I believe that newspaper reading should be the first task of the day as it is dynamic and the first task generally sets the speed for the other tasks remaining for the day. Initially, it might take some time but gradually as one gets acquainted with the paper,
it becomes a habit. Let me answer the first part of the question i.e. how to read?
1. Be thorough with the Syllabus: one needs to understand the syllabus to look for relevant news articles in the paper. One can also look for previous year questions, both Prelims and Mains, to understand the demand of the exam, this can also help in reading the required articles.
2. Skip Crime and Politics: It is interesting and most eye catching but on not much relevance (Note: Don’t confuse politics with polity. Politics is of no relevance but polity is)
3. Important Pages: Always go through the following pages – Front Page: National; News; Editorial; OpEd; International\Foreign; Business.
4. Refer the Internet: While reading the newspaper, if one get’s stuck somewhere i.e. unable to understand or relate to a particular technical term, then refer to the internet for better understanding immediately. Thus, it is advisable to keep internet
handy while reading the newspaper. Eg. while reading a news that the Monetary Policy Committee of RBI has come out with changes in repo rate, one who does not know what repo rate is can look for it on the internet.
Many aspirants initially find it very difficult to follow through the newspaper. It is because the difficult language as well as the lack of knowledge about the issues being discussed. Difficulty in understanding becomes a reason for aspirants to give
up newspapers completely and fall upon current affairs magazines. Here one needs a lot of patience and dedication. Understanding newspaper is a very gradual process. One needs to regularly follow stories to understand and link them better.
So my advice is to cultivate this habit of newspaper reading regularly even if it takes a lot of time. One will definitely get the results in due process.
Coming to the second part of the question i.e. How to make Notes?
Note making goes hand in hand with newspaper reading. Anything that one finds relevant to the syllabus must be noted. Notes can be made either in writing or in digital format. Most important is to organize notes. For those who prefer writing, I would recommend them to use loose A4 sheets to prepare notes and to compile them in files. This will help in assembling one topic at a single place. For those who prefer digital notes, Evernote or OneNote applications can be used.
One must organize notes exactly as the syllabus is i.e. create files for every subject, for instance keep separate files for Art and Culture; History; Geography; Social Issues; Indian Polity and Constitution; Governance, International Relations; Social
Justice; Economics and Development; Science and Technology, Internal Security; Environment; Disaster Management and Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude. Within these files make notes of sub-topics.
I would also suggest aspirants to create an extra file in which one must compile Data and Facts; Quotes; Diagrams and Maps; Indices; Reports. This file will be used for last moment revision and will help fetch extra marks.