Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the frontline qualifying exam for different civil service posts conducted in India. Ranked among the supreme examinations, clearing the UPSC exam with flying colours is a dream of many. The pathway to this dream starts with the first level, i.e. the UPSC Prelims.

UPSC Prelims

UPSC prelim marks the first hurdle of your journey. The preliminary exams for the 2021 year will be conducted on June 27, as notified by UPSC.

The UPSC examination process is segmented into three rounds, namely, prelims, mains, and personality test/interview. The prelims are designed to check the individual’s current affair and general knowledge and their overall ability and skills to perform quickly.

The course for these exams covers almost everything you studied till high school. They expect you to go deeper and deeper till you reach the core of every topic. The course is an umbrella term including everything you have done to date with the addition of general knowledge and current affairs in the curriculum.

UPSC is known for always doing things differently. Thus, expecting something for prelims should not be a dependable option.

General Knowledge and Current Affairs in UPSC Prelims

One of the sections of the Prelims exam is general knowledge and current affairs. You’ll find approximately 10-15 direct and indirect questions from general and current affairs. But when studying daily current affairs, the biggest question the aspirants ask is, where should we start from? And is reading GK today and making notes enough for the 2021 IAS UPSC preliminary examination?

UPSC never gives any specific information about the current affairs questions. The syllabus only mentions ‘current events of national and international importance.’ But questions have dated back to nine years as well.

How to Prepare for Current Affairs in UPSC Prelims?

It is generally advisable to cover the current affairs notes for UPSC up to two years before the exam at least. For studying current affairs in general, daily newspapers, news channels and applications are primary recommendations.

And unless you prepare your notes from the newspaper, you won’t remember anything even from one year back. But you cannot go through all the newspapers for two to three years. Thus you might want to check out the notes for current affairs and general knowledge available in the market.

UPSC will never have GK questions asking details of any current happening, but they will go further to test your awareness and understanding. Thus, when reading any news, you need to dig deeper into it. The news will provide you with important and running topics you need to be aware of.

Is Reading GK Today and Preparation through Newspapers Enough?

Newspapers by themselves are not enough! You need to go beyond the headings and items in the newspapers. For example, one current famous news in your notes will be about the death of 73 children in the Gorakhpur incident. You might have also covered the details related to the oxygen, doctors, companies etc. But UPSC won’t give you a question so direct.

In this case, the hospital was an important centre for the treatment of Japanese Encephalitis, which is a prevalent disease in eastern India and Nepal. So, with this incident attention was drawn towards this disease. Thus, it would be best if you were prepared with necessary detailed information on this particular topic and expect at least one question on this topic.

The general knowledge in the newspapers and the notes are mostly about political news, factual data and numbers, and similar topics repeated for days. And learning only these won’t be enough for your GK section. Take the current news and study every topic and information in depth.


Reading between the lines is essential to study accordingly. Your notes should always have additional information and the entire background of the news and current affairs from the newspapers.

Remember that the profession and the exam you have chosen are meant to appoint the finest people in India to take charge of some of the best jobs in the country. Keeping this in mind, ensure your preparations and knowledge match their standards.

UPSC Pathshala will guide you through the best techniques of making productive notes that can be efficiently utilised for UPSC exam preparation. Our community of 80+ qualified personal mentors can guide aspirants to the greatest path of success. You can also avail of the free demo provided to check the teaching methodology. Keep reading our regular informative blogs to get hold of the most updated UPSC related current affairs.

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Is Reading GK Today and Making Notes Enough for the 2021 IAS UPSC Preliminary Examination?
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Is Reading GK Today and Making Notes Enough for the 2021 IAS UPSC Preliminary Examination?
Is reading GK today and making notes enough for the 2021 IAS UPSC preliminary examination? Find out how to read newspapers and current daily affairs smartly and efficiently to prepare for UPSC GK questions and current affairs.
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UPSC Pathshala
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