Easy Tips on How to Prepare for Current Affairs in UPSC- Be exam Ready!

Current Affairs play an important role in UPSC Civil Services Exam preparation as the questions from this section appear in all the stages of the examination- Prelims, Mains and in the Interview. The Questions can be direct or even indirectly linked to the static or basic part of a particular topic.

Though current affairs are important and holds a significant portion of syllabus but there is no defined syllabus of current affairs for both prelims and mains examination. The UPSC syllabus for prelims just mentions, ” Current events of national and international importance”. Therefore, it completely depends on the candidate how he approaches his preparation towards the current affairs.

Before we jump to the strategy to prepare for current affairs one must analyse the previous year question papers and try to get a basic understanding on the type and number of questions which are being asked from current affairs in the recent past.

What is Importance of Current Affairs:

Number of Questions from Current Affairs in GS Paper I of prelims in last 5 years:

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
30 (60 Marks) 27 (54 Marks) 31 (62 Marks) 28 (58 Marks) 27 (54 Marks)

Apart from prelims exam, if we analyse the UPSC mains examination, current affairs based or linked topics are more prone to come up in the question paper and preparing current affairs would not only help a candidate in attempting these answers but would also help them in writing better answers and fetch more marks.

There is a fact to keep in mind that UPSC has been asking questions by linking current affairs part with the traditional subjects like History, Polity, Geography, Economy, Science & Technology, Environment, etc. It shows that current affairs are of utmost importance for all the three stages of UPSC civil services examination.

Further, for the UPSC-CSE main examination, the newspaper will help you in understanding the current issues and developing your Opinion and language for answer writing. The social issues part of General Studies paper 1, complete General Studies paper 2 and General Studies Paper III are based on current affairs. In this context, the newspaper reading becomes incredibly important for the UPSC main examination.

The process of UPSC Interview is an assessment of not only a candidate’s intellectual qualities but also social traits and his interest in current affairs. Candidates are expected to have taken an intelligent interest not only in their special subjects of academic study but also in the events which are happening around them both within and outside their own State or Country as well as in modern currents of thought and in new discoveries which should rouse the curiosity of well-educated youth. Therefore, a comprehensive preparation of Current is what a UPSC aspirant requires to successfully get himself a place in final ranking.

In the absence of a detailed syllabus of Current Affairs, most of the candidate get confused and remain in doubts on various questions such as, what are the important sources to refer for current affairs? How to read newspapers? What are the important topics to cover? and what to avoid reading? etc. This article tries to answer all the related queries in a simplistic manner.

How to Start reading Current Affairs or Newspapers for UPSC?

A general understanding of Current Affairs is central to prepare for the other subjects as well, a candidate should first make list of important subjects such as Economics, Science and Technology, Environment, etc and then try to read and make notes from current affairs that makes national or international news related to the shortlisted subjects.

Current Affairs is a vast area comprising of current events of national and international importance, government policies and schemes, Indian Economy, latest technologies, bilateral relations between countries, etc. Being familiar with the civil services examination pattern, i.e. demand of exam in all stages prelims (facts), mains (analysis, opinion, interlinkages, written communication, etc.) and interview (overall personality, verbal communication) would help a candidate to a greater extent.

Not everything which comes up or mentioned in news papers is important for UPSC exam, a candidate should always avoid news on issues such as, political parties and their conferences, in dept details on share market, entertainment columns, sports news unless it’s your hobby and regional news unless the candidate is also preparing for State Public Service examination.

Just reading current affairs is not adequate enough, it is recommended that a candidate also makes notes out of what he is reading which would help him in revising important topics in less time right before the examination.

What are the important topics that a candidate should focus in Current Affairs?

  1.  Polity: Anything related to the constitution of India, parliament of India, Bills and Acts, governance, fundamental rights, social issues, centre-state relations etc.
  2.  Economics: News related to Indian economy, International reports and indices, banking and finance, external sector, inflation, Unemployment and poverty, sectors of Indian economy, India and its trade agreement, international economic agencies and multilateral platforms for trade, etc.
  3.  Environment: Biodiversity at Global, National, and regional level, Wildlife- threatened species, major Biodiversity hotspots , Conservation of Biodiversity, climate change, etc.
  4.  Art & Culture: Anything on news National heritage sites and monuments, national festivals, regional festivals, dance forms, paintings, etc.
  5.  Science and Technology: Latest scientific developments, Indian Space Program, Contribution of Indians to science, biotechnology, communication technologies, etc.
  6.  Government Schemes, policies and Initiatives
  7.  Annual Budget and Economic Survey
  8.  International: Indian visits- bilateral and multilateral, international organizations, major political events, etc.

Sources to be Covered for Daily Current Affairs

It is preferable that a candidate follows a particular newspaper daily and make notes out of it, preferably- The Hindu or Indian Express. It is important for the candidate not to waste time on reading the same news from multiple sources, instead the candidate should focus on reading multiple things from the same sources and try to cover most of the topics.

The study sources for current affairs can be divided into two categories- primary & secondary:

Primary Sources of Current Affairs on Daily/Weekly/Monthly basis:

  • National newspaper like The Hindu or Indian Express
  • Government Monthly Magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra
  • Comprehensive Monthly Current Affairs Magazine

Secondary Sources of Daily Current Affairs:

The Step-by-Step approach for preparing Current Affairs for UPSC:

  1. Be familiar with civil services examination pattern, i.e. demand of exam in all stages prelims (facts), mains (analysis, opinion, inter linkages, written communication etc.) and interview (overall personality, verbal communication)
  2. Read syllabus of civil service examination both of Prelims & Mains thoroughly (especially Mains as it is well defined compared to Prelims) with related instructions.
  3. Follow reliable news sources mentioned above and read only re
  4. While Reading Newspaper be selective-for any NEWS to be read relate the news article with syllabus, then study the article carefully.
  5. Try to make notes out of what you read subject wise, use pointers, flowcharts and mind maps in your notes.
  6. Always Revise your notes periodically to maximize your chances to score more in the examination.
  7. Check out the

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