[UPSC Mains 101] Don’t Just Read News – Understand the Theme

Look around the papers and see how beautifully UPSC integrates the current affairs in the paper under every section apart from, probably, History. Here’s what we propose for UPSC Mains.

Down through the ages, a new form has evolved for the preparation for the UPSC Mains examination. The aspirants are invited to come up with a ~200 odd words answer to a set of questions put on a daily basis. The peers & mentors are invited to assess the answers and plug up leakages in terms of logic and facts.


We at Civilsdaily intended to respect that tradition but then we realised that this way of approaching news might be myopic in the long run.

Why so?


  • A simple question-answer test series works wonderful for static subjects. There is no news – there is no evolution. Babur is not going to fight another war of panipat because it’s awesome to fight in an open terrain enroute to delhi & Indus Valley folks do not have more surprises for you other than the meticulously planned towns and cities!
  • But the game changes when you are understanding Current Affairs. You are not just playing with Information – You are dealing with News in Themes.
  • This may sound cliché but just look around the papers and see how beautifully UPSC integrates the current affairs in the paper under every section apart from, probably, History.

Phailin found its way in the paper with “How cyclones are named”, Shale gas found its way under “Distribution of shale gas”, Section 66A of the IT act made its presence felt in the paper, Green Corridors, String of Pearls all were there.

  • So, while it makes sense to have an answer writing practice – It is better that you let a news develop and then put your thoughts to shape!
  • When you are reading a topic, just ponder over it for a while and see how it connects with the other topics of the syllabus.

UPSC has this uncanny habits of joining multiple topics in a single question like connecting border management to internal security, makes sense?

Enough Gyaanbaazi – What do we propose?


  1. The first topic is out – We want you to tell us everything you know about the Special category status for states and how the events shaped up. Discuss 14th FC – Discuss Neeti Ayog – Discuss Articles of constitution and what not!
  2. We will follow this up with a summary of important terms every alternate day or so – so keep coming back!

By Root

Caretaker @civilsdaily

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