Friday, May 25, 2012

Newspaper Reading for UPSC Mains Exam


Current Affairs forms a crucial aspect of Mains exams. Keeping in mind the changing nature of Mains exam; it is very crucial to be very rigorous in Current Affairs. And the best source for preparing for Mains current exam is your daily newspapers. But it is often observed that students spend too much time on reading newspapers, they are often bogged down by the sheer volume of news that one has to read. In this post I will try and give some tips about how to make newspaper reading more effective and reduce the time spent on it. 

     During my preparation, I read two newspapers – Indian Express and The Hindu; and when I was preparing for the interview, I added Economic Times or Business Standard to it. The magazines that I referred were: Yojana and Civil Services Chronicle.  There is no need to refer to any current affairs material from any coaching institutes (at least I did not refer to any). Generally it has been seen that questions asked in Mains are from the events/issues that have occurred in the last 8-10 months.  So for 2012-Mains being aware of happenings from Januray 2012 is sufficient, especially the period from May to September. 

    The questions that we term as Current Affairs questions in Mains GS paper are linked to the topics mentioned in the syllabus. Hence it is very important to be thorough with the syllabus. For example, under National and Social Issues (Paper-I); sub-topic is mentioned – Issues in Good Governance. So any good news article that you see regarding new governance initiatives, governance reforms becomes relevant for us. Like in 2010 GS Mains exam, we had a question on Wadhwa Committees recommendation on PDS system, most newspapers had carried detailed news-reports and analysis on the same. So, be very clear about the syllabus, and when you read the newspaper, the syllabus must be at the back of your mind, this will make it easy for you identify the relevant articles in the newspaper.

    Among the pages/sections mentioned in the newspaper, it is important to go through the National, International, Economy/ Business. OP-ED(Opinion and Editorial) pages. News from sports section will normally get asked for 2,3 or 5 mark questions.
When you find and important article/column then underline the key points, make a cutting of the article and paste it in a file/notebook. You can divide your notebook into two section – Paper I and Paper II.  You can have further sub-categories but it will unnecessarily become complex. So stick to a simple categorization. This file/notebook will be really helpful as the exams come closer and you can just revise from it.
     You can also jot down some important points from a newspaper article in the above mentioned file/notebook. Thus what you have is one single source of current affairs with you. And take my word, to maintain this notebook/file regularly; you do not require much effort or time; but just some discipline on daily basis.  Make it a daily habit and you do not require more than an hour for newspaper reading daily.   

    Supplement your newspaper reading with Yojana and Civil Services Chronicle.  Chronicle helps you to cover news that may have been missed by the newspapers. Sections like – Economy watch, S&T watch, World watch etc are very useful. 

    Do not ignore newspaper reading at any cost for your Mains preparation. Relying on readymade notes/ coaching notes for current affairs is not advisable.  Best luck with your efforts; remain persistent and any doubts/clarifications, feel free to ask them.

41 comments:

  1. @AASHISH THAKRE :Sir plz AGAIN start ur own blog whch we aspirants r missng soo much

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    1. Thanks for your support Vipul.. Starting my old blog will require time, which may not be possible at this time.. And I would be more active on this blog..

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  2. Sir, with regard to Civil Services Chronicle... Each issue carries one jumbo article about a major subject- Eg. Indian Economy or National Security or Education etc. How useful is that part, especially because it is that part that takes the most time to complete.

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    1. Hi Harsh,
      you are right, the jumbo article in Chronicle is time consuming. You can just go through it broadly. Chronicle as a magazine is average in its presentation and language; but its very good on information and facts..So just get the information from it..

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    2. sir plz give me list of book for optional pol science new syllbus for main in marathi

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  3. Hi Sir,From March till May all the papers are pending so how to fill that backlog do need to spend more time on that plz suggest.

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    1. Well, In case of the backlog, just go through the Chronicles of the months that you have missed the newspapers i.e. March to May. and now henceforth do not miss even a single day of newspaper reading..
      best wishes..

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  4. hello Sir,

    thank you so much... I'm sure this is very helpful :)
    Sir, please post some tips regarding Prelims, like how u prepared.

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    1. Hi Bhanu,
      good to hear that the blog is proving useful to you..
      As to Prelims preparation, I will post about it. The only thing is that I gave the prelims in 2010 when the old pattern was there; so I cannot comment on the new paper of CSAT much. But on GS I will surely write a post in couple of days..
      best wishes..

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  5. Hello Sir,
    This is Deepak tiwari from Mumbai. I am 27, I am left with 2 attempts for CSE. I could not appear for CSE before as I was the only bread winner for the family. I can now prepare for UPSC as one of brother has started to work. I wish to clear this exam with good rank, Sir. Have to start it right from the scratch. Kindly guide me so that I can formulate a good strategy for UPSC. I shall be grateful for your reply. Thank you.

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  6. Hi Deepak,
    since you have given the exam earlier, you have an idea about the pattern. How was your performance in the earlier attempts?
    In the remaining attempts, just work to improve your answer writing skills and revise properly and avoid the mistakes committed in the earlier attempts..
    anything more specific, do let us know..
    best luck..

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    1. No sir, have never attempted the exam before. I have just started to prepare from this May.I was working for a private college and with tuition to take I hardly could read some thing for UPSC. However I did read newspaper (Indian Express) while travelling. Currently I am about to get a government job in JAI HIND College, Mumbai. I want to clear UPSC but am in two mind since have just started to prepare for CSE. I not sure whether I would make it to the list in the two attempts that I have. Many of my friends and family member believe that I should give up my dream to be an IAS and should rather take up the job of a professor in the college. I dont know what do I do? I want to write UPSC but I know its too difficult with this job in hand. Should I take up the job and leave UPSC or leave UPSC and take up a permanent post in the college.I am confused. Dont know what do I do? As have a lot of pressure from family. I know U can't help me with this problem since I will be a better judge.. but as a friend if you kindly help. It will be a great, Sir. Thank U.

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    2. This dilemma is faced by many, life is all about to choices you make in life. Considering the fact that UPSC is uncertain, you have compulsion of job; I personally don't think that at this stage of life to quit job ( A government job for that matter) for UPSC is anyway a sound proposal.
      But it's all about your decision. I think you can take midway path. Like joining college and then taking leave for exam. Just look for some intelligent solution to you this problem.

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    3. Thank you sir. However today I spoke to my Head of Dept. He was very supportive and was happy to know my plans. He advised that I should speak to my college principal about my UPSC plans. He(Head of Dept) has assured me that he will strike a deal with my principal. Hoping for the best. Thanks once again sir.

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    4. I have finished reading NCERT textbooks from class 8th to 12th (SCI, HIST, Geog, Pol.Sc, Sociology and Economics both Micro and Macro). I have started reading BIPIN CHANDRA and Subhash Kashyap's Our constitution. I wish to test my understanding if I am on the right track. Can you suggest me any good question set except UPSC's G.S mains paper which I have already started to refer, so that i can check whether I am in the right direction. One more thing if you can suggest any good guidance center in mumbai where I can go and get my answers checked and my doubts clarified. I have started to write some answer to previous years paper so that I can check if I am able to recollect and write in the paper. If there are any test series conducted by some classes in Mumbai kindly let me know except SIAC because I am not eligible for it. Thank you.

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  7. Hello Sir,
    I'm form Mumbai.I'm 25 years old. I have been working in Postal department after my HSC.Sir , I couldn't completed my Graduation because of my job in time. This year I have appeared for the TYBcom exam. I'm planning to appear for the prelim 2013.I hardely get 1 to 2 hours time for study on weekdays. Is it sufficient time for the preparation? How to prepare for the exams of YASHADA and SIAC? Please help me in this regard.

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    1. 1)I cannot you give you false assurance; essentially 1 to 2 Hours time for study is not sufficient as far as UPSC is concerned. If it is possible for you then you can ask for long one year leave and in that time you can prepare as nature of this exam ask for rigorous study.
      2)Exam like Yashada and SIAC has the same syllabus,nature, pattern that of UPSC, so there is no need of any special preparation apart from UPSC preparation!

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    2. hello sir,

      Please tell us what is the optimum time we should devote to studies. I'm an economics graduate. I want to give my first attempt in 2013. what are major things which I should keep in mind regarding preparation?

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    3. Frankly there is no such thing as "optimum time". But one must devote maximum time for study. Still I can say that daily 4 to 6 hours(at least)study is very much essential. As nature of this exam is highly uncertain it is really difficult to determine optimum time.
      Regarding preparation one must always remember that slow and steady wins the race ...continuity in preparation is very much essential.

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  8. sir kindly tell the relevance of pib website in g s(mains and prelims)

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  9. Hi Aditya,
    PIB website is useful but very exhaustive..so if you access it, be very selective..

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. sir kindly tell us the specific area to look for in pib website and thanks for the reply

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  10. hello sir, which book should i prefer for constitution of india? and how is P.M.Bakshi book for that?

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    1. I recommended you upsc civil services indian polity exam book for constitution of india exam preparation. It's cover all syllabus and best study material book.

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  11. respected sir
    regarding my preparation with prelims and mains in 2013 ,will news paper be reading must and should or not?,thank you sir...

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    1. Newspaper reading is very much essential and indispensable, necessary and essential part of your preparation .....may it be 2013 or 2014 attempt.

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  12. any one send me the resume format in the civils interview ,it is only my experience .thanks

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  13. Sir i m college student in third year of engineering of UoP.
    I will be writing my final exams of degree in May 2014. I also wish to appear for CSE in the same year. How should i manage my both studies from now? Thank You

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  14. plz anyone tell me that the if i have been maintain notes from news paper and magazines from now anwards till 2013 prelims...is it whether right way or not for current affairs....?regardings thaks santosh

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  15. Please tell me whether reading kurushetra magazine is necessary or only yojana is sufficient?

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    1. There is nothing as "sufficient" in UPSC exam. But still I can firmly say that reading Kurukshetra magazine is not so much necessary. Even while reading Yojana read only those issues, which you find very useful. No need of reading whole magazine.

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  16. Sir do 2-3hrs daily study is enough for MPSC?

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  17. In competitive exam... There is nothing called as "enough" . Study as much as you can!!! We used to say... Study for 25 hours in a day!!

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  18. Sir,your blog is very informative...thanks for the guidance sir. Sir can you please share your experience on how to develop answer writing skills for GS...sir also one more concern..institute people say that you must prepare good lines for topics...where ever you get good lines for any topic,make notes of it and then just vomit during the exams...sir this is of no limit...Important topics are too many and mugging up lines for them is tough...sir please help me out...thanks in advance!!!!

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  19. Sir, my questn is do I make the notes on current affairs or just cut the relevent article and pest in the note book as suggested by Thakre sir.
    What I personally found is though it takes time 1st to read n then to write, it get stored better in the memory.plz suggest me sir how should I go fr that?

    And I m going to join SIAC from 4th jan 2014. I hv been short listed fr it

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  20. True newspaper reading is compulsory for UPSC exam aspirants.. Your article is informative for my UPSC news website.
    http://onlineeducation.extraminds.com/Category/UPSC-News

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  21. Hello,
    I am located in US and just started to study for UPSC. If I am planning to take exam in Aug 2016,how long do I go back in terms of reading newspaper or magazines? Or Can I just start with newspapers from this January?
    Thank you for the above article,it helped a lot.

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  22. Every aspirants has to know about how to utilize and gather information from Newspaper and online resources like Articles, blogs, digital magazines etc., Visit our Website for more information from our senior faculty team.

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