UPSC Prelims Syllabus and Strategy for General Science and Technology

Updated On -

May 11, 2020

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Sudeshna Bhar

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Among major sections of UPSC 2020 Prelims, General Science and Technology is one. Almost every year, at least 10 - 15 questions are usually asked from this section. There is no specified syllabus for General Science and Technology, but, from the previous years’ papers, the probable boundary of the syllabus of this section can be drawn. This section is divided into 6 subsections i.e. Evolution of the Earth, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astrology, and Current events on Science and Technology.

General Science and Technology Syllabus for UPSC Prelims

There is no specific and elaborate syllabus mentioned or instructed by the Union Public Service Commission. This below-mentioned syllabus is from the analysis of 10 years question papers and sample papers :

Prepp Test Series

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Serial No.  Sections Important Topics
1. Evolution of the Earth Geological Time Scale: Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic & Phanerozoic;
Phanerozoic Eon: Paleozoic Era, Mesozoic Era & Cenozoic Era
2. Astronomy The Universe, Big Bang Theory, Dark Energy, Gravitational waves Star Formation (Stellar Evolution or Life Cycle Of A Star) Solar System Formation: Nuclear Disc Model (neo-Laplacian model) Sun’s Internal Structure and Atmosphere, Solar Wind Planets of the Solar System & Other Solar System Objects Kepler’s laws, Satellite Orbits, Launch Vehicles PSLV & GSLV
3. Biology Cell Organelles | Plant Cell vs. Animal Cell Carbohydrates | Monosaccharides | Polysaccharides Proteins | Amino Acids | Enzymes Vitamins and Minerals – Deficiency Diseases Fats | Healthy Fats and Unhealthy Fats Animal Tissues – Epithelium, Connective Tissues Human Digestive System | Digestive Glands Respiratory System – NCERT General Science Endocrine Glands and Hormones Human Neural System | Human Brain Muscular and Skeletal System Nucleic acids – DNA and RNA | Recombinant DNA Mitosis | Cell Cycle | Cell Division Meiosis | Mitosis – Meiosis Comparison Inheritance – Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance Chromosomal Theory | Human Genome Project Sex Determination | Genetic Disorders Diseases Caused by Microorganisms Microbes In Human Welfare | Useful Microbes Immunity | Human Immune System AIDS | Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome Cancer | Causes of Cancer – NCERT Drugs and Alcohol Abuse – NCERT Diseases | Acute, Chronic, Communicable Diseases Blood | Blood Groups | Formed Elements Circulatory System | Double Circulation Excretory System | Kidney | Urine Formation Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth Biological Classification – General Science Five Kingdom Classification of Plants and Animals Plant Parts and Their Functions Plant Kingdom – Thallophytes (Algae) – Bryophytes – Pteridophytes Plants with Seeds – Gymnosperms and Angiosperms Plant Tissue – Meristematic – Simple, Complex Permanent Tissue Plant Nutrition – Photosynthesis | Nitrogen Cycle, Fixation Sexual and Asexual Reproduction in Plants Classification of Animal Kingdom (Animalia) Classification of Vertebrata (Phylum Chordata) Human Reproductive System Biotechnology | Genetic Engineering – Processes and Applications Insectivorous Plants of India: Drosera, Pitcher Plant, Utricularia Precision Farming, Geoinformatics for Precision Farming
4. Chemistry Application-based chemistry, Food chemistry, Fuels, and polymers, Biometric systems, Chemical changes in matter, Radioactive elements, Carbon dating, Nuclear energy, Neutrons, Heavy water, Nuclear reactors locations in India, Elements and compounds
5. Physics Light, Sound,Heat,Electromagnetic radiation, Electricity, Magnetism,Newton’s Law, Gravitation,Big Bang Theory, Higgs Boson, Dark energy,Dark matter,Graphene, Forces in nature and naturally occurring phenomenon, Rotation and revolution of the earth, Recent phenomenon
6. Current affairs of Science and Technology Latest scientific developments in India and World. Recent achievements of Technology

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Sources of study material for Science and Technology for UPSC Prelims

Books For Basic concepts:

  • NCERT Standard VII
  • NCERT Standard VIII
  • NCERT Standard IX
  • NCERT Standard X
  • Biology of NCERT Standard XI and XII
  • Chemistry of NCERT Standard XI and XII
  • Physics of NCERT Standard XI and XII

Books For Current Affairs and Updates of Science and Technology:

  • Magazines of National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources
  • Science and tech section in The Hindu (weekly)
  • 1000 Plus Questions on General Science – TMH.
  • Science and Technology for Civil Services Preliminary and Main Examination - by Ravi Agrahari

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Quick tips:

  • If you are a beginner, go through NCERT textbooks starting with Standard VII to X thoroughly and extract the concept of ideas first.
  • The goal should be to understand all the major topics of each section.
  • Previous years’ questions papers and sample papers should be within arm’s length.
  • Analyse question papers with your own intellect. This will help you to have an idea of predictable questions.
  • If you are from Humanities or Arts, you should be skipping Physics and Chemistry entirely and be focusing on Biology and recent developments instead in the beginning.
  • Give more importance to Biology and Recent technological biological development. The recent question papers show grave importance on these two topics.
  • Be aware of ongoing research and new breakthroughs because UPSC has the tendency to ask questions from here.
  • Use the Internet at the utmost level. But it is advised to be aware of basic concepts, not in-depths for the recent events.
  • Read the latest developments in the governmental research and analysis departments, particularly- ISRO, DRDO, Ministry of Science & Technology, new programmes/ schemes providing support to scientific research, etc.

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FAQs related to General Science and UPSC Prelims:

Ques. Where can I find the question paper of UPSC Prelims 2019?

Ans. Here is the link for UPSC Prelims 2019 question papers:

Ques. Is science important for UPSC?

Ans. General Science and Technology is really important for the UPSC Prelims Exam. It must be prepared because in the UPSC Main Exam, General Studies Paper III has Technology, Environment and Biodiversity.

Ques. Can I skip NCERT Books For UPSC Prelims Exam?

Ans. It is sincerely advised not to skip NCERT Books. Most of UPSC Prelims preparation should revolve around NCERT Book and any other further reading if needed one always can go for other recommended books.

Ques. How can I read NCERT books fast for UPSC Prelims?

Ans. Follow a few basic but important steps:

  1. First, relax your mind, don't spoil your concentration memorizing and replaying every piece of information in your mind.
  2. Give a quick novel-like reading from the beginning.
  3. Read it again.
  4. In the second time reading, mark, or note important things.
  5. Move to the next one and practice the previously read topics on alternate days.

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Ques. Can I prepare General Science and Technology for UPSC Prelims in 3 months?

Ans. The probable preparation period for General Science and Technology for UPSC Prelims totally depends on your area of interest and educational background. If you are a student of any science stream or biology or really interested in science, it will not take more than 3- 4 months to prepare it totally. On the other hand, if you are a candidate in Humanities or Arts, it will take 5 - 6 months on average depending on your ability and interest.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.