GK Preparation: Syllabus, Strategy & Tips for Banking, Government & MBA Exams

Be it a banking & insurance sector entrance exam such as SBI PO, IBPS PO, BOB PO etc or the highly prestigious government sector recruitment exams such as the UPSC CSE & SSC CGL, all these exams have one thing in common, and that is the – GENERAL KNOWLEDGE/ AWARENESS section. In fact many highly reputed MBA entrance exams such as IIFT, XAT, SNAP etc also have a general knowledge section.

Not only is GK important from the exam point of view, it is also crucial at the interview stage. Considering the importance of the GK section, and the hordes of queries around how to systematically prepare for it, we would be discussing how to systematically prepare for the GK section for banking, government & MBA exams? ‘

Let us first discuss,

Why is GK so important?

Due to the nature of general knowledge / awareness questions, they:-

  • Provide 100% accuracy (unless you indulge in blind guesswork)
  • Are highly time-efficient (no calculation or revision required)
  • Highly scoring

Thus, this GK section could help you clear those overall cutoffs and seal the deal.

What are the problems faced by aspirants for GK preparation?

The most common problems faced by aspirants are:-

  • What to prepare: General knowledge / awareness is a limitless topic, to say the least. Hence, it is only natural for aspirants to feel intimated and confused by the vastness of the subject. Also, the (common) topics from which questions are generally asked, varies from exam to exam. Also, GK is constantly evolving. Hundreds of things are added on an everyday basis.
  • Organizing information: As discussed above, GK is practically endless. There’s always more to know. This gives rise to the problem of how to assimilate all that information. Thus it becomes difficult for aspirants to tactically plan their preparation.

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Now that we have understood the problems, in the following section, we will be addressing them one by one and provide a solution ( GK preparation strategy for Banking, Government & MBA exams ) for the same. 

What to Prepare & How to Prepare: Understand the Scope of Learning with Respect to a Particular Exam

While some exams like the UPSC CSE, require an in-depth knowledge, most of the competitive exams such as SSC CGL, SBI PO, RBI Grade ‘B’ etc consist of MCQs. Thus, depending upon the exam, one should decide the importance to be given to this section. Also, make sure to analyze previous years’ cutoffs to get a general idea of the minimum score you must obtain in that section. Generally, a detailed syllabus is released in the exam notification and from there one can understand if the G.K. section will be biased towards a particular subject or topic. For instance, IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) notifies that the GK section of its CWE (Common Written Examination) will have specific coverbanking-specific information. 

General knowledge / awareness in divided into 2 main parts: STATIC GK &  CURRENT AFFAIRS.

Important topics for Static GK Preparation
  • International Organizations (IMF, World Bank, IMO etc):  Major world organizations including economic organizations like WTO, IMF, and WB are important. Various political global groupings like UN and regional groups like ASEAN, SAARC, etc. are also important.One can expect regarding headquarters, chairpersons, functions of the organization or any other major reform/ event that took place (pertaining to the organization).
  • Geography: You can expect general questions from geographical features from India and across the world. Questions on theoretical aspects of geography, like the mechanism of earthquakes, volcanoes etc. are rarely asked.
  • Everyday Science: Focus is more on questions from the application of science rather than theoretical aspects of Physics and Chemistry. Further, expect questions on technologies involved in communication, IT, space, biotechnology etc. Questions are generally of the School level.
  • Awards and Honors
  • History: It can be further divided into Indian and World History. Indian History, especially after the 1857 revolt is more important.
  • Economy: This is an important section for all entrance tests. You can expect questions from theoretical as well as practical aspects of Indian and World Economy, with a special focus on India’s macroeconomic indicators, like inflationary trends, GDP etc.
  • Constitution & Polity: In this, you may be asked questions on the working of the Indian Political System e.g. political parties, pressure groups etc. Also, as far as the constitution is concerned, expect questions on major Articles, Schedules and Constitutional Amendments. Further, features of major social schemes launched by the central government in the past are very important. Use “Comparative Reading“. For instance, read in the following manner –  First read about the President, then the governor, then read about PM, then CM, Parliament and then State Legislature, Supreme Court and then High court and so on.

Though the syllabus may seem vast, a good way to prepare is to refer to reliable resources. Consider custom-made e-books for each exam. One can also peruse NCERT ( up to class 10) books for preparing static GK. 

How to Prepare Current Affairs?

In Bank PO and Bank Clerk exams, general knowledge about banking is becoming more and more important. One can easily expect 10-15 questions on banking in the GK segment. However, general knowledge for bank exams does not go beyond the relevance of banking general knowledge to a common man e.g. savings accounts, current accounts, operational banking procedures, RBI rules etc. Thus to prepare for general knowledge related to banking, one needs to be regular with newspaper reading.

As far as most banking, government & MBA exams, one must be thorough with the current affairs of the 3 – 5 months prior to the exam.
Suggested Resources 
  • Newspapers: Most commonly perused newspaper for competitive exam purposes is “The Hindu”.
  • Books: NCERT books ( up to class 10 ) are considered the best for the preparation of static GK topics such as History, General Science etc. For brushing up current affairs, one can also use yearbooks like Manorama.
  • E-books: You can refer to various e-books that are available on the internet as free resources as long as you make sure that the source is reliable. Some of Oliveboard’s e-books for general awareness preparation are mentioned below:-

1. E-books For General Awareness Preparation For Banking, Government & MBA exams

2. Static GK Notes

General Tips for GK Section Preparation
  • However cliched this might sound, reading newspaper regularly is the most effective way of strengthening your preparation of the general knowledge / awareness section. Reading newspapers daily can make life easy in learning General Knowledge. Keeping an eye on what’s happening around may find it interesting in looking out for news daily.
  • Taking down notes is a good way to assimilate information and store it for future reference. Here, we would advise you not to just simply write down points. Make an effort to create flowcharts and mindmaps for the data. Not only will this help you at the time of revision but will also help you to actively engage with information and remember is for longer periods of time.
  • Online quizzes let you test your knowledge and also stimulate your mind to learn more objectively. You can install some app and can play small quizzes while at travel or leisure. This will also help you make better use of your time.
  • Study according to the exam that you’re preparing for. If you are planning on appearing for Bank exams, then you must focus further on banking related terms. Also pay attention to sports, awards & honors, etc and work on making this your forte’.

General knowledge is called ‘general’ because it is everywhere. Be curious and a continuous learner. Your short-term focus should be on the exam specific GK but the habit of seeking knowledge will give you the required edge in the competition.

Hope this helps. Let us know your queries in the comments section below.

All the best!



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