- September 3, 2021
From childhood itself, our parents are forcing us to read the newspaper daily to grow it as a habit. This was not only for improving language and communication skills but also for acquiring enough knowledge based on current affairs.
So in school days, if we attended any speech competition, this knowledge strength was helpful. The value of this suggestion cannot be overemphasized for the preparation of the UPSC Civil Services Test.
If an aspirant starts preparing for the IAS examination, he has to be a great newspaper reader. Sounds like a quote, but is an unavoidable one for the candidates.
Almost all UPSC tests have a fair share of questions focused on current affairs, involving a detailed and regular reading of the newspaper. But just reading through the daily paper would not be enough, since there is so much material that can be reached every day that it is difficult to recall all of them only from reading it once.
Newspapers are a very essential component of your preparation and a significant one considering the amount of time you consume while studying. Although reading the newspaper regularly is an integral part of the IAS exam preparation, there is no need to read the entire paper on subject, sentence, and line.
How to read the newspaper for IAS preparation?
This question is quite natural from an aspirant who is strictly following the schedule for the preparation of the IAS Examination. Because most probably a normal person is reading the newspaper as per his/her interest. But an IAS aspirant needs to focus on relevant and syllabus based topics rather than just interest-based topics.
The newspaper reading for IAS means the selective reading of it. Because all topics mentioned and explained may not be relevant. It is also essential to practice the habit of making a selective reading of a newspaper.
This habit includes an understanding of the syllabus of the civil service review, as well as the importance of any issue from an examination point of view.
First of all, it is important to keep in mind that the examination level of the civil service does not concern the political upheavals and non-decisive debates that have raged in the newspapers of these days.
Although these advancements may be crucial to understanding the contemporary scenario of the nation’s politics, from an examination point of view, it is not essential to spend a great deal of time studying these issues in depth.
Candidates should know that it is not important to read the entire newspaper in-depth as part of your IAS training. There are a few do’s and don’ts that offer full benefit when followed.
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Those who perfect the art of newspaper reading are bound to handle time wisely and would undoubtedly have a greater chance of doing it than most. There are some more things you need to do as a requirement before you start reading the daily newspaper.
- Make a deliberate decision to concentrate more on the topic than on the news.
- Carry out a detailed review of the previous year’s IAS questionnaires.
- Create a pattern of thinking on what and why instead of when and where.
- Know the keywords of the UPSC modules.
- Please hold a copy of the UPSC Mains Syllabus with you.
Which newspaper is best for IAS? Among the newspapers present on the market, ‘The Hindu’ is the most preferred publication, primarily due to its high standards. However many remain uncertain about how ‘The Hindu’ can be completed in a minimal amount of time covering the target regions. It is India’s most trusted source of factual news, preferred by both aspirants and non-aspirants alike.
You may either read the printed version or read the digital version (e-paper).
Before we move on, let us know what you’d like to concentrate on in the newspaper, too. You have to divide news or issues into a few groups, such as:
- Policies and schemes of the Government
- Environment & Biodiversity
- Personalities and Honours
- International Relations
- International Organisations
- Science and Technology
- Economic Policies
These factors should be the broad priority of the reader. Here, it’s also worth worrying about what’s not to be concentrated on!
You should miss political news / public statements, state/city-specific news (unless it has more national implications), share-market nitty-gritty, entertainment news, sports news (unless your hobby is listed in the DAF).
What is relevant from the analysis is the actions that are made and the arrangements that are reached by the public authorities. It is also important to look at the syllabus and to illustrate developments that directly apply to conventional knowledge in books.
By the time of the exams, you would be able to manage all the current affairs easily and in an appropriate space. This method has been used by many of the IAS toppers and has been shown to be successful.
How to read The Hindu newspaper for IAS
The Hindu is considered a really good newspaper for the study of the IAS and the IPS tests. It should be remembered, though, that the language of the Hindu is usually of a higher level. Thus, the aspirant should plan his/her notes carefully, without any hurry.
We have different strategies while reading a newspaper, but most of the time effective reading is not happening. We recommend a step-by-step guide to read ‘The Hindu’. First, just go through the paper and mark the news articles that are important from the perspective of the test.
Note, stop giving in to diplomatic and non-significant disputes. You can only read the other content superficially until you mark the relevant portions.
Let us look in detail at how to read the newspaper and make notes for IAS. First, let us know the layout of The Hindu:-
Page 1: Headlines of the day (a flash read recommended)
Page 2 to 5: Regional News (Regional News)
Page 6 to 8: State News
Page 9: National News (Very important to read)
Page 10: Editorial Page (Very important to read)
Page 11: Opposite the Editorial (Very Important to Read)
Page 12 to 13: General News (a flash read recommended)
Page 14: World Affairs (a flash read recommended)
Page 15 to 16: trends, growth parameters, fiscal and monetary policies, socio-economic issues (very Important)
Page 17 and rest: Sports (can skip)
Let us check what to read in the newspaper for IAS and the important points to remember
The most critical and essential aspect of the ‘Hindu’ newspaper is its editorial page and its Op-eds page. These pages are the most important and insightful sections and should also be read in-depth as a priority.
The columns/articles on these two pages are well written and cover different topics in a very informative and systematic way.
We encourage you to read this section every day and grow a habit of reading the whole editorial in one go to get a summary of all the aspects of the problem.
You will note that there are barely 8-10 bits of news articles from the daily paper that would demand your serious reading. This approach will help you keep a log of relevant current affairs.
Why this editorial and Op-Eds (Opposite the Editorial) page is getting more relevance is that high yield notes can be prepared from these pages. This will be a great benefit for recollecting the referred information and it will enhance the value of your answers exponentially.
These editorials should be carefully read, and you should write notes from it in your language, but going to bookmark the editorial wouldn’t help, so you won’t have time to read them afterward. Just a couple of points to pick up, that’s it.
After the intense referring of Editorial and Op-Eds pages, you can directly refer to the business section. For prelims, this section will help get familiar with the updates about the stats, ratios, and figures.
When reading the business news, you need to concentrate on development parameters, patterns, fiscal policy, monetary policy, as well as socio-economic updates related to health, women, and education.
This segment includes policies and facts relating to SEBI, RBI, and other national and international monetary agencies, which can be noted to add factual meaning to your responses.
Do a thorough reading of national and international issues that frequently happened and noted in the newspaper.
Any of them are the verdicts of the Supreme Court and the High Court, constitutional debates, government decisions and directives, important bills in Parliament, declarations issued by the governing party where the successes are indicated.
Issues of national and international significance, significant political developments in other countries with potential international implications such as military coups, uprisings, visits by the Heads of State and laws and treaties signed, international organisations such as the UN, ASEAN, WHO, IMF, etc. and their reports/publications, as well as India’s position in them, should also be read.
When to start reading the newspaper for IAS?
One of the important questions arising from the aspirants is the perfect time to start reading the newspaper.
This question is a bit more complicated, but every expert suggesting that a person should start the reading habit from their childhood itself. But now in the updated technology world, kids are starting to use digital platforms for their reading and even for studies.
If the aspirant is having the confusion about the time of starting reading the newspaper, he should start reading the newspaper from the day one of thinking about IAS preparation. Because we cannot predict how deeply the information is hitting in their brain.
You can start reading the newspaper at any time before your examination, but make sure that you’ll be fully confident to answer the related question from current affairs, economy, national and international issues, and the above-mentioned topics.
Let’s check the other important information you have to focus on before the UPSC exam-related to reading newspaper Just note that your goal is more relevant than your interest when it comes to reading the newspaper. It’s easy to be tempted to read about a favorite subject or celebrity published in a journal, but this would be at the expense of frittering away your valuable hours on non-important items.
You have to mind that you are reading the paper intending to study for the UPSC Civil Services Exam and not for your enjoyment or research break.
Often reflect on the effects of an event. For eg, if there is a major railway incident, concentrate on why it occurred and how the country needs a robust disaster response strategy. You don’t have to focus on the total number of deaths.
Be cautious of the UPSC syllabus such that when you read a newspaper, you can see what is relevant to the syllabus and what isn’t. Many who have learned the syllabus and the exam pattern well will take less time to adapt, but the beginner will probably take a lot of time to learn and plan.
When you read Editorials/Op-eds, you must remember the pros and cons, the good and the negative sides of the problem. Understand the topic from a variety of viewpoints. Editorials/authors prefer to lean toward one viewpoint, so as you read and extract details from them, ensure you integrate all points of view to have a fair approach.
It’s recommended that you don’t waste more than an hour a day skimming the newspaper because you have a massive syllabus for the core subjects to cover. Through moving strategically through the newspaper and concentrating only on the appropriate subjects, you can quickly learn enough to try the majority of general knowledge issues in the IAS perfectly.
You have to sit down at your study table when reading the newspaper so that you don’t miss any important news, and so that you can make notes along the way. Any students prefer to read the newspaper while traveling/commuting to make better use of time, but then the pitfall of this habit is that you can’t make notes while traveling. You should certainly read the notes from the newspaper when you’re travelling.
Giving a small importance to the social media in your study strategy will be helpful to add relevant information. But please keep in mind that more than 60% of news spreads through Social Medias would be irrelevant to learn and most probably fake.
Only reading current affairs is not necessary, it is advised that the applicant also make notes on what he reads, which will allow him to revise relevant subjects in less time than he did before the examination. Other advantages of the extensive coverage needed for UPSC are available, simple and fast revisions can be made, own analysis of topics and problems can be carried out, and notes can be made to help answer writing skills, etc.
Stop reading the Sports News because it is never asked in the UPSC test. Often stop reading news from the Agricultural Growth segment right before the sports news section. Read the NATIONAL page carefully (in detail). Don’t skip the Hindu Science and Technology Coverage on Thursday, as it addresses several problems both in the prelims and in the mains exams.
Just going over the syllabus is not enough, the applicant could also attempt to examine the previous year’s question papers, which will improve his comprehension of certain facets of the test. For instance, the applicant be able to figure out what are the relevant topics that are repeatedly questioned in the examination? How many are derived from current affairs? How the subjects of current affairs are related to the static portion of the syllabus, and so on.
Generally, the front page of the newspaper is relevant, because it typically includes important news, the candidate should read the front page and the relevant news listed in the following pages of the newspapers.
City news and regional news sites are not as relevant as they provide information about local news, but a candidate cannot fully disregard them as a fast skimming would be enough.
The attention should still be on the news, which is in several ways related to the UPSC review, and not on any other news in the newspaper. The curiosity of many aspirants can get them carried away, but this can be managed over time.
How to read the newspaper and make notes for IAS will be another question that may arise from the aspirants. While making notes, try to write them in your own words as they will be easy to remember and also you will be able to understand the concept in news very well. Don’t go through the depths of any of the news that arrives and try not to recall the small details and figures. UPSC is not asking for those questions.
News on topics of socio-economic interest, such as topics related to education, health issues, women’s issues, issues, or policies impacting backward parts of the society, are important. Try to define what you read in sections such as geography, politics, economics, environment, biodiversity, science and technology, etc. This will help you make notes, and it will also help your preparation simpler.
It would take more time for a beginner to retrieve the correct information from the newspapers, and you will find it difficult. There would be days when you would take more time than normal reading over the newspaper, and there would be days when you would be able to complete it very easily.
But you will learn steadily, and once you have learned the fundamental principles, you will grow to enjoy this ritual of reading the newspaper. This will also help bring about a positive shift in your attitude for this exam and your faith in your preparations.
At Vedhik IAS Academy we recognize the value of newspapers and current affairs for research and, thus, we have developed an integrated approach to educate and assist students by offering thorough news analysis. Our website offers free and helpful information on current affairs for young and inspired candidates.