The importance of reading the newspaper for the Civil Services has increased tremendously.There are always substitutes – other newspapers, magazines, current affairs capsules, mobile apps and soon. But we advise 1 hour reading of ‘The Hindu’ newspaper as a daily exercise for all aspirants as this has multiple benefits. Most important of the benefits would be the ‘pictorial memory’ which would be of immense help in Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Also, there would be a lot of improvement in your vocabulary and communication skills. Almost every IAS aspirant knows the importance of reading newspapers for UPSC Civil Services Exam preparation. And, among the newspapers in the market, ‘The Hindu’ is the most recommended newspaper, primarily for its high standards.
Journey from IAS Aspirant to IAS Officer
Reading the first-hand news in The Hindu can never be replaced or even enhanced by any sources. So, try to be focused and loyal to The Hindu. It has proved to a game changer for many toppers and the same can be achieved by you. It cannot be stressed enough that reading newspaper for UPSC preparations is an unavoidable practice. It is great to know that many serious aspirants out there have taken this advice seriously.
A person who has 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.
Honestly, one has to be very well versed with the syllabus and pattern of UPSC before jumping to prepare from newspapers. We suggest you to read the syllabus thoroughly, because –It will help you in picking-up the right articles/issues from the Newspaper, while leaving out irrelevant ones from the exam perspective. It will also reduce your time spent on the Newspapers, as you will know which articles to read and which articles to skip.
How to read ‘The Hindu’ effectively in less than 60 minutes?
By a proper practice of effective reading you can capture everything necessary for UPSC exam from the ‘The Hindu’ in less than 60 minutes. This is by focusing on important areas and just skimming over non-priority pages.
Your focus should be on: • Socio-economic issues like Women issues, Education or Health related issues, Issues or policies affecting vulnerable sections etc. • Issues of national and international importance. • Political issues related to Indian Constitution, Legislative and Administrative processes. • Supreme Court or High Court verdicts. • Good analysis of current issues. • Parliamentary Debates. • Government policies and orders. Note: Make notes on the important topics for quick revision (See sample notes of current affairs in our Daily Updates section. You can download daily PT Pointers from the same section.)
Page-Wise Strategy of The Hindu:
The first page contains major note-worthy news, but not every headline is important. Identify the headlines to its corresponding subjects under your syllabus.
Pages related to City News:
Pages 2 – 6 these are the “regional news” pages, and carry news specifically relating to the respective states. Since the news is going to vary from city to city, these are not crucial from the UPSC point of view.
Pages related to National News:
This page (Generally page 7) is indispensable as it carries news directly linked to national importance. On this page, we advise you to pay attention to key terms like high court verdict, Supreme Court verdict, government policies, new reforms, parliamentary debates , etc. Make sure that you make substantial notes that can be referred to at the end of every month. While making notes, do not pen down elaborate details regarding the report, instead jot down key words and phrases that catch your eye.
Opinion and Editorials:
The highest yielding portion of The Hindu newspaper is its everyday editorial page. Editorials and Open Editorial pages are the most informative sections of the Hindu and hence it should be dealt extensively. High yielding notes as per the IAS Exam perspective can be prepared from here. Try to pick up good introductory and summative lines on crucial issues from here; it can enhance the value of your answers exponentially.
Note: Try to finish everything up to this page within 30-40 minutes. It is seen that many aspirants find it difficult to comprehend the editorials and opinion and spend too much time. Here, we have tried to address this issue in a unique way. It will be helpful for a beginner who has no idea of the ongoing topic and he/she is reading it for the very first time as well as for an aspirant who understands the basics of topic given.
Perspective Page (Usually Page 9):
This is where you see the op-ed. An ‘op-ed’ (originally short for “opposite the editorial page”) is a written prose piece typically published by a newspaper or magazine which expresses the opinion of a named author usually not affiliated with the different perspective on current issues.
News in General (Usually Page 10-11):
These pages deal with news in general. There is no need to go deep into political news or issues, just have a superficial knowledge of what is happening around.
The UPSC syllabus consists of International Relations. This page would be useful for the International Relations topic which is part of UPSC syllabus. Spend some time here, if you find any major happenings.This is the page where you’ll find related news that will help you in your exams. If you find see mention of any impact news, you must spend a few minutes here.
When you read newspaper for UPSC, you must focus on growth parameters, trends, fiscal policy monetary policy, as well as socio economic news pertaining to health, women and education. Focus on trends, growth parameters and issues here.
Note: ‘Economy is as static as dynamic’. In simple terms, to base your preparation on sound level, one has to be well versed with basic economic concepts and terms that form part of economic and business article. Without basic understanding, it would be very troublesome and futile exercise to read economic articles. We highly recommend building your basic concepts and then start deciphering this section.
Sports Page and Life Page:
We advise you to spend minimal time in the sports section. Just make a note of any major achievements or happenings. This is all about How to prepare exam-related 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 number of hours you have put. This is a stark reality and happens to almost every single aspirant at some point of time.
“The earlier you love your preparation, the earliest you live with the success”.