Thursday, February 19, 2009

General Knowledge For UPSC Prelims - 2

This is the second part of General Knowledge capsule for UPSC Prelims. The first one can be accessed in my blog (www.upsc-prelims.blogspot.com) archives. GK has become an important part of UPSC prelims general studies paper and especially in 2008 prelims lots of questions were asked from this section. I am basically trying to give an overview of information that can be useful from prelims perspective. The idea should be to remember important pieces of information as one cannot remember everything under the sun. So one has to be realistic and at the same time observant enough to select important information from the unending stream of information that aspirants are bombarded with by coaching institutes and competition oriented books.

A.
Organisations HQ

1.UN New York
2.Int’ l Court of Justice The Hague
3.UNDP,UNICEF New York
4.UNEP Nairobi
5.UNHCR Geneva
6.IAEA,UNIDO Vienna
7.FAO Rome
8.UNESCO,ESRO Paris
9.IMF Paris & Geneva
10.World Bank (IBRD) Washington DC
11.WIPO,WTO Geneva
12.IMO London
13.UPU Berne
14.ICAO Montreal
15.ADB Manila
16.ASEAN Djakarta
17.CARICOM Georgetown (Guyana)
18.CIS Minsk(Belarus)

B. Rivers
Brahmaputra – 2900 km
Indus - 2900 km
Ganga - 2510 km
Godavari – 1450 km
Narmada – 1290 km
Krishna – 1290 km
Mahanadi – 890 km
Kaveri – 760 km

Ranking of rivers on the basis of length and direction (west to east ,north to south etc) is a frequently asked question in UPSC prelims. One should also have a good idea about the important international rivers. Ensemble’s Geography through Maps is a good book to follow even for non-geography optional students.

C. Information on important straits :
1.Gibraltar strait separates Spain and Morocco.
2.Magellan strait separates Chile and Tierra del Fugeo.
3.Bass strait separates Australia and Tasmania.
4.Torres strait separates Australia and Papua New Guinea.
5.Bab-al-Mandab strait separates Yemen and Djibouti.
6.Strait of Hormuz separates Iran and UAE.
7.Strait of Malacca separates Malaysia and Sumatra.
8.Selat-sunda strait separates Sumatra and Java.

One should look up all important straits in Atlas and in fact referring atlas should become an important part of reading newspaper.Whenever and wherever one encounters the name of any place or country that one cannot place geographically ,one must immediately look it up in Atlas and don’t stop there,go a step further by looking up nearby countries,mountain ranges,rivers and also whether any tropic or equator is passing through it.This will make the learning more complete and can very well make make the difference.

D.Random Information
1.Oxalic Acid – used to remove ink spots.
2.Sulphuric Acid – dehydrating agent.
3.Hydrogen Peroxide – bleaching agent.
4.Haber’s Process – Ammonia.
5.Ostwald’s Process – Nitric Acid.
6.Solvay Process – Sodium Carbonate.
7.Parke’s Process – Silver.

E.Research Institutes Locations
1.Potato - Shimla
2.Leather - Chennai
3.Poultry - B’lore
4.Tobacco - Rajamundry
5.Rice - Cuttack
6.Sugarcane - Lucknow
7.Jute - Barrackpore
8.Botanical Survey - Kolkata
9.Dairy Institute - Karnal
10.Dairy Corporation - Anand
11.Coffee - Chikmaglur
12.Tea - Jorhat
13.Bee - Pune
14.Cotton - Thane

F.Winds
1.Haboob - Sudan
2.Harmattan – West Africa
3.Khamsin – North Africa
4.Bora – Adriatic Coast
5.Zonda – Argentina

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Preparing Commerce Optional For UPSC Prelims

My very good friend Umesh Agarwal,who is a Chartered Accountant and a fellow aspirant,has agreed to share his experience of preparing Commerce optional for UPSC prelims and mains for the benefit of anyone considering Commerce as his/her first optional.So here is Umesh explaining the nitty gritties of preparing commerce in his own words...

Commerce is an interesting subject to read because is gives you an opportunity to have an idea into various financial aspects.
However, it is a fact that in UPSC, we should take only those optionals in which you really find interest and which you can handle, because ultimately it is you , who has to carry it till the end.
Regarding my experience with commerce, I joined Vajiram in the year 2005 for both Prelims & Mains and I blindly followed whatever was told in the class. I never applied my brain into it.
I gave my first PT(Prelims) in 2006 and I failed .
I failed because I blindly followed only the Vajiram class notes.
Then I assessed myself "why I have failed ?" "where was my fault ?"

On assessment, I found that I had to read the basic books first and to make these books as my base. Class notes/coaching notes are only for giving you guidance but you can never make them as your base books.
Thereafter I took help of these books :

Accounts -- T S Grewal * 3 books (Class 11 and 12 ,NCERT)
Audit -- Aruna Jha
Business Organisation -- Rankers notes
Law -- M C Kucchal
Management-- C B Gupta

For mains , I adopted the same technique and I read :
Financial Management -- Rastogi
Accounts -- only theory portions from any book
Audit -- Aruna Jha
Tax -- I have not done
Management--- C B Gupta , Rao ,T N Chabra
Industrial Relation - T N Chabra
Human Resource Management - Staffing chapter from C B Gupta

I must tell you one thing, it is the strategy and planning with control which matters and not merely the number of hours you put in for studies.
Hence, kindly make your own strategy and planning with control and I am sure you all will come up with flying colours in this exam.

My Strategy
After my unfavourable PT result in 2006, I restarted everything afresh from September 2006 onwards.
I made a plan from September 2006 to May 18 ,2007.
I read commerce mains syllabus from aforesaid books from September 2006 to November 2006 and completed whole syllabus once on a fast pace.
From December 2006 onwards, I started PT preparation from aforesaid books and completed the whole syllabus by the 1st week of March2007 and thereafter I started GS and finished it off by the 2nd week of April .
In between these period, I used to read current affairs daily after my dinner for 2-3 hours so that I could cover as much sources as possible by the end of March 2007, because it is the current affairs which plays a decisive role in GS for PT .Hence,with sound preparation we can score atleast 80% in PT(prelims) from the current affairs section .
2nd round--from 3rd week of April 2007 to 30th April 2007, I finished both Commerce and GS .
3rd round ---from 1st May to 17th May 2007 I finished both commerce and GS .

By the grace of god,i could score 84 in commerce and 75 in GS which helped me to sail through prelims.
I started my mains preparation from July 2007 onwards with the same strategy and I finished Commerce and Pali(my 2nd optional) by the end of August and started GS from Sept 2007 and finished it by the end of 2nd week of Oct 2007.
In the remaining 10 days , I revised my whole syllabus and by the grace of god I received interview call .
However, I could not score well in the Essay and Interview and finally missed the bus to Mussoorie.

Again I have written my Mains in 2008 with the same strategy and awaiting my result and hoping that this time god will be kind to me.
If you have any queries regarding Commerce as an optional,please feel free to post your queries in the comments section of this blog (www.upsc-prelims.blogspot.com) and I will try my best to answer your queries. All the very best to all of you !!!

Best Wishes
Umesh Agarwal