Basic General Knowledge for Competitive Exams

4 minute read
Basic General Knowledge

Competitive exams in India, be it university admissions or recruitment-related, are known worldwide for their uncompromising difficulty of questions as well as the sheer number of candidates attempting to get through. A few of them, for instance, JEE, UPSC and GATE can be safely counted among the toughest exams in the world. Basic general knowledge is a common testing feature of a majority of such competitive exams. Ranging from topics of science, technology and mathematics to international relations, social issues and environment, general knowledge questions test candidates’ overall grasp of basic sciences as well as their awareness of the recent developments and events both domestically as well as internationally. Owing to the vastness of the syllabus and the perplexing nature of questions, candidates often find this section the trickiest. Add to that, the dearth of reliable resources makes the preparation even more demanding. Fret not, this blog aims to not only summarise the topics covered under basic general knowledge but also list the resources you must have by your side to ace the competitive exam you are planning to give. 

Also Read: GATE Aptitude Syllabus

Major Sections

Science & technology and current affairs form a major section of the syllabus of a considerable number of competitive examinations. Skills tested under these sections include problem-solving, knowledge of scientific concepts, computer familiarity, and basic general knowledge among others. The major topics tested in both sections have been briefly mentioned below. 

Science (Physics, Chemistry & Biology) and Technology Scientific Laws, State of Matter (Solid, Liquid & Gas),
Units & Conversion, Metals, Ores & Alloys,
Image Formation, Nuclear. Elements & Metals,
Synthetic Materials, Cell, Periodic Table,
Atoms, Acids & Bases, Force, Nuclear Science,
IT, Computer Knowledge, Cybersecurity etc
Current Affairs Business, Major Awards (Domestic & International),
Scientific Developments, Accidents,
Festivals, Government Schemes (Aadhaar, GST),
Important Judgements, Amendments, Disasters, Sports & Games, Appointments, RBI Rate Changes, etc.

Note: The headings as well as topics mentioned against them are only for indicative purposes. There may be additional headings and topics asked during any particular exam. Candidates must go through the syllabus and sample papers to know further information.

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Supplementary Sections

In addition to the above primary sections along with basic general knowledge, there are several other disciplines that are included under the syllabus of these competitive exams. Here is a table that enlists some of the major subjects that might appear in the syllabus of a competitive exam.

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History Modern History, Medieval History,
Famous Rulers, Battles & Wars,
Indian History in Chronology, Reforms and Movements,
World History, Treatises, Ancient Texts & Authors,
Dynasties, British Rule
(Viceroys, Governor Generals, British Legislations),
Social Movements, Monuments
Geography Rivers, Mountain Ranges, Deserts, Lakes,
Waterfalls, Islands, Wetlands, Straits & Canals,
Sanctuaries, Biosphere Reserves, Atmosphere, Lines, etc.
Polity Indian Constitution (Parts, Schedules, Articles,
History of the Constitution, Parliamentary Terms,
Questions & Motions in Parliament, Legislative,
Executive & Judiciary, Rights & Duties,
Centre-State Relations, etc.
Economy Nationalised Banks, RBI, Coins and Currency,
Central Banks of Important Countries,
International Financial Institutions, Bank Rates & Ratios
Environment Ecology, Environmental Issues and Conventions,
Climate Change, Natural Resources,
Wildlife & Conservation,
International Environmental Conventions & Protocols*
Literature, Art and Culture Film & Cinema (India & International),
Dance Forms, Indian Architecture,
Religion & Languages, Music, Books & Authors,
Nobel Prizes and Winners, Indian Honors
(Jnanpith Award, Sahitya Award, etc) etc.
International Relations Major Wars (World wars, Spanish Civil War,
US-Vietnam War, Cold War, etc), International Organisations
(UN, WHO, International Criminal Court, EU, etc),
International Associations (SAARC, BRICS, ASEAN,
OPEC, G8, G20, etc), SDGs, MDGs etc.
India Basic Facts, National Symbols, Languages,
Courts and Tribunals, States and Capitals, State Formation,
State-Based Facts, National Organisations, World Heritage
Facts, etc
Miscellaneous Important Days of the Year, Sports, Social Issues

Note: The headings as well as topics mentioned against it are only for indicative purposes. There may be additional headings and topics asked during any particular exam. Candidates must go through the syllabus and sample papers to know further information.

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Basic General Knowledge: Resources

While online sites are exhaustively full of information, students often struggle to find the right resources and books to study basic general knowledge. Recognising this need, we have tried to list a few of the industry-appreciated books by renowned publications. 

Name of the Books Publisher
Arihant General Knowledge 2020 (mini)
Arihant General Knowledge 2019 (medium)
Arihant General Knowledge 2019 (large)
14000+ Objective Questions-General Studies
Arihant Experts
Lucent’s General Knowledge Lucent’s
General Knowledge Capsule 2020 with Current
Affairs Update 4th Edition
Disha Experts
General Knowledge Genius DK Publications
Advance Objective General Knowledge (R.S Aggarwal) S.Chand Publications
General Knowledge Encyclopedia
(including objective questions)
RPH Editorial Board
General Knowledge Manual 2020 by Edgar Thorpe
and Showick Thorpe


Q1. What type of GK is asked in competitive exams?

Ans. Any competitive exam’s general awareness part is regarded as having a high passing rate. Static GK and current affairs GK make up its two main sections.

Q2. What are the top GK questions?

Ans. Here is the list of some top GK questions
Who is the Father of our Nation?
Who was the first President of India?
Who is known as the Father of the Indian Constitution?
Which is the most sensitive organ in our body?
Giddha is the folk dance of?
Who was the first Prime Minister of India?
Which is the heavier metal of these two?
Who invented Computer?

Q3. Who is called the father of GK?

Ans. Rustom Cama (GK). father of GK: Bhikaiji Cama was born into a large, prosperous Parsi Zoroastrian family in Bombay ( Mumbai).

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Acing exams, be it domestic ones or exams to study abroad require a thought-out approach and carefully constructed preparation. If you are preparing for any competitive test and need guidance, reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu and we’ll provide you with the best tips and tricks to successfully crack the exam and pass it with flying colours.

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