“Reading a newspaper on a regular basis is a prerequisite for cracking any public service examination. Developing the habit of reading newspapers daily might take long hours for the beginners but once you have mastered the art of extracting the relevant information from it, the rest of the preparation journey becomes easier. In this article, I, Swapnil Singh, from Aspirants Today, will share my strategy of reading a newspaper effectively within 60 minutes, for the aspiring candidates of BPSC and all other civil service examinations.”
“Well begun is half done” – A very famous quote by the eminent Greek philosopher Aristotle is indeed a great way of formulating the preparation strategy for cracking any public service examination. A proper start accelerates the rate of study as well as excludes the irrelevant things. Reading a newspaper, from exam point of view, is one such area where the beginners mostly face the problem of lack of approach and understanding. Owing to the recent trends of increased weightage of current affairs section in civil/public services, reading a good newspaper is an indispensable and crucial part of exam preparation not just to be aware of the events but also to develop an opinion and in-depth knowledge about the issues of national and international importance. However, instead of wasting 3-4 hours a day, a more mature and selective reading habit is the need of the hour.
Choice of Newspaper
Coming to the choice of a good newspaper, I will suggest you all to read ‘The Hindu’ as it covers all the important national and international issues effectively and holistically for the civil/public service aspirants. For conceptual knowledge in Economics, one can refer to the ‘Indian Express’ editorials as and when required. For the Hindi medium students, it might be a little difficult at first to understand its language but I will still recommend you to go through it regularly to know about the current events and make your notes in Hindi for revision. For BPSC candidates, I will suggest you to follow a local newspaper in addition such as ‘Dainik Bhaskar or Prabhat Khabar’ to always keep yourself updated with the local news.
Strategy to follow in 60 Minutes:
Beginners must remember that mastering the art of newspaper reading requires time and therefore one must not panic initially when it might take 3-4 hours at a stretch. Focus on developing the habit of daily newspaper reading for 1-2 weeks and once you are adjusted to its content, you can start skipping the unnecessary news pieces and targeting only the essential ones. The following key points will further help you in rounding off the newspaper in just 60 minutes:
1. Learn the syllabus of the exam by heart
Knowing the detailed syllabus of the exam, you are appearing for, is the first step in understanding the requirements of the exam. So, before starting to read, keep a list of all the keywords such as biodiversity, international and national importance, environmental concerns etc. that appear in the syllabus and look out for the related news in the newspaper.
2. Analyze the previous year exam papers
Assessing the past year questions will help you in categorizing the relevant areas from where they are asked. For example- Polity, Geography, Science and Technology, Personalities etc. You can, then, make a separate register or file to keep notes on each of these areas and write or paste important notes that you can gather from the newspaper, on a daily basis, in them. These notes will simplify your revision during Prelims as well as Mains stages.
3. Focus on issues than news pieces
Target the issues hidden underneath the news pieces given in the newspapers. Always focus on WHAT, WHY and HOW rather than WHEN and WHERE. For example- The number of deaths or financial losses from cyclone Amphan in West Bengal and Odisha is of no use but the origin, formation and nature of the cyclone should be of concern from the exam perspective.
4. Read Editorial Page in detail
The editorial section is the most informative section of any newspaper, especially The Hindu, so I will recommend you to read it in detail. It will help you in forming an effective opinion about a current event providing its pros and cons. Also, it will provide a good introductory and summative lines that can be used in answer writing for enhancing its quality and content to fetch good marks in Mains Exam. You can also keep newspaper cuttings for revision in future.
5. Avoid irrelevant sections
Skip the political statements, sports, gossip, local news and supplementary sections from the Hindu to save time. A slight glimpse of the International Page is enough to know about global events.
Always remember, there is no real substitute for replacing a standard source like a book or a newspaper so put your energy in your preparations with utmost sincerity rather than looking for short-cuts because my friend, THERE CAN NEVER BE A SHORT CUT TO SUCCESS.
Hope you find this article useful!Best wishes,
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