Reading abilities are very important for competitive exams like UPSC. The skill implies a person’s ability to read and assimilate knowledge given in a piece of text. Having good reading skills can allow you to communicate easily about what you have read. The essay portion of the Mains part of the UPSC exam requires you to write an essay on current affairs. So, you must have reading skills to understand what is meant by a certain passage.
Reading abilities include being able to decode the meaning of what you have just read. If you can read effectively, you can find important phrases in the reading material.
To make your reading habits better, you must have
- Determine Reading Goals To Improve Reading Abilities– These goals depend on the kind of text to be read by you. For example, if you read a novel, you read in detail from the beginning to the end. If you are browsing a magazine, to find any interesting articles and then read them. This way, setting up your reading goals will help you in improving your reading abilities.
- Reading abilities also mean identifying appropriate reading material – You need to be cautious while reading anything because it might not be relevant to your preparation for the exam. For example, the material might itself be outdated, so the information given there is of no use. Let’s discuss some methods for finding out whether material is irrelevant:
- You must find out the date of publication
- You must also find out which chapters are relevant
- A preview published at the beginning of the book lets you know the meaning of content. Then you can decide whether to read it or not.
- Scanning through unimportant text to enhance your reading abilities – One way to go through the text is called scanning. Scanning is required to browse through certain sections of the material with some speed to find a keyword. The scanning method can be applied to certain portions of the reading text which include the preface, the index, and the last and the first chapters.
- Skim through the text before understanding general meaning – It is important to get a general idea about what certain text includes. For that, you have to read the text with speed. You also have to ignore all the passages which are written in detail. After you have got a rough idea about what the passage is talking about, you can then proceed to read the passage thoroughly.
- Note taking – It is important to take notes because it allows you to remember what you read in a certain part of the text.
- Highlighting or underlining-This is the most important part to find the summary of the text.
- Using keywords-It’s also a good way to find what is indicated by a certain text. You can write keywords containing key points against paragraphs.
- Form questions-Since in the UPSC exam questions are asked based on text, you can also form questions on the text so that you can use them later. You can find answers to such questions.
- Create a summary of the text-This is important to remember what you have read in the text.
So, this is how you can improve your reading abilities and score well in the UPSC exam.