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Essential Interrogative Terms and Their Meanings in the UPSC Exams

Analyze: To find out what something is made up of by identifying its components.

(Critically) Analyze: To find out critically what something is made up of by identifying its components.

Assess: To examine something, to determine something in order to judge or evaluate it.
(Critically) Assess: Assessment containing or involving comments and opinions that analyze or judge
something, especially in a detailed way.

Bring out the Significance: Bring out the implied or intended meaning.
Capture the Movement: To seize or gain control over a fast changing.
Comment: An implied or indirect judgment.
Consider: To think carefully about something.
Debate: To talk about something at length and in detail, especially as part of a formal exchange of
Describe: To give an account of something by giving details of its characteristics.
Do you agree? Give examples: To have the same opinion about something as somebody else.
Decorate with examples.
Discuss: To write or speak about the topic formally/officially.
Elaborate: To organize with thoroughness and careful attention to detail.
Elucidate: To explain and clarify something.
Evaluate: To consider or examine something in order to judge its value.
Examine: To study or investigate something.
(Critically) Examine: Critically study or investigate something.

Examine closely: To study or investigate something carefully or thoroughly.
Explain: To give reason for something that has happened, often as justification for it. To justify.
Formulate: To draw something up carefully and in detail.
Give Argument in favor of something: To give reason to support your argument.
Give your judgment in favor: To form sound opinions and make sensible decisions or reliable
Investigate: To take a look and see what has happened.
Justify: See Explain.
List out the Salient Features: Arrange the noticeable and striking distinctive features.
Highlight the Salient Features: Take out the best part.
Roadmap & Strategy For General Studies UPSC Mains 2011
Dear Students,
The objective of the Civil Services (Main) Examination is for the selection of candidates for the various
services and posts.
To achieve this U.P.S.C. has mentioned that the main examination is intended to assess the overall
intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their
information and memory.
So, to evaluate candidates this treat, the main examination will consist of a written examination. And
the written examination will consist of 9 papers, which carries total 2000 marks. In this General
Studies papers carries 300 marks each, Paper IV and Paper V total 600 marks.
For the General Studies Papers, U.P.S.C. has clearly mention its level and range, It stated that the
nature and standard of questions in the General Studies papers will be such that a well educated
person will be able to answer them without any specialized study.
The questions will be such as to test a candidates general awareness of a variety of subjects, which
will have relevance for a career in Civil Services.
The question are likely to test the candidates basic understanding of all relevant issues and ability to
analyze and take a view of conflicting Socio-economic goals, objectives and demands.
Therefore the candidate must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.
After understanding the overall aspects of General Studies Paper, now you may ask why candidates
score very low in this section? And what should be its solution?
Basically there are two reasons for this:-
Ist reason is, not completing all questions in the actual examination. There may be various reason
for this but the most important one is, not having enough information, or knowledge about the
IInd reason is that, If you have the knowledge, then you are lacking the approach. That you may
have faulty approach or wrong approach.
So, to overcome from the first problem, candidate must widen their knowledge base, you should be
aware of right sources of study materials. Since there are diverse topics which you have to prepare.
You should have crystal clear conception about the issues or topic which you read. In this context
analytical grasp of topic is must.
Here one must also give more emphasise to these following topics:-
I. Indian Constitution
II. Current Affairs
III. Science & Technology Specially Environment & Ecology
IV. Economy
Ist Problem: Regarding awareness of study materials for G.S. :
Now let me discuss about the sources or references from where you can cover your General Studies
(Main) paper. For this you must through with the Syllabus as mentioned by U.P.S.C. and their
references which you can refer are as follows:-
1. History of Modern India and Indian Culture: The History of Modern India will cover history of
the Country from about the middle of nineteenth century and would also include questions on
important personalities who shaped the freedom movement and social reforms. The part relating to
Indian culture will cover all aspects of Indian culture from the ancient to modern times as well as
principal features of literature, arts and architecture.
I. Modern Indian History by Spectrum
II. Indian Culture by Spectrum or Wizard
III. Indian Culture Chapter of Indian Year Book
2. Geography of India: In this part, questions will be on the physical, economic and social
geography of India.
I. Class XI & XII Books of N.C.E.R.T. or Wizard.
II. For Economic and Social Geography of India. Selected chapter from Indian Year Book &
Economic Survey. They are:
Land and the People
Water Resource
Economic Survey
Energy Infrastructure and Communications
3. Constitution of India and Indian Polity: This part will include questions on the Constitution of
India as well as all constitutional, legal, administrative and other issues emerging from the politico-
administrative system prevalent in the country.
I. For Constitutional Part M. Laxmikant
II. Class XI & XII N.C.E.R.T. Books
III. Editorial and Important articles of The Hindu, articles of Yojana. Important articles of Press
Information Bureau
4. Current National Issues and Topics of Social Relevance : This part is intended to test the
candidates awareness of current national issues and topics of social relevance in present-day India,
such as the following:
i. The Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth,
development and employment.
ii. Issues arising from the social and economic exclusion of large sections from the benefits of
iii. Other issues relating to the development and management of human resource.
iv. Health issues including the management of Public Health, Health education and ethical
concerns regarding health-care, medical research and pharmaceuticals.
v. Law enforcement, internal security and related issues such as the preservation of communal
vi. Issues relating to good governance and accountability to the citizens including the
maintenance of human rights, and of probity in public life.
vii. Environmental issues, ecological preservation, conservation of natural resources and national
1. Following chapters of Indian Year Book:
I. Agriculture
II. Education
III. Food and Civil Supplies
IV. Health and Family Welfare
V. Planning
VI. Rural and Urban Development
VII. Welfare
VIII. Youth Affairs and Sports
Economic Survey:
Human Development Equity and Environment
2. Editorial and Important articles of The Hindu
3. Important articles of Press Information Bureau
4. Important articles of Yojana
5. Magazine like Civil Service Times or Chronicle
5. India and the World : This part will include questions to test candidates awareness of Indias
relationship with the world in various spheres such as the following:-
I. Foreign Affairs with special emphasis on Indias relations with neighboring countries and in the
II. Security and defense related matters.
III. Nuclear policy, issues, and conflicts.
IV. The Indian Diaspora and its contribution to India and the world.
I. For Historical background one can refer V. N. Kanna
II. For Current Affairs: The Hindu (News, Editorials & Articles)
III. News from Press Information Bureau
IV. Foreign Ministry website or refer any competition magazine like Chronicle or Civil Service
6. Indias Economic Interaction with the World : In this part, questions will be on economic and
trade issues such as foreign trade, foreign investment; economic and diplomacy issues relating to oil,
gas and energy flows; the role and functions of I.M.F., World Bank, W.T.O., WIPO etc. which influence
Indias economic interaction with other countries and international institutions.
Following chapter of India Year Book & Economic Survey:
I. Basic Economic data
II. Commerce
III. Finance
IV. Corporate Affairs
V. Industry
Economic Survey:
a. State of the economy and prospects
b. Micro-foundations of macroeconomic development
c. Fiscal Development and Public Finance
d. Price and monetary Management
e. Finance Intermediation and Market
f. Balance of Payment
g. International Trade
h. Agriculture and food management
i. Industry
j. Service Sector
VI. The Hindu to (News, Editorials & Articles)
VII. Wikipedia to understand Various Economic concepts.
VIII. Chronicle Special Issues
7. Developments in the Field of Science & Technology, IT and space: In this part, questions will
test the candidates awareness of the developments in the field of science and technology, information
technology, space and basic ideas about computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and
related issues regarding intellectual property rights.
I. Science & Technology by Wizard
II. Science reporter
Following chapter of Indian Year Book:
i. Communication and Information Technology
ii. Defence
iii. Environment
iv. Mass Communication
v. S&T Development
8. International Affairs and Institutions: This part will include questions on important events in
world affairs and on international institutions.
I. The Hindu (News, Editorial & Articles)
II. Chronicle or Civil Services Times
III. International Institution by Pushpesh Pant
9. Statistical analysis, graphs and diagrams: This part will test the candidates ability to draw
conclusions from information presented in statistical, graphical or diagrammatical form and to
interpret them.
(I). Class XI Books of N.C.E.R.T. (II). or Spectrum
So, it is evident from the above fact that, if a candidate read only The Hindi, Yojana, Science
Reporter & Some Important Articles of Press Information Bureau then he will be in a
position to answer 60% of the questions in G.S. paper but you must have the conceptual clarity
here one can refer Internet. Whatever terms and concepts are in news, you must know about them,
because now a days U.P.S.C. is not asking any direct question.
IInd Problem: Regarding Approach:
So, in this way you can solve the first problem now let me discuss about the second problem that is
approach. Right approach here means, target the question and give whatever is associated with the
question to understand better let me give you an example.
Suppose you are writing regarding the powers of President. Here the right approach should
I. Introduction of President
II. Executive Power
III. Legislative Power
IV. Judicial Power
V. Military Power
VI. Diplomat Power
VII. How Power Exercise
VIII. Discretionary Power
IX. Extra Constitutional Power
Now, I hope you have clear idea regarding approach however there are still some points which I want
to make you aware, those are:
i. The statement of your answer should not be general statement, all statements must be fact
based and information based.
ii. In G.S. no Introduction, no Conclusion, because it is repetition.
iii. Where ever possible give Flowchart, Diagram, Figure.
By following these above simple techniques you can enhance 30-40 marks in General Studies Paper.
However the most important aspect of all this is, depend on your hard work, your dedication because
without that, there is no chance to crack this exam. Just remember one thing what you do now will
shape where you go forward from here.
With regard