- September 7, 2021
Significant changes have been made in the UPSC exams since 2013. The more popular subjects and their accurate knowledge have become an integral part of the UPSC exam. The importance of current affairs in a civil service exam is increasing every year. Most of the questions asked in the Preliminary Test and the Main Exam are based on Current Affairs.
Since the changes in the UPSC exam format, current affairs have become a very important factor in the civil service exam as many questions are asked from this section at each stage of the three-tier exam. Most of those who want to become exam beginners or veterans are still skeptical about preparing for the civil service exam.
It covers many subjects that overlap with core subjects such as geography, politics, economics, history, environment, science, and technology. From now on, it will be difficult to categorize questions under a particular subject/topic. It is for this reason that many of those are under the impression that many questions have not been asked from recent events.
Over time, questions about current affairs have shifted from the familiarity of a particular development to the historical context and the in-depth knowledge of that development. It is therefore important for the candidates to understand the different aspects of the topics and the impact they have on different areas.
When to Start?
Now, the question arising is when to start current affairs for IAS preparation
Generally, we advise candidates to start their preparation for one year in advance. Similarly, we recommend that you include news issues from 18 months or at least 12 months before the UPSC exam. Aspirants have a hard time deciding what news to read and what to avoid when preparing for the UPSC exam. This is where expert guidance comes in handy.
Preparing IAS requires careful planning, consistent strategy, and best books to implement. The IAS exam is all about consistency of effort. Although there are many topics in IAS preparation, some of them are more important than others. The parameter for determining the importance of a topic depends on the current situation.
Let us look into the general tips for the preparation for current affairs
- Have a clear understanding of the UPSC syllabus before you start your preparation so that you know what is and is not related to the syllabus as you read the newspaper.
- In most cases, you do not have to go deep. You need to understand the basic problem, the key people and people involved, the policy/law associated with it, and its implications for the country and society.
- Remember that you are reading the paper with the clear aim of clearing the UPSC Civil Service Examination and do not waste temptation and time on topics that interest you but are irrelevant.
- Focus on exam relevant articles and editorials.
- Make crisp and relevant notes from the newspaper you read.
- Try to divide what you read into geography, politics, economics, environment, environment, science, and technology.
- Take a serious mindset about newspaper reading
The Current Affairs section is equally relevant for the IAS Prelims and the main test, so candidates need to consider an integrated approach that covers both. IAS preparation is a process that lasts more than a year but differs from candidate to candidate.
The current affair is the collective name of all activities taking place around the world in a day or a date range. So the candidates need to recognize, there is a regular extension to current affairs concerns. The candidates are attempting to cover the current affairs on the same day.
It is essential to keep the current things in mind by completing them daily and codifying everything that has been referred to until the last day of each week. Also, try to study current things by focusing on other topics. This is because there is usually a tendency to spend less time on other topics while paying more attention to current affairs.
Importance of News Paper for the UPSC preparation
For the UPSC-CSE main exam, the newspaper will help you to develop your opinion and language to understand the current problems and write the answers. The social issues of General Studies Paper 1, Complete General Studies Paper 2, and General Studies Paper III are based on current affairs. In this case, reading the newspaper for the UPSC main exam is incredibly important.
It is important to prepare a general understanding of current affairs for other subjects, and a candidate should first prepare a list of important topics such as economics, science, technology, and the environment, and then read and prepare notes from existing current affairs. National or international news related to shortlisted topics.
Current Affairs covers a wide range of topics, including current events of national and international importance, government policies and plans, the Indian economy, the latest technologies, and bilateral relations between countries.
Familiarity with the Civil Service Examination method, i.e. Prelims (facts), Mains (analysis, comment, written communication, etc.) interview (overall personality and verbal communication) will greatly help a candidate in the examination at all stages.
It does not matter what comes to the UPSC exam or is mentioned in the newspapers, a candidate should always avoid topics like political parties and their conferences. It is not enough to read Current Affairs, a candidate is also recommended to make notes from what he/she is reading, which will help him/her to revise the important topics just before the exam.
What will be the Weightage of Current Affairs for IAS Prelims and Mains?
The importance of current affairs for the UPSC Civil Services Exam varies from year to year. There have been years in which 20+ questions from current affairs have been asked. There have also been years like 2013 where the number of current affairs questions has been close to zero. So in terms of the number of questions, this is a highly unpredictable area.
As mentioned earlier, 60-70% of the General Studies questions will be related to current events of national and international importance. From GS1 to GS4, stakeholders can expect a lot of questions from everyday things.
What are the important study materials for reference?
Reading a newspaper daily for prelims will create awareness of current affairs, but it is doubtful which newspaper among the dailies itself should be part of further study. The Hindu is the most recommended daily newspaper. 30 to 45 minutes of reading will suffice in the basic phase. To unify the news, it is helpful to go through the headlines in magazines such as the Civil Services Chronicle or the Civil Service Times.
Many current affairs books are available in the market for publishing events on a quarterly, semi-annual, and annual basis. Reference of these books will help in enhancing the knowledge in the exam. India Yearbook, Economic Survey, Yojana, Kurukshetra, etc. are indispensable handbooks for every aspirant who wants to master Current Affairs.
NCRT Books can only be obtained by evaluating and understanding the most available way to provide conceptual clarity to the applicants in order to prepare them for the current affairs of UPSC. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the UPSC syllabus while reading the newspapers and notes on the static part of the syllabus.