A major challenge in front of the civil services aspirants, as well as the candidates appearing for other exams like IBPS, SBI PO etc. is preparing the current affairs.
The challenges of current affairs preparation include, first, the syllabus is ever increasing and changing; second, there is no set pattern in which the questions come, the focus of the paper can completely change from one year to the next; third, preparing current affairs with high effectiveness can take a lot of time, and cost other subjects.
In this piece, we shall try to cover some tips and tricks to address these challenges.
First, the candidates should try to prepare a schedule and stick to it consistently. In the beginning, there will be miscalculations and learnings, which should be used to make the timetable better. Be flexible, yet sincere and consistent.
While preparing the timetable, the first thing to keep in mind is to keep it realistic. If one sets targets too high, hoping that he would achieve more that way, often the person becomes okay with not achieving it, driving the whole point of timetable to the dustbin. Therefore, it is necessary to make a realistic timetable with achievable goals and stick to it.
This timetable should have a set time for current affairs. Candidates should finish current affairs each day rather than trying to gobble up compilations of the same in one go. These have two benefits, one, it will be easier; two; this way, one will have the time to look at the subject matter in more detail and get a better understanding.
Compilations etc. can be used for revision. Daily current affairs compilations can be done daily, on the phone, even while taking a walk etc.
UPSC examination paper lately has been becoming shortcut-proof. Therefore, candidates should read the newspaper every day. If done correctly, a newspaper with note-making will take one hour of the candidate. This can be done early in the morning. Similarly, candidates should read daily current affairs, and do daily quizzes etc.
In combination with the monthly compilations, the hand-written notes from the newspaper will be more than enough for the revision close to the exam.
Candidates should remember to keep revision/off days in the timetable. When they can finish-off something left-out and revise. Sunday can be kept for these tasks.
Another trend is noticeable in recent years that current affairs not just from the last 12 months, but from last two-three years are asked.
The candidates don’t need to lose sleep over the outliers, and instead, solidify their preparation of the core content. The current affairs of the last 12 months is, therefore, extremely important.
For the mains exam too, daily current affairs is extremely important. Candidates should try to practice answer writing for some questions daily. One can start with 2 and then gradually increase it to 10 per day or more.
While reading the material, practice the recall technique. First, read a topic mindfully. Based on your reading of previous year’s questions, imagine what kind of question could be asked from that topic, and pay more attention to such details.
Often, a topic is described in a lengthy and complicated manner in such compilations. They mostly lift the sentences as it is from the original news source. You need not give energy into building skills for complicated prose-writing. Instead, you need to focus on the crux of the matter.
So, after reading each topic, close your eyes and give one minute to summarise the topic in your head – what it’s about and what details are worth remembering.
Another good way of revision is question-solving. Different compilations of questions are available for current affairs. The candidates can pick one, and solve the questions. It is important to not just solve the questions, but also pay attention to the answers, and any details of the topics you might have missed/forgotten.