How to Prepare Science & Technology for Civil Services Prelims


Science & Technology for Civil Services Prelims

We are living in the age of technological revolution. Communication technology has been revolutionized through satellite-based information highways and other computerized information processing systems. Computers are now an integral part of our work processing technology. Such awe-inspiring high technology developments have enhanced the capacity and transformed the working of governments to e-governance which is in present context is central to every governmental organization.

Under such scenario, it is obvious that government requires such bureaucrats (or technocrats) who have firsthand knowledge of present gadgets and information in the field of science and technology as well as aptitude to understand future developments. All this has brought about change in the recruitment strategy of personnel agencies which can also be seen in the recent change of nature and syllabus by UPSC in the preliminary stage of civil services examination. Similar changes have been seen in mains stage where questions regarding science and technology have increased a lot in the past few years.

Present pattern highlights the increased weightage of science and technology in Paper-1(general studies) of preliminary stage. Earlier, there was no clear cut mention of science and technology in the syllabus for PT stage. The only thing which was given was:

“General science i.e. questions on general science which will 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.” Questions in the PT were asked relating to general application of principles of physics and chemistry and knowledge of biology. Major part was covered by biology questions. Very few or none of the questions were asked from S & T which were also more related to current affairs.

But since 2011 around 30 % of paper-1 is directly related to science and technology which perhaps is enough to decide success or failure of any student. Candidates who earlier used to cover this part in mains stage only now have to include it in their plans right from the initial stages. Thus a comprehensive strategy has to be followed by the students. Each component of S & T has multiple dimensions which have to be dealt with by the aspirants. This requires a broad level of reading and understanding of each part. No boundaries or mindsets (presumptions) should be made and one should always be ready to take up new things. Science and technology is an ever changing, most dynamic part of this exam which makes it necessary for the students to always remain updated. Any topic, for example nuclear technology has two parts, that is, theory and application. Theory is the static part which should be conquered in the initial period and application which is dynamic in nature must be a regular part of the preparations. Dealing with this section has always been a tough nut to crack for civil service candidates, majority of whom are from arts and commerce background. But interviews and discussions with successful candidates have shown that a proper strategy with correct attitude can lead to very high marks fetched from this segment of examination.

The questions asked in recent years include:

  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. Mycorrhizal biotechnology has been used in rehabilitating degraded sites because mycorrhiza enables the plants to
  2. resist drought and increase absorptive area
  3. tolerate extremes of PH
  4. Resist disease infestation

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


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