The significance of Current Affairs in this prestigious Civil Services Examination is reflected in the majority of the Current Affairs-oriented questions asked in UPSC Prelims and Mains examination. Hundreds of aspirants have been asking me  about a strategy for the Current Affairs.

So in this article, we will be learning how to effectively prepare current affairs for the UPSC Civil Services Exam. Current Affairs is a major cause of worry for UPSC aspirants. It is quite a dynamic section of the UPSC syllabus and demands constant updation. A well thought out plan for Current Affairs can give you clear advantage over other competitors. Remember there is no single strategy for success. It depends on you how you modify a strategy according to your needs. I have discussed the following points which should be kept in mind while preparing Current Affairs.

1. Selecting your resources:

There is a plethora of current affair study material available in the market. Aspirants often get confused and accumulate all sorts of material. They buy Pratiyogita Darpan, EPW, Yojana, Chronicle and many more such magazines. Some of those are never actually studied and even if studied, they are not revised. Hence no use storing study material. Buy only quality material that you can revise well in time. Also shun a perfectionist mindset that pushes you to buy a perfect panacea. There is no best source.. You can choose the following:

  • The Hindu Newspaper 
  • Daily Summaries available on internet 
  • One monthly magazine of current affairs
  • All India Radio Spotlight
  • RSTV’s Big Picture
  • PRS India website

2. Planning your schedule:

Many aspirants spend a lot of time on reading newspapers. Newspapers are good sources of Current affairs but spending hours on them is very harmful. This eats off your valuable time for other sources. Your current affairs preparation for the day should be like:

  • Reading ‘The Hindu’ and jotting down a few keywords and briefs about them. About 90 minutes can be devoted to this activity
  • Studying daily important articles and making notes (1 hour)
  • Reading a monthly magazine at the end of the month.
  • Referring to All India Radio and RSTV discussions 

3. Analysing the news:

UPSC always focuses on analysis of the current events. For example if Chabahar Port is in news, you should focus on the issues of India-Iran bilateral relations, China’s involvement and Asian geopolitics. So a thorough in depth analysis of the news is required. You can refer to Daily news analysis for it. Usually you should follow the following approach while analysing the news.

  • Context of the news: Why something is in news
    • Background facts: For example if maternal mortality is news, you can research the MMR data of India- which state has the highest MMR, etc.
    • Government initiatives: These are the initiatives which the government has taken to solve the issue. For example- Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)
    • Benefits, concerns and challenges: Here analyse the benefits of these initiatives. Also look for various shortcomings of the government policies and initiatives. For example- PMVVY has failed to reach at least 49% of all mothers who would have delivered their first child.
    • Way forward: Here you have to conclude the issue by suggesting steps which can be taken to resolve the issue.

4. Aligning with static part of syllabus:

Current affairs can be best learnt when they are studied right after finishing the related static part. It will help you in linking the concepts with current affairs. For example- If you have studied about the Governor, then search for the related news like, the Rajasthan crisis where the powers of governor were questioned. It will help you in writing good answers in the Mains exam. You can follow in depth articles for proper guidance.

5. Making notes:

If you are not writing then you are wasting. Writing helps memorise the learnings. It is also good from a revision point of view. Your goal is to retain the material so that you write well in Mains. You keep writing answers for daily practice along with making notes.

In the end I can only say that a strategy is as good as the aspirant. If you execute a strategy well, you  will surely get the desired success in UPSC Examinations.  Patience is the key with a strategy. Choose the plan and stick it, come what may. That is what is expected from future civil servants.