Current Affairs is an integral part of your UPSC CSE preparation. It is included in the syllabus of Prelims under the title, “Issues of national and international importance”. Although it is not explicitly mentioned in the syllabus of UPSC CS (Main) Examination, descriptive questions on recent events are often asked in the examination.
Moreover, it has been observed over the years that aspirants who supplement their descriptive answers with recent pointers score higher than others. Hence, it is imperative for Civil Services aspirants to develop a habit of reading up on current affairs on a daily basis.
It should be noted that unlike other examinations, UPSC does not ask fact-based current affairs. On the contrary, questions are more in-depth. For instance, mere knowledge of the complete name of a scheme and the related ministry might not suffice. You should also be well-versed in the offerings of the scheme, its probable impact, and budget allocation.
Some of the most authentic resources for reading Current Affairs for UPSC exam are:
The Hindu newspaper
Indian Express Explained (Website)
Daily and monthly compilation of Current Affairs by Career Launcher
Other government publications, like India Year Book and Economic Survey
Audio and Video resources: RSTV channel, All India Radio Spotlight discussion
Aspirants should develop the habit of reading newspapers, and make it a routine to dedicate an hour to study the newspaper thoroughly. That, however, does not mean reading all newspapers! Let us look at the important principles to follow while preparing for current affairs:
Glance through the newspaper and mark the news headlines that are relevant to the UPSC syllabus. For this, you are required to have a complete understanding of the syllabus first. Hence, always keep a list of micro-topics for UPSC CSE at your study table.
There is a deluge of reading materials, especially with the current affairs. We have plenty of newspapers, websites, monthly magazines, yearly magazines at our disposal. Hence, aspirants may get confused on what to refer to. Hence, it is important to identify the most useful resources for the UPSC exam. From what we at Career Launcher, have gathered by analyzing the previous year papers, you should rely on just the resources mentioned above to cover current affairs holistically.
You must read only the relevant news articles thoroughly. However, while doing so, make sure you are not spending more than an hour reading newspapers. You should finish reading daily current affairs within 2 hours. Freshers may take a bit longer in the beginning. However, make sure you limit the time to two hours per day during the weekdays. During the weekend, make sure you revise your notes at least once! And then, at the end of the month, go through the monthly compilation of Career Launcher for a quick revision.
While it is advisable to make small handwritten notes from important editorials for answer-writing, you should avoid doing so for all the current affairs as it is extremely time-consuming. However, you can leverage the benefits of online tools like Evernote, google docs, etc to prepare notes online. All you need to do is copy the content from the website and paste it into your doc. Make sure you organize the content according to the subject so that it is convenient to look for them when in need.
Revision is extremely important when it comes to current affairs. While the static portion of the syllabus is limited, current affairs get piled up by the day. Hence, if you haven’t indulged in constant revision, it will be extremely difficult for you at the end to look up the current affairs for an entire year. Hence, keep revising the current affairs constantly so that you never lose a track of it. Incorporate them in answer-writing and keep referring to the current affairs even while preparing the static topics.
Every year about 15-20 questions are asked directly from Current Affairs in the Prelims exam. However, they may not be direct fact-based questions, such as “Who is the first Lokpal of India?” Instead, questions concerning the Lokpal Bill might be asked.
Moreover, it has been observed that 60-70% of the questions asked in UPSC CSE Prelims are related to current events in some way. For example, if some bilateral dispute of river is in the news, static questions concerning the river or the states involved can be asked in the GS paper. Logically, it can be said that it does not directly belong to the current affairs section, but the inspiration to ask such questions is undoubtedly taken from the contemporary event.
Hence, it is important to study Current Affairs thoroughly for the UPSC examination for all three stages. Further, in UPSC Main, it has been observed that answers with pointers from current events are marked higher, as it shows that the candidate is aware of the goings-on in society. So, a thorough understanding of current affairs is extremely important for UPSC aspirants to ensure they rank well in the questions that are asked from current affairs in the UPSC exam.
Some of the important areas in the current affairs portion from where questions are asked include central and state-sponsored schemes and policies, recent bills and acts passed in parliament, budget, economic survey report, international relations, science, and technology, etc.
Join our Telegram group and other social media handles to get regular updates on current affairs. If you find reading too many sources overwhelming, you can also join our online Current Affairs Programme offering comprehensive coverage of multiple resources like The Hindu, Indian Express, India Year Book, Yojana, Kurukshetra, among others.
You can also check daily current affairs under the free sources section on our UPSC website or follow this link.
Should you need any further assistance with UPSC preparation, you can enroll yourself in our comprehensive online courses for the preparation of UPSC that will surely help you with having an edge over your peers. You do not have to wait until the lockdown is over to kickstart your preparation. Our online courses will take care of your learning needs. Get in touch with our course counselors to get more information regarding our course deliverables.