The significance of Current Affairs in this prestigious Civil Services Examination is reflected in the majority of the Current Affairs-oriented questions asked in the UPSC Prelims and Mains examination. In the 2019 Prelims paper, almost 50% of the questions were based on current and contemporary affairs. A similar kind of trend is noticed in the previous year's exams. This makes Current affairs one of the most important aspects of your preparation strategy.
Current Affairs is a cause of worry for UPSC aspirants as it is a very dynamic section of the UPSC syllabus and demands constant updation. An excellent strategy to prepare for Current Affairs can give you a clear advantage over other aspirants. But simply copying someone’s strategy would not ensure success for you. It depends on you how you personalize a strategy according to your needs. In this article, some of the universally accepted formulas discussed, which every UPSC must keep in mind while preparing Current Affairs.
Limit your resources
The fundamental problem with current affairs is there is a plethora of current affairs study material available. Aspirants often get confused and refer all sorts of material, including newspapers, magazines like Pratiyogita Darpan, EPW, and other online sources in a delusion that more material means more marks and end up studying none. Hence, be selective in choosing your resources for current affairs that you can study and revise.
I have compiled the most recommended and authentic sources to study current affairs:
- One English Daily (The Hindu/ Indian Express)
- One daily compilation (Choose any among Insights/ IAS Baba/ Forum/ Vision etc.)
- One monthly compilation
- All India Radio Spotlight
- RSTV’s Big Picture
- PRS India website
Limit your time
Newspapers are good sources of Current affairs but the problem with most aspirants is not that they neglect newspapers, but they pay excessive importance to it by spending almost 3-4 hours a day and leaving them with no time to read other subjects. Their strategy should be designed to complete newspaper within 90 minutes and devoting maximum 1 hour to cover other sources for current affairs. In this way, aspirants will have time to study other subjects too.
Cover Current affairs regularly
IAS Aspirants must cover current affairs daily instead of covering them weekly or monthly as it becomes very cumbersome and difficult to cover them together and a lot of aspirants often end up leaving them. They should try to regularly cover those contemporary issues that hit the news frequently, such as economic and political issues, environmental disasters, new developments in the science and technology world etc.
Stick to the syllabus
UPSC do not go beyond its syllabus. So, get thorough with the syllabus so you can eliminate the news which is not relevant from exam prospective. In this way you can save your time and energy.
Focus on analysis of the issue rather than covering the news
UPSC always focuses on the analysis of the current events instead of the news itself. What’s the difference? Let’s understand this with the help of an example.
If Chinese occupation on Indian Land is in news, you should focus on the issues of India-China bilateral relations, China’s involvement and Asian geopolitics, China’s Salami Slicing policy etc. So a thorough in depth analysis of the news is required. You can refer to Daily news analysis for it.
Make Short and Crisp Notes
It is proven through various researches that writing helps you to memorize things for a longer period. Notes also help you in quickly revising the topics you read. You can also opt for making online notes as it saves a lot of time. You can read the newspaper and then utilize tools such as Evernote to capture and highlight the daily news compilations put out by coaching institutes.
The best way to retain and memorize something is through constant revision and by executing them in the answers you write during daily practice or UPSC online test series. By mentioning the relevant issue in a sentence or two will add tremendous value to your answers. Besides, it is suggested to revise current affairs immediately after reading the concerned static part of a paper.