The GS3 paper has a very wide spectrum when it comes to its topics. One cannot use a single definitive strategy for a paper that consists of such diversified content and current affairs. In order to ace this equally interesting subject, you may wonder, What should be the complete book list and strategy for GS3? Here are some suggestions as to how you can curate the best notes for this paper with segregated topics to help you comprehend better.

  • Technology

It is time to give a rain check on how much you know about what is happening in the world and about current affairs. Start with acquiring a basic level of understanding. Analyze this topic by giving more attention to the news. Know its real-life use and application, pros and cons, and potential scope in the coming years.

Look out for scientific terms and their fundamentals. You do not have to worry about diving too deep into the topic but get your basics right! Incorporate in your notes what technologies do they use in Nuclear Research, Defense, Space, Nanotechnology, Computers, Biotechnology, Robotics, etc.

The questions in the paper on this topic are generally derived from the UPSC syllabus only. Other sources for reference include newspapers like The Hindu and Frontline alongside Wikipedia. India’s Year Book displays its achievement in Science and Technology, which might help with questions of weightage 2 and 3 marks.

  • Economic Development

This topic needs a very strong foundation for the primary concept of micro and macroeconomics. Make sure that you are thorough with the Economics Textbook of NCERT Class X, XI, XII. One can opt for the Indian economy for civil services exam by Ramesh Singh for the same. Getting crystal clear conceptually is the key here. That’s how you would be able to understand the real-life scenarios with an objective eye.

Remember that newspapers are your friends, know the GDP and other reports. Reading Economic Times, Mint, Business Standard, etc., will further develop the understanding of a particular topic. Since Economic Development includes a hefty amount of topics, try to memorize the subtopics and keep the syllabus handy. Have an economic perspective while writing the 250-word answers.

Agricultural and geographical topics might need your full attention. In what aspect does it affect our country and its economy is frequently asked in the UPSC GS3 question paper. Some crafty questions on employment, mobilization, planning development, etc., can also appear.

  • Biodiversity

Like other subjects, biodiversity does not have a particular syllabus or just a single reference book. It is due to its extensive content, which is not only in respect to India but globally. This topic embodies boundless concepts like pollution from human activities, climate change, carbon footprint, marine pollution, river and wildlife conservation, etc. Some of these concepts may also get technical with regards to oxygen and the atmosphere in general.

Sources include the gist of Yojana, website of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), various surveys, annual report of the Environment Ministry, etc. For the textbook, you can check the textbook of Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses by Erach Bharucha. Keep close attention to the news related to the environment in day-to-day life.

Security and Disaster Management

  • Security

It is vital to protect what is important. In order to do that, various kinds of securities are adapted in different fields, and this topic is all about that. Though certain limitations to it might lower the pace of its efficiency, one should focus on learning that too.

Know about various topics such as the challenges faced due to uneven communication networks and how the media and its extensive coverage can affect safety. The internet era also brings certain drawbacks like online frauds and cyberbullying. Terrorism caused by organized groups, money laundering, and other crime can also come under security-related topics. Neighbouring countries with common borders adversely affect security too.

Make notes on the basics of cybersecurity by referring to the National Cyber Security Policy 2013, Acts like Prevention of Money Laundering 2002, and how the defence is managed on the borders along with the Indian Armed Force, agencies, paramilitary, etc.

  • Disaster Management

Disaster Management is based on current affairs for obvious reasons, but one can refer to past happenings and learn about how a particular calamity was controlled. Gain an understanding of Yojana on Disaster Management and the reports of the same. Another technique is to draw diagrams to picture a few notions of river embankment, management of watersheds, land zoning, etc.


The General Studies Paper 3 has very potent content that a student might enjoy learning, and it basically tests your depth on current affairs. So take it easy, be the Jack of all trades and get your basics right! You are good to go if you segregate each topic and read what is new about it, but don’t forget to revise your primary topics. A great foundation only makes you stronger and elevates you higher.

UPSC Pathshala and it’s complemented team of 200+ qualified mentors will guide you progressively in your UPSC journey so that you can achieve maximum scores at minimum efforts. Keep reading our regular informative blogs for more related content. Take advantage of our network of 200+ expert personal mentors with years of experience, and upgrade your preparations. Happy Learning!

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