reading studying newspapers from 1st November 2013 and I didn’t miss even a single day till 13th December, 2014 (Mains started from 14th December, 2014). I restarted the newspapers again from 1st Jan, 2015. I feel that one year of newspapers reading studying before mains would suffice (this is purely my personal opinion).
The reason why I’d like to call it studying newspapers is because unlike reading, this involves a lot of thinking and analysing the issues. Try and see, in what way it fits into the static portion covered from standard textbooks. For example, last year there was a controversy that was sparked off when a former Chief Justice of India was appointed as a Governor. First I’d identify what the qualifications are for a Governor and then the restrictions on post-retirement positions for judges, along with respective articles in the Constitution. Then accordingly, I’d make notes of this whole issue including its pros and cons. In the end, I’d also try to form my own opinion on the issue.
The “news” is something that I’d ignore in the newspapers. For example, isolated developments like petty crimes and all news about politics are some of the things that I would not care to look into. I would study an article only if it fits in to the exam syllabus. I would also study the newspapers from Geography and History points of view. Friday Magazine and Sunday Review cover important articles from History point of view, so its better not to neglect them.
I would start my day with newspapers. I used to study 2 newspapers till mains – theHindu (hard copy) and the Indianexpress (digital). After mains I started studying Livemint (through feedly) and thehansindia.com (for State news) and restricted to the opinions section of Indianexpress, in addition to the Hindu. It used to cost me about 3 hours to complete the newspapers including the notes making.
I used to make notes online on Google Docs which makes it easy to maintain and access. I would make notes on topics/issues basis and I’d write all the developments regarding a topic/issue at one place. This would help me in tracking all the developments at one place and also be able to cover multiple dimensions of a topic.