Best Way to Prepare For UPSC Current Affairs

by mehekkaoberoi

Current Affairs is a dynamic and undefined part of the UPSC Syllabus that puts aspirants in a dilemma thinking how and from where to start current affairs preparations for IAS. The one area you should never skip during the preparation for UPSC exam is Current Affairs. The objective of the UPSC exam is to test the awareness and the depth of understanding of the candidates regarding the recent happenings. 

Rules while preparing:

1. Limit your sources

A fundamental problem with Current affairs is the deluge of reading material. Some aspirants spend an indefinite amount of time researching the “best website” and the ‘best coaching material’ website for current affairs and invest less time actually reading it. Others have this perfectionist mindset that forces them to make copious notes and compilations from tons of material available in the market. Desist from this. Do your research for a day, decide on your sources, and stick with it. You’ll do just fine. 

2.Limit your time

The problem with most aspirants is not that they neglect newspapers, but they overplay its importance. Some read newspapers for almost 3-4 hours a day, leaving them with no time to read other subjects.

Current affairs are important, newspapers are important, but not so much that you invest disproportionate amount of time in it. In my experience, ideally one should finish reading day’s current affairs under 2 hours. 3-4 hours for everyday current affairs is an overkill.

3. Focus on issues, not news

What’s the difference? News talks about an incident. Issues focus on ideas. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Prime Minister talking about $5 trillion economy is news. Merely focusing on the speech or what’s reported in the newspapers isn’t enough. You must research and understand the larger issue: Why the number 5 trillion? What sectors to focus on and what steps should the government take? How should we rapidly increase the pace of investment? What are the impediments facing the economy? How can we overcome them to realise the 5 trillion goal by 2024? etc.

The International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav is news. But the larger issue is about bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, ICJ— its structure and mandate, who are its subjects, how are cases referred to the court, India’s role in global fora etc.

Strategies for Preparation:

  • Practice 50 MCQs on current affairs daily (Practice GS SCORE Weekly Current Affairs MCQs).
  • When the exam is nearer practice 100 MCQs daily (Join GS SCORE PT Test Series)
  • Revise at the end of the month.

Understand your syllabus:

An accurate understanding of the nature, clarity, and scope of the syllabus is crucial for good preparation. It helps in understanding what to read and what not to read. The questions asked in the exam are always within the syllabus and hence keeping a close eye on syllabus is fundamental.

Current Affair sources:

  • Daily Newspapers
  • GS SCORE Weekly Current Affairs Compilation
  • All India Radio
  • GS SCORE gist of RSTV’s Big Picture, India’s World, Yojana, Kurukshetra, PIB, and PRS India.
  • Internet
  • The Hindu (One English Daily)
  • IE Explained section on website (for comprehensive understanding of an issue)
  • One daily compilation (Choose any among Insights/ IAS Baba/ Forum/ Vision/ Civils Daily etc.)
  • One monthly compilation

            Misc. (RSTV’s Big Picture, India’s World, and PRS India)

What all should be covered:

The UPSC 2020 notification was released on February 12, 2020. The UPSC notification gives all the relevant details about the exam, how to apply, UPSC syllabus, eligibility criteria, etc.

  • The syllabus of UPSC Prelims GS 1 mentions that the paper will have questions on “History of India and Indian National Movement”. As per UPSC Prelims syllabus, candidates need to use “divide and conquer” so as to speak.

 Ancient History of India, Medieval Indian History, Modern India -Indian National Movement.

  • UPSC Prelims Syllabus – Indian and World Geography

                As per the UPSC Prelims Syllabus, Geography portion comprises Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World. Similar to History, Geography is a vast subject with an overlap in both UPSC syllabus for   Prelims and Mains. Also, Geography is an optional subject choice in IAS Mains.

Indian Geography, World Geography & Physical Geography, Indian Polity and Governance.

  • UPSC Prelims Syllabus – Indian Economy

The UPSC Syllabus for Prelims mentions the broad topic Economic and Social Development which includes Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc. While Indian Economy portion is common to the syllabus of UPSC Prelims and Mains, Economics is also an Optional Subject in the UPSC Mains.

For UPSC Prelims, the focus should be on current affairs related to the Indian Economy and basic concepts.

Economic and Social Development

  • UPSC Prelims Syllabus – General Science

In UPSC Prelims, candidates should not spend a lot of time preparing General Science from theory books as most questions come from topics/issues in the news.

General Studies Paper – ICurrent events of national and international importance.History of India and Indian National Movement.Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specializationGeneral Science 200 Marks 2 Hours
CSAT/ General Studies Paper- IIComprehensionInterpersonal skills including communication skillsLogical reasoning and analytical abilityDecision-making and problem solvingGeneral mental abilityBasic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) – Class X level)Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level) 200 Marks 2 Hours
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