(Getting Started) How to Read A Newspaper for IAS Exam

How to Read A Newspaper for IAS Exam

Newspapers are seen as an indispensable tool to prepare for the civil services examinations. It is highly unimaginable to think about clearing the civil services examinations without cultivating a mature newspaper reading habit. However, most of the candidates fail to develop the style of selective reading, that a newspaper requires.

A newspaper generally contains information about different issues and topics. Many of these issues might not be as relevant for the civil services preparation. Therefore, it is important to cultivate a habit of making a selective reading of a newspaper.

This habit requires an understanding of the syllabus of the civil services examination, as well as the relevance of any topic from an examination point of view.

To begin with, it is important to remember that an examination, of the level of the civil services exam, does not bother about the political tussles and non-decisive debates that are brimming in the newspaper of these days. Though these developments might be important in understanding the contemporary scenario of politics of the country, but from an exam point of view, it is unimportant to spend enormous amount of time in making an in-depth study of these issues. Thus, an aspirant shall glide through the articles and news relating to the political developments of the working of different parties and groups.

What is of importance, from the exam point of view is the decisions that are being taken, and the agreements that are concluded by the public authorities. Also important is, to look at the syllabus and highlight the developments that particularly relate to the traditional knowledge given in the books.

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Also, it is important to keep a log of the developments that an aspirant reads in the newspapers, because it is practically impossible to remember each and every news item till the exam time. Therefore, a more rational practice is to prepare a log of the important items from the newspaper. This shall not take much time of the candidate, as the candidate need to write down every bit of article from the paper. Also, while preparing notes from the papers, do not try to copy down the entire matter as it is. Instead, read the news items carefully and write down the brief summary. This would also help you to keep track of different developments that are covered by the newspapers.

By the time of the examinations, you would be able to prepare all the current affairs easily and in an adequate space. This approach has been utilized by many of the IAS toppers, and has been proved for its effectiveness.
As a supplement to your newspapers, a candidate may also use any current affairs magazine, as an additional resource. However, the value of the self-made notes cannot be exaggerated.

For Instance:

Example 1- There has been a rapid rise and fall in the Delhi Assembly politics.

Many of us might feel that a question might be asked relating to the developments that have been taking place.

However, looking at the recent trends of the UPSC question papers, it is unlikely that the UPSC would ask direct questions pertaining to the developments in this area.

However, what the UPSC might ask could still be related to the recent developments in the political struggle in Delhi.

Like- a question may refer to the provisions about a situation of 'hung assembly';


Example 2- In the case of the recent Syrian Crisis, it is likely to be asked that- How is India's interest involved in the Syrian crisis;

or what is the main factor that has given wind to the developments in Syria.

UPSC might not directly ask about the settlement of the Syrian issue or the agreements signed.


Example 3- Though the General Elections are on our heads, but UPSC is unlikely to ask questions pertaining to the elections agendas or activities related to different parties. However, it might still be asked that- How does the Election Commission recognize a political party; or What are the possible disqualifications of a election candidate or a voter.

Thus, what is implied here is that it is important to read a newspaper, by linking it to what we read in the books. The recent trends of the UPSC has seen questions more based on the applicability of the issues, rather the direct factual questions.


Thus, what is implied here is that it is important to read a newspaper, by linking it to what we read in the books. The recent trends of the UPSC has seen questions more based on the applicability of the issues, rather the direct factual questions.

Express Points-

  1. Newspapers are a very handy tool in preparation of the civil services examination.

  2. Learn how to do the selective reading from the newspapers.

  3. It is always useful to prepare notes from the selected news items of the newspaper. This would also Help in the long-run.

  4. Maintaining notes from the newspapers also help you in better remembering the current events. Because, you will be reading the important news items multiple items, while preparing the notes for them.

Newspapers Vs. Magazines

It is often thought whether to go for the dailies or the monthly magazines, that are widely available in the market. However, a candidate should remember a basic difference between the two, before going for their study.
Since a newspaper is made in a haste, it might lack a sharp analysis and evaluation of an issue. Newspapers are, basically, a reservoir of factual knowledge on current events and agreements. However, a good newspaper also contains important editorial articles, which contain a good analysis of contemporary issues. Many of the editorials can prove to be of great value, from an exam point of view. Thus, reading a newspaper can be useful in expanding the knowledge base of the candidate. However, this task is fruitful only when done through a selective reading.

A Magazine, on the other hand, presents a summary of the events that has taken place in a particular time frame. Thus, it is very useful for those candidates, who are not able to cultivate a habit of selective reading of the newspaper, or does not have appropriate time for the newspaper reading. Reading a good magazine can particularly help the working professionals, in getting acquaint with the current events without devoting time for the newspaper everyday.

Which Paper/Magazine to Read?

Reading the HINDU for IAS Exam-

The Hindu is considered a very good newspaper for the preparation of the IAS, IPS exam. However, it should be noted that the language of the Hindu is generally of a higher level. Thus, a beginner should prepare his/her notes carefully, and without any haste.

We suggest a stage-wise approach to read the Hindu. At First, just go through the paper, and mark the news items that are relevant from the exam perspective. Remember, avoid getting indulged in the political and non-significant controversies. Once you mark the relevant portions, you can just read the other material superficially.

As the next stage, study each selected news item carefully, paragraph by paragraph, and write down the summary of the news item, IN YOUR OWN WORDS. It is important that you write the summary in your own words, as it would be beneficial in the long term. You would notice that from the paper of each day, there are hardly 8-10 pieces of news items that would require your serious reading.

This strategy would help you to maintain a log of important current affairs.

For the Hindi Medium Students

Aspirants, with the Hindi medium, might feel, at times, a scarcity of quality material. To tackle with this problem, there are only two options:

You should prepare the current affairs section, from good Hindi newspapers, using the above mentioned strategy. Remember that, you must not go deep into the irrelevant news articles.

The second strategy involves a little more effort, but also guarantees better result in the future. You might start reading a good English newspaper slowly, and develop your personal notes in Hindi, in your own language.

This would have two advantages: One, you would better remember the things, as you will be going through the news material multiple times. Second, your understanding and hold on the English language would improve substantially, helping you in the exams as well as in the longer run.

We wish the candidates All the Best for their preparations.

For further support and guidance, feel free to comment or mail to us.

Team IASEXAMPORTAL.COM

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GS Foundation Course (PT+ MAINS) for IAS EXAM

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