To clear the UPSC Exam, you must compulsorily opt for English and a regional Indian language. You can select from the 22 languages that are made available to you which will be your Paper A. English will be Paper B. Although compulsory subjects are not considered in the merit list, these are qualifying papers to test the language proficiency of the aspirant. Therefore, a civil service applicant needs to clear the language papers. Many candidates face difficulty and gain only a minimum qualifying score in the language papers even though they perform well in optional and general studies. In this blog, we offer important suggestions and tips on how to prepare and score better in UPSC language papers. Get in touch with Chinmaya IAS Academy in Chennai to get the best UPSC coaching.
Format for Language Paper in UPSC Main Exam
There are 2 compulsory papers for language in the UPSC Main Examination. They are:
- Regional Indian Language Paper (3 hours, 300 marks)
- English Paper (3 hours, 300 marks)
2020 UPSC guidelines: Qualifying marks for each paper are 75 marks or 25%.
Examination Pattern, Language List & Preparation Strategies for Paper A
Paper A, which will be the regional Indian language paper (pick any one official language listed under the eighth schedule of the Indian constitution), will test the candidate’s writing, reading and comprehension skills according to the UPSC syllabus.
100 marks – Essay writing
60 marks – Reading comprehension
60 marks – Precis writing
40 marks – Translation (this includes translating English to the compulsory language for 20 marks and translating the compulsory Indian language to English for 20 marks)
40 marks – Usage of grammar
Indian Languages List (Allowed for UPSC Main Examination)
The list of Indian languages available in the UPSC syllabus are:
|Bengali – Bengali||Hindi – Devanagiri|
|Kashmiri – Persian||Assamese – Assamese|
|Kannada – Kannada||Gujarati – Gujarati|
|Malayalam – Malayalam||Manipuri – Bengali|
|Nepali – Devanagari||Konkani – Devanagari|
|Marathi – Devnagari||Punjabi – Gurmukhi|
|Sanskrit – Devanagari||Odia – Odia|
|Tamil – Tamil||Urdu – Persian|
|Dogri – Devanagari||Sindhi – Devanagari or Arabic|
|Telugu – Telugu||Santhali – Devanagari or Olchiki|
|Bodo – Devanagari||Maithili – Devnagari|
Note: For the language Santhali, you will be given questions in Devanagari script, and the candidate is free to answer in Olchiki or Devanagari script. Students from Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland have Paper A as optional.
The goal of the UPSC Exam is to assess the aspirant’s basic proficiency in the Indian language’s writing, reading and comprehension skills. Candidates must prepare for their language papers wisely without taking much time. They should not compromise on their core subjects as the language papers are required only to be cleared. A few suggestions to score high are:
- Select the language wisely. Opt for the one you already know instead of choosing an entirely new language.
- Practise enough to qualify. Go through CBSE textbooks as they help you get through easily. Brush up the basic grammar lessons and read through the entire UPSC syllabus.
- Start reading newspapers in the language you have chosen. Doing so will help you improve your sentence-building, vocabulary and comprehension skills.
- Practice writing short paragraphs using your own words. This will speed up your writing potential and help you get through the essay-writing portion. Use simple terms and language.
- Read the entire passage, understand the meaning and then attempt translating them. Try translating from a regional language to English and vice versa.
- Handwriting plays a significant role in helping you score better. Make it a point to write neatly. If you need better handwriting, keep practising.
- The usage of the language and vocabulary section needs you to learn with good study materials. Use matriculation language books as they will help you strengthen sentence formation and grammatical roots.
Examination Pattern & Preparation Strategies for Paper B
The English standard in UPSC is simple and basic. The primary objective of Paper B, English language, is to analyse the candidate’s understanding of descriptive prose and how they eloquently express their ideas.
- 100 marks – Essay writing
- 75 marks – Reading comprehension
- 75 marks – Precis writing
- 50 marks – Vocabulary & grammar usage
Based on the official UPSC syllabus, the strategy you must follow to ace this particular paper is mentioned below.
- To begin with, you must concentrate on essay writing. Write the essay with an introduction, main portion and conclusion. This will ensure that the essay looks properly organised, with your ideas exhibited clearly. To score better, approach the essay from various perspectives like historical, social, ethical, political, environmental, etc. Read newspapers and informative articles regularly to refine your language skills which will, in turn, polish your writing skills.
- Next, you must focus on reading comprehension. To create a good response, try reading the entire content carefully. This will help you gain a perfect understanding of the given topic. List out the important points, and then try answering the questions. If you are unsure after reading once, reread the passage and return to the question. Practice makes everything perfect. Therefore, practise a lot of reading comprehension from the previous year’s question papers.
- Precis writing is summarising a comprehension and making it fit into a definite number of words. You must mention all the main things in the given passage. Start by preparing a rough draft by mentioning the core ideas. Then refine the entire content. In order to limit the number of words, try avoiding certain words (the, an, and a) and prepositions like in, at and on.
- You can improve your conceptual understanding by referring to Wren and Martin’s book and practising the questions from question banks. The vocabulary and grammar usage section have one-mark questions. This section contains questions like:
1. Use correct verbs
2. State the antonym
3. Correct the sentence
4. Find the missing word
5. Fill in the blanks
6. Write the synonym
7. Rewrite the sentence
9. Structure the sentence
To Sum Up
You can ace the UPSC Mains if you focus on mastering the UPSC syllabus and through regular practice. Understand the basics in both the language papers and develop your vocabulary by reading a lot of articles, books and newspapers. Practise the previous year’s question papers to better understand the examination pattern. If you want to score high in your language papers, contact Chinmaya IAS Academy in Chennai, which provides the best UPSC coaching.