.
➨ Practice maps of both India and the world so that you get a good idea about the geographical setting.
Strategy to Prepare GS Paper I - Indian Society Section
Economy and Social Development is majorly overlapping General Studies Paper: III as well as General Studies Paper-I. So preparing for this section will help you to prepare for both papers simultaneously. The topics appear general in nature but the candidates should know the basic concept of communalism, regionalism, and secularism in India. NCERT would come in handy.
Candidates should also read the role of women from ancient (women’s place during the ancient times, how they were treated, famous women personalities, and etc.) to modern times that include freedom struggle, art and culture etc.)
With the three different phases of history, the aspirants should be able to integrate the idea and formulate a rational response, which is what the UPSC checks in each and every UPSC candidate. Therefore, during their planning and response writing practice, candidates should follow this accordingly when making notes.