Many aspirants tend to overlook General Studies Syllabus and think that the questions asked by UPSC in the examination were not there in syllabus itself. Some even say that questions under General Studies papers can be asked from anywhere and about anything. They say GS is like ocean and is so vast to cover etc etc.
This perception is completely wrong. If one carefully goes through previous year questions they can observe that more than 80% of questions are directly from the prescribed syllabus. UPSC actually sticks strictly to the syllabus both in Optionals and General Studies.
Most important thing, therefore, for every aspirant is to go through syllabus as many times as possible and completely remember the syllabus by heart.
New syllabus for mains is pretty detailed unlike previous syllabus. The new syllabus is lengthy but fortunately every topic is clearly mentioned so that an aspirant can focus on each topic carefully and make notes on each one of them referring from standard texts, websites and newspapers.
By remembering whole syllabus by heart an aspirant gets a clear focus while studying various sources for the exam. For example, while reading newspaper his focus will be on those topics of the syllabus which he knows subconsciously in his mind are relevant and important for exam. If he doesn’t know the syllabus well, they will waste precious time studying unwanted topics.
Knowing each topic of the syllabus enables an aspirant to frame questions in his mind whenever he is reading something. While going through previous year questions, one will easily come to know which part of the syllabus is more important and which is not.
Every day we come across many discussions or conversations on TV or radio, if the syllabus is imprinted in mind, we become alert to such discussions and concentrate on them.
The syllabus is a guide to focused preparation for the examination. If one overlooks it, he is certain to waste time on unwanted books.