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Sunday, December 1, 2013

UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam: Important Areas From Where Questions Are Frequently Asked: A General Analysis


I assume that you are familiar with Civil Services Preliminary Exam syllabus and you are not new to the preparation. If you are a newbie, please intimate me for a separate post.

I have done a general analysis on the last four year question papers of UPSC civil services preliminary exam. The results are here and if you are preparing for civil services preliminary exam please don’t miss these areas.

  1. Indian Polity:
    1. Preamble of the constitution, fundamental rights, directive principles of state policy, Fundamental Duties, Funds
    2. Finance Commission, CAG, Lok Adalat
    3. Recent Amendments and Bills
    4. Inclusive Governance, Consumer protection, CAT, Representation of People Act, Judiciary, Civil Services, Election Commission and its powers.
    5. 73rd and 74th Amendment, Election to Panchayat, Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled) Areas act 1996
    6. Commission and committees on any public policy

  1. Geography
    1. Biosphere reserves, national parks and related information
    2. Rivers
    3. Resources and available areas around the world
    4. Species and biodiversity of Himalayas
    5. Climate, forest and vegetation of the world.
    6. Ramsar sites
    7. Food Crops, its types and cultivated areas, irrigation (NCERT)
    8. Ocean currents, La Nina, El Nino
    9. About phytoplanktons
    10. Science related to biodiversity and affected organisms
    11. Asteroids, comets and solar system
    12. About kharif, rabi and other crops and cereals.
    13. World Map – a glance for a day. One question might come
    14. NCERT – 11th and 12th – 4 books compulsory
  2. Environment
    1. Biodiversity hot spots and their significance. Species of Himalayas and other hotspots. Food Chain. Threatened species – refer ministry website
    2. Climate change talks, Rio summit, Clean Development Mechanism, Kyoto Protocol, Montreal Protocol, Carbon Credit, Cartagena Protocol and other international conventions
    3. Bio-fuel, bio-pesticide, bio-mass, bio-diesel, bio-fertilizer. Learn All bio-*
    4. Water, its sanity and purification. Its related programmes
    5. Soil conservation and erosion
    6. Persistent Organic Pollutants
    7. About pollutants and toxic substances which harm human.
    8. Red Data Book
    9.  Convention on Biological Diversity and National Biodiversity Act
    10. Global Warming – causes and problems
    11. Environment related problems and applications in NCERT 11th and 12th Biology Book

  1. Economic Development:
    1. All government schemes and acts for women, children, SC/ST, differently-abled and minorities. BPL. Refer ministry reports
    2. Inclusive Growth
    3. NBFCs, Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks and cooperatives – Differences
    4. RBI role and responsibilities
    5. Finance Commission
    6. IMF, World Bank
    7. Inflation and deflation  - cause and effect
    8. Money value– basics (NCERT) – practical questions
    9. FDI and FII  - Differences
    10. Disinvestment
    11. GDP and its fluctuations, National Income
    12. Current Account Deficit, Balance Of Payments
    13. Direct and Indirect Taxes
    14. Five Year Plans
    15. HDI
    16. Demographic Dividend (Very Important)
    17. Economic Survey – have a glance and understand the tables in it
    18. 6th to 12th NCERT compulsory

  1. Science
    1. It is a myth that UPSC will not ask questions from 11th and 12th science books. Past years it has asked questions from NCERT 11th and 12th science books (physics, biology etc)
    2. Don’t need to read the complete 11th and 12th physics, chemistry and biology books. Just read the important applications useful for human development and welfare. Scan through all the important information given in boxes
    3. Any news about scientific innovations, Nobel Prize. For 2014, question might be asked on the contribution of the famous scientist CNR Rao.
    4. Application related to spectrum, Doppler effect, electromagnetic waves and science which helps human directly
    5. Environmental science which helps human
    6. Space science
    7. Radio frequency
    8. Day to day science like Bluetooth, 3G and other technical terms
    9. Environment friendly technologies
    10. Nuclear energy
    11. Pollutants like lead, arsenic, etc
    12. In general questions will be based on human and environmental development. Anything which impacts this should be thoroughly learnt for the exam

  1. History
    1. Indus Valley Civilization, Buddhism and Jainism, Vedic Age
    2. Modern History – Rowlatt Act, Simon Commission, Cripps Mission, August Offer, Non-cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement and Quit India Movement, Govt of India Acts
    3. Anyways full Modern India (NCERT) is Compulsory

  1. Others
    1. International Bodies like United Nations
    2. Newspaper Reading



I hope this analysis will help you in your preparations. In the upcoming post, I will be coming with the 2013 preliminary exam question paper and the source of its answers. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How To Write And Speak Better English By Learning New Words

When you read a newspaper, it is easy to run through the lines quickly without comprehension and boast yourself to be a good reader. Though it might be tempting to show yourself as a better reader than your room-mate, it is not going to help you in a long run! I am not an English professor, but I can tell you something which helped me and which would also help you get better in your writing and speaking skills. To be a good writer and speaker, you should be a good reader!

A good reader never compromises comprehension for speed or laziness to look into a dictionary !!! When we come across a word, most of us, presume a meaning and fit it according to the context as if we are masters of English and move on with an excuse of loosing focus if looked into a dictionary! Terrible mistake!

Look at the statement below,

"On hearing the verdict, the veracious witness escaped".

Can you guess the meaning of the word 'veracious'? If you think it as cruel, barbarous, notorious or anything like that, you are wrong!! The word means truthful!

When you learn a new word, you have to look for three things, the pronunciation, parts of speech like noun, verb etc and the meaning of the word in a given context. Once you grasp everything, try to make a sentence of your own with the word and, I am sure you will never forget it! Put the word to use in your writing and speaking wherever applicable and this is the best way to build your English language skills.

One last important thing about words, which I had already mentioned in a previous post, is the appropriateness of a word to effectively express your thoughts, which is essential for a perfect writer or a speaker. The words, glim, gleam, flash, shine,shimmer etc are all related to light, but can you put any of these words for use in any context??!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Social Responsibility - A Train We Missed!

People are becoming self-centred day by day. Gone are the days, when people fed not only their family members but also neighbours and strangers. Volunteering and corporate social responsibility were not buzz words those days since they were naturally present in people's way of life. People were closely related socially and were ready to help each other in time of difficulties.

But, now the situation is very different. Everyone is too busy to take care of himself/herself. Most of us hardly care for others' problems. Of course, we do but to certain limits and we cannot deny this. We can trick to excuse ourselves by confessing it with an intelligent blame on the fast-moving and materialistic world, but if you are honest, you would accept the fact that most of the time we deliberately keep ourselves away from socially responsible attempts. Innocence is fading away.  You would scratch your head if asked for a meagre donation to an orphanage but would be ready to spend lavishly for your birthday party!!! You will be very careful in not making others comfortable at the cost of your comfortableness!! Your neighbour's sufferings are none of your business! You hate nuclear family since parents intervene in 'your' privacy! At last, you would leave the country to ruin at the hands of the corrupt and fly to United States!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Justice Verma Committee Report on Amending Criminal Laws - A Quick Analysis

I am going through the comprehensive report submitted by Justice Verma Committee to the Prime Minister of India. The committee was constituted on December 23, 2012 to suggest possible amendments to the criminal laws to adjudicate cases dealing with crime against women effectively and expeditiously. It is such an exhaustive report recommending changes to various areas to enhance the security of women in the country. This committee, including two other eminent members namely, Justice Leila Seth and Gopal Subramanium, was constituted after the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old in the national capital.

Running through the 600 and odd page report,  I could recognize the painstaking analysis put forth by the members to bring out a viable solution to a sensitive problem. Right from recommending punishment for stalking to rape, the committee has recognized all the realities involved in crime against women. The committee left no stone unturned to bring on stage gender equality, sexual assaults against women, trafficking, child abuse, police and electoral reforms. I would urge each one of you to go through the report. As the recommendations are not binding on the Indian government, let's keep our fingers crossed to see the government's reaction to the report