How to Read Newspapers for CSS Exam

How to Read Newspapers for CSS Exam

Reading good newspapers – both English and Urdu – is considered an indispensable tool to prepare for the CSS examination. But, reading those in such a way that one gets only the relevant information is really an art that one should master to ensure one’s success in the prestigious CSS exam. For the greater benefit of aspirants, Team JWT, after consulting veteran teachers and top position holders of the recent years, brings some very effective techniques of, and tips for, reading a newspaper for gaining maximum relevant knowledge for competitive exams.

A newspaper generally contains information about different issues and topics. Many of these issues might not be as relevant for CSS preparation. Therefore, it is important to cultivate a habit of making a selective reading of a newspaper. It is also very important to know that examiners for CSS do not bother about the political tussles and non-decisive debates newspapers are brimmed with these days. Although these developments are important in understanding the contemporary political scenario of the country, it is futile to spend enormous amount of time in making an in-depth study of these issues. Thus, an aspirant should glide through the articles and news relating to the political developments inside and outside of the country.

The most pertinent question that will, surely, arise in your mind is: How to read only those segments of a newspaper that are relevant to the CSS exam? Here are a few tips in this regard:

First of all, treat a newspaper like a textbook. It means, when you sit down to read one, you must have a pen and paper at hand to jot down important points. The newspaper is not to be read like a novel, i.e. in a leisurely manner! You must devote at least one hour daily to cover all aspects of the newspaper comprehensively. And, you should further divide this time to read all the relevant segments. Most newspapers in Pakistan are divided into the following sections:

1. Front Page                           2. National News
3. Editorial and Opinion      4. International News
5. Business News                   6. Sports
7. Local News

1. Front Page

The front page is reserved for the most important news. This page covers 5-6 important news of the day. You need to quickly run through those. You can read news in detail for important one, and just go through heading for non-important one. For example, news related to national, international and business and economy should be given priority here. News like “Supreme Court forms JIT to probe Rs 35 billion mega corruption case” can be skipped because the process to find out corruption has not concluded yet.

Remember, some newspapers nowadays devote large spaces in the front page to cover sensationalist news. So, you need to be good at identifying the important part and filtering out the irrelevant one.

Secondly, while reading newspaper, mark difficult words in news items and articles. Then, after you are done with the newspaper reading, try to find out the meanings of those words.


2. National News

National news section spans 1-2 pages, and covers important events. You need to devote 10-15 minutes to this section. In this section, news related to laws and regulations, important judgements, bills presented and cleared in parliament need to be studied carefully. News related to general political activities should be skipped, however, things like the change of portfolio of a minister at national or provincial level, appointment of a new chief justice of the Supreme Court or a High Court, appointment of a provincial governor or chief minister and other such important transfers or postings especially those related to the Foreign Office must be noted carefully. In addition, details related to strikes or protests can be skipped, but primary reason for that protest, and what corrective steps have been taken by the authorities should be noted

3. Editorial and Opinion

Read editorials and articles carefully and keenly. These are important for widening your knowledge base, improving language skills, understanding key issues, etc. This section is very useful for English Essay, Current Affairs, Pakistan Affairs – and sometimes Islamiat – papers as they emphasize more on analysis than facts.

An editorial is usually written by a senior member of the newspaper staff while articles are penned by analysts and experts on different fields. Renowned personalities like Dr Hafiz A. Sheikh, Dr Farrukh Saleem, Haris Khalique and Dr Ashfaque Hassan (Economists), Munir Akram, Najmudin Sheikh, Shamshad Ahmad (Foreign Policy Experts), Faisal Bari, Dr Atta-ur-Rehman and Dr Umar Saif (Education and IT) are some prolific writers whose words are authentic and make a good source to acquire the pertinent knowledge about various issues. Moreover, their write-ups contain good English that can help you hone your skills in writing effective and scoring answers.

4. International News

International news section covers important events happening around the globe. It usually contains items relating to relationships between two or more countries, major political changes across the world, activities of the United Nations and its organs, information about wars, droughts, disasters or other events that impact the world. So, it is highly important especially for English Essay, Current Affairs, International Relations, Political Science, International Law, and a number of other papers.

From this section, pay special attention on the news related to the IMF, the World Bank, the United Nations, European Union and other international and regional organizations like Saarc, Asean, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Economic Cooperation Organization, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, . News like a Rihanna concert or infighting in Syrian factions can be skipped. Read carefully the news from countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany France, Russia, China, Iran, India, and Middle Eastern countries.

Take down facts related to conflicts, national elections, regional treaties, global meetings and their agendas, etc. Also, keep noting down facts related to Pakistan’s foreign relations, economic ties, political conflicts, bilateral and multilateral relations, etc.

5. Business News

This section contains business news affecting economy, monetary policies, stock markets, new guidelines issued by regulators (e.g. the State Bank of Pakistan). Note down details of the latest budget, latest trends in macroeconomic indicators like inflation, GDP, new appointments of heads of various bodies, etc. Please do not waste time in noting down latest figures of inflation, tax collected etc. as it is unlikely that a question may be asked from them.

6. Sports

From the sport section, note down the names of winners of major international and national level tournaments. If a Pakistani sportsperson performs well on the international stage, it automatically becomes important for your exams, especially for the interview part.

7. Local News

This section usually does not contain important news from exam point of view. So, it is better to skip it.

Newspapers vs. Magazines

Aspirants often get confused while deciding as to what should be a preferred source between a newspaper and a magazine. Whether you want to go for the dailies or the monthly magazines, just remember a basic difference between the two: since a newspaper is made in haste, it might lack a sharp analysis and evaluation of an issue while, on the other hand, a magazine presents a summary of the events that has taken place in a particular time frame. Thus, it is very useful for those candidates, who are not able to cultivate a habit of selective reading of the newspaper, or does not have appropriate time for the newspaper reading. Reading a good magazine can particularly help the working professionals, in getting acquainted with the current events without devoting time for the newspaper every day.

Which Paper/Magazine to Read?

English Newspapers: Dawn, The News, Express Tribune (especially its New York Times pages) and Daily Times.

Urdu Newspapers: Nawa-i-Waqt, Express, Jang

Magazines: Jahangir’s World Times (both English and Urdu), The Economist, Foreign Affairs

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