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Current Affairs play a significant role in UPSC Civil Services Exam preparation as the dynamic questions appear in all three stages of the examination- Pre, Mains, and Interview. The Questions may be directly or even indirectly linked to the static part of the syllabus. Trend analysis of past years’ question papers shows that the weightage for current affairs questions is increasing every year and hence, aspirants should give more importance to current affairs and related aspects while preparing for UPSC.
Though current affairs are important, there is not exactly a detailed & defined syllabus of current affairs for both stages prelims and mains examination of UPSC civil service exam. The prelims syllabus just mentions, “Current events of national and international importance". Therefore the candidates must analyse past years’ question papers of both prelims and mains to get an idea of how much weightage is given to current affairs, how many questions are asked and how current affairs are interlinked to different topics of the syllabus. This will help the candidates to approach current affairs with the right strategy.
Prelims exams of the last few years show that every year around 20-30 questions are asked from the current affairs which makes them extremely important and a deciding factor to ensure success in the prelims exam.
Apart from the prelims exam when we write the mains exam, it requires a multidimensional approach of dealing with different issues, so current affair becomes vital in this regard. Current affairs also help to develop analytical and logical thinking on different topics like current social issues, election reforms, economic issues, national interest in international relations, etc. Current affairs not only help to deal with these questions properly but also help to fetch good marks when we include them in our answers. Even in the static portion of polity, history, geography, culture, etc, questions are interlinked with current events.
The process of the UPSC Interview is an assessment of not only a candidate's knowledge part but also the capability of dealing with the real situation through his innovative approach and his awareness of current events. Apart from the theoretical knowledge of various topics of general studies and optional subjects, candidates are also expected to have a good knowledge of current events outside or inside of the country, other scientific knowledge such as discoveries, space missions, use of satellites in disaster management, gene editing and how it helps society, etc. Therefore, current affairs form an important part of the interview preparation.
The dynamic nature of the civil services examination has made current affairs extremely important. A candidate is expected to have a detailed preparation strategy to cover the current affairs at all the stages of the exam. Knowledge about the current affairs also helps in increasing awareness and building character of a person.
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At first, an aspirant should have a detailed knowledge of the civil services exam syllabus and he should make a list of subjects such as Economics, Science & Tech, environment, polity, international relation, security, society, etc. These subjects should be again divided among subtopics such as economics contains subtopics like food processing, infrastructure, investment model, inclusive growth, etc. In the same way, international relations contain bilateral relations separately with important countries, WTO, SAARC, SCO, BRICS, etc.
When we read newspapers related to different subtopics, we should make a brief note at the same time, and later revise them regularly. The facts and figures will be helpful in prelims, while interlinking news with subtopics and its analysis will be helpful to form your own opinion in the mains exam. This holistic approach is also reflected in the interview stage.
The newspaper contains a lot of things, which is not important from the UPSC exam point of view. The aspirant should avoid news on political parties and their conferences, share market details, entertainment columns, sports news, other local regional news, etc, the candidate may read sports or entertainment if he considers it as a hobby section in the interview.
Only reading the newspaper is not enough, as candidates are expected to update their notes regularly and revise them again and again. This will help them throughout their preparation journey.
It is advised that a candidate should follow a particular newspaper daily and make notes out of it, preferably- The Hindu or Indian Express. The candidate should avoid reading the same news from multiple sources, it is time-consuming and unproductive. So aspirants should focus to cover multiple things from the same sources and try to cover maximum useful topics.
The study sources for current affairs can be divided into two categories- primary & secondary: