How to Prepare for General Studies 1


This portion of Syllabus can be divided into following Sub-topics 

  • Culture – It includes Art forms, Literature and Architecture from Ancient to Modern times.
  • Indian History  – It includes Modern Indian History and Freedom Struggle 
  • Post independence – It includes  post independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
  • World History – It includes events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. – their forms and effect on the society.
  • Social Issues
  • Geography


Sub- Topic20172016201520142013
Indian History6537.5253030
World History1012.5253040
Social issues and related Topics5062.587.55030


Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times”

  • As it is clearly mentioned in the syllabus this part will include Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.  
  • Once you prepare thoroughly for Prelims it becomes easy to prepare for Mains. 
  • The books for this section will be similar to that of Prelims.
  • Following are the important sources for this part :

Art and culture by Nithin Singhania

Tamilnadu class XI History book 

NIOS materials for art and culture  

Culture portion from NCERT  textbooks

Culture and Tourism chapter from India Year book  

  • Syllabus is silent regarding Ancient and Medieval history. But you have to cover the culture aspect of Ancient and Medieval history. 
  • Some other ​free materials available in the internet, used by 2013 All India Rank 1 Gaurav Aggarwal can be downloaded from here (Courtesy : his blog)   

“Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues”

“The Freedom Struggle – it’s various stages and important contributors or contributions from different parts of the country”

  • This section is important for Mains
  • Events from 1757 -1857 which is not covered in detail in any other books can be covered from:

History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra – Old NCERT

  • For freedom struggle section (1857-1947) you can refer any of the following books :  

India’s struggle for independence by Bipan Chandra 

From Plassey to Partition by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay     

A Brief History of Modern India (2018-2019) Session by Spectrum Book

  • Combination of any two books from the above mentioned list is desirable to have a balanced view

“Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country”

  • No question has been asked for the past 4 years on this sub-topic. Hence this section is important for upcoming exams
  • The following books are standard reference books for this section:

India since Independence by Bipan chandra

India after Gandhi by R C Guha  

  • Any one book should be read out of the two books provided
  • India after Gandhi is a very lengthy book however it is worth reading.

“History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. – their forms and effect on the society”

  • This is the lengthiest sub- topic in this paper. Hence strategy should be prepared cautiously considering the time you can spend on this topic. 
  • Most of the topics can be covered from the following books:

Mastering modern world History by Norman Lowe

History of the world by Arjun dev (Old NCERT)

  • Preference should be give to Arjun Dev and the topics which are not covered under Arjun Dev should be covered from Norman Lowe
  • As we have already mentioned the sub-topics in this section are quite open ended. Aspirants are advised to use internet for the topics not covered in the above mentioned books

“Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India”

“Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies”

“Effects of globalization on Indian society”

“Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism”

  • For answering this section you should know both dynamic as well as static part of the topic 
  • For static part following books are good for conceptual clarity :

NCERT Text book on sociology – Relevant chapters from class 11th and 12th 

Indian Society For Civil Services Main Examination GS Paper I 

  • For dynamic part you can refer the following sources:

Newspaper articles

EPW magazine


  • In this section you have to integrate dynamic part with the static part to write quality answers. 

“Salient features of world’s physical geography”

“Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)”

“Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location – changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes”

  • This part is very important for Mains due to its increasing weightage. This section is also lengthy .
  • Topics related to World Physical Geography can be covered with the help of following books:

Certified Physical and Human Geography by GC Leong

NCERT class XI Fundamentals of Physical geography 


  • NCERT textbook should be read in priority than other books
  • The Topics related to distribution of key natural resources and location of industries can be covered from:

NCERT textbook class 11 and 12 

​Geography of India by Majid Hussain  

  • For the part of Geophysical phenomena following books will suffice:

Certified Physical and Human geography by GC Leong

NCERT class XI Fundamentals of Physical geography 


  • Current affairs in the geography section is also important. Examiner tends to ask questions regarding some recent occurrences or events, for example if some state is affected by Cyclone then Cyclone becomes important for the exam.    

  • In GS -1 Examiner tends to ask questions based on History as well as Geography. For tackling such questions and to develop analytic mindset the following book is useful:

Land of seven rivers by Sanjiv Sanyal


  • Language used for answering questions should be proper and precise. Consistent efforts should be made to improve the language
  • Answer should be specific and to the point rather than what you know. Beating around the bush won’t work.
  • Style of answering can be either point wise or in paragraphs. Writing in Paragraph is time consuming 
  • Presentation and structure of writing answers is important. Examiner has only limited time to check the paper.
  • Technical and complex language is not advisable in answering General Studies paper 
  • Stick with few materials and revise it properly. This will help in consolidation and reproduction of the acquired knowledge 
  •  Answer writing practice is important on a daily basis. Writing practice will help the aspirants to attempt all the questions in 3 hours    
  • Our Daily writing initiative will help you in developing the art of answer writing . It will take time to write quality answers in the beginning but with practice you will catch up the necessary speed in due course.  

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