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Important Topics & Preparation Strategy for Civil Services Prelims Exam

Important Topics & Preparation Strategy for Civil Services Prelims Exam

The success in the most arduous examination of the country focusses on smart exam preparation, rather than a day and night preparation. Most of the successful examination, however, have pointed out some important topics which happen to be indispensable from the IAS examination perspective. These topics hold paramount importance owing to the frequently asked questions in the exam and can help you achieve a higher score and thus act as a deciding factor for cracking the elite exam. The objective of this blog is to make the candidate aware of the key scoring topics list for the year 2019. Around 8 Lakhs candidates are likely to appear for the Civil Services Examination this year for merely 1000 positions, it is highly imperative that the student goes through the previous years question papers to have an idea about the pattern and format. Considering the limited time and the exorbitant syllabus, it is highly imperative for the candidate to have an understanding of the most prevalent topics that have been repeatedly asked from the last so many years. The strategy opens the doors to the consolidation of important concepts, thus giving him an edge over other candidates. Revision and browsing through the previous year's question papers make one understand the important topics and makes him divert his attention towards a targeted study and ignore the insignificant items not important from the examination point of view. When you finish reading the blog, you shall be able to understand the key scoring topics for the examination.
India is a country that is unique for its diverse cultural heritage that is popular worldwide. With the plethora of culturally related issues which often find an important place in the significant place in the heritage sites of UNESCO. These topics are the most popular ones and include questions on famous landmarks like Harappa sites, Cholas temples, Ajanta caves, Ellora caves, Himalayan institute etc. The topic of Art and Culture has seen the incorporation of new topics such as The Jainism and Buddhism, Schools of philosophy like Sankhya, Charvaka, Vedanta etc and  Indus Valley Civilisation. These topics should be prepared with an impetus on Culture and not from Historical point of view. 
These topics form the crux of Paper 1 of the Civil Services Examination. Topics relating to Sangam period from the South and the evolution of the theistic devotional trend in Hinduism and the socio-religious Sufi movement triggered by the unorthodox Muslims have perpetually found a place in the examination time and again.that emerged in medieval Hinduism and later revolutionised in Sikhism. Some of the main books for the preparation of the IAS examination are Introduction to Indian Art (NCERT for 11th ), Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania, CCRT book from the Ministry of Culture.,NCERT Ancient by RS Sharma. Medieval by Satish Chandra.
As mentioned before, the topics of Ancient History overlaps Art and culture and it is evident from the last year's examination papers that the questions can be asked from either of them.  The topic of Ancient History invariably overlaps with Art and Culture. Having a look at the previous year's papers one should notice that the questions are invariably asked from culture and history interface. The related topics to this course are abstruse and detailed, and the candidate is expected to have n understanding of  Literature, language, religious reforms,  dance forms, paintings, music, festivals, and food practices.
The candidate who is seriously targeting to prepare for the first stage of the IAS examination namely The Preliminary Examination, the subject of History is a representation of the past events and how it has led to the set of the current events in today's times. The exam tests a candidates knowledge of the aforesaid points. The ideal reference books for the subject of History are the Britannica and the Encyclopedias, besides the regular NCERT book. The history syllabus is vast and is divided into Ancient Indian History, Medieval Indian History and Modern Indian History. Though the important topic from the examination is Modern History, however, the candidate is advised to have read the books of Ancient and Medieval History too as the IAS may have some unexpected questions. Some of the important topics worth mentioning are the topics on Important aspects of Indian History(Post 1857) and important topics from Bipan Chandra's book Peasant Movements & Role of women in Freedom Struggle.
The dicey element in the preparation of the History examination is its extensive syllabus and students falter by getting into the minutest details which happen to be significant. Thus a candidate who intends to prepare seriously for the exam should concentrate on events that happened post-1919 Freedom movement. History happens to be one of the easiest scoring subjects, with direct questions asked in the examinations. However, there is an important piece of advice for the students who think they are not good in History. History is one of the most scoring subjects, with some of the easiest and direct questions asked in the examination. Your knowledge of history will be directly proportional to the time you have given to it. 
The candidate targeting the IAS preliminary examination should not only know about the general terms associated with the Indian Economy such as Any future IAS aspirant needs to have an understanding of the related terms such as  GDP, SLR, CRR and so on. Besides understanding the meaning of these terms, the candidate should be able to relate these terms in context with the Indian Economy. The XI NCERT is the basic reference book for building the foundation of the Indian Economy. Besides the NCERT, the student should stay updated with the latest developments in the Indian Economy through the newspapers and the latest Economic Survey of India is helpful in refining it for statistics, data and figures. Some of the basic books that the candidate can refer too are Indian Economic Development Class XI NCERT & Macroeconomics – Class XII NCERT. These books merely build the foundation of the candidate in the concepts of Economy. However, the detailed and in-depth preparation for the subject can be done through a set of books by noted authors, such as Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh. 'Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh is a comprehensive text, with detailed coverage of all topics in the UPSC Preliminary and Main syllabus, Indian Economy Key Concepts by Sankarganesh K, The Indian Economy by Sanjiv Verma, Datt and Sundaram's Indian Economy and Indian Economy by Uma Kapila.
The topics that need to be stressed upon are Inflation, Economic Planning, Reforms, Indian Agriculture, Banking in India, Public Finance & Human Development.
The main questions range from World Geography, Indian Geography and Environment. In World Geography, the topics range from Principles of Geography, Maps and Climatic Zone. The leading referral books are Go Cheng Leong and NCERT Class XI Fundamentals of Geography. One is also advised to keep the Atlas at all the times for reference. In the Indian Economy, the questions are centred on questions on the physical geography of India, Topography, The crop patterns and distribution and Minerals and Resources besides others. Major issues covered under this heading are biodiversity, ecology, human geography, climate change and pollution and the main sources for the preparation are  Magazines, Newspapers and even NCERT books. This topic is extensive and a range of reference books are available. Some of the important resources are The Hindu and The India Today.
For the preparation of Science, the students should watch out for the trending topics. Detailed knowledge of various concepts of physics such as EMI, Refraction, or Reflection. Besides a number of questions are centred around organ systems, Biotechnology & public health. The candidate should be abreast with what is current and happening around you. Also, the students should make it a habit of browsing the previous year's question papers for pattern and type of questions. This is the single most effective piece of advice we can give to you. You may list down the topics from which questions have been asked in the previous years. This will give you an idea of what to expect in the examination.
Indian Polity is one of the most scoring subjects, the main areas to target are the Constitutional Framework, which includes sub-topics related to  Historical Background, Preamble, Salient Features, Fundamental Rights & Duties, Directive Principles of State Policy. Questions from this area are conceptual. Other important topics of interest are Constitutional & Statutory bodies which include questions on Constitutional bodies (like Election Commission, CAG, Finance Commission, etc. ). The topics can be divided into 2 categories:
  • The first category includes old institutions like the Planning Commission, now replaced by Niti Aayog,  National Development Council and Human Rights Commission etc.
  • The second category of bodies consists of rather new institutions like the Competition Commission of India, the National Green Tribunal, and the recently created Lokpal.
The other important areas are Polity & Governance section has been social sector legislation which includes acts like the Domestic Violence Act and various Rights based legislation. The Hindu provides extensive coverage of the areas.
It seems but obvious that most of the questions asked in the Preliminary Examinations are centred around Current Affairs. The topic of current affairs is a snapshot of Political Administrative, Socio-Cultural, Economic, Technical, Geographical News. The candidates should know how to read the newspaper in the most effective way and thus only consider the news which is important and exam oriented. Most of the questions of the exam are asked in a tricky way and the students are expected to have in-depth knowledge as well as the presence of mind. Special attention should be paid to Headlines of the newspapers and editorials, Negative/positive effects on society.,The hot and burning topic or discussion in society and people for a long time, News item finding special attention in reputed newspapers for a long time., National/International issues and Bilateral Relation. A keynote to all the future IAS aspirants is not to mug the current affairs but instead do smart study and keeping abreast people of various fields. The main topics that need to be focussed on the current affairs are Books and Authors, Sports/Games & Awards, Important Days and Years, Awards and HonoursPopular and Great Personalities in News, Indian Defence and Space Programmes in NewsTechnology and Computers. The  India Year Book (Publication Division)is great reference material for the preparation of current affairs

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