Why Current Affairs Are Important for UPSC?

Current Affairs

Waking early in the morning, an IAS aspirant rushes to the balcony. Lying idle on the floor, wrapped in a rubber band, waiting to unravel is the newspaper.

Termed as ‘The Bible for CSE’, it is the most important thing in the life of a UPSC aspirant.

It is understandable why aspirants compare the newspaper with the Bible. Newspaper is the major source of current affairs, the most important aspect of the Civil Services Examination (CSE).

To understand why it is important for UPSC, read on.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Compare With Other Examinations

For a start, let’s compare UPSC CSE with other competitive examinations of the country. Most have current affairs as part of the syllabus, but the questioning is static. That is, they frame current affairs questions around factual information. In these examinations, there is a quota for asking current affairs questions.

This is not the case with the UPSC. There is no fixed quota for current affairs. Compare 2017, 2016 and 2015 prelims papers. In 2016, there are more questions on current affairs than in 2017. While in 2015, there were fewer questions from current affairs than in 2016.

Also, gone are the days of UPSC asking static current affairs questions. Only a few such questions appear in the exam.

UPSC is using current affairs as an element of surprise by making dynamic questions out of it. This made current affairs the key element in the success of a candidate.

It is why current affairs are important for UPSC

Historic Change

In 2013, UPSC brought changes to the exam pattern. Both Prelims and Mains underwent historic changes. 

The reforms brought dynamism to the exam. UPSC brought this dynamism through current affairs. It is blending conventional knowledge with current affairs to frame questions. This is true for both Prelims and Mains.

In the new scheme of things, mains consists of four general studies papers, an essay, and an ethics paper. Current affairs dominate in all these papers.

In optional papers too, current affairs became important.

Earlier in the optional papers, the paper I would be strictly theoretical while paper II would be India-oriented. This has changed in the new pattern. 

In Paper I, you can find questions that prod you to apply theoretical knowledge to current events. Current affairs reading comes in handy here.

Summing up, it is safe to say that 85% of the Mains exam is dependent on current affairs. Thus there is no other option but to follow current affairs to achieve success in the exam.

It is why current affairs are important for UPSC

Awareness

As a future civil servant, you need to be aware of the issues the country is facing. Finding practical solutions to societal problems need this awareness. You can lay the foundation to such awareness in your preparation stage itself. It is by following current affairs daily.

The knowledge you gain through the practice will help in your career growth. It will make you a good civil servant and let you provide better service to as many people as possible.

It is why current affairs are important for UPSC

Fishing Out Diamonds

The sole aim of the UPSC is to select the best of the best minds for the highest administrative posts of the country. In this pursuit, the Commission has always been a step ahead in testing the candidates through CSE. And current affairs is its key tool.

Current affairs are like an ocean. Anything and everything becomes important to CSE. Given this larger scope, the commission uses current affairs in each phase of the exam to fish out diamonds out of the lot.

Be it prelims, mains or interview round there is no hiding away from current affairs.

It is why current affairs are important for UPSC

Now, how to prepare for current affairs?

THE PREPARATION

  1. Understanding the Pattern:
  • If you are a beginner, the first thing you must do is to understand the questioning pattern.
  • Go through previous year’ question papers.
  • See from which topics/issues of current affairs UPSC is framing questions.
  • This will give you clarity on what to read and what not to read.

2. Choosing Sources:

  • One important source for current affairs is the newspaper. Choose a good one and read it daily.
  • Internet is another good source but use it carefully. There is information downpour on the internet. You need to be smart in choosing a site that aids in your preparation.

3. Taking Notes:

  • There is no shortcut in preparing for current affairs.
  • You need to take regular notes on the issues.
  • Make it short, crisp and easy to revise.

4. Application:

  • Apply the knowledge gained through current affairs to various other issues.
  • See an issue from diverse points of view.
  • Note down the points for your reference.

5. Revision:

  • Revision is the key to retaining what you have learned.   
  • Revise your notes on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.
  • Revise at least once before the exam.

6. Testing:

  • Test your knowledge regularly.
  • This keeps your memory of the issue fresh and aids in the actual exam.

Conclusion

From above, it is clear that current affairs play a crucial role in civil services examination. You should not take it likely. Considerable time must be spent on current affairs. Your preparation strategy should revolve around it.

A caveat here. Spending time on current affairs doesn’t mean reading news alone. You need to identify the issue and understand it in-depth. Join the dots and make a connection.

The stronger is your grip on current affairs, the stronger will be your answers. Use the knowledge to your advantage by providing diverse viewpoints in your answers. Use it in essays and interview to your advantage.

If you need to know how important current affairs is, the following statement will summarise it – You win 80% of the battle if you have a strong command on current affairs.

For more guidance on how to prepare for current affairs, you can contact us.

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