How to read Newspaper for IAS

How to read Newspaper for IAS

Once an aspirant start preparing for Civil Services, I’m sure no one have found a single professor/colleague/senior who has failed to tell, “You must read Newspaper daily and design notes according to that”….reading atleast one newspaper is must to clear the examination, etc, etc.
It is true that current affairs forms an important part of the Civil Services examination. Let’s understand the significance and pattern of current affairs asked in the Civil Service examination.

In Prelims examination

The questions are generally conceptual in Prelims. Mostly the current events are linked with concepts to design the question. For example, if the news related to Governor is in News – then question pertaining to selection, powers or comparison with President can be asked.
Example– Government has taken many steps for digitization of currency. Thus UPSC has asked question:

Q. Which one of the following best describes the term “Merchant Discount Rate” sometimes seen in news?

(a) The incentive given by a bank to a merchant for accepting payments through debit cards pertaining to that bank.
(b) The amount paid back by banks to their customers when they use debit cards for financial transactions for purchasing goods or services.
(c) The charge to a merchant by a bank for accepting payments from his customers through the bank’s debit cards.
(d) The incentive given by the Government to merchants for promoting digital payments by their customers through Point of Sale (PoS) machines and debit cards.

Hence preparation for Preliminary examination requires thorough understanding of core concepts alongwith current events.
Sometimes direct question based on current events are asked in the examination.
Example – Consider the following pairs:

Region sometimes mentioned in news country
1. Catalonia – Spain
2. Crimea – Hungary
3. Mindanao – Philippines
4. Oromia – Nigeria

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?
a) 1, 2 and 3
b) 3 and 4 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) 2 and 4 only

Hence by analyzing the types of questions asked in the previous Civil services Examination, one can understand the areas need to be focused while reading newspaper.

In Mains examination

The questions in the Main examination, mainly in GS Paper 2 and Paper 3 are based on contemporary issues. The concepts are linked with issues to check the multi-dimensional approach of the aspirant.
For example: UPSC Question: Does the right to clean environment entail legal regulations on burning crackers during Diwali? Discuss in the light of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and Judgement(s) of the Apex Court in this regard. (2015).

In the above question the concept of Article 21 has been linked with the Supreme Court judgment. Preparing for such type of questions require 360 degree view on the particular topic.

In Interview examination

Interview is the last step to the goal of becoming a Civil Servant. It is not just to check your knowledge but to check your overall personality – your attitude and aptitude – Is it apt for being a Civil Servant or not?
The questions which are asked in interview range from questions related to your hobbies, optional subjects and current affairs.
Hence reading Newspaper is indispensible for clearing the examination.

Now the question arises – How to read it?

The steps are as follows:

1. Firstly chose atleast one newspaper which you will read – The Hindu or Indian Express.
2. Then thoroughly read newspaper.
3. Focus areas should be:

• The governance news related to any scheme, report, formation of committee, commission.
• Political news should be avoided but if it covers or highlight any underlined issue, then focus should be on that.

For example: The recent issue of removal of CBI director. So in CSE, question will not directly be based on that but it can be asked as:
 Methodology of appointment of CBI director
 Functions of CBI
 Effectiveness and their achievements
 Challenges to their autonomy.
 Issue of reduction in autonomy of government institutions (it can be linked to RBI)

Hence the questions are asked on the context of the issue rather than the issue itself. Thus while reading newspaper, student should be able to explore the underlined issues mentioned in the topic.

• Terminologies related to economy, science or environment.

4. It is necessary to keep a Pen and notebook to note down important points after reading the news. The note making should be both from the prelims and mains point of view.
5. Student is generally advised to read atleast one newspaper ut he should read editorials from 2-3 sources. This will help in development of answer writing skill as well as multidimensional approach.

Editorials of The Hindu, Indian Express and Livemint can be considered.

Newspapers will improve your overall knowledge and add to your skill set. It will improve your confidence in interviews and group discussion. It will also help in developing the analytical skill.

How Unique Shiksha help in covering Current Affairs?
UNIQUE SHIKSHA is providing current affairs on:

Daily basis:

• It includes the important headlines from different newspapers and website as The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint, Business Line, PIB, Economist, etc.
• The link of the news are provided.
• Alongwith that sample MCQs and Mains question are provided to teach the pattern of questions which can be asked from particular news.
Benefit: Through this student will be up to date related to the current events and will be able to learn the pattern of questions also.


• It includes important news under three different heads:
 Snippets – prelims news
 News summary – Pre cum Mains news
 News analysis – Mains news with detailed analysis.

• Along with that:
 Prelims questions based on News summary section
 Mains questions based on News analysis section
 Model answers of Mains questions of last edition will also be provided.

Other sources for preparation of Current affairs
Apart from reading newspaper student has to read from some online sources to get more information about the things happening in the surroundings as well as develop inter-disciplinary approach.

The sources are:

a) PIB

What to focus?
 Programs, and policy initiatives and updates from the government.
 Year end reviews of Ministries
 Speeches by important personalities as it can be quoted in Essays.

b) PRS

What to focus?
 Read the bill and reports.
 Blogs of experts should be read


What to focus?
 Listen news daily
 Listen debates on contemporary issues and note down important points. They can be directly used in the Answer.