UPSC Civil Services Exam 2020: Quick Tips to Revise Last 12 Months Current Affairs

UPSC Civil Services Exam 2020 is right around the corner. The preliminary exams are the qualifying stage where UPSC cut off the numbers from a whopping 10 lakhs approximately to a mere ten to twelve thousand aspirants. Thus, the question set each year is of varying degrees of difficulty and extremely dynamic in nature. In order to qualify this exam, aspirants are not only expected to have a good grasp over all branches of social studies such as History, Geography, Polity, Art and Culture, Economics, etc. but also on the news across the world, emphasizing on current happening in the country over the past year.

The expected norm for UPSC IAS Exam is to know the last 12 months’ worth of current affairs in detail. That is a lot of information and aspirants have been known to struggle throughout the year trying to understand and remember such a massive thread of information. The last 30 days before the UPSC Prelims exam is when it becomes crucial to revise the whole year’s news cycle in-depth but quickly. To do so is a Herculean task and the following are 7 tips that should help an aspirant achieve it -

How to Revise Current Affair of Past 12 Months for UPSC Exam?

No New Sources Please

At this stage, adding news items to your notes is only going to leave you confused. The chances of UPSC asking questions from current affairs of the month of September 2020 is minuscule. Even if they do, it will most certainly be in relation to older news. If not, that is 2 marks you can afford to not score. Instead, concentrate on studying the news for the months of September 2019 to August 2020. 

Revise your own old notes. If you have not made notes, which is absolutely not recommended, use the monthly compilations provided by various IAS Exam coaching and online preparation websites which are usually available for free. 

Arrange Notes As Per Topics from the UPSC Syllabus

It is important to understand that UPSC rarely asks for plain facts. The preliminary questions are usually set in a manner that aspirants need to apply their static knowledge in relation to current facts and figures to answer them. In order to answer them, it is important that you have studied them together. In the month leading up to the prelims exam, build this skill.

Arrange your notes topic-wise and merge related events. Most monthly compilations are already aligned this way. Four to six weeks before the exam, some coaching centers and online preparation forums also publish a single compilation of current events over the past year which are arranged topic-wise for your benefit. Use them to your advantage.

Keep A Daily And A Weekly Revision Target

Revising everything at one go will most certainly not help you. Instead, divide up the last year in daily modules, and revise the whole week’s worth revision once more on a weekly basis. For example, suppose you take the polity, government schemes, and economy portion of the month of September as a single module as these are usually related topics and take a day to revise them all.

By the end of the week, you should be done with about two to three months of content. Take a moment at the end of the week to glance through each topic and try to check if you remember all details. Any detail that seems hazy, you revise once more. Create a timetable for this at the beginning of the month and strictly stick to it.

Practice A Lot Of MCQs

The preliminary stage of the UPSC Civil Services Exam is multiple-choice questions. Thus, it is important to practice. There is a good chance that out of the 100 questions asked, you will only have a hundred percent sure answers for 40 of them, perhaps a few less. But to qualify, even with a high accuracy rate, you need to be able to answer at least another 25.

In order to be able to answer questions that you are not completely sure about but have only partial information, the process of eliminating options through intelligent guesswork is what aspirants throughout the years have used very successfully. This is an acquired skill and can only be achieved through practice. Thus solving MCQs is an essential part of your revision process.

YouTube is a Great Revision Tool

Many academic channels conduct revision quizzes or small videos on important topics of the year. These videos take 15 to 30 minutes of your time and help you revise a large chunk of information.

Moreover, these videos are created by people with extensive experience with the UPSC Syllabus as well as the UPSC IAS Exam pattern. They have a thorough understanding of the UPSC IAS exam that a first-time aspirant may not have. It is always a good idea to go through a few of these videos in order to remain in the loop with what the truly important topics for the year are.

Make Mind Maps as a Part of Your Revision

Visual cues are the most easily retained memories. They are also easily recalled. In order to stimulate this memory, it is advisable to make infographics or grab ones already available online to revise your last 12 months of current affairs for the UPSC Civil Services Exam.

Mind maps are an excellent tool to achieve this. There are several free tools available online that help you create mind maps from simple word documents. Or you can just draw your own by hand. Several online preparation forums also publish their own mind maps for current and static parts of the UPSC syllabus. You can also use those to your advantage.

Prelims is Qualifying - Concentrate on the Cut-Off

In the end, the target for the IAS Exams Preliminary stage is to qualify. You do not need to top it. Study diligently and be smart about it. Before delving into a time-consuming topic, do a quick cost-benefit analysis. And select your ideal cut-off at least 10 marks above the average of the last 3 years’ cut-off marks. Then work towards achieving it.

Through some well-intentioned smart work, you too should be able to crack the elusive UPSC Civil Services Exams.

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