Current Affairs: the real game changer for PT 15

  • by Manoj K. Jha

To succeed in UPSC Exam, a thorough knowledge of current affairs is required. In the examination, sometimes the questions are directly related to Current Affairs or sometimes indirectly related to the current events or news. Sometimes even the traditional part of the General Studies questions are those questions, which were in news during even, last ten to twelve months. If we analyze Prelims questions, at least 20 to 25% questions are directly related to Current Affairs. The percentage is likely to increase further in future.

Prelims Preparatory series Part -2

UPSC is often notoriously termed as Unpredictable Public Service Commission, because of its ability to retain surprises regarding the questions year-after-year. Since I have been vilified in past for predicting the upcoming changes and forewarning candidates regarding them and have already invited criticism, I now ask you a question:

What is there to unfold now? Nothing new is there now, except the change in nature of questions and focus areas.

There is a clue to this question – Will ‘Current Affairs’ be the real game changer for PT 2015?

I will also soon come up with a post related to the format of the questions, till then you may find this useful…

To succeed in UPSC Exam, a thorough knowledge of current affairs is required. In the examination, sometimes the questions are directly related to Current Affairs or sometimes indirectly related to the current events or news. Sometimes even the traditional part of the General Studies questions are those questions, which were in news during even, last ten to twelve months. If we analyze Prelims questions, at least 20 to 25% questions are directly related to Current Affairs. The percentage is likely to increase further in future.

Current Affairs for IAS is an area which is by far the most important aspect of the GS paper and also perhaps the most difficult area to master. Important, because good number of questions, whether they are in the prelims or the mains, draw their inspiration from what is happening in the contemporary context, and difficult, because of its vastness and difficulty in identifying what is important and what is not.

Most students have been found to be complaining that they have not been able to recall and reproduce, whatever they have studied in the current affairs, and in the sense that the factual part that is useful in the prelims cannot be recalled as far as nature of choices is concerned and the analytical part which is useful in the mains, cannot be related and incorporated in the descriptive answers.

However, the factual versus conceptual demand for GS is now an outdated story. Concepts are paramount. People have been suggesting several strategies to prepare for current affairs, but very few people have really decoded the challenge. Those who have managed to do so, are now busy calling the shots in bureaucracy. On the same line, this year’s prelims will begin a new chapter for candidates, as a historical first after the latest change.

So how to start now….

Firstly, the preparation of the current affairs is not a separate activity carried out in isolation with other topics; rather the concepts in all other areas together contribute both to the understanding and in augmenting the relevance of whatever we study in current affairs apart from its retention factor.

Secondly the study of current affairs has to be essentially based on those issues, which are of contemporary importance. Here preparation of prelims will be different from the mains one.

Third, but most crucial is the listing of topics and ability to comprehends facts that could be possible there in the given choices. This is by far the most important aspect of studying current affairs. This alone shall ensure that whatever is studied is not only methodically arranged in the mind, but is also logically reproduced in the exam.

By adopting this approach a student can even create his personal notes extensively, replete with references for current happenings on all the major issues of the time. However, this approach is best carried out only when a student is thorough with all the concepts across the various disciplines and is in a position to identify the areas where these concepts apply and contribute to enrich the overall understanding.