What Role Does Magazine Reading Play In The CSE Preparation?

Reading the magazines plays a highly important role in the preparation for the Civil Services Exam. However, the point to be noted is that you need to be highly careful while opting for a magazine.

How does reading the magazines help prepare for the CSE?

Well, you might reason that you can stay in touch with various developments concerning the Current Affairs simply reading or hearing the news. So, what is it that makes the magazine reading so important in the very first place itself?

1. You gain a balanced perspective:

Various articles for the magazine(s) are authored by various individuals. Consequently, the reader automatically gains a deep critical insight into the currently running issues at various platforms. Moreover, reading the opinions of various writers helps him comprehend the issue(s) keeping all the perspectives well balanced.

2. Your answer writing skills are influenced in a highly positive manner:

Gaining a well balanced deep critical insight into various types of issues helps sharpen your answer writing skills. And you would be pleasantly surprised when the CSE result is announced.

Apart from your knowledge of various subjects and topics, these are your answer writing skills that help present you as a potential Civil Servant. Basically, it is how you answer that actually counts.

Reading the relevant magazines helps sharpen your answer writing skills in multiple ways as specified below:

(a) Thorough knowledge of the entire issue:

The knowledge of the Current Affairs that you gain by reading the magazines serves to unfold the link in between the Current Times and what had already taken place in the past. Thus, you get familiar with the historical background of the Current Affair(s), in case there had been any.

(b) You gain a balanced perspective:

You gain a balanced perspective concerning various issues. Needless to say, the reader is better able to answer various questions during the CSE presenting all the perspectives in a logically convincing manner.

(c) You are able to get rid of the prejudice(s) in case there have been any:

Looking upon a Current Affair with all the relevant perspectives concerned provides you with a deeply sharp critical insight into the entire issue. As a result, you are able to get rid of the prejudice(s) in case there have been any previously for you can understand the interests of all concerned in a fairly logical and justifiable manner.

And it should be noted that apart from answering well for the Mains, CSE, the knowledge of the Current Affairs with all the co-related perspectives would also go a great way when it comes to facing the Interview.

Be Selective

There is no dearth of the magazines when it comes to prepare for the Civil Services Exam. But, simply reading any of them that you might spot on the magazine tracks in the market is not going to aid your preparation for the IAS Exam.

Rather, you would feel that your time, effort, energy and the money you have been investing on the purchase of the publications – all has been a great waste!

So, are than any specific reasons to turn Selective?

Yes, there are. Preparing for the Civil Services Exam of course requires you to be selective for various types of reasons.

1. The almost exceptional details and variety that UPSC syllabus would require you to study:

The syllabus prescribed by the UPSC runs into great details. Besides, it will require you to study a huge variety of the subjects under the Sun.

And that only serves to indicate that you simply cannot go reading whatever you find interesting. You are to manage your time. Thus, it is in the best of your own interests to shortlist the magazines and read selectively.  

2. The magazine(s) that you choose should take care of most of the CSE requirements:

The magazine that you choose to read should also take care of the changes produced in the syllabus whenever there are any made by UPSC. And, that’s not all, if the articles etc., in the publication are from being at par with the Exam pattern(s) for the CSE including the changes in the same whenever there are any.

What are the best Current Affairs Magazines to prepare for the IAS Exam?

As already stated above, it helps to make a selective reading specifically when you have been preparing for the IAS Exam. Not only can you save your time, but reading selectively also helps you to comprehend and remember the details with a greater efficiency.

Here are a few of the Magazines shortlisted for your convenience:  

1. Yojana Magazine

The monthly publication is among the best of the Current Affairs magazines for the IAS Exam preparation. It focuses on various issues at the socio-economic platform with respect to most of the relevant Indian perspectives. The Magazine is a publication of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India.

Yojana Magazine is published in 13 languages as listed below:

  1. English,
  2. Hindi,
  3. Assamese,
  4. Telugu,
  5. Gujarati,
  6. Bengali,
  7. Urdu,
  8. Punjabi,
  9. Marathi,
  10. Tamil,
  11. Kannada,
  12. Malayalam, and
  13. Oriya.

The point to be noted is that as the Yojana Magazine is published by the Indian Government, you can be sure of the authenticity of all the data and the facts. The Magazine is widely recognized as the best Magazine for the Civil Services Exam preparation by most of the successful candidates during the past few years.

It is worth noting that almost every year, at least an Essay or two appear in the Mains, CSE directly from the Yojana Magazine. The topics that are covered are highly significant including:

(a) Federalism,
(b) Governance,
(c) Budget,
(d) Agriculture, etc.

Past Years’ Questions from the Yojana Magazine

Going a few years back, you would come across the issue of the Payment Banks in the Yojana Magazine, Aug, 2015.

The establishment of ‘Payment Banks’ is being allowed in India to promote financial inclusion. Which of the following statements is/are correct in this context? (Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2016)

  1. Mobile telephone companies and supermarket chains that are owned and controlled by residents are eligible to be promoters of Payment Banks.
  2. Payment Banks can issue both credit cards and debit cards
  3. Payment banks cannot undertake lending activities.

Select the correct answer using the code given below

a) 1 and 2 only
b) 1 and 3 only
c) 2 only
d) 1, 2 and 3

It is always advisable to take down brief notes as per the requirement(s) of the UPSC syllabus. But, a great advantage of reading the Yojana Magazine is that if you are hard pressed for the time to take down notes, you simply go reading the Magazine as all the details are precisely authentic.

How to read the Yojana Magazine?

Taking care of the following considerations would help optimize your reading of the Yojana Magazine:

1. Read the NCERT Books first:

it is advisable to read the NCERT books first of all. Doing so will help you make all the basic concepts crystal clear. Besides, if you read all other basic content as well, it will add to gain a better knowledge of all the basics. Once the basics are clear, you would find it easier to comprehend the content presented by the Yojana Magazine.

2. Keep a copy of the UPSC syllabus ready with you:

It is advisable that you read the entire UPSC syllabus for the CSE first, before you read the Yojana Magazine. Keeping a copy of the syllabus ready with you while reading the Magazine would also help as it will help you read the Magazine as per the requirements of the syllabus.

Where is Yojana Magazine the most useful for the CSE preparation?

Being a Government publication, the Magazine provides you with the balanced perspectives concerning various issues. That is to say, you come across all the pros and the cons. It is a great advantage when it comes to the preparation for the Civil Services Exam.

You would find reading the Magazine highly useful when it comes to prepare for:

Mains, CSE specifically the Essay Paper and the General Studies Papers II and III.

Kurukshetra Magazine

The journal is published by the Government of India. The Ministry of Rural Development produces the journal every month. Thus, it chiefly deals with the development of the rural India.

The journal provides a forum for the relevant discussions concerning numerous issues co-related to agriculture, apart from various other features concerned with the rural development in India. Besides, the journal helps the Civil Services aspirants to gain a better knowledge of various schemes launched by the Indian government.
The point to be driven back home is that it is basically the Indian Administrative Service that is responsible for making and implementing Government policies. Needless to say, reading the Kurukshetra Magazine helps the IAS aspirants to score high enough in the Civil Services Exam in order to join the Indian Administrative Services. Besides, once allowed to join the IAS by the Union Public Service Commission, the selected candidates also feel better equipped to function as IAS officers, if they had been reading the Kurukshetra Magazine earlier.

Moreover, reading the Kurukshetra Magazine is highly useful for clearing both the Prelims as well as the Mains for the CSE. UPSC has been focusing on the environment, besides the development of rural India. Thus, it should not come as a surprise that reading the Kurukshetra Magazine can be considerably helpful to prepare for the CSE.

Past Years’ Questions from the Kurukshetra Magazine

Going a few years back, you would come across the issue of the empowerment of democracy by Panchayati Raj in the Kurukshetra Magazine, Nov 201.

The General Studies Paper II for the Mains, CSE included a question on Pnachayati Raj in the very same year.

Pratiyogita Darpan

The magazine is based on the Current Affairs. The candidates prefer reading it to keep themselves updated concerning the Current Affairs apart from gaining the general Knowledge. The magazine is highly useful to prepare for the Civil Services Exam.

Apart from the CSE, UPSC, the magazine also gives a wide coverage to various topics that are relevant for various other Exams as well. Some of the topics include:

(a) economy,
(b) geography,
(c) history,
(d) politics,
(e) the constitution of India
(f) and of course, the Current Affairs.

The magazine is available both in Hindi as well as English.

EPW, Economic and Political Weekly

EPW enjoys a high repute as an excellent journal for Social Science. However, it bears a limited utility as far as preparation for the IAS Exam is concerned.

Besides, quite technical in nature, the articles require to be read more than once. However, you will come across an analysis of the Current Affairs. And you would find the academic papers for the Social Sciences.

It should be noted that though the EPW focuses on the economic issues, the publication is multidisciplinary and includes topics on

(a) sociology,
(b) political science,
(c) history,
(d) and environment studies.

What makes the magazine worth reading is that the articles are authored by the prominent names in their respective fields including the well-known political activists and the public commentators.

Past Years’ Questions from the EPW

Going a few years back, you would come across the issue of the Micro irrigation, in EPW, Vol 50, Issue 51, 19th Dec, 2015

What is water-use efficiency? Describe the role of micro-irrigation in increasing the water-use efficiency. General Studies Paper- III, 2016

Down to Earth

The magazine is a fortnightly publication. If focuses on the environmental and science issues. The magazine contributes in a remarkable manner to create and spread awareness concerning the environment issues. It is highly useful for the preparation for the subject geography when opted as the Optional subject for the CSE, Mains. The candidates would do better if they read and analyze the topics as per the syllabus for the CSE prescribed by UPSC.

Past Years’ Questions from the Down to Earth

Going a few years back, you would come across the article How Phailin was different from super cyclone 1999, in the 2013 issue.

The same year witnessed the Union Public Service Commission asking a question on Phailin in the CSE.

Which is the best magazine for the CSE if you would like to read in Hindi?

Following magazines are available both in Hindi as well as in English.

  1. Yojana,
  2. Kurukshetra
  3. Pratiyogita Darpan

Besides, the Yojana magazine is available in a number of other languages as already specified above.

Do the IAS coaching Academies provide any magazines?

Not all, but some of them do. Elite IAS Academy offers ELITE IAS Weekly to its students. It is a highly competent magazine and adds considerably to the preparation for the IAS Exam.


Well, it is highly appreciable for you to know about all the magazines that are worth reading for clearing the CSE with remarkable success. However, it should be noted that even if you find some of the articles exceptionally interesting, it would be in the best of your own interests not to get swept off your feet.

A diversion may prove to be highly interesting. But, it should never be forgotten that the Union Public Service Commission prescribes a syllabus that you must complete preparing on time. Besides, you would be requiring considerable time to make the revisions, get your queries solved and what not.

So, it is best that you do not pile up the magazines on your study table. It is very likely that you might not be getting time enough to read all of them. Besides, it will make your preparation somewhat imbalanced. You have to cater to all the aspects of preparing for the CSE.

Thus, it is good to be selective. And do not spend much of the time on reading the magazines only. Manage your time efficiently.

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How to Read the Yojana Magazine to prepare for the IAS Exam?
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