Published on: October 4, 2021

UPSC – How to cover Current Affairs

UPSC – How to cover Current Affairs

As Current affairs is a significant part of your syllabus in Prelims as well as Mains, it is vital to focus on the right material and strategy to cover maximum topics with broad understanding. It is known to us that UPSC no more asks fact based questions in current affairs and also it is not restricting to just one year’s issues prior to the exam. Now that we know the pattern of questions, let us list the problems in covering Current Issues:

  1. Which is the best source to read?
  2. Is it okay if I am reading only one Newspaper for Current Affairs?
  3. How do I choose the important and not important articles in Newspaper?
  4. Do I have to read multiple monthly magazines?
  5. Do I have to remember everything that is provided in the magazine I read?
  6. Do I have to make my own notes for Current Affairs?
  7. Can I cover Current Affairs through just solving MCQs given by various Institutes?


The questions would still continue if you don’t know what exactly the exam needs. So let us understand what is needed for exams at each level.

Prelims Current Affairs preparation needs:

  1. Wide coverage
  2. Precision of information
  3. Repeated readings and revisions

Mains Current Affairs preparation needs:

  1. Not as much as it to be covered for prelims – focus on selected and important issues.
  2. Having a general idea of issues in current trend. Eg: What is the purpose of a scheme introduced by government? How does it benefit citizens and how to achieve the set targets, etc..
  3. Than memorizing the content, internalizing the issues is required.

Having said what is required now let us see how to get there.

  1. Choosing the source:
    • This is the most crucial thing in your preparation. Now there are plenty of sources and which one to read is the question in front of us.
    • It is generally suggested that candidates read atleast one newspaper regularly. This could be one among – The Hindu, Indian Express, Times of India or any other newspaper known for Civil Services Preparation.
    • Restricting yourself to just one newspaper is not a wise idea because diversity of opinions and content comes with multiple newspapers. But the time available for current affairs in your preparation time is just 30% of total time. This is when monthly magazines provided by reputed institutions come into the picture.
    • Choose any one institute’s monthly magazine and supplement it with the current affairs extracted from Newspapers. This could be among Vision, Insights, IAS Baba or any other magazines which you are comfortable with.
  1. Making your own Notes:
    • Do make notes of the newspaper you read – be selective, choose important articles only, don’t copy paste – try to break the article into different parts for better understanding.
    • Choosing important articles can be done in trial and error method. Write down all that you feel important and cross check it with monthly magazines. Here you will understand how much of your notes is relevant to exam.
    • Making notes of monthly magazine is not necessary as it is a ready compilation but highlight the key points and write down connecting points in magazine wherever necessary.
  1. Revise as many times as possible:
    • This gives maximum result of all the efforts you have put in gathering notes and materials.
    • If your preparation time is split into Current Affairs, Static Portions, Practice tests, then the time allotted should be like 20%, 60% and 10% of the total time you study in a day.