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Strategy To Prepare Science And Technology For UPSC

  • Categories
    General Studies
  • Published
    17th Jun, 2021

The one exam that expects you to know almost everything under the sun is obviously the UPSC civil services exam. The UPSC wants all candidates to have knowledge of all possible spheres be it humanities or science-based subjects. Inclusion of subject like science and technology in UPSC, the commission has ensured that only those people are eligible for the highest post who have sound knowledge in almost every area.

As an Arts student, this subject might be your Achilles heel, and as a science student, you are perhaps wheeling under its vastness. To excel in this subject student, need to have a well tailored strategy and planning as this subject has an important place in both IAS prelims and mains exam.


Before delving into other areas, we need to understand the IAS syllabus and structure of questions of science and technology. If we go to UPSC syllabus of science and technology in prelims exam you need to have an overview of everything, from theoretical aspects and fundamentals of Physics, Chemistry and Biology to the latest technological developments, space travel etc. But for UPSC mains syllabus one need to have an extensive study. The emphasis on the following things have to be put for the mains exam:

  • Science and Technology current affairs- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, space travel, computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Previous Year Papers

To have a precise knowledge about the nature and difficulty level of the questions the previous year papers are the best guide. If you observe the trend in the previous year’s papers you will notice two things:

  1. The number of questions on the topic can be anywhere between 8 and 19 in the IAS prelims exam. However the past 3 years have only seen 8 to 9 questions from Science and Technology section.
  2. The questions primarily focus on current happenings in the field of science and tech rather than detailed theoretical knowledge.

Books and Resources

The following books and resources need to be referred for Science and Technology. This is just a suggestion the aspirants can add to some other resources as per their convenience.

  • Read Class 11 and 12 NCERT to have a clarity on some basic concepts.
  • Official website of the Department of Science and Technology. Here you will find valuable information about the new developments and policies in this field. It has been observed that a lot of times questions appear directly from official governments web portals. Therefore visit this site frequently to stay updated. Press Information Bureau site should be visited on regular basis to stay updated.
  • One should read Science Reporter magazine. It is a monthly magazine published by the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources. You will find ample material here to cover both UPSC prelims and mains.
  • Science and technology section in The Hindu news paper that is featured on weekly basis.
  • Update current affairs from some good website of Civil Services Coaching such as GS Score.

Strategy For Coverage

Science and Technology section has seen some drastic changes since past few years. Due to rapid surge in technological innovations and inventions the subject has shifted slightly more towards technological section. Due to this subject has become more inclined towards dynamic portion or current affairs.

To ease your preparation, we are splitting the strategy into two portions:

  1. Basic Portion or Science Section
  2. Current Section or Technology Section

The basic portion or science section forms the static aspect of the paper. A general overview and basic understanding of fundamental concepts is the only requirement. It is advisable to pay more attention to biology rather than chemistry and physics. Within biology too focus should be more on human anatomy than plant anatomy. Emerging fields such as Microbiology and biotechnology should be given more weight age and they should be linked with current affairs while preparing notes.

Current affairs is central to technology as most questions focus on it.

The following areas are important:

  • One should have a close vigil on Government policies and announcements in the field of Technology. Aspirants should never skip or leave behind any new developments or initiatives enlisted by the Ministry of science and technology.
  • Aspirants should be familiar with day to day technology and themes that they come across on a daily basis like RFID, GPRS, 4G, Internet of Things, Bluetooth etc.
  • Take a note of the recent Noble Prize winner’s research fields along with the achievements of Indians in other important forums. Any new inventions/ discoveries also need to be read. For example, the questions on Graphene and Stem Cells were asked in the exam as they pertained to new research by Noble Prize winners.
  • One should be aware of ongoing research and new breakthroughs since the UPSC tends to frame questions from here. Concentrate on physics, chemistry and medicine for maximum return on time spent.
  • More emphasis should be given to biology while preparing for UPSC IAS exam. An analysis of recent trends shows that UPSC is shifting focus on biology and the latest developments in the medical and health sectors. Although the UPSC is quite unpredictable but compared to Physics and Chemistry, this is more important. One of the reasons for its importance is that it spills over into topics like biotech, biodiversity, conservation, environment etc.
  • An integrated preparation strategy for prelims and mains will bear more fruit for the aspirants as most of the time will be saved that can be utilized for answer writing practice.

Science and Technology for UPSC is an interesting subject so studying this subject will be less cumber sum. Aspirants are required to develop a curiosity and temperament while learning this subject. If you study this subject with its benefits associated with the society you will find this subject more interesting and fascinating.


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