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Friday, January 29, 2010

Tips to prepare for Current Affairs from Newspapers: What to Read and What Not?

The following is a fantastic article on How to prepare for Current affairs from Newspapers. What to read and what not? I copy pasted the whole article written by Mrunal without modification. Here is the link for Original Article.

In my earlier thread, I've explained why newspapers are important, and why shouldn't you rely on magazines for current issues. (here)
In the present trend of UPSC G/S prelim
  1. Geography (current based)
  2. Current Affairs
  3. Polity
  4. People / Award etc
Above things roughly cover 70 Marks worth questions out of 150M G/S prelim paper.
Most of the questions from them are based on current affairs,
So Never miss reading the newspaper on any day.
Now the issue comes – how to read newspaper to prepare current affair – this is important cause most student either glance over the newspaper in 3 minutes and some waste 3 hours reading each and every detail.
How to read any newspaper (for General Studies)

What is not important in newspaper / Current Affairs?

(from General Studies POV : Point of View)

Following things should be ignored
  • Politicians making remarks on each other – and the usual politics.
  • XYZ party making coalition with ABC party
  • State elections (who won / which party got how many seats etc)
  • Attacks (Maoist/Terrorist/Insurgents) : (how to stop it / what new forces or equipments are purchased is imp but they attacked this place and destroyed 3 jeeps- not imp.)
  • Accidents : train, bus, car, bike etc (BRTS, new traffic rules, Traffic cops getting simputer = imp)
  • Crime (how cybercrime is done is imp but XYZ man stole 100,000 Rs from someone's credit card is not imp. Or biker gang looted 25 lakh from highways- not imp.)
Masala News
  • Cricket (nothing is imp, they never ask anything from this,)
  • bollywood (do I need to say anything? Although if someone wins Dadasaheb award- note it)
  • surveys (like after doing tests on 50 people, scientists claimed that tomato keeps you young etc)

What is important in newspaper then?

Follwing things are extremely important to read in newspaper
  • New laws / bills coming in (like Women reservation bill and the current editorials, and everything related to it)
  • Administrative reforms, E-gov etc
  • Government schemes (NPS, NREGA- and editorials related to it-good things, bad things)
  • Education related- Deemed univ etc
  • Internationally important issue
  • ( Af-Pak Policy, Global Meltdown, G-20 ) etc
  • OPEC,ASEAN,SAARC etc- if they're meeting then note down where they met and what points did they discuss?
  • Indian Army Exercise with China/US etc (like in Mizoram for Jungle Warfare etc) – remember the name of the 'exercise'
  • Name of Operations (Op.Sahayta for Nargis, Op. Black Tornado for 26/11 etc)
  • (new space mission, vaccines, swine flu, climate, Computers)
  • Hybrid Seeds, Solar Energy ,
  • (big players and the companies owned by them, PSU's activity –its heads, Govt.'s policies, budget etc) - read the economy part very carefully cause in mains –you'll get 100M economy section in G.S.
  • Awards (not IIFA/Filmfare though- but Noble etc, and what contribution those people did ?)
  • Books (generally on Sunday issue, they'll put review of some new books – so note down the author)
  • International election – (i.e. Ahmedinejad won Iran election – that's imp but Mussavi was his main rival – that's also imp. Note down such imp people's name coming in news)
  • (tennis most imp, apart from that any Indian achievement in non-cricket sport)
  • Anything happening in above mentioned topics- you look @ your mapbook and see where that place is.

  • For more on what's imp in current affairs- refer the old question papers of UPSC
If you read the newspaper on this line
(AND MAKE A NOTE OUT OF IT- keep a diary, cut and file the imp articles / maps / charts from newspaper.) How to make a note, & why is it important ? – its explained on this page.

Why Read Editorials?

Because the regular news won't talk of what happened in History or what are the good / bad points of a particular topic. But the editorials will give you the 'big picture.' Along with the suggestions for reforms so it also helps in writing mains + Essay. + interview too.

Many of the articles/editorials will be completely criticizing anything and everything of Administration. So be careful about what to read and what to skip – because your answers have to be constructive criticism and positive "there is still hope for reform" and "Democracy is the best way to run country " etc.
Cause if criticizing everything about Administration was going to make you an IAS officer then every reporter of Aaj Tak, NDTV and Zee News would be a District Collector. You've to be constructive, creative, visionary and positive in your answers, opinions and criticisms –only then you'll get more marks. I'm saying this here because when you are reading anything in newspaper- that's not just one shot to prelims but also helps you in mains, essay, interview as well.

Current Affairs is a year long continuous process.

This process doesn't take more than 1 hour per day. And its worth it, cause current affairs is not something that you can develop reading some book for 15 days before exam
on April 2010- lot 'current affair special' books will come in market from Wizard, Chronicle, Pratiyogita Darpan and many more but if you've been following the newspaper through out the year & making your own diary- then you won't need to read them AND if you've not maintained a diary then you won't be able to remember much from these books – and will end up wasting 15 days reading it.)

WHAT IF You DON'T read newspapers?

Then this will be your situation
On April 2010- you'll be blank in Current affair and will start reading any of those 'current affairs special book' as mentioned above – but since you've never read newspaper, you won't be able to cover the book very fast- and it's a thick book, and you won't be able to remember everything you read, you won't even have time to revise it, so in the end you'll be ignoring either your G/S's rest topics or your Opt. Subject or the current affairs itself, and ultimately losing heavy marks in Prelims.

Newspapers Help in Essay Writing.

In the mains you've to write a compulsory Essay paper which is worth 200 M and they're counted in the merit list.
There are many books / guides for essay writing in the market as well, but if you write from it, you'll end up writing a street quality , cheap, strerotype school essay and getting very few marks.
Your essay has to be unique, precise, showing your vast knowledge and understanding of the subject which can't be done reading 2 page essay in some cheap guide book.
If you analyse last 10 years papers of Essay (posted here)

Then you'll notice that they generally ask essay from following themes ONLY
  1. Women empowerment
  1. Social issues
  1. Environment
  1. Rural vs Urban, Modern vs Traditional culture/values
  1. Administrative / Law & Order / Judicial activity or reform
  1. Sci-tech and its role in human/ rural Development
  1. Philosophy (religion, truth, honesty etc)
  1. Education

So whenever you see some editorial related to it in the newspaper – DO READ IT,And note down the imp topics from it/ cut and file it
That'll help you have sufficient knowledge , viewpoints and ideas to write a 200 Marks worth essay.
And its not a one day process- you follow it through out the year.
If you prepare your current affairs topics this way then you should have not much trouble clearing the UPSC civil service IAS IPS Exam.

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5 comments: on "Tips to prepare for Current Affairs from Newspapers: What to Read and What Not?"

prabz said...

great one!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dr.amandeep said...

this is a true guide and thanks

dr.amandeep said...

this is a true guideand really great jobbbbbbb

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot. It's very helpful. Some images have removed by their hosting website. Please restore them. May be on picasa.

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