How To Prepare For Current Affairs For Upsc Civil Services Exam- Current Affairs play a crucial role in the preparation of the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE). These questions related to current affairs are asked in all three stages of the exam – Prelims, Mains, and Interview. The questions can range from direct to indirect questions that are linked to specific topics.
As the name suggests, current affairs are dynamic and ever-evolving, which makes it impossible to confine them within the boundaries of a defined syllabus. The UPSC syllabus for Prelims only mentions “Current events of national and international importance,” leaving it up to the aspirants to decide how they approach their preparation for current affairs.
In the Prelims stage, the questions are based on facts, while in the Mains stage, they focus on assessing the candidate’s ability to analyze, form opinions, establish connections between various themes like History, Polity, Geography, Economy, Science & Technology, Environment, etc., and assess their written communication skills.
In the Prelims General Studies (GS) Paper, Paper I, current affairs questions account for 55 to 60 marks out of a total of 200 marks. In the Mains stage, the significance of current affairs can be seen through the number of questions in GS Paper II and GS Paper III that are linked to current affairs.
During the Interview stage, the examiner assesses the candidate’s personality traits and verbal communication skills, often using current affairs as one of the mediums. This article aims to help aspirants understand the true orientation of current affairs and how to study them in a simplified manner.
Resources for Current Affairs
Since there is no bounded syllabus for current affairs, aspirants often face confusion about where to begin. Along with this challenge of preparing for a subject with no limits, another dilemma faced by aspirants is the abundance of resources. In today’s information age, the problem of having too much information is a major challenge.
We are bombarded with information from multiple sources, making it difficult for our brains to assimilate everything. This leaves most of us in a state of confusion, affecting our decision-making abilities. It is crucial for a CSE aspirant to limit their resources for preparation to avoid collecting information without having time to process and convert it into knowledge.
The sources of information can be classified into Primary Sources and Secondary Sources
– Primary sources include one or two newspapers.
– Secondary sources should include a reliable current affairs magazine like Rau’s IAS Focus and a subscription to Rau’s IAS YouTube channel, which explains current affairs related to the Civil Services exam.
1. Newspaper Reading
When it comes to preparing for Current Affairs, the first resource that comes to mind is the daily newspaper. The most commonly read newspaper for CSE preparations is THE HINDU, and INDIAN EXPRESS is another good supplement. However, it is important to note that not everything mentioned in the newspaper is important for the UPSC exam. Additionally, all newspapers cover more or less the same news, so reading too many newspapers will not serve any purpose. Reading the newspaper from the perspective of CSE preparation is an art.
2. Subscribing to YouTube Channels for Current Affairs
There are many video channels on YouTube that provide news analysis. One popular channel with a viewership of 70 Lakhs subscribers is Rau’s IAS, Daily News Simplified (DNS). DNS provides analysis of important current affairs from The Hindu newspaper every day. It is prepared by Rau’s Research & Innovation (RI) team. The main objective of DNS is to simplify the preparation of Current Affairs for the Civil Services Exam. The DNS video lessons provide continuous learning and updates through current affairs analysis. Rau’s DNS analysis also provides accompanying notes that can be easily downloaded in PDF or Word formats, and the subscription to DNS is free.
3. Current Affairs Magazine
Subscribing to a good current affairs magazine is essential for thorough preparation. While many publication houses publish weekly/monthly magazines, they often cater to the requirements of multiple exams for various government departments. For CSE, it is important to have a magazine specifically targeting CSE, covering all the important current events. Rau’s FOCUS monthly magazine is an outstanding option and is available in both soft copy and hard copy. Even aspirants who have not subscribed to any Rau’s course can buy it online from platforms like Amazon. Currently, Rau’s is offering the FOCUS current affairs magazine for free to help students during the difficult times of the Covid pandemic.
4. Important Topics to Focus on in Current Affairs
– Polity: News related to the Constitution, Parliament, Bills and Acts, governance, Fundamental rights, Social issues, center-state relations, etc.
– Economics: News related to the Indian economy, international reports and indices, banking and finance, inflation, unemployment and poverty, sectors of the Indian economy, India’s trade agreements, WTO, and other international economic agencies and platforms, etc.
– Environment: Biodiversity at the global, national, and regional levels, threatened species, major biodiversity hotspots, conservation of biodiversity, climate change, pandemics, and their impact, etc.
– Art & Culture: News on national heritage sites and monuments, national festivals, regional festivals, dance forms, paintings, etc.
– Science and Technology: Latest scientific developments, Indian Space Program, contributions of Indians to science, biotechnology, communication technologies, etc.
– Government Schemes, policies, and initiatives
– Annual Budget and Economic Survey
– International: Indian visits – bilateral and multilateral, international organizations, major political events, etc.
5. Approach for Preparing for Current Affairs for UPSC Exam
– Familiarize yourself with the examination pattern and the demands in all three stages: Prelims (facts), Mains (analysis, opinion, interlinkages, written communication, etc.), and the interview (overall personality, verbal communication).
– Go through the CSE syllabus for Prelims and Mains thoroughly. The syllabus provides clear instructions on current affairs.
– Follow reliable sources of information, particularly when it comes to data and statistics.
– Be selective while reading the newspaper. Read op-eds, relate everything to the syllabus, and focus on establishing connections between issues.
– Make subject-wise notes using pointers, flowcharts, and mind maps. Keep updating and improving these notes.
By following these approaches and utilizing the recommended resources, aspirants can effectively prepare for current affairs and excel in the UPSC Civil Services Exam.
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