Sunday, June 03, 2007

How should I prepare for 2007 Mains GS paper?

In my piece on preparing for GS, I spoke more about the ‘lifestyle’ part of the preparation for GS. In this piece I will be giving you a ‘model’ method of preparation for GS in 2007.

  1. Gather all the relevant material required. Well, what is the ‘relevant’ material here? My recommendation goes like this:
    1. Essential:
i. Blogs: Indian Current Affairs and Discover It

ii. One daily newspaper.

iii. One fortnightly. India Today is recommended.

iv. One competitive exam monthly – say CSR or CM. I recommend CM personally.

v. India Year Book 2007

vi. Any standard GS guide.

vii. NCERT books of 11th and 12th standard.

1. History

2. Geography

3. Political Science

viii. A good general essay guide. Any one is enough.

ix. Refer political maps of India and the World as and when you read anything about any country. Say you are reading about President elect of Nigeria, you should immediately point out Nigeria in the map. Spend sometime around Nigeria knowing its neighbours. Looks very tideous in the beginning; but in a matter of a month or so it will familiarize you with the whole globe and your confidence levels will be very high.

x. Listen to 9.00 PM news. Radio or TV is fine. Prefer the English versions. Any channel is fine. Ensure that it covers the national and international news. A half hour’s news is enough per day.

    1. Recommended:

i. Yojana, Kurukshetra

ii. Economic and Political Weekly

iii. NCERT books for Economics and Statistics. If you can spare lot of time, a general and quick reading of Science books also is recommended.

iv. DD Basu on Indian Constitution. Highly recommended. Not for cover to cover reading. But thoroughly read important articles and portions which have a bearing on the current developments.

  1. Cultivate the habit of reading a paper everyday. It can be anything; even a local language paper. It’s a good habit. Just read the headlines. Concentrate on the editorial and centre page articles. If they interest you read them, thoroughly. If they don’t interest you pass them up.
  2. Read the email that you get everyday from our Indian-current-affair Google group. What you find there are like teasers or leads. Think about the leads for some time. Then immediately browse the blogs and know the details. If you have questions, pose them then and there in the shout-box.
  3. Don’t forget to take the daily dose of the quiz. It is not just meant for your Prelims. It is equally good for your Mains. The email, the blogs and the quiz should not take more than 30 minutes of your time daily.
  4. Tackle the ‘essential reading’ exhaustively. My recommendation is that you should prepare notes from them in such a way that if you have to finish a quick revision, you should be able to do it in a matter of a day or a couple of days; purely from your notes.
  5. Keep copies of important articles that appeared in magazines for ready reference. Take care to keep index them or pin them up together issue-wise. Issue here is – a burning or important topic.
  6. There will always be some topics that you feel uncomfortable with. You may feel that you are not able lay your hands on proper material for covering them etc. Keep scouring the ‘suggested reading’ material or the web, for articles on such topics. As and when you find something, keep a copy and give those selective portions, an exhaustive reading.
  7. Conventional text books and guides should not take you more than a couple of months for thorough coverage.
  8. Keep writing an essay on any topic that you choose at least twice in a week. Review it. Get it corrected if you can. Exchange it with friends and ask for their opinion. Take the criticism that come your way constructively. If any of these doesn’t work, just post your essay in our Indian-current-affairs Google group. I will surely mail it or post it on our blogs asking for people’s opinions. I will also surely give mine.
  9. Discussions with friends and co-aspirants will go a long way in not only preparation for the Mains, but also for the ensuing Interview.
  10. The last two months before the Mains, should be spent mostly on revision and living the ‘lifestyle’, the components of which are described above.

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