To clear the UPSC Exam, there are two compulsory language papers, one in English and another in any regional Indian language (this paper allows you to select from any of the 22 specified official languages in the Indian Constitution’s Eighth Schedule), which is called Paper A. These 22 regional language papers are Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. Hence, you could choose any of them as per your interest.
Though compulsory papers do not count during the preparation of the final merit list, they serve as a qualifying paper to test the language proficiency of a prospective civil servant applicant. Both papers are qualifying in nature, so you must clear them so that your main paper will be evaluated. Many aspirants still face difficulties getting the minimum qualifying marks in this paper despite having decent performance in General Studies and Optional. One should not ignore them. Therefore, we are here to provide you with some important tips and suggestions on compulsory papers in a detailed manner.
Language Paper Format in UPSC Mains Exam:
There are two compulsory language papers in the UPSC Mains Exam.
- English Paper (300 Marks, 3 Hours)
- Any (One) Indian language exam (300 Marks, 3 Hours)
Qualifying Marks of Each Paper:
According to the UPSC 2020 guidelines, the qualifying percentages for both examinations are 25% or 75 marks for each paper.
Sections in Compulsory Indian Language Papers:
- Essay writing- 100 Marks
- Reading Comprehension-60 Marks
- Precis Writing-60 Marks
(i). Translating English to the Compulsory Language Paper 20 marks.
(ii). Translating the Compulsory Indian Language Paper to English 20 marks.
- Usage of Language and Vocabulary -40 Marks.
Some Important Tips for Compulsory Language Paper:
The UPSC’s major goal is to assess a candidate’s basic proficiency in reading, writing, and comprehension skills in Indian languages. The questions asked are basic matriculation or equivalent in nature. It would be easier if you selected a language that you learned in school. The (Std-X) CBSE school level will serve. After school, most of us lost touch with our writing and comprehension skills in our native language, a major concern while appearing for UPSC exams. Here, are some suggestions to help you gain the mastery back:
- In addition to your regular paper, start reading a vernacular newspaper daily. This will help you improve your vocabulary, comprehensive skills, sentence building, and so on.
- Once you read the regional language newspaper, start writing short paragraphs using your own words. It will help you to speed up writing and essay-writing sections. Make sure to use simple language.
- Coming to the translation section, read the complete passage thoroughly. Understand the essence of the passage to make the crucial points and translate them.
- Coming to the vocabulary and usage of the language section, it is slightly different from the English paper. The best of this section would be to prefer the study material of your matriculation level language books, which would help you prepare for grammatical roots, vocabulary, and sentence formation.
Compulsory English Paper in UPSC:
The main objective of this English language paper is to understand the ability of the candidate to read and understand serious descriptive prose and to express his/her ideas eloquently. You should obtain the minimum mark to qualify for this paper.
- Essay Writing: 100 Marks
- Reading Comprehension: 75 Marks
- Precis Writing: 75 Marks.
- Vocabulary and Grammar Usage: 50 Marks
Some Tips and Suggestions for Compulsory English Language Paper:
- For Essay Writing– Use three patterns, such as introduction, main part, and conclusion, to organize a better essay. As we should have to use only 600 words, the main intent of the essay is to understand the candidate’s opinions, thoughts, and emotions in English at a basic level. During your UPSC preparation, reading a select newspaper regularly will help you improve your language and writing skills.
- Reading Comprehension- To build a more likely response, read the content carefully to gain a better understanding of it. Go over the questions and reread the passage. Make a list of the important points that could be used as possible answers to the questions. Now rework and rewrite your answers to the questions in your own words. Make sure you don’t repeat any of the sentences in the passage. It might not make a good first impression, and you might end up with a low score as a result. To make it easier to respond in exams, practice reading comprehension problems from previous years’ question papers.
- Precis Writing– Precise writing is defined as summarizing a given comprehension in a short number of words while assigning all of the passage’s main phases. Candidates could use the methods outlined below to avoid making mistakes when drafting a piece. A summary should include all key points so that anyone reading it may understand the idea stated in the original passage. Keep in mind that it’s difficult to rewrite identical sentences in a paragraph, no matter how important they are. You must rewrite the sentences such that they include the idea that the paragraph wishes to repeat in fewer words, skipping over the paragraph’s less important notions. The most crucial aspect of precis writing is determining which concepts are relevant to the paragraph and eliminating those that are not.
- Grammar Usage and Vocabulary– This section contains 1 mark for each question which asks questions like “correct the sentence,” “missing words,” “usage of correct verbs,” “antonyms,” “synonyms,” “rewriting the sentences,” “filling in the blanks,” “structuring sentences using phrases” etc. For this section, candidates should practice previous question papers to understand the pattern clearly, and reading English newspapers helps you to some extent.
Some Essential Tips:
- As mentioned above, just start with the sections you are good at.
- Make sure you understand the fundamentals of English grammar.
- Neat handwriting helps with a better understanding of your thoughts and ideas.
- Avoid spelling mistakes.
- Have clarity in your answers.
- Develop your vocabulary skills by reading newspapers and other general books for your UPSC Exam preparation.
- Writing and practicing daily is essential if you haven’t been writing in the regional language since you finished school.
- Practice previous year’s question papers to understand the current pattern of the exam.
Yes, the first of the nine exams of the Mains test is known as ‘Paper A,’ and it is the required Indian language paper for all candidates, but exempted for those who hail from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim.
In the UPSC CSE Exam, there are two compulsory papers: one is the English language, and the other is any other regional (Indian) language.
According to the UPSC 2020 notification, the minimum qualifying marks for both examinations are 25% or 75 marks in each paper.