Preparation Strategy on How to Prepare Current Affairs in UPSC Prelims 2022?

  • IASbaba
  • April 22, 2022
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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam 2022:

Preparation Strategy on How to Prepare Current Affairs in UPSC Prelims 2022?

As you were reading the article UPSC Prelims 2022 – Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Strategy, Unpredictability, Do’s and Don’ts, you must have wondered about the breadth of topics UPSC can quiz you on. Along with negative marking, the difficulty level just goes notches up. So much so that, with the thought of preparing just the current affairs, some of you might get surrounded by a huge cloud called ‘anxiety’. 

We understand. We have all been there. Trust us, when we tell you this – Cracking this beast of an examination is not about how well you have mastered the syllabus, it is about how well you have strategized your learning. 

See, we get that cracking UPSC Prelims 2022 will not be an easy task. But what will definitely give you an edge is how well you put in SMART Work as a Generalist (remember?).

Check the exam calendars for 2022 for exam dates of all recruitment examinations including CSE 2021-22: UPSC Calendar 2022

Role of Current Affairs in UPSC Examination

Current affairs will continue dominating your preparation till the time you are done with your Interview stage. At each stage, questions will be asked on the recent happenings because all these topics have heavy bearing on the subject matter itself. Think about the new bill that got added. Or a new policy that has been passed. 

Connecting the static subjects with the latest events help you develop an analytical sense of understanding of the concept as well. You will be able to form your own opinion and present it in a holistic manner.

Let us reverse engineer it

Imagine you are an IAS Officer! (Woah..!!)

A certain email lands in your inbox early in the morning around a Bill that has been recently passed and needs to be urgently implemented in your district.

What would you expect yourself to do?

You would expect yourself to ALREADY know about it. You would EXPECT yourself to immediately start working on it. Not to study it and get opinions from experts. 

You would expect yourself to KNOW how to go about it. Your efforts would be expected to lead to ACTION. 

Now, let us come back to reality.

This visualization was an important reminder that your marriage to current affairs has been solemnized for life! 😀

The S.M.A.R.T Strategy

We all are now comfortable with the fact that Current affairs play a key role in all the three stages of UPSC preparation, especially in the Mains and Interview. UPSC has a knack of relating contemporary issues to static aspects and then frame the question asking the analytical aspect. This becomes difficult when you are unaware of contemporary development or even if aware, are unable to analyze and relate with it.

Why: Because it covers a wide range of topics which overlaps with the CORE subjects like Geography, Polity, Economics, History and Dynamic subjects like environment, science and technology. Hence, it is hard to classify questions under a specific heading/topic. This is the reason why many of the aspirants are of the notion that not many questions have been asked from current events in the recent years (from Prelims perspective). But now you know that this thought process is wrong!

The strategy therefore is going to be simple: Substantiate all Core subjects with recent current events.

Let us look at a few questions and their relation with current events that have recently occurred –

Culture and Current Affairs

Which of the following is the 1st festival in Asia to achieve recognition as UNESCO ICH of Humanity?

  1. Taiwan Lantern Festival 
  2. Phi Ta Khon 
  3. Ice And Snow Festival
  4. Durga Puja (answer)
Economics and Current Affairs

Prompt Corrective Action framework (PCA) is associated with which of the following?

  1. Banking (answer)
  2. Disaster management
  3. J&K’s President’s rule 
  4. AFSPA
Sources to Prepare for Current Affairs for UPSC Prelims 2022

The Hindu

Significance: What to look for?

  • One of the best sources to prepare for socio-economic and political issues
  • Editorials and Opinions: An elaborative account and view on government programmes and policies.
  • Science and Technology: Thursday Edition- Quite handy for everyday scientific developments.
  • Environmental issues– Issues and policies at national and international level
  • Economy– Economic developments and policies

The Indian Express

Significance: What to look for?

  • Articles on International Relations are one of the best as compared to other newspapers.
  • Written and recommended by IFS officers.

Press Information Bureau

Significance: What to look for?

    • Programmes and Policy updates of Government on daily basis- If you miss in newspapers
    • Features: Selective articles on important personalities and their contribution. Also, you will find important historical accounts.

PRS Legislative Research

Significance: What to look for?

  • Discusses about the bills and policies of government
  • Details on tabled and non-tabled bills of Parliament.
  • Simplified brief summary of Acts and Bills.
  • A monthly Policy Review: A monthly comprehensive report of the major policy developments across various sectors in the country.

IDSA: Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis

Significance: What to look for?

  • Detailed coverage of India’s national security, internal security and relations.
  • Very effective source to prepare or get opinion on International Relations, Defense relations and governments approach for national and international diplomacy.

Yojana and Kurukshetra

Significance: What to look for?

    • Published by GOI and comprises articles on diverse topics- from social to economic domain.
    • Basically a detailed analysis of government schemes and programmes.
    • Also covers social issues and policies affecting vulnerable sections.
    • A very important and authentic source to generate opinion on government programmes and policies.

LokSabha and RajyaSabha Debates

Significance: What to look for?

    • Discussions on various socio-economic and political discourses.
    • Various opinions on such topics from experts who are many times government officials or subject experts.
    • It is seen that unearthing dimensions becomes difficult while reading articles but when we see live discussions, we get loads of quality information and dimensions in less time.
    • Highly recommended from Mains point of view.
Effective Newspaper Reading for UPSC Prelims 2022

Let us talk about the most common question we receive – How to read newspapers for UPSC Prelims 2022?

Abhijit Gupta IRPS 2017 Batch, one of our 2017-ILP students has correctly said, “For a civil service aspirant, newspaper forms the backbone of entire preparation as the entire exam is about general awareness. An aspirant need not just read a newspaper, but STUDY it.”

Baba’s Tip 1: Understand and memorize the syllabus

One has to be well-versed with the syllabus and pattern of UPSC before directly opening a newspaper with the over-enthusiastic resolve to crack the exam! Very often, when you start preparing, it is most important to understand the things that you should NOT do. Let this little tip guide you. It will save you hours and hours of effort if only you commit to understanding the syllabus. It will help you in picking-up the right articles/issues from the Newspaper, while leaving out irrelevant ones from the exam perspective. Saves time, maximizes efforts!

Tip 2: Nothing stands alone. Be prepared to relate, compare, and understand the underlying zigzag patterns for one topic across different subjects

THIS is the KEY – to that coveted title that you yearn for. For your better understanding, we will analyze how can we look at one single topic with different angles –

TOPIC: The push for Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

  • We can clearly see that the topic has a bearing on the environment as well. 
  • Politics enter in the realm with the schemes/policies/act. 
  • We can think about how ZBNF works out for the farmers from the market point of view. Plus the rural economy.
  • Some of the related topics that you should read on include Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana Scheme, Srilankan Economic Crisis due to forced Organic Farming, Doubling Farmers Income, etc.

Tip 3: Basic rules to follow: Between the ‘Never’ and ‘Always’

  • Never focus on political news 
  • Never read political remarks
  • Always focus on socio-economic issues like Women issues, Education or Health related issues, Issues or policies affecting vulnerable sections etc.
  • Always focus on issues of national and international importance.
  • Focus should be on political issues related to Indian Constitution, Legislative and Administrative processes
  • Focus on Supreme Court or High Court verdicts
  • Do not pay attention to deaths, awards or sports section unless significant- Just a formal read
  • Always read the syllabus of Prelims and Mains time and again until you memorize it. 

To take inspiration from Abhijit Gupta’s Strategy behind reading a Newspaper for Civil Service Preparation-> CLICK HERE

The Ball in in YOUR Court

Here are few more tips –

  • Start using mindmap to establish connections between topics – pen and paper works just fine
  • Stick to reading max 2 newspapers. To get through the most important news articles, refer to IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs Section that our team especially curates daily for smart learners like yourself.
  • Get into a routine, and start with reading newspapers in the morning. 
  • Memorize the syllabus so that you start linking, interconnecting and FINALLY enjoying the whole process of studying.

Download the UPSC Prelims Previous Year Question Papers for practice here.



The Art of Preparation for Prelims

Since this is the first stage, UPSC wants to filter out the best of the best candidates for its second stage. UPSC takes a lot of effort to set a paper that is unpredictable. This means that 90% of the aspirants won’t make it beyond this point. 

The pressure is immense. Success rate is very low. But understand that the challenge is the same for each player. 

The answer lies in: Right Planning – Right Training – Right Practice

If you are someone who needs expert support with your preparation, looking for accountability and mentorship, subject-wise mapping of questions, precise handouts that have no fluff, subject-wise exclusive classes, tests especially designed to test your knowledge and challenge you ‘out-of-the-box’ questions then we have exclusively designed PRELIMS EXCLUSIVE PROGRAMME (PEP) for YOU!

This strategy is the ULTIMATE strategy that you could get your hands on. Truly, the ball is now in your court!

In the beginning, the task seems daunting. But as days pass by, with the correct strategy in your arsenal, you will surely be able to clear all three stages with flying colors. 

But the question remains ARE YOU READY TO TAKE ACTION?

All the best!

Team IASbaba

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