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[UPSC CSE] How to prepare for Current Affairs for UPSC prelims and Mains?

Current affairs are a crucial part of UPSC preparation. Every year, many questions are asked directly about current affairs in UPSC Prelims. UPSC's Mains questions are also framed from current affairs. Topics like International relations are purely current affairs based.

Current affairs also help you to add value to your answers. You have to quote examples and relevant data from current affairs to get a few extra marks that can do the magic in the UPSC mains paper for you. So preparing for current affairs in the right manner is very important for UPSC Exam. Let's see how can you prepare for it :

Let's divide the preparation into two parts Prelims and Mains :

Before beginning, you should be thorough with the syllabus of both prelims and mains for UPSC prelims. Learn the syllabus by heart:

A. Prelims Focused Preparation : 1. The Hindi News Paper Daily:

You have to follow The Hindu or Indian express any one newspaper daily. Don't read all the news in the paper or else you would waste 3 hours just reading the newspaper, which is not recommended. You should read only that part of the news which is important and relevant to the UPSC syllabus. For the start, you can watch/read any coaching's daily current affairs to get a gist of what type of news is important, plus you need to relate the news to your UPSC syllabus. Initially, it may be time-consuming but eventually, over a period of time, you will develop this habit of reading only important news relevant to the UPSC exam and this would save you a lot of time and effort. Note down the very important news. The news which is getting repeated frequently is important for the exam. While noting down segregate the news according to your syllabus. You can use Evernote for making such notes it will keep your notes organised. You should finish with current affairs daily in 45-60 minutes.

The Layman Way also covers monthly Current affairs. You can watch these lectures here B. Mains Focused (In addition to above): 1. You can watch Big Picture Debates on current issues to get viewpoints of important issues. You can utilise these points in your Mains answers. 2. Analyse the issues in news related to the syllabus.

3. What is the issue. Why did the issue arise? Is there any relevant data that you can get about the issue? What are the actions taken to resolve it? What is the way forward so that such issues don't happen again? 4. Make very very short notes for quick revision of the issue. 5. Use flow charts or diagrams to make them short 6. Write Keywords related to that particular topic/issue

7. Practice answer writing for current issues topics. Many coaching institutes give daily practice questions for answer writing based on current topics. 8. Understand the issue rather than mugging it up. The news is not important but the background issue related to that news is important.

9. Revise and revise more for the retention of concepts.

C. Other Important points to note

1. Don’t spend too much time reading newspapers

2. 30-45 min is enough for daily news. ( 2-3 hours)

3. Do not make notes of everything. Focus on repetitive topics that you are coming across every month.

4. Focus on the issue and not the news. Example ?

5. To save time use Evernote to make notes online. Organise them

6. Link current affairs topics to your static topics.

7. For each static topic write 2-3 lines of any current affair issue if any. It adds tremendous value to answers.

Limit your sources :

1. The Hindu

3. One daily compilation of any coaching institute

3. One monthly compilation for revision purposes

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

5. Daily MCQ’s ( The Layman Way )

B. Limit your time :

1. Newspaper reading (30-45 min, no lengthy note-making)— everyday

2. Online reading of the daily news compilation (choose any institute material for this)— everyday (45 min, highlighting and capturing the material on Evernote)

3. A revision of last week’s issues

4. Monthly compilation (choose any institute material for this) — at the end of the month.

For an understanding of this strategy watch :


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Have a wonderful day and make your goal to make someone else life better. I will see you in our next blog.


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