Just as Voltaire said – common sense is not so common, looking at the world today one can say, general knowledge is not so general.
While one could still get away with a lack of common sense in Voltaire’s time, but with the number of entrances testing students on their general awareness quotient these days, there is no escaping the lack of the latter. The common story being that General Awareness sounding ‘general’ is taken lightly during preparations with the focus largely diverted to the specifics like Maths, Mental Ability etc. and when the results come out, you get to know what hit you the hardest. THAT GENERAL AWARENESS SECTION!
So if you don’t want to be on the receiving end of such a blow, here is what you need to do.
Read Newspapers. Period.
This is one advice of the elders that we never paid heed to, and look how it comes to bite us back. But its never too late. Plus, when the elders asked you to read the newspapers, they more often than not meant the big editorials. But from the perspective of cracking general awareness of an entrance, you can leave them aside. Focus on the headlines. Focus on new appointments, recent awards, results of recent tournaments, recent book releases. Stay Updated.
Make wise use of Facebook
Considering that you spend more time on Facebook than reading newspapers, its only fair that you get something valuable out of that. So ‘like’ the official pages of all major newspapers. This way important news will be on your FB timeline. Secondly, one can join quizzing groups, even if initially as a spectator.
Keep a Diary, of a different kind!
Make a diary and note down the 10 things that you come across in your newspaper reading each day. These should preferably be the things that you have little knowledge about. As a daily exercise, Google them at the end of the day. Read the introductory paragraph about them on Wikipedia, which will give you a basic understanding of the things. The more curious ones may go ahead and read complete pages and do a bit of link hopping as well, but for the basic understanding, the first paragraph will do.
Coming across hundreds of new names during preparation and trying to memorize them is a herculean task even for the sharpest of the minds. So, what’s the way out? One thing that aspirants may try is to look up the photos of those names on Google Images. It becomes a lot easier to remember the names and facts related to them if you know how a person looks like.
Share to remember better. General Knowledge is a game of retention. But with the flood of new information every day, we tend to forget older ones bit by bit. And that’s why sharing is a good way to retain information longer. One can form a group to share information on a regular basis.
Change Your Approach
Since General Awareness is a section that has no specific syllabus to prepare from, students often fall into believing that there lies no point in preparing for it. Its vastness often makes aspirants feel that an investment of time and energy in it won’t reap necessary rewards, and this approach for all exams means that the student never works on this part of the paper. As a student what you need to realize is that no knowledge goes to waste. An investment of time in this section may not reap immediate rewards, but gradually the accumulated knowledge will help.
Last but not the least, when it comes to gaining knowledge, don’t limit yourself to entrances. Listen carefully to what people say, cross check facts and remember the golden rule – no piece of information is worthless. Knowledge is a much greater thing.
Editor’s note – Hope you found this article very useful. If you have any other useful tips, then please leave a comment below; we would love to hear from you.
Besides preparing for your entrances (and doing internships), this summer, you could do these 9 awesome things to boost your skills.
About the Author – Amit Sinha, is a 3rd year Political Science student at Ramjas College, Delhi University.
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