HOW TO PREPARE FOR QUALIFYING PAPERS IN MAINS?

UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam consists of nine papers out of which two are Language Paper. These are qualifying papers, hence, the score obtained is not calculated while determining the final rank. You need to score 25% or 75+ marks out of 300 marks in order to pass. If you do not clear these, the UPSC will not disclose your marks in the GS, optional and essay paper.

General tips to be followed :

  • Select the language that you have a strong command over. It can be your mother tongue or the language you’ve spoken and learned since childhood.
  • For revising the grammar portion, it is recommended that you glance through the school textbooks till Class X.
  • Read newspapers in the language that you’ve chosen to improve your essay-writing and precis-writing skills.
  • Practice translation to and from your choice of language to English. It will help you in tackling the translation questions.
  • You can again refer to the newspapers for this activity.
  • Solve 2-3 previous year question papers in order to get strong command of your language.
  • Your handwriting should be neat and legible while answering the questions.
  • For attempting both the papers follow a time management according to your own convenience.
    • Paper A
      • Essay-Writing: 45 minutes
      • Reading Comprehension: 30 minutes
      • Precis Writing: 30 minutes
      • Translation: 40 minutes (20 minutes for each)
      • Grammar-Based Questions: 30 minutes
      • Revision: 5 minutes
    • Paper B
      • Essay-Writing: 60 minutes
      • Reading Comprehension: 30 minutes
      • Precis Writing: 40 minutes
      • Grammar-Based Questions: 40 minutes
      • Revision: 10 minutes

Compulsory Indian language paper :

The compulsory Indian language paper is called Paper A. You can pass in this paper by getting at least 25% of the total, i.e., 75 out of 300 marks. Paper A is not compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Below is a list of the languages you can choose from for the UPSC language paper :

Language

Script

Assamese

Assamese

Bengali

Bengali

Gujarati

Gujarati

Hindi

Devanagari

Kannada

Kannada

Kashmiri

Persian

Konkani

Devanagari

Malayalam

Malayalam

Manipuri

Bengali

Marathi

Devanagari

Nepali

Devanagari

Odia

Odia

Punjabi

Gurmukhi

Sanskrit

Devanagari

Sindhi

Devanagari or Arabic

Tamil

Tamil

Telugu

Telugu

Urdu

Persian

Bodo

Devanagari

Dogri

Devanagari

Maithili

Devanagari

Santhali

Devanagari or Olchiki *

*For Santhali language, the question paper will be in Devanagari script; but candidates will be free to answer either in Devanagari script or in Olchiki.

Type of Questions :

  • Essay writing:100 marks
  • Reading comprehension: 60 marks
  • Precise writing: 60 marks
  • Translation:
    • Translating English to the compulsory language: 20 marks
    • Translating the Compulsory Indian language to English: 20 marks
  • Grammar: 40 marks

Tip :

  • CBSE school level books (Std. X) will be sufficient for this paper.
  • Read a newspaper in the language that you have opted for at least 15 minutes every day.
  • Write and practice.
  • Practising previous year question papers.
  • Practice translating from English to the regional language and vice versa.
  • Handwriting should be legible and neat.
  • If your grammar skills are good, you are advised to complete the questions on grammar first.
  • Comprehension passage is usually simpler because you can spot the answers in the passage easily.
  • For the essay question, opt for simple but effective language. Avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

English paper :

Compulsory English Language Paper is Paper-B in the scheme of UPSC Mains Exam. You need to score a minimum of 25% marks or 75+ marks out of 300 to pass this paper.

It is a generic English language paper whose objectives include:

  • Assessing a candidate’s ability to read and understand serious descriptive prose.
  • Assessing a candidate’s ability to express his/her ideas correctly and clearly.

Type of Questions :

  • Essay-Writing: 100 Marks
  • Reading Comprehension: 75 Marks
  • Precis Writing: 75 Marks
  • Grammar-Based Questions: 50 Marks

Tips :