SHAURYA SUMAN, AIR 119 (CSE-2016)
GS Marks 481, GS Strategy
The key to success lies in going after your dream without any doubts of success or failure. One should try to improve day by day while studying. A good test series helps in assessment of your preparation. Overall, it is you who should be the best judge. I never followed any particular strategy for GS but kept on gaining knowledge day by day and applying it on a small scale(writing). I have tried to pen down them in brief.
1.Reading Newspapers and making notes.
I believe that newspapers are the strongest weapons in the hands of any student. One should read newspapers daily and make notes of editorial pages (issues) on a regular basis. I would suggest to read a basic newspaper like The Hindu daily. Then one should use a reader app like FEEDLY and add editorial news of Economic Times or The Indian Express. Other magazines can also be added like Down to Earth or The economist etc. I did it for a year and later switched to INSIGHTS Secure editorials. This page was the most important component in my preparations of the later phase.
While reading newspapers underline the editorial page and make notes on the weekends. This will help you revise as well. Kindly write them in your own words. I used Evernote and found making notes online or digitally much easier and accessible. I will share my notes with you.
One must understand that newspapers are there to develop a thought process through which you can write on anything with little knowledge in a better manner. Notes making is not only for revision but preparing you for the big kill i.e The MAINS
2.Mix Static and Dynamic issues in Notes
One should prepare notes topic wise and not book wise. Read the syllabus of GS papers carefully and divide topics on this basis. For example,
Here one should put issues with latest examples. Imagine, a year of issues related to India-Pakistan at one place; you will be self sufficient on this topic and any question can be handled very effectively.
The static part can be added from NCERTs and other sources like books, ARC reports or coaching notes. It is better to write NCERT in your own words and mix it with the current issues in newspapers. For example, health issues can be written from NCERT and latest examples and issues can be written.
The article of notes making by Aakash Gupta on insightsonindia resembles to my method.
3.Dairy writing and ethics
I developed a habit of writing on common issues which affected me daily. You can read them on my blog http://littlecorporal1992.wordpress.com/ and get an idea of presenting your thoughts in a lucid manner. For example, I wrote on a marriage ceremony where teenage children were playing music. Here I related the wastage of human potential of India, demographic dividend, education and employability etc. In this manner you will have something for everything in mind. Any surprises at Mains can be tackled well.
To add, I wrote for around 6 months almost daily on GS IV question on INSIGHTS Secure before Mains. I did not write online but on paper. I evaluated it the next morning with the most upvoted answers and also checked repetition of thoughts. You should try to be simple and practical while writing ethics answers. The other very important thing is using quotations. One can google it and prepare topic wise like education, health, moral values etc. Any ethics book can be read once and brief notes can be made just for reference. For example, Accountability is not only related to profession but one can see it in their family. Your parents are responsible to you and vice versa. Use incidents from your personal life.
In case study, try to think broad and bring hypothetical situations. For example, in Mains, i wrote that by not complaining on my boss violent behaviour with his wife I show my own bad actions at home. I made myself a married person and by being silent shows that I too did domestic violence with impunity at home.
I made recordings of quotations and other important issues on my phone and used to listen them while traveling from my room to test series centre. This will help you utilise time in a better manner while preparing between prelims and Mains. Make it like a teacher explaining to students. Those having problems like me in rote learning can use this method. I made very good use of this as you can see from my marks.
Also, one can see videos on Rajyasabha TV while eating lunch or dinner. The idea is to train yourself every time to think and think on issues related to General studies.
I believe that self study is the most potent tool to break the code of this examination. Internet sources like insightsonindia, mrunal, unacademy etc can be your guides to success. Also, a need based support can be taken from the coaching market. I needed only a classroom where I can write with 50 people. I evaluated answers myself and used internet wisely and comprehensively to fill gaps in my knowledge. Even when I panicked in papers I had trained my hand so well that it won over my mind.
All the very best friends. Only you have the solution to your problems. Never Fear. Persevere.
I will provide a link to my notes if desired by you.