This paper is marks scoring if you have prepared it well. I got 151 out of 200 in this paper. Most of the students neglect this subject and in the end time they ask for suggestions. Let me give you few tips for preparing general ability. If you are going to give IAS exam then you will not face any problem in this subject. However those who have not been preparing for any other exam, they need to start from beginning. Most basic task is to read newspaper daily. I would recommend The Hindu or Indian Express. Reading newspaper has double benefits because it improves English as well as general knowledge. The questions will not be asked directly from newspaper but it is necessary to understand the background of topics. It also helps in improving vocabulary systematically. I can assure you that if you develop the habit of reading newspaper daily then you will be able to score good marks in English. If exam is near, then go for a good English grammar book and learn the rules. However, if upsc introduces any new novelty, then only newspaper practice can help you tide over. You don’t need to remember detailed analysis of topics, just get the basic idea about it. You can make assumptions only if you have idea about the topics. Only remembering mcqs will not do. For general studies, start with a basic reading of ncert books to understand the concepts. Thereafter you can move to any specific book for a particular subject. Note that questions asked are objective, so understanding is more important than quantity. Lucent GK book is good along with Madeeasy materials. You can purchase other books such as Arihant practice papers etc. But ensure that you have time to do these things. If you are in a emergency, then only go for Madeeasy materials and class notes. Try to solve general studies paper of IAS prelims if you can , because some of the questions are similar. Skip those questions that are not in your syllabus. Understand the nerve of Upsc to crack this exam. Also try to read current affairs magazine, I would recommend magazine by Madeeasy institute. This magazine is prepared selectively for this exam. However if you still have time , you can go for frontline magazine. Reading current affairs also improves your general knowledge. In IES exam , lot of questions come from life sciences and geography. Exhaustively prepare these two topics. Polity is easy and scoring. History is uncertain, they don’t ask much questions from history. Sometimes they ask from economics also. Rest of the topics are miscellaneous. When you solve previous year question paper, observe these things. If you get into the mindset examiner, then it becomes easier to make assumptions. Now let me give few sources from where you can prepare for general ability.
Note- I am recommending madeeasy materials because GS syllabus is huge and one needs to be focused to study only relevant topic. You can go for material of any other coaching institute as well.
1. Madeeasy GS material and classmates of history
2. No need to study all NCERT books because its very time consuming and voluminous. However if you want, you can go through NCERT of Modern Indian.
3. Previous year practice paper of IES,CDS and other such exams.
4. Madeeasy question bank.
Going through above sources for history would be more than enough. History is not very marks fetching for GS so if you have less time then focus only on modern India.
This is very important topic for GS portion. You will have to prepare this topic thoroughly.
1. Madeeasy Material and Class-notes
2. NCERTs of 11th and 12th related to geography . These books are must.
3. Study of Map and Atlas is very important. Paste a full size map of India and World in your room and look at it daily.
4. Previous year papers of IES,CDS and other such exams.
5. Madeeasy Question Bank.
This topic is easy to remember and also marks fetching.
1. Madeeasy Material and Classnotes
2. NCERTs of 11th and 12th related to polity . These books are must.
3. D.D Basu or M.laxmikanth as a reference book
4. Previous year papers of IES,CDS ,…..
5. Madeeasy question bank
IT is also one of the most important section for general studies. Question related to diseases are frequently asked.
1. Madeeasy Material and Class-notes
2. NCERT of 9th and 10th Biology or Crash Course Biology
3. Previous Year papers of IES and CDS
4. Madeeasy question bank
This is a monster. IT covers almost everything left. So how should you go for it. I am suggesting few specific sources of study material for this section.
1. Madeeasy material on this section
2. Mrunal– This is a very famous website in India for preparation of competitive exams. All the materials on this website are not relevant for IES but coverage of topics and ease of understanding are very good. Now , you can also find video lectures of mrunal on this website. This website also deals with currents affairs in detail. So go though this website few times a week.
3. India Year Book- This books is officially released by government of India. So this book would be the most authentic source to look for any Information.
4. Madeeasy magazine for current affairs.- This is a very good magazine. You don’t need to go through any other current affairs magazine after this.
5. General Studies Manual- This should be the last thing you should pick because these books are vast and they may consume your time without any much benefits.
1. Vocabulary based questions- There are hundred of books in the market including madeeasy material for increasing your vocabulary out of which book by Norman Lewis is good. If you maintain your own vocab notebook then it is the best thing to have. There are also material in the market which produce collection of words appearing in various newspapers. Then there are practice sheets for antonym and synonym. This section is based on memory. If you have a good memory then you definitely have the edge. Others can try various memory techniques available on the internet. The whole point is to increase the retention of what you have learnt.
2. Non-Vocab based Question- Let me tell you that if your English good then this is the most marks scoring section. Don’t do any mistake here. Madeeasy material are sufficient to prepare for this section. No need to waste time by going for other sources. Practice previous year question papers of IES and CDS and you are done.
If you score well in General ability exam , then it can save you from defeat if you fare badly in technical subjects. If everything goes well, you will surely get good rank. So don’t neglect this subject, read newspaper and ncert books, you will definitely feel confident.
Bestof luck to all of you