General topics for preliminary examination - Science - Biology special #28


General topics for preliminary examination - Science - Biology special #28

In competitive examinations, biology is like chemistry and physics. A few questions in UPSC and a considerable number of questions in TNPSC will be from Biology. As with other science subjects, it is essential to learn about things in our day-to-day life related to biology, as well as current affairs related to biology - especially names of organisms, epidemics, etc. For example, in 2013, Chikungunya was prevalent. In that year’s upsc examination also, a question related to the disease had found a place. Similarly in 2015 a question about Swine Flu and in 2017 about Zika virus was asked. Therefore it is vital to study about biology topics that feature in current affairs. 


Next, learn the main features of cells, components of a cell, classification of flora and fauna, etc., need to be studied. Questions related to classification are often asked. 


Sample question (UPSC 2013)

Which of the following are mammals? 

Sea cow

Sea horse 

Sea lion

1 only 

1 and 3 ( answer )

2 and 3 

All of these 

Next, take a look at the organs of the human body. You needn’t go deep as in medical college curriculum level. Names of the organs and their functions, features, major diseases and disabilities, etc., can be noted in a table. Similarly make a table of components of the plant body as well. 

Sample question (UPSC 2011)

If the bark of a tree is cut in a circular shape at the base, with time the tree will dry out and die. Why does this happen? 

Because ground water cannot rise to the upper regions of the tree. (answer) 

Because the roots get starved. 

Because disease of the tree is caused by organisms on the ground.

Because roots do not get sufficient oxygen to breathe. 

This question is about the functions of a tree, but wasn’t asked directly. Most of the UPSC questions would be like this. In the question given above, if you the functions of the root and the bark, we can easily answer it. You need to analyse sharply everything that you learn. If you learn that habit of thinking sharply of all you learn, you can answer all questions easily. 

Since Biology is highly technical, you need to learn the major terms and their one line definitions as done in Economics. Next, it is important to study about topics related to genetics. Mendel’s theory, various models of DNA and RNA, functions of DNA and RNA, their components, various genetic disorders and diseases, blood types, genetics of blood types, etc., are to be studied. 

Sample question (UPSC 2011)

A married couple adopted a male child. After some years, the couple had twin sons. The blood type of the couple is AB+ and O-. The blood types of their three sons are A+, B+ and O+. Which of the following is the blood type of the adopted son?




Cannot be determined from the given information (answer)

Finally, we need to study all diseases that affect, humans, animals and plants. For human diseases, classify them into infectious and non-infectious diseases and for each one, make a five-part table containing...

1. Etiology as well as basic information about the organism that spreads it (with names such as bacteria, virus, fungus, etc.),

2. Transmission / predisposing factors

3. Which part of the body is affected

4. Features of the disease 5. Major treatment methods. This is a very important topic. Make similar notes on diseases affecting animals and plants as well. 

Thus, as said before, it is enough to learn fully all that is required for the examination, and we can easily clear all questions on Biology. We shall meet in next topic. 

- We shall win...

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