How To Prepare For Current Affairs For Upsc Civil Services Exam

How To Prepare For Current Affairs For Upsc

Current Affairs play an extremely important role in UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) preparation. The questions from current affairs appear in all the three stages of the examination- Prelims, Mains and in Personality Test (Interview). These questions can be direct or implied questions linked with a particular topic. 

As the name suggests, current affairs are dynamic in nature and ever evolving and hence it is not feasible to limit it within the bounds of defined syllabus. Rightly so, UPSC syllabus for Prelims just mentions, “Current events of national and international importance.

Therefore, it completely depends on an aspirant how he approaches his preparation for current affairs.

In Prelims the questions are facts based and in Mains, they are oriented towards assessing attributes like candidate’s ability to analyse, to make opinion, to make interlinkages between various themes of History, Polity, Geography, Economy, Science & Technology, Environment, etc. and of course to assess the written communication skills. 

In Prelims General Studies (GS) Paper, Paper I, current affairs based questions constitute 55 to 60 marks out of total 200 Marks. In Mains, importance of current affairs can be judged by the fact that the many questions in GS Paper II and GS Paper III are linked to current affairs.

In the third stage of CSE which is the Interview stage, examiner’s focus is on assessing personality traits and verbal communication, which is again done using current affairs as one of the mediums.

Through this article we will help you understand the true orientation of current affairs and hot to study current affairs, in a simplistic manner.

Resources for Current Affairs

In the absence of a bounded syllabus of current affairs, it is not unusual for an aspirant to get confused about where to begin from. In addition to this challenge of preparing for a subject which is limitless, another enigma faced by aspirants is multiplicity of resources. In today’s information age, the problem of plenty is the biggest challenge.

We are getting barraged with so much of information from multiple sources that our brain is unable to assimilate, leaving most of us in a state of perplexity thereby effecting our decision making ability. How can a person who is unclear, in doubt and is in a confused state take a correct decision! Therefore, it is extremely important for a CSE aspirant to limit the resources for preparation.

Else, one might end up just collecting the information without having time to process it and converting this information to knowledge. 

The sources of information can be broadly classified as Primary Sources and Secondary Sources

  • Primary source will include one or two Newspapers.  
  • Secondary sources should include a good current affairs magazines like Rau’s IAS Focus, and subscription to Rau’s IAS YouTube channel which can explain current affairs with respect to Civil services exam. 

1. Newspaper Reading  

Usually, when one talks about preparation for Current Affairs, the first resource which come to mind is the humble daily newspaper which is dropped at our door step every morning. Most commonly read newspaper for CSE preparations is THE HINDU. INDAIN EXPRESS is another good one which supplements preparations.

However, one must keep in mind that, not everything which is mentioned in newspaper is important for UPSC exam. Also remember that, all the newspapers cover more or less same news. Hence, reading too many newspapers will not serve any purpose. Reading newspaper from the perspective of preparing for CSE is an art.

Recommended: know more about how to read a newspaper

2. Subscribing to YouTube Channels for Current Affairs

There are many Video channels on YouTube which can give you news analysis. One of the most popular which has viewership of 70 Lakhs subscribers, is Rau’s IAS, Daily News Simplified, popularly called as DNS. DNS is an analysis of important current affairs from the Hindu newspaper every day. It is prepared by Rau’s Research & Innovation (RI) team.

The main objective of DNS is to simplify preparation of Current Affairs component of the Civil Services Exam. The learning tools in the form of DNS video lessons provide continuous learning and update through current affairs analysis.

Rau’s DNS analysis also provides DNS notes along with the videos which can be easily downloaded in PDF or Word Formats. And subscription to DNS is free of any subscription fee.

3. Current Affairs Magazine

Subscribing to a good current affairs magazine is a must for good preparations. Although many publication houses publish Weekly/ Monthly magazines but these usually cater to requirement of multiple exams for various govt departments.

For CSE, one needs a magazine which is specifically targeting CSE. This comprehensively covers all the important current events Rau’s FOCUS monthly magazine is an outstanding one which is available as soft copy and hard copy.

Even those aspirants who have not subscribed to any course of Rau’s, can buy it online from Amazon. Right now, Rau’s is offering FOCUS current affairs magazine free of cost to help students prepare during difficult Covid times

To download soft copies of Rau’s Focus magazine

4. Important topics a candidate should focus on in Current Affairs

  1. Polity: News related to the Constitution, Parliament, Bills and Acts, governance, Fundamental rights, Social issues, centre-state relations etc.
  2. Economics: News related to Indian economy, International reports and indices, banking and finance, inflation, unemployment and poverty, sectors of Indian economy, India and its trade agreement, WTO and other international economic agencies and multilateral platforms for trade etc.
  3. Environment: Biodiversity at Global, National, and regional level, Wildlife- threatened species, major Biodiversity hotspots, Conservation of Biodiversity, climate change, Pandemics and their impact etc.
  4. Art & Culture: News on news National heritage sites and monuments, national festivals, regional festivals, dance forms, paintings, etc.
  5. Science and Technology: Latest scientific developments, Indian Space Program, Contribution of Indians to science, biotechnology, communication technologies, etc.
  6. Government Schemes, policies and Initiatives
  7. Annual Budget and Economic Survey
  8. International: Indian visits- bilateral and multilateral, international organizations, major political events, etc.

5. Approach for preparing for Current Affairs for UPSC Exam

  1. Be familiar with the examination pattern, i.e. demand of exam in all three stages Prelims (facts), Mains (analysis, opinion, interlinkages, written communication etc.) and interview (overall personality, verbal communication). To get an idea, check last five yrs question papers from  
  2. Go through the CSE syllabus of Prelims & Mains thoroughly. The syllabus from the current affairs perspective is well defined, with related instructions.
  3. Follow reliable sources of information, specifically where data and statistics are concerned. 
  4. While reading newspaper be selective for what is to be read. Read Opeds; relate everything with the syllabus and focus on interlinkages of issues.
  5. Make notes of what you read subject wise, use pointers, flowcharts and mind maps in your notes. Keep updating and improving these notes. 
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