How To Read Newspaper For UPSC IAS Exam

The importance of reading the newspaper cannot be overemphasised for success in the UPSC Civil Services Exam. Along with the standard NCERT textbooks and reference books, 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 IAS exam.

First of all, the most recommended newspaper for the IAS exam is The Hindu. Along with newspapers, you must also refer to the following for a complete picture of the events that are of national and international importance

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

Check out our Current Affairs page for the gist of Yojana magazines, PIB summaries and the Daily News Analysis.

Time recommended for reading the newspaper for IAS exam: not more than 1 hour

Reading the newspaper for UPSC exam

Under polity

  1. Government press conferences where policies/schemes/reforms are announced.
  2. Important bills in the Parliament.
  3. 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.
  4. Election-related news like reforms by the Election Commission.
  5. News related to the Constitution, amendments, etc.
  6. Supreme Court/High Court verdicts are important.
  7. Parliamentary debates.

Do not focus on:

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

Under national news

  1. 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.
  2. News related to ISRO, any scientific developments in the country are important.

Do not focus on:

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

Under economy

  1. Government press releases related to SEBI, Planning Commission, RBI, banking reforms, reforms in the economy, agriculture, industry, etc.
  2. NASSCOM, ASSOCHAM – related news that affects business.
  3. 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

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

General Knowledge

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

What news to avoid for UPSC exam preparation?

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

10 tips to read the newspaper for IAS exam

  1. Have a clear idea of the UPSC syllabus before starting your preparation so that when you read the newspaper, you know what is related to the syllabus and what is not.
  2. Read only the exam-relevant articles and editorials.
  3. Your goal is more important than your interest when it comes to reading the newspaper. It is easy to get tempted to read about a favourite topic or person featured in the newspaper but all this takes away precious time from your hands. Remember you are reading the paper with the clear aim of clearing the UPSC civil services exam.
  4. Make notes as and when you read the newspaper. Your notes should be crisp and relevant.
  5. You don’t have to go in-depth in most cases. For example, you don’t have to remember every name and number that figures in articles related to a particular scam. You only have to understand the basic problem, the key figures and people involved, the policy/law related to it, and the implications of the same for the country and society.
  6. When you read editorials you must note down the positive and the negative sides to an issue. You must include points from multiple perspectives. Editorials tend to prefer a particular side depending on the newspaper management’s tilt. But when you read and extract material from them, make sure to incorporate both points of view and have a balanced approach.
  7. Try to classify what you read into categories like geography, polity, economics, environment, ecology, science and technology, etc. This will help you make notes and also ease your preparation.
  8. When you make notes out of the newspaper articles and editorials, write in your own words. Keep it simple and easy to learn.
  9. Be serious about your newspaper reading time. Sit at your study table while reading, so that you don’t miss out on any vital news. Avoid reading the newspaper while travelling. You can definitely read the notes made out of the newspaper while travelling if you lack time.
  10. Check out the daily updated BYJU’S comprehensive daily news analysis in the link below.

Reading the newspaper will help you in all the stages of the UPSC IAS exam; the prelims, the mains and the interview. Apart from that, it is also an excellent habit that will go a long way in making you a well-informed, socially aware and sensitive human being.


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