How to Read Newspaper for UPSC Civil Services (IAS) Exam

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How to Read Newspaper for UPSC Civil Services (IAS) Exam

How to Read Newspaper for UPSC. The importance of reading the newspaper cannot be overemphasized for success in the UPSC civil services exam.  Along with the standard textbooks, newspapers provide vital study material for current affairs which is a crucial component of the questions asked in the IAS exam. Aspirants should know that it is not necessary to read the whole newspaper in detail as part of your IAS preparation. There are some do’s and don’ts which when followed give maximum benefit. Read on for more on how to read the newspaper for UPSC exam.

Newspapers are very important part of your preparation and a significant one considering the amount of time one consumes while studying from it. Those who have understood the syllabus and pattern of the examination well, have fewer worries but a beginner (having less understanding of syllabus and pattern) takes substantial time to read and prepare for it.

A person just started with UPSC preparation always finds it difficult and complains about spending too much time reading the newspapers. And it is a genuine concern because if one spends 4-5 hours for newspapers, then his/her concern is justified.

What should read for UPSC IAS Exam

First of all, the most recommended newspaper for the IAS exam is ‘The Hindu and Indian Express. Along with newspapers, you must also refer to the following for a complete picture of the news that grabs headlines and affects the country.

  • Yojana Magazine
  • Press Information Bureau (PIB)
  • PRS India
  • Websites of various ministries

How to read The Hindu Newspaper

The Hindu is a newspaper that subscribes to the “Centre of Left” Political philosophy. And because of this it’s general focus is more on issues of socio-cultural relevance, and it reports on poverty, famines etc. very well. Moreover, The Hindu’s coverage of international issues is really good. Its Op-Ed articles are also high quality.

What about other Newspapers?

Times of India have generalist articles. But its language is better than both the above newspapers. But this exam does not test your language skills; rather it tests your knowledge, so in my opinion, it’s not a good source.

How to read The Hindu Newspapers for UPSC?

When people start reading newspapers they tend to read serially from the first page to the last page. While the first page is important and needs to be read fully, pages from the second page onwards mostly contain local and masala news not relevant from UPSC point of view. So one has to skip these pages. After reaching the national section one has to read it. But only read important national news based on issues and not based on politics or news that is too much popular. But for UPSC Civil Services the only important segments are Front Page, National News, Op-Ed page, International Page, and Economy. Moreover, you need to read the newspaper from a critical eye. You must analyze an issue from multiple perspectives. Also, you need to read it with linking it to similar issues.

How to read daily newspaper for UPSC IAS exam?

Under polity

  • Government press conferences where policies/schemes/reforms are announced.
  • Important bills in the Parliament.
  • You can also see the advertisements by the ruling party where they list their achievements. This will give you a list of the developmental schemes and their provisions. You will know which ministry deals with what schemes.
  • Election-related news like reforms by the Election Commission.
  • News related to the Constitution, amendments, etc.
  • Supreme Court/High Court verdicts are important.
  • Parliamentary debates.

Do Not Focus On:

  • Press conferences by political parties.
  • Who defeated whom in the by-elections, etc.

Under national news

  • News of national importance. Always focus on the implications of an event. For instance, if there is a massive railway mishap, focus on why it happened and how the country is lacking in a comprehensive disaster management plan. You don’t have to remember the precise number of deaths. The same goes for natural calamities. In this case, also read about the geography behind the calamities.
  • News related to ISRO, any scientific developments in the country is important.

Do Not Focus On:

  • Political news like an X-party member blames a person of another party for taking bribes, etc.

Under economy

  • Government press releases related to SEBI, Planning Commission, RBI, banking reforms, reforms in the economy, agriculture, industry, etc.
  • NASSCOM, ASSOCHAM – related news that affects business.
  • Indicators like GDP, CPI, IIP, etc. The absolute number not as important as the reason behind it.

Do Not Focus On:

  • The nitty-gritty of the share market.

Under international news

  • Visits of the Prime Minister and the President.
  • The treaties and agreements signed on such bilateral visits.
  • International organizations like the UN, ASEAN, WHO, IMF, etc. and their reports/publications. India’s role in them should also be read.
  • Major political events in other countries that have possible international ramifications like a military coup, uprisings, etc.

Other news

  • Climate change news/global warming.
  • News related to environment and ecology.
  • Science and tech news like major developments in the science fields.
  • News about any endangered species, any species becoming extinct, etc.

What news to avoid?

  • Entertainment news.
  • Sports news unless it is your hobby mentioned in the DAF. Also, if the news is related to polity/administration, you should read it.
  • States’ news unless it has a larger national implication.
  • Regional news should be avoided unless you are preparing for the UPSC interview.
  • Avoid all ‘masala’ news items.

This is all about How to prepare exam related kinds of stuff from newspapers. For a beginner, it will take some time to extract relevant information from newspapers and you may find it difficult and annoying sometimes. Trust us, you will learn gradually and once you have mastered the basic concepts, your outlook towards this exam and preparation will change upside down. That will be the time when you will start loving your preparation process.

Try to indulge into it as soon as possible because if you do it just for the sake of preparation it will become a burden and you will always find yourself sick of not following endless timetables you have created and roam around the clock satiating yourself around the number of hours you have put.This is a stark reality and happens to almost every single aspirant at some point of time.

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