(Getting Started) Strategy For UPSC Current Affairs Preparation by IAS Topper Priyank Kishore (AIR-61)
Priyank Kishore has had the rare pleasure of making it to the final list of UPSC Civil Services Examination results, two years in a row. In his first attempt in 2018, he secured a rank of 274. He was undergoing training in Shimla as an IAAS officer when he received the good news of having cracked UPSC a second time with rank 61 in 2019. Priyank is a graduate from Ramdas College under Delhi University and holds a Postgraduate Degree in Economics.
Over the past few years, current affairs have been given a lot of importance in UPSC, even more so in the prelims stage. However, UPSC maintains its trend of being unpredictable which means it is difficult to crack this portion of the paper by just reading monthly compilations. It is important to give it a little more time and effort.
How To Prepare Current Affairs For UPSC
The most important step is to start reading the newspaper daily. However, you need to read it and not research each article in the news. You need not spend 2 or 3 hours each day just for news. Instead, try and read through it within 45 minutes to an hour. Do not debate which newspaper is better, or try to read more than one. Stick to either The Hindu or The Indian Express.
In addition to reading the newspaper every day, Priyank also read the daily compilations. It acted as a mode of revision for him as well as a tool to make short digital notes. Moreover, although he did not rely on monthly magazines, he did use them as revision tools. Monthly magazines usually are compiled with a backlog of 10-15 days. Reading daily helped him avoid that.
UPSC Mains Specific Preparation
Although not a fan of compilations in general, Priyank did read the Mains365 compilation by Vision IAS between his prelims and mains. He also watched the show “The Big Picture” by RSTV for the 7 to 8 months before mains. He made very short notes from the show and tried to incorporate as much of the information he found relevant in his mains answers.
Can we substitute newspaper-reading with compilations?
If you are in the initial phases of your preparation, newspaper reading is not only a source of current affairs but also a tool to improve your reading and comprehension skills, grammar, vocabulary, and writing skills. So you mustn't remove it completely from your preparation.
How should we revise current affairs?
In his first attempt, Priyank had subscribed to test series which had revision tests scheduled regularly that helped him revise his current affairs. Thereon he got into the habit of revising his current affairs using the notes he made every 3 weeks. He highly recommends this method. Every 3 months, he would set aside a day to revise just the current affairs of the past few months. Revising the current affairs 3 to 4 times throughout the year is important.
Priyank wishes all aspirants the very best!
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