Civil Services Prelims-General Studies Paper 1 Pattern, Strategy, Preparation Tips and Scoring Approach.


In this article you will get pattern/syllabus of Civil Services GS paper 1, Strategy for Civil Services GS paper 1, Preparation guide for Civil Services GS paper 1, Do’s and Don’ts for Civil Services GS paper 1, Scoring approach for Civil Services GS paper 1 and Memory techniques for Civil Services GS paper 1.

Dear MockBankers

The civil services examination is conducted by Union Public Service Commission(UPSC) for choosing suitable administrators. That is why the exam is far tougher and rigorous than any other exam in India.

The prelims exam is the first stage of exam, designed to evaluate qualities like sharp memory and basic retention power of candidates

Today we will provide you with in depth information about the Civil Services General Studies (GS) Paper 1, preparation tips, study guide and memory techniques that will help you not only pass the exam but ace it, provided you follow them.

Pattern of Civil Services General Studies Paper 1 

GS Paper 1 consists of the following

  • Indian National Movement
  • Indian Polity
  • Basic Economic Understanding
  • Geography
  • Current Affairs

Since current affairs has no proper definition, the syllabus is quite vast.  You can say, everything under the sun comes under the syllabus of GS.

Strategy for Civil Services General Studies Paper 1

  • Make a target of getting more than the 100 marks in General Studies 1.
  • Focus more on general studies than aptitude paper
  • Make a habit to read every day, have limited in depth knowledge but the range should be very vast. You should know something about everything.
  • Make a one week plan and cover all subjects, and modify the plan until it suits your style of study.
  • Plan your daily schedule and execute it by studying for minimum 6-7 hours in a day
  • One common misconception about the prelims is that it is a test of facts and figures, this is entirely incorrect.
  • If you prepare for GS very well, it will help you in paper 2 as well. Since both papers test the same capabilities in an applicant.

Preparation guide for Civil Services General Studies Paper I 

  • Check all the questions of past years, available at free of cost at in previous years question paper sections
  • For History refer to the old NCERT’s Modern India (Bipin Chandra) – Old Edition
  • NCERT book on Polity is not sufficient. Refer Polity by Laxmikant as it covers most topics.
  • Read standard text books, NCERT 6th to 10th of all subjects, 11th and 12th NCERT books for politics and ancient history.
  • Focus on biology chapters from 12 to 16 of class 12 NCERT, as a lot of questions are covered from it.
  • Concentrate on those topics which are usually ignored, i.e. ecology and culture. These topics are ignored by most aspirants, the reason being the content being too large, so it is not possible to remember all of it. So you have to limit it, it will take you 5 to 6 days to limit the syllabus, and completely memorize the limited syllabus of ecology and culture as 6-7 questions are asked from each of the two.
  • Prefer The Hindu and Jagran Josh for Current Affairs and economy related study. Also make habit of reading PIB and PRS website daily. You can cover prelims from this. Mains however is a totally different ball game.
  • Make notes out of newspapers, it will concise the bulk data and help you revise in last days of preparation.
  • Read daily, specially the editorial portions of daily newspapers.
  • Don’t skip the Science and Technology section as a lot of question are asked from it.
  • An economic survey is published yearly, be updated with it, as it is necessary for your economic part.
  • Subscribe to Video series
  • You can also use Wikipedia.
  • Prefer standard magazines like Yojana and Kurushetra.

Do’s and Don’ts for General Studies Paper I

  • Don’t blindly follow different blogs and coaching teachers. First understand what they are saying and try to understand the long term implication of their advice, only then follow them. Bottom line is customize your preparation as per your learning style.
  • Follow standard books and avoid too many books, because that will lead to confusion and sheer wastage of your valuable time.
  • Don’t fully rely on coaching centers. They look after their interests first, you should do the same
  • Join a test series or get mock test papers, keep a time limit of two hours and solve the paper within the that time limit. Keep competing with yourself and improving everyday.
  • Speed and accuracy are important, so solving model question papers on a regular basis will be helpful.
  • Indulge in group discussion whenever you feel you are in company of intellectuals.
  • Have relevant decisions and do not indulge regularly.
  • Keep your friends away, once in a while meeting them will do.
  • Practice deep breathing, meditation and yoga. They help in dealing with stress to a great extent.
  • Time management is needed for the actual exam. It is not enough to know the right answer but it has to be marked correctly on the answer sheet in the stipulated time.

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Scoring Approach for Civil Services General Studies Paper I 

  • Have presence of mind to eliminate the least appropriate options and arrive at the right one. It is better to mark only sure shot answers than making guesses. This is called process of elimination
  • For marking of options, go for a binary pattern, i.e. divide the 2 hours in two equal halves. After 1 hour mark all the circles that you have attempted. Again when half an hour passes, i.e. after 1.5 hours, mark all the circles of the next questions that you have attempted now. Do this and allot 5 mins in the last for the last few remaining questions.
  • The most important part is marking of circles and that should be handled with utmost care. The invigilator doesn’t know how much knowledge you have, he will only know the circles you have marked.
  • Do not allot only the last 5 minutes to mark all the circles, because if you mark one circle wrong consequently you will end up marking all the following circles wrong

Memory Techniques for Civil Services General Studies Paper I 

  • Organize all the important facts and figures and simplify them by representing relevant data on charts or in the form of tables or graphs.
  • Make short and brief notes on each topic so that you can revise the entire syllabus a few days before the exam.
  • Use diagrams and link words which make it easier to understand difficult concepts.
  • Use abbreviations to retain more information. Since the syllabus involves in-depth information, abbreviations help you to remember it better.
  • Remember dates, facts and figures in a picture format and to break up complex names and places into smaller and simpler words.
  • Do regular revision; it is a must to remember everything that you have studied since day 1. A separate time slot should be given to doing not only regular but multiple revisions like daily, weekly, monthly.
  • Don’t overload yourselves with lot of information. Differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information.
  • Focus only on the information needed and filter out the rest.
  • Understand the concepts instead of memorizing facts and figures.
  • Understand all concepts with its origin, merits and de-merits, then analyze it with other relevant topics, avoid studying the concepts in isolation.

Suggestions for future IAS Aspirants

  • Play on your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
  • Do not get bogged down by the numbers of people competing in the exam or the number of seats. Remember you only need one seat.
  • Don’t lose heart if you fail in IAS Prelims exam, many candidates who could not clear in the first attempt made it in the top 50 of the next year’s attempt, be inspired by them.

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Friends, this is it for Civil Services GS Paper 1 Preparation tips, techniques and suggestions. If you have any questions and/or queries, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below and we will be glad to answer them for you.

  • arindam sarkar

    Sir can please tell me mostly which part to focus on in geography, indian polity and economics as i am an engineering student.. and also please tell me mostly which subjects to study from 6th to 10th standard books..thank you in advance