Reading Editorial: Is it a Tough task to do

Dear Aspirant,

Around 70% of aspirants who is preparing for competitive examinations gets struck in English part. If you ask anybody, “How to get good marks in English?”, the obvious answer is improve your Vocabulary Skills. If you ask “How to improve?” they will say READ English Newspaper and Read Editorials

But Reading an Editorial is not an easy Task but also not a Tough task. Reading an Editorial in Hindu is a cut above the rest when it comes to the depth and complexity of its op-ed section. So I Suggest, start reading “ Economic times Editorial then slowly move to The Hindu.

Read Our Editorials Here

Here are some Tips how to Read an Editorial.


#1. Start off small:

If you open Page -12(or 10- it depends on how many pages the newspaper has) of the newspaper, you can see on the left-hand side, two smaller articles. Read them and understand them first. Starting with smaller articles and passages has the following advantages:

  • You will comfortably understand what’s given in the passage.
  • You will not lose interest half-way.
  • You can easily understand the crux (or the central theme) of the passage.
  • Smaller passages have fewer complex words and beating around the bush.

Do not go directly to the larger passages.

#2. Note down the key-points in a paper:

I will explain this with a simple example.

Consider this article : The Hindu : Opinion (dated 27–12–2004). The article reflects upon the death and the destruction brought about by the 2004 Tsunami and how every country must stand up together to deal with such disasters.

Note : I chose this one, because its easier to understand an article about the Tsunami compared to that of Politics, Religion or Economics.

If you go through the article, you can find the following observations. This is a list of what I had observed:

  • The author is shocked and saddened by the loss of lives and property, brought about by the Tsunami.
  • This Tsunami was caused by the biggest earthquake (in magnitude )of the 20th Century.
  • India and Srilanka were worst hit (in terms of number of people who died) and in India, it was Tamil Nadu which suffered the maximum damage.
  • People were completely unprepared about the disaster. Hardly few were actually aware that there is a thing called tsunami.
  • The tsunami struck on a holiday – thus more people were vulnerable to the damage- fishermen, tourists, road side vendors, early morning walkers.
  • The emergency situation and the seriousness of this situation calls for better preparedness in case of natural disasters. Relocation and rehabilitation of the homeless takes first priority.
  • If we had been warned of the tsunami – given that it had taken atleast two hours to arrive at the Indian shores, then more lives could have been saved. This calls for education and awareness about such a natural disaster.

#3. Form the central theme of the passage:

Now that you have noted down the points, you have to form the central theme. Taking the tsunami example above. The main theme is that people were completely unprepared about the disaster and the first priority in the light of the tsunami is to relocate and rehabilitate people. The next step is to make coastal towns and cities proof from a recurrence and educate people about tsunami as its not widely known in India.

#4. Note your reading speed:

If you are preparing for any exams- the most important thing is speed. The above passage contains about 730 words. I read that passage completely for the first time (to get the gist) in about 6 mins. My reading speed is ~122 wpm. Quite average, seeing that OpEd sections are much longer.

An ideal reading speed for a passage of this size must be around 200 wpm, viz, you have to take about 3.5- 4 mins to read and digest the main crux.

Most RC passages in CAT or any exam would be anywhere from 500- 800 words in size.

#5. Tackling any unknown words:

You might encounter some unknown words. For example- in the above article there is a word happenstance- which means coincidence. There are two ways you can learn the meaning:

One– You can easily google the word and find its meaning.

Two– Or you can understand the context in which this word is being used. Now I quote part of this passage where this word occurs:

The element of surprise in the tsunami’s strike on a holiday morning explains, in part, the calamitous effects in the cities, towns, and villages that were engulfed by the sea. Fishermen who put out to sea in their catamarans and other boats, and their families in coastal hamlets, account for a huge part of the still unknown death toll. Other victims were on the beaches for their normal routine or swim or were tourists trapped by happenstance in the death zone. A couple of hours earlier, many had been frightened out of bed by tremors from the primary undersea earthquake, which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale (at the epicentre off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra, 2,028 km South East of Chennai). Even for a nation with a recorded toll of over a hundred thousand fatalities in earthquakes in the past two centuries and a long history of cyclonic havoc, the tsunami of 2004 will go down as an unprecedented display of nature’s cruelty.

Now the main point the author conveys in this passage is that there were a variety of people who were trapped when the tsunami struck. He counts them- the fishermen who were out fishing on the sea, swimmers and other normal tourists who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrongest time.

In other words- the fishermen were expected to be killed- because they were sort of killed when doing their job. But the tourists and other causal swimmers were more likely to be present there at that point of time. Given any other day- the probability of finding the same tourist in the same beach would be low.

That means the tourists who were killed by the tsunami just chanced to be there. By a fatal accident, or a coincidence.

#6. Note the tone of the passage:

You can also note the tone of the author. Now the word tone is not related anything to the sound, but more closer to the feelings of the author when he writes the passages. You can also take it to be the nature of the passage.