Reading The Hindu newspaper is a crucial and indispensable part of IAS preparation. If you are beginning civil service exam preparation, it is highly possible that you are spending too much time reading the newspapers especially “The Hindu” newspaper.
First step is to understand the syllabus and pattern of the examination well. It will help if one is well versed with thesyllabus and pattern of UPSC before jumping to prepare from newspapers. Newspaper reading takes time and patience but once you bear through the initial few weeks, it will be a very rewarding activity. You will be able to relate static with dynamic, expect developments in a story and develop a sense of relative importance of a news event.
Here are some tips to help you understand “How to read The Hindu newspaper for IAS Exam Preparation”
As an IAS Aspirant, you are required to focus on the underlying theme or issue rather than specific newsbytes.
Understanding the issue rather than just reading word by word. After identifying the issue, take down notes topic wise and not date wise.
One of the preferred order will be last page, sports page, economy section, science and technology section, International, National and at last editorials page.
Do not read after editorials because pages( no. 2 to 5-6), just contain local news of some states.
It is better to have a pen/pencil in your hand and underline every specific information you feel will be helpful.
Then cut all the important news. Have 5-6 files with titles like national, international, sports, awards, bilateral etc. Then put them accordingly. Initially it will take much time.
Only newspaper studying will take 4 to 5 hours per day. Cutting and putting them in files will take another 1 hour. But slowly you will realize which news are important and which are not.
At the time of exam, you will see that this effort of yours will put you much ahead of others in GS score.
Besides The Hindu, one monthly magazine is must. You can use any of 3-4 magazines that are available like civil services chronicle, competition wizard, civil services times etc. The magazines are to be studied only to remain updated with respect to current affairs.
Another important thing is analysis. After reading news, do analyze them at your own and try to make your view on that topic. This really helps when you are writing the mains. For analysis, the editorial and op-ed page is must.
In economy, some technical terms are there which one has to understand to fully understand the news. So, do purchase one good dictionary of economic terms. Also, the special issue of Pratiyogita Darpan (Known as PD) is very helpful.
Another important question is whether to make notes or not. The answer is Yes. For GS, notes making is really helpful.
At last time, do nothing but revise your own notes and write it down on paper. Notes making really helps but remain updated with your notes.
Another thing is to mug up all the international treaties for all the issues like disarmament, global warming, economic meltdown, IPCC, Ramsar convention, G5, G8, G20, NAM , SAARC etc. Here again, do remember their history, year of treaty, purpose and most important current updates.
For statistics, there are two resources. One is a book which is for M.Sc. students by Mr. Gupta. This book clears the fundamentals in a very nice manner. The other one is Spectrum statistics book, which contains previous 10 year papers also.
Do read Mr. Gupta’s book if you have time in plenty. If in hurry, spectrum book is more than sufficient. But please note, statistics requires lot-lot-lot of practice. You have to take all the arms to solve the problems like calculator, protractor, scale, pencils and graph paper. Practice as if you are sitting in the actual exam and try to reduce time and increase accuracy.
Also note that in exam, never follow the strategy of Stats question first and others last. Doing stats first will kill your precious 1 hour. Moreover, stats weightage is decreasing. Instead do the stats questions at the end. Give half an hour for this. And make sure that you have so much practice to complete it in half an hour.
For Science and Technology, there are 2 lines of preparation. One is to prepare all the traditional topics like Nanotech, Biotech, Indian space missions, DRDO military weapons etc. You can prepare these topics from any conventional book or monthly magazine. Special issues of monthly magazines are really helpful. Second is to prepare the latest in Sci and Tech. Now it is a very-very vast field.
Here, again The Hindu is most reliable resource. Never miss the Thursday special Science and Technology issue of The Hindu newspaper.