If you are preparing to take the UPSC civil services exam, you would know by now the importance and irreplaceability of reading newspapers daily. Newspaper reading is essential as it gives multiple benefits to an IAS aspirant. It gives you the latest news which is important from a current affairs point of view. Also, it supplements your preparation of other subjects. Newspapers make you UPSC oriented. A glance over the previous year question papers reveals that even other subjects questions are asked with a current affairs tint. Watch out for news related to history, science and technology, etc. All these can manifest themselves as UPSC civil services questions. Another takeaway from reading newspapers is the opinions and editorials they have. You get fodder for your essay and ethics papers here.
There are many articles on how to extract information from the newspapers for UPSC exams, but this article talks about how to enjoy reading newspapers and make it efficient, i.e., be able to mine them for gold, which in your case is UPSC study material.
- Understand your reading purpose
Remember, you are reading to get potential study material for your UPSC exam, not for pleasure. So, when you start reading, have that purpose clearly. Don’t read gossip or sports news and other ‘junk’ which would only waste your time.
- Choose the correct place to read your paper
Again, since you are reading with a purpose, don’t lie down or walk about as you read your daily newspaper. Sit at your study table and read. Have a pencil or a marker to note down the important information. If you lie down, you might be tempted to stray away towards other unwanted news items.
- Fold your paper for an easy read
This is recommended so that you can hold your paper like a book and read it easily and comfortably.
- Decide what all sections you will read and what you will skip
As a UPSC aspirant, you would know what all sections you should and should not read. Stick to this rule to avoid wasting time.
- Skim the headlines first
Going through the headlines would give you an idea of what the article is all about and you can easily decide if you want to continue reading the article or not.
- Read the preview
If the headline doesn’t reveal much, go through the preview of the article that most major articles may have. ‘Preview’ gives the crux of the article and this is found in the middle to end portion of the article. The beginning of the article is generally a build-up to the chief portion. This style is called an ‘inverted pyramid’ structure which most newspaper articles follow.
- Connect what you read with USPC syllabus
Always connect what you read with the UPSC syllabus. As mentioned earlier, UPSC generally concentrates its questions on current happenings. For example, if there is a mention of an event commemorating a major natural disaster’s anniversary, you can expect questions on that natural disaster in the geography section. So always have the UPSC syllabus at the back of your head while reading the newspaper. This way you will be alert when you catch sight of a relevant topic in the news.
- Choose a national newspaper
Choose a national daily since you don’t need to go detail into local news for the IAS exams. International news which affects the country is also important and these will be covered by a national newspaper itself.
- If you are comfortable, go for the online versions of the newspapers
All major newspapers have an online version as well. If you are okay with them, you can read the web versions. They might be easier to access and you can select news to read based on the categories.
Also read | Current Affairs for the UPSC Prelims