How to Read a Newspaper for UPSC? »

How to Read a Newspaper for UPSC?

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Newspaper reading is a crucial part of every candidate’s daily routine during the UPSC CSE Exam preparation time. UPSC CSE Exam contains a fair share of current affairs questions, so it is imperative that one reads the newspaper well and regularly on a daily basis. An experienced UPSC Exam candidate who has a thorough understanding of both the Prelims and Mains syllabus and the pattern of the UPSC CSE examination will have fewer worries. However, a novice UPSC candidate who knows less about both will take more time to read and prepare. It is strongly recommended that candidates go through the previous year’s UPSC CSE question papers to ensure that they are well-versed in the UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains syllabus.

The importance of reading newspapers for the UPSC CSE exam has increased significantly over the years. To succeed in the upcoming UPSC CSE examination, candidates should read a good newspaper daily. For basic conceptual clarity of different subjects, just as we should be familiar with the NCERT books and standard reference books, we also need to keep up with the events around us. To succeed in the examination, it is vital that candidates read the newspaper. Newspaper reading offers useful information on current affairs, which is a very important component of questions asked in both the UPSC CSE prelims and mains examinations.

Importance of Newspapers in UPSC Exams

Reading newspapers is extremely crucial for the UPSC CSE examination preparation. To ensure that all candidates get the most accurate, precise and trustworthy information about different sectors of India and other countries, several authentic newspapers are available for them to read. Current affairs play a significant role in the UPSC CSE prelims examination. 

The prelims exam is the first stage of the UPSC CSE Exam, which consists of two papers: General Studies and CSAT. To reach the Mains Examination, candidates must pass both papers in the Prelims exam. In addition, both of these papers contain questions on current affairs from different sectors. 

There is no level of UPSC coaching that will assist aspirants unless and until they read the newspaper daily every day. UPSC aspirants should keep themselves updated about the latest developments and happenings at the national and international levels through newspapers. In addition, newspapers provide the much-needed study materials for current affairs, which plays a central role in the UPSC exams. Based on past UPSC question papers, the UPSC General Studies paper contains 50 per cent of current affairs questions. UPSC aspirants are encouraged to read the newspaper every day. 

How to Read the Newspaper for the UPSC Exam?

Newspapers are a good tool for UPSC candidates to prepare strategically and smartly for the upcoming UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains Examination. It is important for UPSC aspirants to familiarise themselves with the UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains syllabus and previous year’s questions before they begin reading newspapers. To prepare for the upcoming UPSC examination, newspapers should be read carefully by the aspiring UPSC candidates from the perspectives of Polity, Economics, National News & International Relations and General Knowledge.

Candidates can follow the following tips on how to read the newspaper for the upcoming UPSC CSE Examination:


  • Read the syllabus thoroughly: By reading the UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains syllabus thoroughly, candidates will be able to select relevant news items from the newspaper, saving a lot of time during their UPSC CSE Exam preparation. Candidates should focus on reading only the relevant news that is relevant to the UPSC exam syllabus. 
  • Go through previous year’s UPSC CSE questions: Previous year’s UPSC Prelims and Mains questions, especially those in the current affairs section, will give the candidates an idea of what type of questions they will encounter during the upcoming UPSC CSE Examination. This will help them to be able to read the newspapers more effectively. 
  • Make notes and revise them: Revising is very important during the UPSC CSE preparation. Along with reading newspapers on a daily basis, aspiring UPSC candidates should also revise the monthly compilation of important news. Hence, make notes of important news for each month and revise them to prepare yourself better for the upcoming UPSC CSE Prelims Examination. 
  • Have a specific newspaper time: It is imperative for UPSC aspirants to take reading newspapers seriously on a daily basis without fail. Candidates must have a specific time in their daily study routine to read a newspaper. They should keep taking notes while reading the newspaper to not miss out on vital information and to make revision easier at a later stage. 
  • India’s International Relations: A prominent topic of discussion in the daily newspaper is India’s bilateral relationships with other nations. Each newspaper publishes information on various bilateral summits. A number of state public service commission’s ask direct questions based on such information. So candidates should prudently choose news related to India’s bilateral relationships and read them without fail. 
  • English Vocabulary: Through the newspaper, candidates can improve their vocabulary as well. Whenever they read a newspaper, they should have a dictionary with them. They can note down the new words that they come across and increase their vocabulary and prowess in English grammar. They can use these new words while writing their answers during the upcoming UPSC CSE Mains examination. Candidates can save a lot of time by learning the right vocabulary during their UPSC CSE exam preparation.

What to Read in National News?

  • Make sure to keep up with the latest national news
  • Recent government initiatives and schemes
  • Information on the Indian Space Research Organisation and other Defence news
  • Events of national importance

What to Read in Politics?

  • Bills passed in the Parliament that are important or controversial
  • News about amendments or about the Indian constitution in general
  • Major decisions of the Election Commission of India that affect elections
  • Major government initiatives, schemes and welfare issues 
  • Judiciary-related news 
  • Significant Supreme Court decisions, orders and verdict 

Must Read in Economics

  • Regular press releases issued by SEBI, RBI, NITI Aayog, NASSCOM, ASSOCHAM, World Bank, etc.
  • Union Budget and Economic Survey 
  • Indices and Ranks related to India
  • Various government initiatives and financial reforms
  • GST reforms and government-relief packages
  • Latest GDP, inflation, CPI, IIP, etc.

Must Read in International News

  • International news that directly affects India’s foreign policy
  • Events and conferences attended by the Indian President, Indian Prime minister and other Indian political dignitaries internationally
  • Information about critical agreements and Treaties ratified by India 
  • United Nations reports, WHO reports, UNICEF reports, ASEAN reports, etc.
  • Important international events

How to Read Newspapers for Current Affairs?

In addition to the major topics already covered, candidates should also read and study global issues like climate change/global warming. They also need to brush up on environmental news, biodiversity, news about extinct and endangered species, culture and heritage and other technology-related matters.

What not to ‘Focus’ While Reading Newspapers?

  1. Entertainment news about movie release dates and box office collections.
  2. Sports news, unless it is your hobby mentioned in the DAF. Also, if the news is related to polity/administration, you should read it. There’s no need to focus much on sports news unless you’ve mentioned it in the DAF, as it is your hobby. 
  3. Local or state news unless it has a significant impact on a larger national level.
  4. Skip the regional news unless you prepare to appear for the UPSC interview on short notice.
  5. Skip controversial cinema news about celebrities and their personal lives. 

Ending Note:

To conclude, it is crucial to read the newspaper daily without fail throughout the UPSC CSE exam preparation, particularly for the prelims, the mains, and the interview. In addition to that, it is a great habit that will go a long way in making you an informed, socially aware and sensitive person. 

In recent years, many topics and areas have been covered in newspapers, making them extremely beneficial for the UPSC CSE aspiring candidates. The UPSC CSE Exam also pays a lot of attention to the daily happenings. Therefore, the above-mentioned tips are to help you manage your time well and not waste it on unimportant items and concentrate only on the areas where it is necessary.

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