How to Prepare General Science for Civil Services Prelims

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General Science, just by the virtue of being science, can enable anyone to get the extra margin required for being comfortable after the preliminary examination. General Science, in general, has more to do with the clarity of concepts and their understanding than with the rote memorization of the facts.

Questions under General Science would, like previous year trends, include Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Emphasis would be given on Biology especially on Human physiology, Nutrition and Diseases. The only change that seems is that the number of the questions from the field of science has increased as the new pattern is more inclined towards the application of knowledge.

Questions on General Science may cover general appreciation and understanding of science including matters of everyday observation and experience, as may be expected of a well educated person who has not made a special study of any particular scientific discipline. Among the branches of General Science, Chemistry gets least importance and Biology gets maximum importance. This trend is most likely to continue

In Physics, almost all the questions might be application oriented. Thus, understanding the basic principles is very important, since UPSC has a habit of asking questions which are backed by some basic principles. Areas like Newton’s laws, Laws of thermodynamics, Heat, Sound, Law of Optics, and Nuclear Physics etc are important areas. One must be keen to know about the practical application of anything that one reads in the syllabus.

For example, in previous years the questions asked from Physics were:

  1. Ball bearings are used in bicycles, cars, etc., because

(a) the actual area of contact between the wheel and axle is increased

(b) the effective area of contact between the wheel and axle is increase

(c) the effective area of contact between the wheel and axle is reduced

(d) None of the above statements is correct

  1. Consider the following phenomena:
  2. Size of the sun at dusk
  3. Colour of the sun at dawn
  4. Moon being visible at dawn
  5. Twinkle of stars in the sky
  6. Polestar being visible in the sky

Which of the above are optical illusions?

(a) 1, 2 and 3                      (b) 3, 4 and 5                      (c) 1, 2 and 4                       (d) 2, 3 and 5

  1. Rainbow is produced when sunlight falls on drops of rain. Which of the following physical phenomena are responsible for this?
  2. Dispersion 2. Refraction 3. Internal reflection

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only                                 (b) 2 and 3 only                                 (c) 1 and 3 only                  (d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. What is the principle by which a cooling system (Radiator) in a motor car works?

(a) Conduction only        (b) Convection

(c) Radiation only             (d) Both Conduction and Radiation

  1. If a potato is placed on a pure paper plate which is white and unprinted and put in a microwave oven, the potato heats up but the paper plate does not. This is because:

(a) Potato is mainly made up of starch whereas paper is mainly made up of cellulose.

(b) Potato transmits microwaves whereas paper reflects microwaves.

(c) Potato contains water whereas paper does not contain water.

(d) Potato is a fresh organic material whereas paper is a dead organic material.

  1. Consider the following:
  2. Bluetooth device 2. Cordless phone
  3. Microwave oven 4. Wi-Fi device

Which of the above can operate between 2.4 and 2.5 GHz range of radio frequency band?

(a) 1 and 2 only                                                 (b) 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 2 and 4 only                             (d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

All the above questions are based upon the scientific principles which are applied to the phenomena of daily use.

Many questions are asked from the field of space science, robotics and other fields of applied sciences especially related to current affairs.

For example :

  1. The efforts to detect the existence of Higgs boson particle have become frequent news in the recent past. What is/are the importance of discovering this particle?
  2. It will enable us to understand as to why elementary particles have mass.
  3. It will enable us in the near future to develop the technology of transferring matter from one point to another without traversing the physical space between them.
  4. It will enable us to create better fuels for nuclear fission.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only                             (b) 2 and 3 only                 (c) 1 and 3 only                                  (d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. Consider the following statements:

The satellite Oceansat – 2 launched by India helps in

  1. Estimating the water vapour content in the atmosphere.
  2. Predicting the onset of monsoons.
  3. Monitoring the pollution of coastal waters.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only                                                 (b) 2 only                             (c) 1 and 3 only                  (d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. Which among the following do/does not belong/ belongs to the GSM family of wireless technologies?

(a) EDGE                              (b) LTE                                  (c) DSL                                  (d) Both EDGE and LTE

  1. With reference to the treatment of cancerous tumors, a tool called cyber knife has been making the news. In this context, which one of the following statements is not correct?

(a) It is a robotic image guided system.

(b) It delivers an extremely precise dose of radiation.

(c) It has the capability of achieving sub millimeter accuracy.

(d) It can map the spread of tumour in the body.

 

Hence it is important that the student not only goes through the basic principles but also keeps a track of whatever is happening around him. The inquisitive nature of student is bound to give him an edge over others.

In Chemistry, Periodic tables, important minerals and their ores, etc. are important from prelims point of view. Maximum questions will be pertaining to chemicals which are of economic significance. Thus characteristics of different compounds like Plaster of Paris, bleaching powder, etc. are of quite importance. Also the characteristics of the organic families must be kept in mind.

Let us take a look at the question asked in previous years:

  1. Chlorination is a process used for water purification. The disinfecting action of chlorine is mainly due to

(a) The formation of hydrochloric acid when chlorine is added to water.

(b) The formation of hypochlorous acid when chlorine is added to water.

(c) The formation of nascent oxygen when chlorine is added to water.

(d) The formation of hydrogen when chlorine is added to water.

 

Biology, in general, will be the most important section in science. In Botany plant physiology, plant tissues, plants with economic significance and genetic model of Mendel are important. In Zoology, human physiology (especially digestive system, circulatory system and reproductive system), genetics, various diseases and their control measures occupy the most important place. For this too, students have to be quite update with the current affairs.

The questions asked in recent years include:

  1. Which of the following statements is/are correct?
  2. Viruses lack enzymes necessary for the generation of energy
  3. Viruses can be cultured in any synthetic medium.
  4. Viruses are transmitted from one organism to another by biological vectors only.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only                             (b) 2 and 3 only                                                 (c) 1 and 3 only                  (d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. Which of the following diseases can be transmitted from one person to another through tattooing?
  2. Chikungunya 2. Hepatitis B 3. HIV-AIDS

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only                             (b) 2 and 3 only                                                 (c) 1 and 3 only                  (d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. Consider the following minerals
  2. Calcium 2. Iron 3. Sodium

Which of the minerals given above is/are required by human body for the contraction of muscles?

(a) 1 only                             (b) 2 and 3 only                                 (c) 1 and 3 only                  (d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. Recombinant DNA technology (Genetic Engineering) allows genes to be transferred
  2. across different species of plants
  3. from animals to plants
  4. from microorganisms to higher organisms

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only                             (b) 2 and 3 only                                 (c) 1 and 3 only                  (d) 1, 2 and 3

  1. Consider the following statements:
  2. Every individual in the population is equally susceptible host for Swine Flu.
  3. Antibiotics have no role in the primary treatment of Swine Flu.
  4. To prevent the future spread of Swine Flu in the epidemic area, the swine (pigs) must all be culled.

Which of the statement given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only                                 (b) 2 only                             (c) 2 and 3 only                  (d) 1, 2 and 3.

  1. Which one of the following processes in the bodies of living organisms is a digestive process?

(a) Breakdown of proteins into amino acids

(b) Breakdown of glucose into CO2 and H2O.

(c) Conversion of glucose into glycogen.

(d) Conversion of amino acids into proteins.

  1. Consider the following statements:
  2. Hepatitis B is several times more infectious than HIV/AIDS.
  3. Hepatitis B can cause liver cancer.

Which of the statement given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only                             (b) 2 only                             (c) Both 1 and 2                                 (d) Neither 1 nor 2

  1. Excessive release of the pollutant carbon monoxide (CO), into the air may produce a condition in which oxygen supply in the human body decreases. What causes this condition?

(a) When inhaled into the human body, CO is converted into CO2.

(b) The inhaled CO has much higher affinity for hemoglobin as compared to oxygen.

(c) The inhaled CO destroys the chemical structure of hemoglobin.

(d) The inhaled CO adversely affects the respiratory centre in the brain.

  1. With regard to the transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which one of the following statements is not correct?

(a) The chances of transmission from female to male are twice as likely as from male to female.

(b) The chances of transmission are more if a person suffers from other sexually transmitted infections.

(c) An infected mother can transmit the pregnancy, at childbirth and by breast feeding.

(d) The risk of contracting infection from transfusion of infected blood is much higher than an exposure to contaminated needle.

The questions indicate following trends.

  1. More questions are being asked from the current developments.
  2. Human physiology has a major say in the questions from biology.
  3. The questions seek to judge the curiosity level of the students and whether or not they are updated with respect to their surroundings.
  4. Questions from both theory as well as its application are important.

Thus all these aspects must be kept in mind while studying. This is the only way how even a mediocre student can perform wonders in UPSC. One thing must always be remembered that it is not the hard work but intelligent hard work which creates a difference between success and failure.

 

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