How to Effectively Read a Newspaper for Exam Preparation


In any government recruitment exam – be it UPSC Civil Services, Bank PO, State PCS, RBI Grade B, one of the important topic that is consistently asked is the current affairs section. Newspapers and magazines form an important source of reading material for preparing for this section. We will see in this article, how can you effectively read newspaper for exam and which newspaper you should read if you are preparing for different competitive exams.

Importance of reading a newspaper for competition exams

Here we have prepared a chart of coverage of current affairs section in different exams.

Exam Written exam Interview Importance of current affairs section
UPSC and state PCS Yes Yes Very important for main exam and interview
RBI Grade B and Nabard Yes Yes Very important for General Awareness, ESI and Interview
Bank PO and SSC Yes Yes Important for main exam and interview
CAT and other MBA exams No Yes Important for interview

As you can see, the current affairs section has a strong weight age in almost all the exams. Newspapers are the best source of current affairs, as you can get detailed news (unlike magazine). You will get important facts and viewpoints, which will help you written exams as well in the interview part of all the competitive exams. Print magazine or online blog just supplement your knowledge, and can’t be taken as a replacement for the newspaper.

How to read different sections in the newspaper

Front Page

Front page covers 5-6 important news of the day. You need to quickly run through these news. You can read news in details for important one, and just go through heading for non-important one. Point to remember here

  • News related to national, international and business/economy should be given priority here
  • News like Salman Khan mow down 2 people can be skipped.
  • Must read section for all competition exams – UPSC-IAS, CAT, RBI Grade B, Nabard, Bank PO.

Regional Section

The regional section is covered in 2-3 pages and covers important highlights of the day in the state. You need to devote 10-15 minutes on this section. Points to remember for the Regional news section

  • News like state policies or schemes should be read thoroughly
  • News like road accidents, murders can be skipped. Though you can check statement of top official on what they are doing to improving such problems.
  • News related to rural and agriculture can be read if you are preparing for RRB or NABARD
  • News related to regional politics can be skipped

National news section

National news section is covered in 1-2 pages, and it covers important day event. You need to devote 10-15 mins on this section. Points to remember for National news section

  • News related to laws and regulations, important judgments bills presented and cleared in parliament need to study carefully
  • News related to politics can be skipped, but things like who is new CM of Goa should be noted
  • Details related to strike, protest can be skipped, but the primary reason for that protest, and what corrective steps have been taken by higher authority should be noted
  • This section is important for all exams – UPSC, RBI Grade B and Nabard, CAT, Bank PO etc

Editorial section

This is the most important section of any newspaper. This provides an important coverage on major events happening in the country. It should be read carefully by all type of students. Students should give at least 15-20 mins in reading and analyze this section.

Op-Ed section

This section publishes opinions of named authors. You should read this section too, as this will show you a new picture of the important issues. (Authors are outside news publication and mostly famous personalities). This is an important section from the interview points of view. Students should give 10-15 mins in this section

International news section

International news section covers important events happening around the globe. This section is important in many exams. Things to note

  • News from IMF, World Bank, UN and likewise global bodies should be read carefully
  • News like Justin Beiber concert, or Syria bombing can be skipped
  • News from countries like US, UK, France, Russia, China, Pakistan, ASEAN countries, Gulf Country should be read carefully
  • This section is important in exams like UPSC, RBI Grade B and Bank PO

Business and Economics news section

Business and economics section provides highlights of important events related to finance sectors and institutes like RBI, SEBI, and performance of companies and stocks. This section is important for papers like RBI Grade B, CAT and other finance exams. Things to note

  • News from RBI, SEBI need to read carefully
  • Data like current interest rates, repo rates, GDP, inflation need to be noted
  • News like stock market prices need to be skipped

Science and Technology, Entertainment and Lifestyle

This section covers important events, new tech products launches, etc. This section should be studied in details. But only important facts can be checked. Further, if you have an interest in the respective section, for example – you have an interest in mobiles, then you should know the latest happening in that field. You will get related articles in this section. Candidate should be clear of his interest, and then decide whether he/she wants to read this section or not.

Sports news section

Covers important sports event of the day. This section covers matches, sports editorial etc. Only important things like when and where are Olympics (or such big events) held, Important things are How is India doing there, Awards ceremonies of the events, record by players and teams etc. Things like how many goals scored by India, or how many wickets taken should be avoided. Students need to give 5-6 mins for this section.

Which newspaper to read for competition exams

Students should note that reading one newspaper is sufficient for any exam. Few things are important here

  • Hindu, Indian Express, Tribune, Deccan Chronicle are good reads. Hindu is the most followed newspaper among students preparing for exams.
  • A newspaper like Times of India, Hindustan Times or language newspaper should be skipped.
  • In general one newspaper for the exam is sufficient, in case you want to follow second economics based newspaper, you can read editorial part of newspapers like Economics Times or Business Line.


This article is created by keeping in mind the needs of students of different exams like UPSC, State PCS, CAT, RBI Grade B, Nabard, Bank Po/SSC. Students of UPSC/PCS need to focus more on editorial and opinion content. For written exams of RBI Grade B, Bank PO/SSC, students need more factual information. So students need to work on the strategy based on his requirement.

2 thoughts on “How to Effectively Read a Newspaper for Exam Preparation”

    1. ET and BusinessLine are also good newspaper choices from economics perspective. Both have good quality editorials. But you need to skip things like share market, companies news etc. Focus on govt news (like new schemes, regulations, launches, central institutions like RBI, Niti Aayog etc).

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