Smash 2021 Mentorship Results
As UPSC Mains results were announced last week, Sajal sir (Co-Founder of Civilsdaily and Mentor of Smash Mains 2021 Program) was flooded with calls by delighted aspirants who thanked him for his mentorship. Sajal Sir himself is the topper of GS 2017 Mains paper and mentor of 400 UPSC Toppers.
After a quick check, we found out 41 Smash Mains students are qualified to attend the interview this year. As we are waiting for their interview results, we will not be announcing their names right now. However, we are sharing the testimonials of the qualified aspirants. We wish them all the very best!
Prelims Must-Read Topics for Every Subject
As prelims is round the corner, you would have already started your revision. The main purpose of the UPSC prelims exam is to test your conceptual clarity in basic topics and application of current affairs in subject-related questions. Since the questions in prelims aren’t direct or straightforward, they appear to be outside the standard book and NCERTs.
- Important Supreme Court Judgements.
Revise important judgements passed by the Supreme Court in the year 2021 along with those mentioned in your polity standard books like Keshvananda Bharati case, Uman Rao Case and Minerva Mills Case. While reading up the reasoning behind the judgements, you will gain clarity of the constitutional provisions.
- Fundamental Rights from Article 12-35
Every year, a minimum of 2-3 questions mandatorily ask about the basic human rights guaranteed by the constitution, their significance and limitations. Sample these questions from Prelims 2021.
1. Under the Indian constitution concentration of wealth violates
(a) The Right to Equality
(b) The Directive Principles of State Policy
(c) The Right to Freedom
(d) The Concept of Welfare
2. A legislation which confers on the executive or administrative authority an unguided and uncontrolled discretionary power in the matter of the application of law violates which one of the following Articles of the Constitution of India?
(a) Article 14
(b) Article 28
(c) Article 32
(d) Article 44
- Non-constitutional Bodies
Questions have been consistently asked about the recent developments in the quasi-judicial, statutory and regulatory bodies set up by the state legislatures. Examples include the National Human Rights Commission, National Green Tribunal and National Law Commission. One must be aware of the corresponding laws around which these bodies were established.
Inflation has been a persistent issue that has affected Indians every year. Everytime, there is news on how the RBI plans to tackle the issue or how foreign crises result in inflation of goods in India. Aspirants are expected to understand types of inflation like demand-pull inflation, cost-push inflation and wholesale price inflation. Remedies for inflation can be found in the current affairs section. One can expect 2-3 questions in prelims from this section. The prelims questions would test the conceptual clarity in fiscal policy and inflation.
- Money market
Aspirants are expected to have a general and not specialized knowledge on the financial instruments with high liquidity and short term maturities. The different kinds of credit that exist for different sections of the society needs to be read.
- GDP Estimates
Every year one question in prelims is about the GDP estimates of a particular year. While reading this topic, aspirants must note down the department that releases this report, the difference between GDP and GVA and the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
- Environment Conventions from 1980s onwards
Aspirants are expected to make micronotes from the standard books they are reading on the role of international institutions in combating environmental pollution through conventions, acts and policies. Examples of such conventions are Stockholm convention, Ramsar Convention, CITES etc.
- Biogeochemical cycles
Aspirants need to be familiar with the process of biogeochemical cycle, the types of biogeochemical cycle and the significance of the same. Questions around this are typically direct and straightforward.
- Mapping of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and wetlands
Every year, aspirants definitely get 3-5 fact based questions on national parks. Some of these questions could be asked due to a recent development in a particular park. For example, the Chilika Lake wetland was recently in news in January due to migratory birds like the Mongolian Gull staying there. The Chilika Lake is the first wetland of international importance under Ramsar convention. Certain aspects the aspirants must note down are the areas where the particular national park or wetland is spread across, the major attractions, the economic and social significance of the place.
Social Issues and Government Schemes
- Reports and Indices
Any report released by an international organisation on the performance of India against other countries under certain parameters must be revised. This includes The Global Hunger Index, World Happiness Report and Human Development Index.
- GOI schemes for 2021
Ranging from agriculture, education, MSMEs, vulnerable sections and banking, aspirants need to have awareness on government initiatives in 2021. This will make it easier for them to solve indirect questions as well.
Science and Technology
- Electric Vehicles:
India’s commitment towards electric vehicles and COP26 of Glasgow might be areas where prelims questions would be asked. Aspirants should understand the various measures to develop and promote the EV ecosystem in the country such as Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME II) scheme, Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) and the recently launched PLI scheme for Auto and Automotive Components for manufacturers of electric vehicles.
- Dark Genome
This is a hot topic in DNA research and aspirants must understand why research in this area is essential for treatment of diseases. Questions on genetics can be expected from Prelims this time.
- Emerging technologies (5G, AI, Machine learning)
In recent years, a lot of questions have appeared about the latest developments in technology, their discoveries and the latest theories related to them. Few of these technologies are 5G, Quantum Key Distribution technology, hydrogen fuel cell etc. Aspirants must micronotes on these topics from prelims perspective.
Aspirants must practice places in the Indian Map on a regular basis. Particularly, they must focus on himalayan rivers like Ganga, Brahmaputra and Yamuna, peninsular rivers like Damodar, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri and Periyar. Not only rivers, but aspirants must know where exactly their tributaries are located. Apart from this, North to South Alignment of Mountains in Eastern ghat and Western Ghat, Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands and Industrial Location and Ports need to be marked.
- Climatic Regions in India
Aspirants must learn about the onset and withdrawal of the Indian Monsoon system, tropical cyclones, different climatic zones, factors that cause shifts in climate and intertropical convergence zone.
- Continental Shift Theory
Present in the NCERT textbooks, this theory talks about the formation of different continents. Aspirants must keep an eye for one or two questions that might come from this topic in the Geography section.
Want to Know How a Free 1-on-1 Mentorship Looks Like? Watch This Video
In this video, there is first an initial discussion of the test performance, which is then followed by the mentor discussing the questions which the aspirant had got wrong and then he will ask the aspirant, where did he study the topic and to share the notes he made on that topic. The mentor will find out the problem and suggest the correct method of studying the topics. After the session gets over, the aspirant has to study the topics where he couldn’t score high marks in polity. After this, the next day the mentor will conduct another test only on those topics. This way the aspirant gains an understanding on how to approach the whole subject of polity.