In the Civil Services Examination, reading newspaper is one of the most important task to qualify the examination. Without reading a newspaper daily, one cannot even imagine to become a civil servant. However, many of the aspirants do not know the right way of reading newspaper for the civil service/ other exams, leading to wastage of time and energy.
Undirected and non-focussed reading leads to a considerable waste of time and energy of an aspirant. Moreover, they end up with a lack of understanding of burning topics of current importance. This happens because of adopting an unorganized way of studying a newspaper.
The mode of studying should be structured and noted should be made in such a manner so as to answer questions asked in the UPSC examination. A structured way of studying helps in structuring of our thought process. A structured process, in turn, helps in writing good answers in the examination.
While reading a newspaper, you should try to link a topic with the matter written in traditional books. For example, if you read a newspaper article regarding a supreme court judgment on Right to Privacy, you should open your traditional book on ‘Indian Polity’ and re-read the section on ‘Fundamental Rights’. Once you re-read this section, you would be able to better understand that how Supreme Court has declared the ‘Right to Privacy’ as a fundamental right. Reading a newspaper, without referring to the traditional topic, may lead to confusion, non-clarity and the aspirant may resort to rote learning.
Secondly, while reading a newspaper, we should remember that UPSC asks questions on issues and not on news. Thus, one has to understand the issues mentioned in the newspaper and avoid superficial glancing of news. If you go through a newspaper, only few issues will be discussed. Rest of the newspaper consist of political views, propaganda and gossip. An aspirant should have the lens to identify the issues discussed in a newspaper.
Thirdly, there may be instances when only one side of a story is discussed in a news article. There is becomes important to read about the whole topic (from all angles) from a good book and/ or the internet. Then it is required to make short notes on the whole topic and attach them with the news article.
Fourthly, the most important question that comes to mind is how to remember what one had read in a newspaper. For this, a simple formula is required to be followed. It is as mentioned below:
i. Underline the important sections of an important issue based article.
ii. Affix additional handwritten noted to it, if any.
iii. Classify the different articles according to UPSC topics like ‘economy article’, ‘polity article’, and so on.
iv. Affix important underlined articles on loose sheets and put articles under the ‘same head’ together.
v. As days pass, make different booklets of articles under different heads by stapling them together.
vi. Keep revising from your own ‘current affairs’ booklets every 15 days. There is no need to buy an other ‘General Knowledge Magazine’ or ‘Current Affairs Magazine’ from the market. Reading those will be counter-productive to say the least. One should make his/ her own ‘current affairs booklet’ and read it over and over again every fortnight.
vii. If you follow this practice, you will find that many of the issues are repeated with a modified language or a modified opinion. In that case, re-read the earlier article from your ‘current affairs booklet’ and then read the new article. This would help in understanding the new article with more ease. Moreover, it would be beneficial if the new article is attached with the similar old article.