How to read The Hindu Effectively in Order to Clear the IAS Exam?

The very name The Hindu has almost become synonymous with the preparation for the IAS Exam. Apart from gaining and updating the knowledge of the Current Affairs, reading The Hindu regularly helps equip the IAS aspirants at multiple platforms and allows them to have a sharplycompetitive edge almost over the entire competition vying with each other to score the highest in the Civil Services Exam.

However, a huge majority of the newspaper readers find reading a newspaper a task that consumes a lot of time, and, of course, energy as well. Besides, reading The Hindu is an exercise that is driven by a purpose, in the case of an IAS aspirant. He is slightly nervous while reading the Paper  for nothing relevant should skip his notice. He is not a casual newspaper reader. He is reading no other paper, but The Hindu for the sake of clearing the IAS Exam with flying colours.

The Hindu is the newspaper that is widely acknowledged as being matchless and no IAS aspirant can ever perceive his preparation for the Civil Service Exam as complete without reading the paper regularly.

Why read The Hindu rather than any other newspaper?

The point to be noted is that what is it that works in the favour of The Hindu? The Paper is widely considered to be a source of highly credible information to its readers. The information provided concerning the issues both on the national and international platforms is always authentic.

As a result, The Hindu is read widely, both by the IAS aspirants as well as the usual readers. However, for those of the aspirants seeking to join IAS, who have not been regular newspaper readers, reading The Hindu might appear to be somewhat of a dreary experience.

However, there is an old and famous saying that there are no gains without any pains. Besides, if you are reading The Hindu, you are gaining highly authentic information relevant to the preparation for the IAS Exam.     

How long should you take to read The Hindu as an IAS aspirant?

If you aim at reading the entire content, analyzing all the details in depth, it’s bound to take at least 3-4 hours. However, being an IAS aspirant, you simply would not have that much of the time to go on reading the Paper for that long span of the time. It would only be more sensible and also contribute to your time management skills if you do not spend more than an hour reading the newspaper.

How to read The Hindu in one hour?

An IAS aspirant should not read the newspaper treating it as a casual reading. Most of the readers usually focus on the Sports and the Entertainment Pages and the news dealing with that. However, an IAS aspirant should focus on what to read and what not to.

It’s best to focus on:

  1. The content that actually matters:

It’s advisable that you read the syllabus prescribed by UPSC for the Civil Services Exam thoroughly, first of all. And, it, of course, would be helpful further to help you complete reading the newspaper in 60 minutes if you keep a copy of the syllabus by your side while reading The Hindu. It will help you read only the content that is actually required to be read as co-related with what the syllabus actually requires.

Thus, rather than reading every word of the entire content that appears in print on the newspaper, make sure that you read only what is applicable to your preparation for the IAS Exam. You must aim at gaining the knowledge that is relevant concerning the socio-economic and political developments, apart from all that might affect the society at large in some way or another.

  • How to go ahead with the reading? Again, keep in mind that you are reading the newspaper for clearing and scoring high in the IAS Exam. So, it’s best to:
  • Take a note of all the important and relevant facts and the figures
  • Read the content with an analytical frame of the mind so that you get a keen insight into the social, political and economic issues (apart from any other, if there are) related to the piece of information that you are reading.

Turning over the Pages: What should be read on which of the pages?

Read only the content which is relevant for the preparation of the Civil Services Exam while ignoring the rest.

  • PAGE 1: Though the headlines pertaining to the previous day would be there, the point to be noted is that every headline is not relevant to your preparation for the IAS Exam. You might find the content pertaining to the headlines in the pages that follow, specifically the next one.
  • PAGE 2-6: These pages usually comprise the news from various states. The content is likely to vary from one state to another and every bit of the content is not going to be relevant. However, it is good to read and take down the notes carefully for what belongs to your native state.

It’s good to keep in mind that you would be filling in the DAF after qualifying the Prelims and of course, the details would include your native state. And the questions pertaining to the same may be asked in the Interview.

  • PAGE 7: It’s the most important of all the pages in the newspaper.  It comprises information, apart from the important articles at the national platform. It’s advisable to look for and take notes for the subjects including:
    • SC/HC verdicts,
    • welfare policies,
    • Government schemes etc.
  • PAGE 8: It’s the Editorial Page and should be read in a highly careful manner. The Page provides a balanced perspective concerning various current developments at the national and the international platform. It’s wiser to spend a considerable time of the total 60 minutes (that you have kept a provision for reading The Hindu) for reading the Editorial Page. It may help you gain sharply analytical insight into the current issues.
  • PAGE 9: It’s the Opposite the Editorial Page. It comprises an author’s opinions, who is not a member of the editorial board of the newspaper.
  • PAGE 10 and 11: As these Pages comprise the general news, it will suffice to read the headlines and go ahead reading the complete news only if you find it worth it for the preparation for IAS Exam.  
  • PAGE 12: Reading the Page may help considerably while preparing for the GS 2 Paper for Mains. And as the Page covers International Relations, reading it would make it easier for you to prepare the topic International Relations included in the UPSC syllabus. 
  • PAGE 13 and 14: The Pages comprise the News related to business.  Thus, the reading would help you focus on:
  • monetary policy,
    • FOREX reserves
    • any news dealing with health and education, etc.
  • PAGE 15: Though the Sports Page holds the least importance, it’s advisable to make a note of the worth noting achievements and the issues related with the sports administration.

What if you are running short of the time on some of the days?

At times, you might not be able to spare even an hour to read the newspaper for some reason or another. However, it would be good if you read The Hindu as described below in various priority reads:

Priority I Read:  It comprises reading the Editorial and the Op-Eds Pages.  These are the most informative of the entire newspaper. Various articles and the columns on these two Pages are thoroughly researched and include several issues. It’s advisable to read the Editorial and the Op-Ed regularly and within one go.

The notes that you prepare while reading the Editorials and the Op-Eds would yield excellent results concerning your preparation for the IAS Exam, apart from making you well aware of what goes around the world. Moreover, you will be able to gain a sharply analytical insight into various national and international developments, apart from being equipped in several other ways. You will realize the advantages for yourself when it comes to facing the IAS Exam.

Priority II Read: It comprises reading the Business section. Various Stats/ Ratios/Figures that you will find in this section may help you in a considerable manner to prepare for the Prelims. Besides, the Business section covers the policies, stats, and figures related to:

  • SEBI,
    • RBI
    • miscellaneous prominent national and/or international monetary institutions

All the facts stated above would help you support your answers considerably when it comes to facing the IAS Exam.

Priority III Read: Now, make a cursory reading of the national and international news pages. And note down the topics etc., that you find frequently being stated in the Paper. While doing so, you would come across:

  • Supreme Court and High Court verdicts,
  • Parliamentary debates,
  • Government policies and orders,
  • important bills in the Parliament,
  • most of the advertisements as published by the ruling party should also be paid heed to. Apart from providing you with the information concerning various achievements of the government, they also convey which of the ministries is dealing with which of the schemes,
  • issues of national and international importance,
  • the important political developments in various countries that are likely to ramify internationally. It might include:
  •  a military coup,
  • uprisings,
  • visits of the Head of States
  • treaties and agreements signed, etc.
  • International organisations including ASEAN,`UN, IMF, WHO, etc., apart from their  publications/reports. It’s advisable to attentive to the role played by India in the entire scenario for whatever you read.

A Word of Caution

It should be noted that it’s gaining the knowledge to clear the IAS Exam that’s more important for you rather than what you find interesting to read. Besides, an IAS aspirant usually suffers from paucity of time. So, implementing all that has been discussed above would be in your interest and you would be able to make a successful reading within an hour. And if you do not have even 60 minutes, follow the 3 Priority Reads as described above.

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