# 15 General topics for preliminary examination - Current affairs special!
The secret of one page notes!
“Preparing for IAS exam? Read lots of news papers!” This is the advice we get from most people when they hear that we are studying for competitive examinations. Everyone knows that questions regarding topics turning up as daily news in newspapers will help a lot in our selection in competitive examinations. Everyone knows that this needs to be studied, but many do not know how this needs to be studied. That is precisely what we shall see in this topic.
In a 40-page newspaper, lots of information on national events, international events, politics, cinema, sports, advertisements, horoscopes, etc., will pile up each day. In this, knowing “which nails to pull, which to leave” is what will determine our success. Here are ten important topics that shouldn’t be missed in the daily newspaper:
1 Budget and economic survey
2 Organisations and summits of national and international importance (G20, WEF, BRICS, UN, etc.)
3 Major awards and prizes ( Nobel prize, Booker Prize, Bharat Ratna, etc.)
4 Major political and economic changes across the world and our nation (Brexit, demonetisation, etc.)
5 Schemes of central and state governments - most important (helps in every level and every page of competitive examinations)
6 New scientific discoveries, currently “trending” technologies (IoT, Cloud computing, etc)
7 Landmark events and judgments related to polity and governance (for instance, mediation of water sharing disputes)
8 Main disasters - in national and international scale (cyclone, tsunami, terrorism, etc.)
9 Major sporting events - competitions, achievements, achievers
10 International relations of India - major agreements, events, etc
Start reading the newspaper keeping these ten topics as the basis. Even if it may be difficult to begin with, soon we will ourselves be able to easily identify which news items are relevant to the exam and which are not. Likewise, it is essential to take notes of news that we come across in the newspapers and in websites. When taking notes, you should focus on two things -
1 For “studying current affairs” spending the whole day reading newspapers or watching TV news for hours will not give us results. Daily morning reading the newspaper and taking notes in one hour’s time would be better. Even if it takes longer in the beginning, going forward you get used to it (no other option!).
2 Size of your notes - we cannot copy a 40-page newspaper completely and call it a note. A good note is one which condenses a 40-page newspaper to a single page. A bit of training is needed to become skilled at this. With continuous effort and training, we can easily create “one page notes” daily.
Now surely you will have a question in your mind as to what notes should look like. Let us look into that. The “one page notes” we prepare for the preliminary examination should help up for our main examination and interview also. There is no need for separate current affairs notes for those.
For example, recently the annual summit of World Economic Forum (WEF) was held in the city of Davos in Switzerland. From the information about this event,
# World Economic Forum was formed when and by whom, who is currently heading it, where is it headquartered, how many summits have been held so far, where is the next summit scheduled to be held, etc., can be asked in preliminary examination. In main examination, “in Davos summit, it was discussed as to how malaria prevention can be strengthened using ‘smart data.’ Write a note on this in 100 words,” can be asked. From the same event, “what were the major ideas discussed in the Davos summit? What was India’s position in each?” can be asked in interview. Therefore the topic Davos Summit is one, but questions can be asked in different ways in different levels of the examination.
Bringing all these in our one page notes is our talent. Once we get used to making notes like this, it will make our revision sessions prior to the examination very very easy. The information will be well retained in our minds also. Therefore, start your one page notes from today! Today’s notes are tomorrow’s wealth!
We will meet again in next topic.