Do Newspapers have a substitute in UPSC Preparation?
The preparation of IAS exam is incomplete if one does not have a fair idea about the national and international occurrences and the issues that are prevalent in the contemporary world. Newspaper is not only a source of valuable facts and data but at the same time provides a comprehensive analysis which takes care of the holistic IAS preparation to an extent. However, it would be irrelevant, at the same point of time to collect all the newspapers available in the market and create a mountain of those and get afraid and depressed, by looking at the mountain, everyday!
With the advent and advancement of digital media, newspapers have lost their mark but not in the case of Civil Service preparation. Firstly, newspapers provide a detailed information about an issue starting from its origin to its present state in the national and international affairs (as of when viable). Newspaper scores it over digital media when it comes to act as a repository of information and getting a clear picture in a timeline manner. Secondly, relying on newspaper increases the scope of storing news and going back to it as of when necessary, which is not possible with televisions news. Thirdly, reading it from the newspaper and highlighting the important points make it easier to remember facts, for prelims and connect the matter to any conventional subject from mains perspective.
How to choose the correct newspaper for IAS preparation?
Certain things are to be kept in mind while choosing the newspaper for your preparation to crack the Civil Service examination. These are:
- Avoid newspapers that are saturated with anything but facts.
- If a newspaper provides editorial columns with unbiased news analysis, then that should be your pick.
- The language of the newspaper should be lucid, which focuses on simple and meaningful sentences gains prominence over jargons.
- The above points for selecting the newspaper hold good, whether you chose English or Hindi, as your medium to write the examination.
N.B.: The two highly acclaimed newspapers for IAS Exam are the Hindu and the Indian Express.
How to read the Newspaper for cracking the IAS Exam?
Selecting the correct newspaper is important for having a good source for the preparation purpose. However, selecting the right news is vital for cracking the IAS exam. Each and every news article is not at all important for being a topper in the UPSC CSE exam. Syllabus is the essential tool that complements the newspaper for Civil Service preparation.
The UPSC expects the IAS exam candidates to have a fair and square knowledge about the topics that are mentioned in the syllabus. Reading the newspaper is again not enough to score the mandatory cut off in the merit list. The mantra should be: learn limited topics but cover the topics from all the possible dimensions. For example, if there is any news on policy rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India, learn about the definitions of repo rate, reverse repo rate, the effect on exchange rate of the rupee in the international market, role of the Monetary Policy Committee, its composition, etc.
Next comes the linking of the contemporary issues with the conventional areas of the syllabus like: history, polity, economics, environment, etc. This would ensure a complete preparation of both the aspect of IAS exam- static and the dynamic part. At the same time, revising the simultaneous conventional chapters while revising newspaper notes ensures complete revision and with each such practice, the ability to tackle MCQs in the preliminary examination, become stronger.
Daily Newspapers or Monthly Compilations?
There is only one answer to this: a consistent approach with little targets of study is any day better than a bulk book of information at the end of the month. An IAS aspirant should develop the practice of reading the newspaper daily and making crisp notes. This would serve two purposes: firstly, self made notes are easier to learn and remember which helps in recapitulation of information; and secondly, this practice would create a strong base for mains answer writing where presenting the relevant information in a comprehensive manner, within word and time limits becomes a challenge for the candidate.