The Hindu daily is one of the critical elements of the success needed for a civil service aspirant. Every aspirant is requested to use the Hindu to build and supplement their current affairs knowledge. Hence, time must be allocated daily, and utmost importance has to be given. Many students have doubts about how to use the Hindu to aid their preparation effectively. The importance of the correct way of reading the Hindu is that it can help you prepare for your exam but even derail your efforts if not done correctly. In the following points, I will be explaining in detail the right way of reading the Hindu.
- Time Allocated – This is the most common doubt regarding the topic. I have already mentioned that the Hindu helps you with your current affairs preparation. Hence, a daily dose of time has to be allocated for this. If you are a beginner, take your time to understand the concepts and language. It is perfectly normal for a beginner to take even a couple of hours to complete it. As time progresses, an experienced aspirant should try to finish reading it within 30-40 minutes. Please keep in mind that this can be done only over time, and an aspirant should not rush it. As I have mentioned before, the improper reading may even derail your preparation. This happens due to two reasons, the former being, allocation of excess time for the Hindu can suck out the time you earmarked for other subjects (hence, you have to make a conscious effort to reduce the reading time while you maintain the quality) and the latter is discussed in the next point.
- What to Read – The Hindu is designed for the commoner to know what is happening around them. Hence, it contains information that may not be needed for an aspirant. While reading, go through topics that are only important for the exam. To do this filtering, please make sure that you are well versed with the syllabus. Always remember, the UPSC syllabus is your holy book now. Avoid news that involves local politics, movies, events of lesser importance etc. If you dedicate time to this news, you will be wasting time. This is why it may affect your preparation if you decide to focus on every aspect of the newspaper.
- Moreover, if you read local political news, chances of writing/telling a biased answer during the Mains/Interview are also high. Hence, make sure you read the right section of the news. Give utmost importance to polity, government policies, economics, environment, science & technology, major court verdicts, major national/international events etc.
Also involved in the newspaper is the Editorials section. Many aspirants tend to avoid this section as it is bulky and time-consuming. It would be best if you never did this unless the editorials are completely unrelated to the syllabus. Ensure you read the editorials- from the editor and the readers (open editorials). These editorials contain information from a different and practical angle towards an issue, and hence you can use this for your preparation. Make sure that you filter out any biased opinions from the editorials if there are any. For example, an open editorial from a politician who is criticizing a government scheme. In that case, you may note down the genuine criticisms to augment your knowledge and avoid the political leanings of the said writer as a Civil Servant is politically neutral. While reading these editorials, an aspirant should focus on what can be used for the Civil Services Examination, which can be learnt by understanding the CSE syllabus.
- Summarizing What You Read – While reading the newspaper, jot down the crucial points in a book. Make sure to summarise all the relevant articles you read on a page. It is usual for anyone to forget what they have read over a while. Once you write the points in a book, revise it with the supplementary current affairs material you read, like the PULSE. The short notes ensure that you don’t forget what you have learnt and goes hand-in-hand with your current affairs magazine. While writing it down, make sure you use minimal words to complete it with the least amount of time. The summarized notes are to be used only for fast revisions, and hence, finishing the entire newspaper (reading & writing) has to be finished by the aspirant in the least amount of time possible.
- Optional- For some of you, current affairs can play a role in their respective Optional. Hence, try to look out for news related to your area of Optional as well. While such information is usually less in number, it can most definitely improve your score.
No matter how big an expert you are, continue reading the newspaper daily. Not only is this helpful in your preparation, but it can also act as a mental exercise. By going through a newspaper that is good with content, you can frame your own questions from the important areas and editorials, and you can do daily answer writing based on it. This would help you with Mains preparation as UPSC often takes questions from these newspapers. I sincerely hope that this article will help you to effectively use the Hindu- all the very best!