Are you planning to give the UPSC Civil Services Exam? Or,
Are you preparing for the UPSC IAS Exam?
Then definitely go through this whole article because here I am going to discuss:
UPSC Civil Services Exam is the toughest exam in the country. You need a good strategy and need to be a smart aspirant to pass the UPSC exam. UPSC Civil Services exam consists of 3 stages:
Current affairs are a very prominent component in the Civil services examination as a lot of questions are asked from this section at every stage of the exam. Current Affairs is a dynamic and undefined part that puts everyone into confusion about how to deal with it. You need to have a strategy to prepare for the current affairs section. But before that, you need to go through and analyze the previous year question papers to get a basic understanding of the type of questions that are generally being asked from the current affairs section. Current Affairs are all the events of national and international importance, so you need consistency of effort to gain success.
Identify sources: There is a lot of reading material both online and offline on current affairs which makes it difficult for the aspirants to understand what to read.
You should choose quality over quantity.
You should focus on issues and not news: You should always look for something more than the news and headlines because in UPSC, they generally ask questions on the issues that are in the news. This is a very important point to the question on how to prepare for current affairs. So you must understand the issues of the news and make notes on them. News is the incident but issues are the ideas. You may follow the following points
Note making: You should practice making notes online or offline because it helps you in quick revisions before the exam. It is one of the most important solutions to the question on how to prepare for current affairs. Writing of notes can be categorized into two types:
The most important point you should remember while preparing the current affairs notes is that your notes should be short and up to the point because in the UPSC exam you will be allowed to write 250 words (maximum) for a question where you also need to present all the important aspects of the topic with a suitable solution to the issue which you think would justify the issue.
You should use pointers, flow charts, mindmaps, etc for making notes. These help in concept clearing and also to remember everything. So you should definitely write the topic of the note wise and you can practice online/offline whichever best suits you.
Focus on keywords: Make short notes after reading a topic several times, as they will help you to identify the keywords. This is another important solution to the question of how to prepare for current affairs. So look for keywords during the preparation of a certain topic because keywords are very important for current affairs. Write all the keywords related to one topic at a single place for preparation so that later you can relate a keyword directly with a topic of the current affair.
It makes it easy for you to write the exam, such as whenever you find a keyword in the question, you try to remember the news/ topic related to it, which you can remember everything and easily answer the question. Every question has a tag with it, which is the same keyword you need to find out while preparing for a topic of current affairs.
Choose quality over quantity: You might find some people who research a lot about what is the best source available to study from like the best website/ newspaper for current affairs but actually don’t read them with effort. You might also find people who read a lot and read things from every possible source that is available and make huge notes for the exam to study.
Well, these things do not work at all. The more you do these things the more is the chances that you fail. Do your research for a day or two, decide on your sources, and stick with it i.e. read everything from the source you chose, so choose your source wisely. You’ll do just fine.
Not everything which comes up in the newspapers is important for the UPSC exam, you should always avoid news on issues such as, political parties, in-dept details on the share market, entertainment, sports news, etc. unless it’s your hobby to read them. So you need to read what’s important for the UPSC exam, reading everything blindly will not work.
Do Not Try to Mug Up: We all try to mug up when it comes to giving an exam. In UPSC also there are certain section which you can definitely clear by mugging up but you cannot apply the same mug up the process while preparing for Current Affairs section.
So if you are really puzzled with the question of how to prepare for current affairs follow the above steps but please don’t mug up everything, it won’t work at all. Hence in this case you only need to memorize the dates and specific names related to the topic of the current affair.
Revisions: The best method of revision is re-writing again and again, that is why nothing is better than revision for you if you really want to clear UPSC Civil Service Exam. These methods will ensure that you definitely capture more of the current affairs in a manner relevant to this exam.
But as because current affairs are continuously evolving daily, the best way to retain the content is through constant revision. Revise daily and execute them in the answers (in a sentence or two) you write in the mock tests. It will definitely evolve your quality of answers.
Answer-writing practice: Practise writing on a daily basis. There is no substitute for answer-writing so you must learn it before it is too late. You should prepare yourself well and keep answering keeping in mind how an IAS officer would answer.
You should learn from your mistakes and improve from that. Pick up an editorial from a newspaper or a topic from the syllabus, and frame a question on it and write its answer. This is the key answer to your question on how to prepare for current affairs.
Understand your syllabus: You need to understand the nature, clarity, and scope of the syllabus because it is very much crucial for good preparation. It will help you to understand what to study and what not to study. The questions asked in the exam are always within the syllabus; hence you always need to keep a close eye on the updated syllabus as it will surely give you success.
Choose your study material: Choosing study material is not a simple task you require proper guidance for that. It is always a good idea to begin preparation by getting subject fundamentals in place. The best source to get a good quality of information on the various subjects are the NCERT books (from class 6 to class 12).
Study the pattern: You must go through the previous years’ question papers because it helps in determining the type of questions that come in UPSC. Solving those questions will also help you in finding the best source of study material. An analysis of the previous years’ papers will definitely help you to understand the syllabus in a better way, and also to identify the areas from where more questions have been asked frequently.
Mock Tests: Mock tests are available for candidates all over India both Online and Offline. These tests help you prepare for the mains, give you a real experience of the UPSC exam i.e. how is it going to be, what are the exam rules etc. By giving regular mock tests you also learn time management. Mock tests are chargeable but they are really equally helpful if you give it from a genuine source.
You need to find the important current affairs, make notes, study daily but revise everything together on weekends only. It is generally observed that as because the current affairs become a burden, the people spent all the amount of time covering the current affairs only whereas compromise with the time allotted to other subjects.
This is a bad strategy for the long run because all the other subjects play an equally significant part as the current affairs, and need very good preparation, without which you will definitely fail. Only Current affairs will not help you to pass the UPSC Civil Services Exam, so you need to have a proper balance between everything while preparing for the examination.
You should always practice writing directly straight to the point notes so that your answers become concise. This will increase your writing speed and would help you to put in more information in your answers for the exam. With more and more information written in a shorter way, you need to have a strong vocabulary with other skills which you will automatically grow once you start reading the newspaper.
To conclude I would suggest that you follow the above points to get success in your UPSC Civil Services Exam. I have answered to the questions on how to prepare for IAS in general and how to prepare for current affairs for UPSC. Study hard, give it your best shot, and don’t lose hope. It doesn’t depend on your luck.
It solely depends on your hard work. Believe me. And when you give your 100%, luck is always there by your side. So keep all the points in mind, practice regularly, and prepare yourself smartly.
All the best for your UPSC Civil Services Exam or IAS.