How to Prepare for Current Affairs for UPSC IAS

Why should one make current affairs notes for IAS Prep?

Current affairs are important in every GS paper and also in few optionals. In essay paper, through current affairs we can show our contemporary awareness. In GS paper 1 Indian society part, geography most of questions need current affairs to substantiate your answers. Whole of GS paper 2 and paper 3 questions are based on current affairs. In case of GS paper 4, current affairs is needed for giving more examples and making our answer unique.

One needs to read basics in every topic and update its issues with current affairs.

Sources of current affairs for IAS Prep

  • The Hindu paper and frontline
  • Yojana and kurukshetra
  • Rajyasabha and Loksabha TV discussions
  • All India radio spot light discussions and Mann ki Baat of Prime minister
  • PIB features
  • Websites of some ministries
  • Think Tanks, NITI Aayog, etc.

How to prepare current affairs?

Every aspirant should prepare notes for current affairs. It is only then one can revise them and remember during examination. During exam aspirant will be under great pressure so it is only if we revise at least for 3-4 times before going to exam. Along with that one needs to practice answers and keep including these current affairs in these.

It is advised to prepare as short as possible so that it can be revised fast.

There are 2 ways we can prepare notes

  • Hand Written Notes: This has its advantage of we will have a writing practice but also has dis advantage we cannot edit them. This makes some topics like health which need constant updates a little tough to prepare notes in one place.
  • Online using Evernote/ONE NOTE (a note making software): In this updates can be made easily and all your current affairs and notes can be at one place. But this may not be comfortable for few.

Streamlining of notes making for current affairs

You should take 4 spiral binding books. Each book should consists of some topics with index on first page so that each current affairs can be updated separately .


  • Book 1: Indian society , globalization , population , women issues , geography characteristics , distribution of resources and industries
  • Book 2: Indian polity all topics you can divide the way you want , social justice , NGOs , Governance
  • Book 3: Indian economy , budgeting , infrastructure , agriculture , investment models , Science and technology , Disaster management , Internal security
  • Book 4: International affairs , ethics examples , pub add ethics and case studies

Try to divide the whole UPSC structure in 4-5 books and whenever an article from any source comes keep updating. In over a period of time say 6 months you will have a lot of current affair material

Where exactly do we use current affairs in IAS Prep?

  • One an important issue can just come as question like judicial appointments commission or APMC act issue which are issues by themselves which are in news and they can come directly as questions.
  • Next, current affairs can be used to substantiate the argument like census data 2011 on IMR to support our arguments.
  • Further more, some current issues can be used to present as examples which will enrich our answer and make it more unique.

What to keep in mind while putting in efforts with current affairs?

  • Indian society: issues of women and women organization examples about various initiatives, population issues government policy census data , poverty issues from yojana and various schemes changing trends of poverty, Globalization and its effects on various categories like children, women, disabled etc with examples. Regionalism, communalism and secularism – you can take examples from current events
  • Geography: In science and technology section, The Hindu will have reports regarding melting of icebergs, la nino and such things, along with that various industries will be in news and interview of an industry expert will be taken every Monday so in these cases those industry locational factor and problems should be covered. Along with this resource distribution which India is targeting now a days like Africa and Australia.
  • Indian polity: Every question from polity is a current affair issue. One needs to know positives and negatives of each issues after reading several articles and get a balanced view of all important issues example like death penalty issue in 2014. In addition to that if any regulatory or constitutional body is in news one needs to know about that – Rail Tariff Authority announced in budget 2014. Along with that one should intelligent enough to gather quick examples like Greenpeace -a pressure group trying to influence policy of government.
  • Social justice: Get examples of NGOs SHGs and all associations. Welfare programs from budget and other ministry websites. Health and education issues from paper and yojana. Issues of poverty will come from time to time like poverty line issue, Food security issue etc.
  • Governance: This also from best administrative practices, issues in yojana etc.
  • International affairs: These are completely from newspaper especially last 6 months before the exam. You can refer to frontline for more deep coverage of issues and discussion from Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
  • Indian economy: Discussion in LSTV & RSTV, Economic Survey & Budget. Various initiatives by government. Agriculture issues should have more focus. Various examples of PPP projects, infrastructure, powers etc.
  • Science and technology: Hindu, science reporter of rajya sabha Tv, disasters, Management examples etc.
  • Internal security: This is a tough areas to guess. Kindly see every area where Indian internal security is at threat. Examples of money laundering, steps taken by government to counter naxalism like this
  • Ethics: This is a crucial area where you need to be cautious to get examples of all good initiatives, about the life of great people, good decision making situations; you can also derive case studies out of current affairs. Take the case of confidentiality and ethical concerns in recent corporate espionage.

These are just for understanding purpose, there are many things which should be noted in current affairs.

Golden Rules

  • First one has to know what the syllabus is. You should literally mug up the whole syllabus and be conscious all the time whatever they read so that they should see that it can be utilized during answer writing.
  • Every aspirant should prepare a short notes in written on in digital format. Otherwise it is impossible to study.
  • Such notes should be made in fragmented format where whole syllabus should be divided topic wise and prepare notes so that all issues on 1 topic will be at 1 place.
  • One should practice answer writing & use these current affairs in explaining yourself.
  • Examples from contemporary will enrich your answers.
  • Don’t look into many sources and many newspaper – it wont help you. Get a basic knowledge and balanced view about the issue.

Any further questions? Write them out in the comments and I will be glad to help you with them.

News to Newspaper reading? Read this first – 3 Essential Tips for Newspaper reading for IAS Prep

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By Satish Reddy

CSE 2014 - AIR 97 | Second Attempt | Optional - Sociology | NIT Warangal - Batch 2012 | Indulgences? Cooking, Reading & engaging with Social Sector Institutions

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