What is the Weightage of Current Affairs in the UPSC Exam?


It is no less than a dream for an aspirant to appear and crack the prestigious IAS exam. Every year about 10 lakh candidates appear for this paper. This clearly indicates the level of competition in the UPSC exam. In such a scenario it becomes quite stressful for the fresh aspirants to prepare a strategy for cracking this paper. This strategy includes the proper division of subjects in a timetable. The important section to be covered in the exam is about Current Affairs. All the contemporary activities going on in the current time, nationally or internationally, are called current affairs. 

The current affairs portion is widely asked in the Prelims paper of the UPSC exam. For the Prelims Paper, most questions are based on current affairs, to test the general awareness and knowledge of the candidates. However, in the Mains Exam, the current affairs aren’t asked directly but have got some relevance to the GS topics. Let us see how the weightage of current affairs is divided for prelims and mains exam. 

UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam Pattern 

In order to understand the weightage of the current affairs in the exams, it is important to know about the UPSC Exam Pattern. The UPSC Exam is conducted in two phases-

1. Prelims Exam

The Prelims Exam consists of two Papers-

Papers Total QuestionsTotal MarksType of QuestionsDuration
General Studies 1100200Objective 2 hrs
General Studies 2(CSAT)100200Objective 2 hrs

2. Mains Exam

In Mains Exam, there are 9 papers, which are conducted within a period of a week.

Papers Subject Total Marks
Paper ACompulsory Indian Language300
Paper BEnglish 300
Paper 1Essay 250
Paper 2GS1250
Paper 3GS2250
Paper 4GS3250
Paper 5GS4250
Paper 6Optional 1250
Paper 7Optional 2250

Weightage of the Current Affairs in UPSC Prelims

The weightage of the current affairs in UPSC Prelims Exam varies every year. Either it can be more than 15 questions or sometimes less. Therefore it is quite difficult to predict the exact number of questions in the IAS Prelims Paper.

 It is for sure that the Prelims exam won’t ask simple questions like ‘who is the chairperson of Niti Aayog? But the current affairs asked in such a paper will be related to the latest updates regarding any meetings, conferences, bills, schemes, or any contemporary issues related to national or international economics and politics. 

If we follow the trend of the number of questions asked in the current affairs section in the past 10 years, then the number ranges between 0 to 30, where the most number of questions asked in current affairs was in 2016 and 2021 which is 27 questions.

Weightage of the Current Affairs in UPSC Mains

Although the Mains Exam is objective in nature, therefor it has got no direct relevance to the current affairs questions. But, there are certain issues related to international affairs or economic related affairs. 

GS 4 paper has topics related to Technology, Agriculture, Economic Development, Disaster Management, and Biodiversity. Hence a total of 50-70% of the total Mains paper consists of questions that may have some current issues related to them. However, it should not be believed that the questions are solely asked from the GS4 paper. 

Any topic from GS1 to GS4 can be interlinked with current affairs and put up in the answer writing. 

The Current Affair section holds great significance in both the papers of the UPSC Exam. This is because the aspirant has to face this section in all three stages of the exam. Therefore, preparing for the current affairs for the UPSC exam is a must and can be done using online resources available on BYJUS exam prep.