How many months of current affairs are required for IAS Prelims Exam?

how many months of current affairs should you study for IAS Prelims Exam
UPSC aspirants are generally confused about how many months of current affairs are required for IAS Prelims Exam. They get different pieces of advice like 0.5 year, 1 year, 1.5 years, 2 years etc – from different sources.

In this post, let us analyse previous UPSC question papers of IAS Prelims, and see how many months of current affairs is ideally required. We shall also see how to prepare Current Affairs section for IAS prelims.

‘Current Affairs’ of 2008 asked in 2017 UPSC CSE Prelims (9-year-old data)!

You won’t believe this!

But if you look at the last year UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam (2017 CSE), you can find a question on IONS. This is the question.

ClearIAS Prelims Online Test Series

Qn) Consider the following in respect of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS):

  1. Inaugural IONS was held in India in 2015 under the chairmanship of the Indian Navy.
  2. IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co­operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  • A. 1 only
  • B. 2 only
  • C. Both 1 and 2
  • D. Neither 1 nor 2

In this question, the first statement which is about the inaugural IONS is wrong. Do you what is wrong with this statement?

The Year ie. 2015.

So, what is the correct year? Any clues?

The correct year is 2008!

So the data asked in 2017 CSE Prelims, is about an event which happened 9 years before, ie. 2008.

See the Learning Zone from ClearIAS Prelims Test Series:  The ‘Indian Ocean Naval Symposium’ (IONS) is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues. In the process, it endeavours to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions on the way ahead.The inaugural IONS-2008 was held in New Delhi, India on 14 Feb 2008. CNS, Indian Navy was designated the Chairman IONS for the period 2008-10.

One can still argue that IONS was in news in 2017, and hence UPSC prepared questions from the latest data. It may be. But statement we highlighted and UPSC asked is about the inaugural session – which happened in 2008.

Normally aspirants will not expect such kind of questions in a UPSC question paper. These type of questions are beyond the scope of most UPSC coaching institutes.

Let’s analyze some other current affairs questions asked in previous year IAS prelims

UPSC Civil Services Exam Question Paper

Question 1 – CSE 2016 Prelims  (August 7th, 2016): What is ‘Greased Lightning-10 (GL-10)’, recently in the news?

GL-10 was in news in April/May 2015. So this is roughly 1.3 year old data from which the question is prepared.

Question 2 – CSE 2015 Prelims  (August 23rd, 2015): Which one of the following was given classical language status recently?

On February 20th, 2014, Odia became the sixth and latest language of the country to get “classical language’’ status after the Union Cabinet conceded a long-pending demand for putting it in the same league as Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. So this is roughly 1.5 year old data from which the question is prepared.

Question 3 – CSE 2014 Prelims (August 24th, 2014): Recently, a series of uprisings of people referred to as ‘Arab Spring’ originally started from:

Arab Spring began in Tunisia in 2010 December. 18 December 2010 – 14 January 2011 was the period of the Tunisian revolution. Though Arab Spring in other countries followed, this question is based on what happened almost 4.5 years ago, then.

So, how many months of current affairs should you study for IAS Prelims Exam?

Current Affairs Preparation for UPSC - How many months of current affairs are required for IAS Prelims Exam?

UPSC has not set any particular period for current affairs questions. What is mentioned in UPSC syllabus is ‘Current events of national and international importance‘. This can be literally anything, worth to be asked in the UPSC Civil Services Exam.

As we have seen above, the questions can be based on data as old as 9 years.

But most of the questions are from the window of last 2 years current affairs. All you need to do is prioritize things.

How should you prepare current affairs for IAS Exam?

Well, this is a much more important question.

If you are preparing current affairs solely from newspapers, it’s practically almost impossible to refer all two-year-old or three-year-old data before exams. Also, unless you are preparing notes from newspapers, it may not be easy to remember all facts – even from the last 1 year.

Then, how should you prepare current affairs before Prelims to ensure that important questions from even 2 or 3 years back data are not missed?

The ClearIAS strategy for Preparing Current Affairs for IAS Prelims

We strongly advise all our students to follow two items.

  1. Current Affairs Mock Exams in ClearIAS Prelims Test Series 2018 (7 exams ie. 700 questions)
  2. ClearIAS Current Affairs Capsules Monthly MCQ PDFs (From June 2017 – May 2018, ie 12 PDFs)

Current Affairs Action Item 1: Take and Revise Current Affairs Mock Exams in ClearIAS Prelims Test Series

ClearIAS UPSC Prelims Test Series: Boost Your UPSC Prelims Score!
The first set of current affairs exams (801PT-804PT) in ClearIAS Prelims Test Series cover all the important schemes/news during 2015-17. Exams 805PT, 806PT, and 807PT focus more on current events in 2017 and 2018, thus giving our test-takers a full and comprehensive coverage of all important current questions – from the last 2-3 years – though the priority is events during 2017-18.

Current Affairs Action Item 2: Download and Study ClearIAS Current Affairs Capsule (Monthly MCQs) – It’s FREE!

ClearIAS Current Affairs Capsules Ebook

ClearIAS Current Affairs Capsule (Monthly MCQs) is a unique treasure for Civil Service aspirants who are preparing for Preliminary Exam.

Important questions that can be framed each month from the current events are provided in Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) formats. Answer keys and detailed explanations are provided.

Our quality questions and the learning zone help aspirants to cover current affairs topics faster. Yes, learning is now fun!

Focus on your Return on Your Investment (ROI)

Time is Money - Focus on return on investment

As we mentioned before, you should prioritize current affairs section. The below guidelines can surely help.

  • 1st priority – Current Affairs of past 6 months before Prelims (Eg: Jan 2018 – June 2018)
  • 2nd priority – Current Affairs from Jan 2017 – Dec 2017)
  • 3rd priority – Current Affairs of 2015-2016

Unless you focus on mock exams to cover the important schemes or news in the last 2-3 years, it will take a lot of time to cover them. It may not be a worthwhile effort to go behind data 4 or 5 years ago.

Taking a mock exam of 100 questions is a faster and an efficient way of learning, as it takes only 2 hours to finish a mock exam.

So in 14 hours (less than a day), you can finish all Current Affairs Mock Exams in ClearIAS prelims Test Series 2018.

Yes, it’s that easy.

Similarly, the Current Affairs Capsules which covers the most important 500 MCQs in the last year (from all 12 PDFs), can be covered in 10 hours (less than a day), if you are focused.

What left is only the revision of the mock exams and MCQs – which will also not take much time of yours.

PS: The above strategy is for the Prelims. For the Mains stage Current Affairs requirement, we shall write a separate post. For Mains, good analysis in newspapers like Hindu will help. You can also take the benefit of ClearIAS ebook ‘Current Issues – What is hot today: 50 Important Issues

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