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GS 1 Notes

by Edukemy Team

Subjects in GS Paper 1:




– Art & Culture – Modern History – World History


– Physical Geography of India & World – Human Geography

Indian Society

– Demography, Social Issues, and Developments in Indian Society

Focus Areas in Mains General Studies-I:



Art & Culture

– Classical dances – Temple architecture – Themes of ancient Indian history – Literature – Music and musical instruments

Modern History

– Four important agitations/movements: Swadeshi and Boycott movement, Khilafat and Non-cooperation movement, Civil Disobedience movement, Quit India movement – Social/religious reform movements: personalities and their contributions – Contributions of important personalities (Indian and foreign) – India after Independence & Political Philosophies – Admission of princely states – Role of important personalities – Important movements after 1947 – Communism – Capitalism – Socialism

World History

– American, French, Russian, and Industrial Revolution – World War I and II – Current affairs – International pages of The Hindu and The Indian Express

Indian Society

– Diversity in India – Women Empowerment – Issues in Indian Society


– Cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes – Location of industries in India – Water bodies – Climate change – Natural Resources

How to Approach Mains General Studies Paper 1:

  • Important sources for UPSC Mains GS-I preparation based on subjects:




– Books: India’s Ancient Past (RS Sharma), Facets of Indian Culture (Spectrum publications) – Website: Centre for Cultural Resources & Training (CCRT) website

Modern History

– Books: India’s Struggle for Independence (Bipan Chandra), A Brief History of Modern India (Rajiv Ahir, Spectrum Publications), India Since Independence (Bipan Chandra)

World History

– Books: Mastering World History (Norman Lowe), History of the World (Arjun Dev)

Indian Society

– Newspapers – Magazines (EPW) – Reports of NGOs, international organizations, etc.


– NCERTs from classes VI through XII

Detailed Structure of Mains General Studies Paper-I for IAS:

  • Important features of UPSC General Studies I Mains paper:



Number of Questions

20 compulsory questions in Hindi and English based on language selection during application

Total Marks

250 marks

Word Limit

– 150 words for 10 marks questions – 250 words for 15 marks questions


– Modern History – Current affairs in Geography – Women’s role in Indian Society – Effects of Globalization on Indian society – Social Empowerment – Communalism – Regionalism – Secularism

GS 1 Syllabus:




– Modern Indian History – The Freedom Struggle – Post-independence Consolidation and Reorganization – History of the World including Industrial Revolution, world wars, colonization, political philosophies (Communism, Capitalism, Socialism)

Art & Culture

– Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times


– Salient features of World’s Physical Geography – Distribution of Key Natural Resources across the world – Important Geophysical Phenomena – Changes in geographical features, flora, and fauna

Indian Society

– 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

FAQs for GS 1 Notes

Q1: What is the significance of GS Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains examination?

GS Paper 1 is one of the four general studies papers in the UPSC Mains examination. It covers subjects like History, Geography, Art and Culture, and Indian Society. GS Paper 1 is essential as it provides a strong foundation in various aspects of India’s history, society, culture, and geography, which are crucial for understanding the country’s dynamics and development.

Q2. How should I prepare for GS Paper 1’s history section?

To prepare for the history section of GS Paper 1, you should focus on key topics like ancient, medieval, modern, and world history. Utilize reference books, such as “India’s Ancient Past” by RS Sharma and “A Brief History of Modern India” by Rajiv Ahir. Additionally, you should study historical events, movements, and important personalities that have shaped India’s history.

Q3. What are the recommended sources for the geography section in GS Paper 1?

To prepare for the geography section, consult NCERT textbooks from classes VI through XII. Additionally, stay updated on current affairs related to geography, such as natural disasters, climate change, and industrial location. Newspapers and magazines can be valuable sources for the latest geographical developments.

Q4. How should I approach the Indian Society section of GS Paper 1?

When approaching the Indian Society section, focus on key topics like diversity, women empowerment, population issues, urbanization, globalization, social empowerment, communalism, regionalism, and secularism. Stay informed about the latest social developments by reading newspapers and magazines like EPW (Economic and Political Weekly). Reference books and NCERTs can provide in-depth knowledge.

Q5. Can you provide tips for time management during the GS Paper 1 examination?

Time management is crucial during the examination. Allocate specific time for each section based on the marks assigned to questions. Prioritize questions that you are confident about and can answer quickly. Leave more complex questions for later. Always keep an eye on the clock to ensure you have sufficient time to review and make any necessary corrections. Practicing with previous year’s question papers can help you refine your time management skills.

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