Current Affairs and GK for IAS – Focus on these Topics to Score some Easy Marks

Focus areas for IAS

Many aspirants have this doubt about what to prepare for current affairs and GK in Prelims paper 1. After the recent changes in the Prelims syllabus and pattern, a lot of stress is given to GK questions by UPSC. Of course, current affairs questions were regularly asked earlier as well but now GK based questions are also being asked regularly.

It follows then that if you prepare these two topics well then your chances of clearing the Prelims increase significantly. Before I list what you should cover for current affairs and GK and from where let me remind you that these two terms in the Prelims are overlapping and any neat categorization of questions or topics in either current affairs or GK is not possible. In fact most current affairs topics and questions have a GK aspect to them and vice-versa. But for keeping things simple here I will attempt to separate the two.

Also note that getting a good grasp of these two topics from the Prelims view point can fetch you anywhere between 40-60 marks in Paper 1 quite easily.

This is the focus of the Current Affairs and GK course.

Current Affairs for IAS

These are the topics you should focus on:

  • Recent developments in the field of Science and Technology like satellite launches, vaccine development, defence deals, new diseases etc.
  • Environmental issues are given high importance by UPSC and developments like important summits and their outcomes, global warming, carbon dump, carbon trading, environment-affecting projects like Dams, nuclear plants (Kudankulam protests), pollution should be regularly looked into.
  • In Polity, important judgments of social or national or economic importance should be regularly tracked. This includes judgment that chief of Central Information Commission can only be a retired SC or HC judge, stopping mining in Bellary to preserve the environment, preventing tourism in core areas of Tiger reserves and so on.
  • Keeping track of all the important economic data like growth rate, inflation, exports and imports, as well as current economic issues like slowdown, global economic crisis, G-8 meet, FDI in retail, etc.
  • Sports events like tennis grand slams, cricket, Indian achievements in Olympics, world cup’s etc. Remember to go beyond cricket and read about other sports as well.
  • Awards and honours from within India as well as from outside India like Magsaysay awards, Khel Ratna and son on.
  • Persons in news those that might have received some honour, or have invented something or achieved a personal feat of social value etc.

GK for IAS

GK is a very vast topic to cover combining many sub-topics. So much information is being generated through hundreds of books and online sources that it is almost impossible to keep track of everything. But do you need to keep track of everything? No. These are the GK topics to focus on from the Prelims perspective:

  • Facts about India: (demographics, census data, major economy stats and so on)
  • Facts about World: Limit yourself to the important demographic and economic data of various countries. Manorama Year Book has a good section on this.
  • Science and Technology: In current affairs you have to focus on the latest developments. In GK, look at the history of India’s satellite and missile development programme by remembering the important landmarks like launch of first satellite, development of indigenous aircraft carrier, development of important vaccines and so on.
  • Books and Authors: Some questions from this topic are routinely asked in Prelims paper 1. So keep track of books by popular authors including their latest ones.
  • Firsts like First Army General, Chief Justice, Nobel Winner, Woman Chief Minister etc. Again Manorama Year Book is your friend for this type of information.
Of course as mentioned earlier I can help make your journey easier with my Current Affairs and GK course by covering the above topics. Even if you prefer a go-it-alone approach, be sure to cover each topic discussed above in detail from the standard reference books to score easy marks in the Prelims. Do share your thoughts in the comments below…
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      1. Sorry for this very late reply sir. Bcoz on that time i checked out again where did i asked this question and i couldn’t track this page.
        I am thinking to give an attempt in 2014 sir, so in view of removing optionals shall i take coaching for prelims only or for optionals(pub ad & anthro) as well? Can u please tell me good and reliable coaching centers for prelims and mains as well in Hyderabad. Bcoz i find delhi too expensive and moreover a heavy language problem for me.
        Thank u sir.

  1. Dear Sir I want to choose History & geography for mains, you have posted about geography books but not about history. Please suggest me history books for mains and also let me know that is it a good combination or not ? Thanks….

  2. hello sir,
    i want to give CSE 2014 in hindi medium, i think that time optional subjects will remove in mains exam.
    so i m confuse that what to study first optionals or general studies.
    for general study (hindi)…….which coaching should I join in Delhi/New Delhi.

  3. Sir I can’t afford coaching fees….please help me preparing for ias without coaching classes….are the books that you have mentioned sufficient for csat…?

  4. Sir, I m pursuing a job in it sector , I m very willing to join civil services,, I have MBA degree in Marketing … Kindly suggest me what sud i dd???

  5. Dear sir
    i m fresher from engineering background. can u suggest me which subjects i should have to choose for mains. and subject should be scoring and common for pre as well as mains.

  6. i feel there is no need to join any coaching institute as the pattern for main is going to change….guys plz,just read good books n news paper(i recommend THE HINDU)especially their articles plz leave the local news(i.e fst 3 pages)…go thru all section of news paper…wen u will start reading u may feel difficult or u may take hours in reading bt plz dont loose hope jst read it… come to books…
    1.NCERT(11th n 12th std)history,geography,polity n economics
    2.spectrum guide
    3.spectrum’s modern india
    4.laxmikant’s indian polity
    5.vaji ram n ravi coaching study material(polity,constitution n geography)
    6.sri ram coaching (economics notes)
    7.chronical,yozna magzines,
    8.manorama year book
    9.india 2013
    10.the hindu news paper(very very imp fr ias pre n main)

    1. Hi,

      Are you also doing self study for IAS exams?
      I am currently doing a 9 hour job and am interested in preparing for IAS. But m extremely confused if I shall quit this current job of mine? Or can the preparation be done along with the job?

  7. Good morning all of u

    I need your suport to take a correct information that i am doing my graduation by correspondence from D.U. with Hindi medium.I am working also should i prepare CS exam or not which subject will be supportable to creak this I am interested in Eco Pol.Sc.& Public Add.Which subject should i choose reply with books name also.
    Pls suggest me.

    Thanks& Regards
    Raj kumar

  8. SIR,

  9. Hello Sir,I am planning to buy study material from coaching institute and prepare from that material.So just want to know will that be a decision to prepare.need your help in this regard.

  10. hello sir , i am a student of 1st year.sir please tell me what books or magzines i prefer for civil services.

  11. Hello Sir,

    Thanks for your guidance. I have a question: What period of current affairs we have to prepare? For Example, when I’m giving the UPSC prelims on 24th Aug’14 what period of current affairs (start month and end month) I need to prepare? Thanks:)

  12. sir, I am from guwahati.I am a school teacher.It is impossible for me to go to coaching centre.please guide me.tell me the possible ways how to crack IAS without taking help from coaching centre?

  13. Sir, I m from guwahati.I am a primary school teacher.Sir please guide the way through which i can crack the IAS exam.It is impossible for me take coaching.So, the only possible way is to prepare for exam without coaching.sir please guide me.I am leaving here some topics in which I seek your advise.these are:-
    1)If I only read the books recomended by you, can I crack the exam if I try my best?
    2)I have never written any please tell me some references or skills to master on it.
    3)Sir,I am confused about the type of asked in the qualifying papers of language and english in mains.I have not seen any previous year questoon paper of these two please advise me.I am from assamese i will opt assamese as qualifying language paper.

    Please give your valuable advice.

  14. Dear Sir/Madam,
    A great article you’ve posted on your blog/website. Articles like these really are helpful of knowledge. Sir/Madam, i will be giving Jamia Law entrance this May. So i wanted to know that i do know the syllabus but couldn’t understand it in depth. I mean that i don’t know what to read/buy for sections like *Legal* Language English including Comprehension, or *Legal* Aptitude. So these are the only 2 topics that are creating a little confusion as I don’t know what difference does they make when having Legal as their Prefix. So could you just describe it in a detail and tell/advice me that what to read/buy for it? I’ll be very thankful to you. 🙂


    1. If you have difficulty in getting HINDU newspaper, you can read it ONLINE on mobile. OR you can just get the Current Affairs from (Best Current Affairs Centre) for IAS Exam. They cover more than 30 newspapers including HINDU.

  15. Hello All,

    I would like to say that I am donating free books to the needy and deserving ones. I have started an open library in delhi for the same.

    If you find such student or any exam aspirant, contact me at [email protected] I will try to help them by books or if possible would like to help them by paying their coaching fee.

    Also, If you want to donate your unused books, contact me.

    1. Hello Prashant,

      This is a really good initiative. If you like to publicize your initiative on this blog so that others can donate their used books please get in touch with me at [email protected]



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