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UPSC Mains

Paper A of UPSC Mains

UPSC Civil Services Mains exam includes a compulsory Indian language paper (Paper A) with 300 total marks. This paper is qualifying in nature and requires a minimum of 25% marks to clear. The language options include Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, etc. Preparing for the language paper is crucial to ensure your hard work in other papers does not go to waste. CBSE school level books and daily reading in the chosen language can help in preparation.

Feb 01, 2023

2 min read

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services Mains exam is a crucial examination for aspirants aiming to clear the IAS exam. The exam consists of nine papers, out of which one is the compulsory Indian language paper referred to as Paper A. This paper is qualifying in nature, and the marks obtained in this paper do not count towards the final ranking. However, it is mandatory to clear this paper to proceed to the next round of the exam. A candidate needs to score at least 75 marks out of 300 to clear this paper.




The Indian language paper consists of five sections – essay writing, reading comprehension, précis writing, translation, and usage of grammar and basic language. The questions are of matriculation or equivalent standards. Aspirants have the option to choose from any of the 22 languages mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Indian constitution. It is advisable to choose the language you studied in school or have a better grip on. CBSE school level books are sufficient to prepare for this paper.


To prepare for this paper, one needs to revise their school-level language and basic grammar lessons, familiarize themselves with the UPSC syllabus, and read a regional language newspaper for at least 15 minutes every day. Writing practice and translating from English to the regional language and vice versa is also crucial. It is important to keep in mind that handwriting should be legible and neat.


During the exam, it is advisable to solve the questions in which you are confident first, followed by the others. Essay writing should be attempted with at least forty minutes to spare, as it requires a flow of thoughts. Avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and follow the rule of attempting the translation section as per your comfort level in English or the regional language.


It is important to take the Indian language paper seriously as your marks in the General Studies, Optional, and Essay papers will not be disclosed if you do not clear this paper. It is advisable to prepare for the language paper alongside your core subjects preparation, as the standard of questions is not high. To complement your preparation, check previous year question papers, current affairs, and practice mock tests.

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