HOW TO PREPARE CURRENT AFFAIRS
• By Vivek Rao, Assistant Content Director CrackIAS.com
Over the years, current affairs are increasingly playing a prominent role in selections in civil services. You have unlimited no. of sources to prepare current affairs including newspapers, magazines, news apps, and then telegram channels, websites, and endless PDFs coming to your inbox every day. The penetration of so many sources has created a lot of confusion and has increased your workload manifold especially affecting your time management on a day-to-day basis. This, therefore, needs a proper strategy for proper preparation of current affairs. Check the following –
Read the newspaper everyday “broadly”
There is no substitute of newspaper or raw news. They give you a perspective, a broad idea of what is happening. This ‘broad’ understanding of news goes a long way in building your deeper understanding about the topic of the news later. In this regard, read the following –
- Read a newspaper or raw news every day. The best combination is The Hindu + PIB.
- Not every news is important. Generally, there are only 7-10 news every day that are relevant from civil services point of view. You will learn which news is important with experience over time after analysing previous year question. If you have problem in identifying which news is important and which is not, you can subscribe to crackIAS free daily news pdf & email where you will get only selected news from various sources. Link for free subscription is given at the end of this article.
- DO NOT make detailed Notes from news. You are wasting your time. DO NOT keep cutting of important news. You are just fooling yourself that at a future date you will read them! This is not going to happen. Only superman can read such a huge pile of cuttings on a future date.
- As we have discussed in another article on “How to make effective Notes” (link given at the end of this article), you dedicate one portion of a Topic Page to current affairs. Now if you come across a News related to a UPSC Topic, take only small but important info from that news and put it against that Topic on the assigned space.
Only 7-10 News are important every day. Identify them and read them “broadly.” Do not make any detailed notes or keep their cutting. Alternatively, take a Notebook; dedicate one or two pages to a UPSC Topic (there are total 358 UPSC Topics in syllabus – list given at end); and keep noting small important points from current affairs on these pages for a topic.
Read the ready current affairs every month
You must avoid reading prepared current affairs provided everyday by many platforms. There has been a race among many online/ offline platforms to provide every day ready current affairs, either on their apps or in PDFs. One particular news goes for many days and minimum one month is needed for that news to get mature and give you bigger perspective. It is much better that you prepare ready current affairs on monthly basis, and not daily or weekly basis. On daily basis, you must read only raw news.
- When you read a readymade PDF or something on monthly basis, you must apply your mind to see whether all relevant aspects are covered or not.
- Do not follow too many readymade current affairs sources. ‘Minimum One Maximum Two’ should be your mantra. Which source is good? Apply this formula when you read ready current affairs from a source, “whether all relevant aspects are covered or not.” If you have not got relevant aspects covered for most of news, leave that source for reference anymore.
Pick good things from News
News are the best sources for enriching the quality of your answers. You come across good words, phrases, lines and many value additions like tables, flowcharts, diagrams etc. Many of these are related to some UPSC Topic. As discussed above, note down these good things against the Topic in your notebook. And start practicing using them in your answers. This will work miracles for you!
How much time should you give for current affairs?
On daily basis, spend maximum 30 min – 45 min to read raw news broadly. For reading ready current affairs of last month, spend upto 1 hour daily. So broadly, try to restrict your current affairs work in 1 hour 30 minutes. However, if you are a working professional or a housewife, you must be having time limitations. In such a case, reduce your daily time on raw news to 15 min – 30 min, just a broad look at news; and around 45 min on ready current affairs.
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