Must read 5 Best Magazines for UPSC Exam Preparation

The importance of magazines for UPSC preparation is somewhat underrated, but as the importance of basic books and newspapers is emphasized upon, magazines also add to the value of overall understanding of many topics.

From the previous year question papers it can be seen that with increased competition, the level of questions in UPSC IAS exams year after year are getting tricky therefore requires common sense, and no regular book or ready material can be fully relied upon to clear this exam.

Why is reading magazine important for UPSC Examination

  • Magazines can be a single ultimate source for our knowledge about a topic, whereas in a newspaper the understanding of the topic is in bits and pieces.
  • A magazine like Yojana or Kurukshetra contain articles on a single topic which are written by various sector specialists, that makes the topic coverage comprehensive and from various dimensions, and these dimensions are very crucial in writing a Mains answer.
  • The pattern of UPSC exam is more about analysis, brainstorming and these magazines for UPSC Examination helps us do that with ease and better understanding.
  • The habit of reading newspaper is awesome but reading magazine compliments this awesomeness as a method of revision and retention.
  • Syllabus, as given by UPSC for Mains, is vast, anything that is important in recent News can be relevant to any topic given in Syllabus, magazines help you find this relevance and if used smartly in our Mains answers will definitely give us an edge above others.

5 Best Magazines for UPSC Preparation 

This is a list based on its utility and relevance. 

1.  Yojana

  • The word “Yojana” (Schemes), is a very crucial part of UPSC preparation, then be it recently launched government schemes, or the YOJANA, one of the best magazines for UPSC.
  • It is highly recommended because of its authenticity as it is published by the Publications Division of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of INDIA.
  • This authenticity of Yojana can be relied upon and the genuine facts from it can be stated in Mains answers or any tricky IAS interview question so it naturally becomes a must-have in your UPSC preparation strategy
  • In this article, How to Read Yojana Magazine for UPSC Exam we have details about all you need to know about this magazine and its use.
  • You can download the magazine, or buy one from the market. It is affordable, generally priced at Rs.20 or Rs.30.

2. Kurukshetra

  • Kurukshetra is a monthly journal published by the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. It is mainly focused on rural developmental issues.
  • This magazine is also one of the best monthly magazines for UPSC preparation as it mainly gives a perspective about a topic from the Government's point of view with relevant data and analysis.
  • The importance of this magazine is especially related to Essay writing and General studies papers of UPSC Mains. But sometimes can also be helpful for Prelims.

Question reference from this magazine

With reference to the circumstances in Indian agriculture, the concept of “Conservation Agriculture” assumes significance. Which of the following fall under the Conservation Agriculture?  [UPSC Prelim question 2018]

  1. Avoiding the monoculture practices
  2. Adopting minimum tillage
  3. Avoiding the cultivation of plantation crops
  4. Using crop residues to cover soil surface
  5. Adopting spatial and temporal crop sequencing/crop rotations

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 3 and 4
  2. 2, 3, 4 and 5
  3. 2, 4 and 5
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 5

Question source: Kurukshetra February 2018 issue.

YOJANA and KURUKSHETRA is also available in Hindi

3. Down to Earth

  • We have observed that most of the countries and International Organisations have increased their interest/focus on environment and climate change and so has the UPSC.
  • This fortnightly magazine on politics of environment and development is assisted by the Centre for Science and Environment and can be the point of source for important topics in both UPSC Prelims Syllabus and UPSC Mains Syllabus.
  • There is no need of reading this magazine cover to cover, only important topics like the Cover story, digest and annual report on the state of India's environment should be read in detail.

4. Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)

  • EPW is also unique and best current affairs magazine for UPSC preparation because it is a result of the forum where there is an exchange of ideas across the social science disciplines - political scientists debate with economists, sociologists read what political scientists have to say, historians study what economists have to say and so on.
  • Making it more relevant for recent UPSC Mains questions, as in recent times UPSC Mains questions do not adhere to strict compartmentalization in General studies papers.
  • Daily compilation can be downloaded from their website.

 5. PRS Legislative Research

  • The objective of this monthly magazine is making the legislative process better informed, transparent and participatory.
  • The content of this magazine provides a ready material for the UPSC student in tracking the bills and policies that are passed or pending in the parliament.
  • Monthly compilation can be downloaded from their website.

Question reference from this magazine

Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017? [UPSC prelim question 2018]

  1. Pregnant women are entitled for three months pre-delivery and three months post-delivery paid leave 
  2. Enterprises with creches must allow the mother minimum six creche visits daily 
  3. Women with two children get reduced entitlements.

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1.   1 and 2 only
  2.   2 only
  3.   3 only
  4.   1,2 and 3

Question source: PRS link

Every magazine referred above are content-specific, i.e. each serves a specific purpose. No specific best current affairs magazine for UPSC can cover all the topics as per the UPSC syllabus. Not all magazines are required to be read cover to cover only skimming the headlines, making notes about its examples will suffice. 

It's not that if we don’t read these magazines we are at a loss, but if read smartly it will definitely make a difference in our UPSC preparation.

All the best

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