How to prepare for Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam ?

Current affairs play a major role in UPSC exam preparation. This exam requires the awareness of current affairs both nationally and internationally with the change in exam pattern and syllabus from 2013. Read this article to know more about how to prepare current affairs for the UPSC exam. The Civil Service exam is conducted in three stages: preliminary examination, Mains examination and personality test. Current affairs play a vital role in all these three stages.

Current affairs syllabus for UPSC

Let us first get the answer to the question of how to prepare current affairs for UPSC before starting preparation. It is advisable to refer to the syllabus for this part although there is no fixed syllabus for the current affairs section. Hence, students must keep themselves updated with all current events in news and also prepare their background stories.

General studies paper comprises current affairs as a key part. Let us check the syllabus for the Prelims exam.

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Prelims syllabus

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography- physical social-economic geography of India and the world
  • Indian Polity and governance- constitution, political system, Panchayati Raj, public policy rights issues etc.
  • Economic and social development- sustainable development, budget, inclusion, demographic, social sector initiative etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, biodiversity, climate change.
  • General science

How to prepare for Current Affairs

“Current events of national and international importance” 

UPSC mentions the current affairs syllabus quite clearly. The syllabus of current affairs is not defined for prelims and main exam separately but they are included in the exam. Therefore, candidates have to read major current events every day and make notes out of them. You can also follow Youth Destination’s comprehensive news analysis to cover the important news that is relevant with regards to UPSC’s current affairs.

Check the previous year’s question papers before starting the current affairs section to understand what types of questions have been asked in the exam. It will give you a clear idea of how to prepare for current affairs. 

Current affairs resources for UPSC

Current affairs are very important in the Civil service examination as many direct questions are asked from this section at every stage of the exam. Since current affairs is a dynamic and undefined part of the UPSC exam then candidates must follow the right strategy to prepare for the current affairs section. You need consistency and effort to gain success in this exam. A lot of resources are available on current affairs online and offline as well which is why candidates find it difficult to understand what to read and what not to read.

1. Newspapers

  • The Hindu: Renowned for its comprehensive coverage and analytical articles.
  • The Indian Express: Offers in-depth analyses of various events and issues. 

2. Magazines

  • Yojana and Kurukshetra: Published by the Government of India, they provide insights into socio-economic issues. Download (Yojana magazine) , Download (Kurukshetra magazine)
  • Civil Services Times: A magazine tailored for UPSC aspirants, offering subject-wise coverage of current affairs.
  • Youth Destination Monthly Magazine Compilation : A Free Compilation For Monthly Current Affairs – Click here to Download – Current Affairs Monthly Compilation PDF For Free

3. Online Portals and Apps

  • PIB (Press Information Bureau): The official source for government press releases and updates.
  • InShorts: An app that summarizes news articles in 60 words, making it easy to grasp headlines quickly.

4. Current Affairs Annual Compilations

  • Manorama Yearbook: A comprehensive compilation of events from across the globe.
  • Pratiyogita Darpan: Offers monthly magazines focusing on current affairs.

5. Some Other Sources 

  • Niti Aayog reports 
  • Economic and political weekly 
  • All India radio 
  • RSTV

Reading newspapers is one of the best sources to get the latest current affairs for candidates who are looking forward to preparing for the Civil Service examination. Different current affairs magazines are also helpful for exam preparation.

Aspirants must have a detailed knowledge of the latest events at least 6 months prior to the date of examination. Since there is no fixed syllabus for the current affairs section applicants must have in-depth knowledge of the background and history of the event taking place. Follow your systematic approach for current affairs preparation.

Practice 50 MCQs daily on current affairs and increase up to 100 MCQs daily when the exam is nearer.

Devote 30 to 45 minutes every day to newspaper reading. Look for important issues and make notes on them.

Detail guidance about preparing current affairs for UPSC

Always focus on issues and not news. Look for something more than the news and headlines because UPSC asks questions on the issues in the news. Try to understand the news issues and make notes of them. News is the incident but issues are the ideas. Therefore, it is very important to prepare for the current affairs section. You must know why it is in the news, background knowledge such as reports, facts and data and what is the current status or any action that the government has taken regarding it. Look at both sides or pros and cons of the issue and write your own opinion and your suggestions about what we must do.

Making notes

Making notes helps you quickly revise before the exam and this is the best way to prepare for the current affairs section. Make your notes category wise offline or online as per your convenience.

Date wise notes are of no use because studying from these daily notes is not possible. Making your notes topic wise is the best because the information related to a single topic is stored in one place.

Keep in mind that notes should be short and up to the point because UPSC will allow you to write 250 words for a question. So, remember the word limit and present all the important aspects of the topic with a suitable solution to the issue. Also use pointers, flowcharts, and mind maps while making notes. It will make the revision process easy and also help in concept clearing. 

Emphasis on keywords

Read a topic multiple times to identify the keywords and after this make short notes. This is another important aspect to prepare for current affairs. Therefore, look for the keywords while preparing a particular topic. Keywords are very important for current affairs and write all the keywords related to one topic in a single place so that you can relate them directly to the topic of the current affair during revision.

Keywords make it easy to write in the exam because once you see a keyword in the question you will be able to memorize the news or topic related to it. 

Quality is over quantity

Some candidates invest a lot of time in researching the best sources available to study, the best website or newspaper for current affairs, but they don’t devote proper time to reading them with effort. Moreover, some candidates also read a lot of things from every possible resource and make lengthy notes for the exam study. Well, this strategy will not work at all but the more chances that you will fail. So, limit your research for a day or two and fix resources and stick with it. Read everything from the source you have chosen.

Every news or current event in the newspaper is not important for the UPSC exam. So, it is good to avoid the news on some issues like political parties, share market, entertainment industries and sports news. You may read them if you have mentioned it as a hobby in DAF. Read from the UPSC exam’s point of view and don’t blindly read everything.

Never try to mug up

There are some topics that you can clear by mugging up in the UPSC exam but it is not applicable to the current affairs sections. So, don’t try to mug up everything while preparing for the current affairs. It would not work. Keep in mind that you have to memorize only dates and specific names related to the current affairs topic.


If you are really serious about clearing the UPSC Civil Service exam then revision is the best way. Write again and again. This method will ensure to capture the maximum current affair in a more relevant way. Since the current affairs are evolving continuously, revision is the best way to retain the content, revise daily and execute them in your answer to evolve the quality of the answer.

Nothing is as good as to answer writing practice for the UPSC exam so prepare yourself well and keep continuing answer writing practice daily. Pick up an editorial from a newspaper or a topic from the syllabus and frame a question. Now, write its answer, learn from your mistakes and improve them accordingly.

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