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.