May 28th, 2019       UPSC

In the last 5 years, the weightage and hence, the importance of current affairs in the UPSC CSE has increased substantially. That Current Affairs is important in all the three stages of the examination speaks volumes of the key role it plays in helping an aspirant to get selected and also be a better individual. The enhanced importance to current affairs has further strengthened the dynamicity and unpredictability of the questions in the examination which has led to a fear in the minds of all kinds of aspirants- be it freshers or repeaters. The undefined nature and unlimited scope of the current affairs related happenings/events poses a dilemma to the aspirants as to what to read? From where to read? How to read? And this leads to many aspirants getting depressed and not able to do full justice to their preparation.

Importance

Current affairs’ is a vast area in itself. Current Affairs It just does not limit to the everyday happenings but has an overlapping nature and includes a combination/linkage between both the core subjects like History, Geography, Polity and the dynamic subjects like Technology, Environment etc. In the prelims 2018, around 30 questions were directly related to current affairs. And in the mains stage, every question in one way or the other can have a current happening linkage and thus, it is hard to quantify the same. Every aspirant needs to understand that be it essay paper, GS papers, optional or the interview stage, current affairs knowledge is a must to provide in for the creative linkage that substantiates the argument as well as brings in the analytic nature of the discussion. And hence, the value of Current Affairs cannot be underestimated one bit.

In this article, we will try to clear the doubts of aspirants as to how to prepare and deal with Current Affairs, for the Prelims exam, in a systematic and smart manner so that the aspirant can prepare in a more constructive manner with calmness and poise.

Trend Analysis:

Current Affairs (Number of questions asked and difficulty level)

Current Affairs Trend Analysis

Before going into the strategy, every aspirant must follow certain rules which are essential to the success in the Current Affairs area:

Rules

  • The syllabus of UPSC CSE should be memorized to the word so that the aspirant has clear understanding of what areas have to be focused upon (one can also go through the previous years’ question papers of both prelims as well as mains).
  • Many aspirants have doubt as to how many months Current Affairs is satisfactory to be read. It depends on the time availability of the aspirant. However, every aspirant should do at least 18 months of Current Affairs (For prelims 2019, January 2018 onwards are important). Those aspirants who have given an attempt before and are comfortable with their static syllabus preparation can go for more coverage. Further, there are certain topics or events which require in depth understanding of the happenings. Eg: Libyan Civil War will require reading (overview) of the events from 2011 onwards.
  • Be very smart to choose the sources for the preparation. Certain sources have been mentioned below. Following them will be more them sufficient to the success of the aspirant. However, any aspirant can add to the same depending upon on the time availability as well as on a case to case basis.
  • Preparation of notes is a must. The notes should be made every day as well as monthly (for magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra etc) in a succinct manner and after writing, the aspirant should try to think that where the particular news/event/happening can be used. This will improve the analytical thinking as well as the aspirant will develop the art of linking things.
  • Notes should be revised daily as well as monthly. The monthly gist, prepared by the aspirant, should be compared with the monthly gist of IASGYAN or other institute for comprehensive coverage. In this way, he or she will get confidence and also able to memorise properly.

Once the aspirant is familiar with the general rules, he or she should follow the following strategy to prepare Current Affairs more constructively. Please note that this is merely suggestive in nature and every aspirant can make minor changes as per requirements.

Decoding The Sources:

Current Affairs Sources Decoding

IASGYAN

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Strategy

  • Read from the mentioned sources. A proper approach would be to start with newspaper (The Hindu or Indian Express). To see what has to be read, one can go through the ‘What to read in the Hindu’ available on Facebook page of IASGYAN. Prepare notes of the topics depending on whether they are important for prelims or mains or both and require factual or in depth understanding or both.
  • Once the aspirant is done with the newspaper, he or she should go through the PIB website, AIR discussion, RSTV site, Daily New Analysis of IASGYAN etc to get idea of the happenings of the day.

    *NOTE- The same are tried to be included in the PIB gist, AIR discussion, RSTV discussion gist is available on IAS GYAN website too.

  • The aspirant should then visit websites like science daily, Down to Earth, Geek etc to get awareness about the happenings in the fields of science and technology, environment etc.

    *NOTE- The same are tried to be included in the Daily News Analysis of IASGYAN along with the sources for further study.

  • The daily notes prepared should be revised by the aspirant at the end of the day and he should analytically try to link them to the various topics in the UPSC syllabus. This will help them develop art of creative linkage which is very helpful in writing mains answers.
  • There are certain sources like Yojana and Kurukshetra magazine which are available monthly and hence, their notes should be prepared monthly. Similarly, the aspirant should keep tab of various Reports etc as and when they come.
  • The aspirant should try to attempt the daily MCQs (5 questions) of IASGYAN as well as go through the daily MCQs available on their Facebook page and Telegram page.
  • At the end of the month, aspirant should revise his monthly compilation and compare it with monthly gist of IASGYAN or other institute to make the preparation comprehensive.
  • After going through the gist, he or she should attempt the monthly MCQs test provided by IASGYAN.
  • Every aspirant can go through more sources or give more mocks for Current Affairs depending on time availability and understanding required.

Prelims 2019 Exclusive

Around 40 days are left for UPSC CSE Prelims 2019. There will be two categories of aspirants:

  • One who have been thoroughly following Current Affairs both on daily and monthly basis and have been revising too. To further strengthen their preparation, they should go through the compilations of IASGYAN- Prelims Xpress and attempt mocks.
  • The second category is of aspirants who have not been able to read Current Affairs properly and have not followed the rules and strategy mentioned. They should focus only on the compilations. And the priority of the Current Affairs syllabus for them should be 12 months before the prelims.

Always remember that Current Affairs is a very dynamic area. It is imperative for the aspirants to follow a well- crafted and structured strategy as suggested above. For prelims, the aspirants should attempt mocks and for mains should practice answer writing to hone the skills required. Also one should remember that to prepare current affairs and to develop linkages, conceptual clarity is a must and thus, aspirant should never compromise on referring to standard text books like NCERT. A systemic approach with a self-belief and calm outlook will help the aspirant to succeed in the quest of UPSC.

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