UPSC Civil Services Exam – Qualifying Papers English, Hindi

Civil Service Examination- CSAT in Preliminary Exam and Language Papers in Mains – qualifying papers


Apart from the compulsory papers- whose marks will add up to form the final list- there are some qualifying papers which will have to be cleared with a certain margin or percentage slab in order to be considered for the checking of the compulsory papers. These are involved in both levels of Civil Service Examination- CSAT in Preliminary Exam and Language Papers in Mains. A discussion upon the syllabus and examination pattern has been done below.

Prelims Stage: CSAT

Syllabus of CSAT-

• Comprehension

• Interpersonal skills including communication skills;

• Logical reasoning and analytical ability

• Decision-making and problem-solving

• General mental ability

• Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level)

• English Language Comprehension skills (Class X level)


Also See : UPSC Exams


Previous Years Questions:

Read the following passage and answer the three items that follow:

A tennis coach is trying to put together a team of four players for the forthcoming tournament. For this 7 players are available: males A, Band C; and females W, X, Y and Z. All players have equal capability and at least 2 males will be there in the team. For a team of four, all players must be able to play with each other. But, B cannot play with W, C cannot play with Z and W cannot play with Y.
45. If Y is selected and B is rejected, the team will consist of which one of the following groups?

a) A, C, Wand Y

b) A, C, X and Y

c) A, C, Y and Z

d) A, W, Y and Z

Q- Five people A, B, C, D and E are, seated about a round table, Every chair is spaced equidistant from adjacent chairs,

I. C is seated next to A.

II. A is seated two seats from D.

III. B is not seated next to A.


Which of the following must be true?

I. D is seated next to B

II. E is seated next to A.


Select the correct answer from the codes given below:

a) I only

b) II only

c) Both I and II

d) Neither I nor II

Mains Level- Language Papers:

Compulsory Language- English

The qualifying papers of English and Hindi:

UPSC says, the papers on Essay, General Studies and Optional Subject of only such candidates will be taken cognizance who attain 30% marks in Indian Language and 25% marks in English as minimum qualifying standards in these qualifying papers.

Syllabus of English:

The aim of the paper is to test the candidate’s ability to read and understand serious discursive prose, and to express his ideas clearly and correctly in English. The pattern of questions would be broadly as follows :-

(i) Comprehension of given passages.

(ii) Precis Writing

(iii) Usage and Vocabulary

(iv) Short Essay

Structure of the paper

The type of questions asked are –

1. Essay – 100 marks

2. Reading comprehension – 60 marks

3. Precis – 60 marks

4. Translation :

a) English to compulsory language (e.g. Hindi) – 20 marks

b) Compulsory language to English – 20 marks

5. Grammar and basic language usage – 40 marks

Note 1 : The Papers on English will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature only. The marks obtained in these papers will not be counted for ranking.

Note 2 : The candidates will have to answer the English and Indian Languages papers in English and the respective Indian language (except where translation is involved).

Previous Years Question;

Write an essay in about 600 words on any one topic:  

  •  What kind of crisis is India facing-moral or economic?    
  • Participating in sports helps develop good character.   
  • Should students be allowed to grade their teachers?
  • Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.

Indian Language:

For the Language medium/ literature of languages, the scripts to be used by the candidates will be as under-
    Language                              Script
   Assamese                             Assamese
   Bengali                                  Bengali
   Gujarati                                 Gujarati
   Hindi                                     Devanagari
   Kannada                                Kannada
   Kashmiri                                Persian
   Konkani                                 Devanagari
   Malayalam                            Malayalam
   Manipuri                               Bengali
   Marathi                                 Devanagari
   Nepali                                   Devanagari
   Oriya                                     Oriya
   Punjabi                                 Gurumukhi
   Sanskrit                                 Devanagari
   Sindhi                                   Devanagari or Arabic
   Tamil                                    Tamil
   Telugu                                  Telugu
   Urdu                                     Persian
   Bodo                                    Devanagari
   Dogri                                     Devanagari
   Maithilli                                 Devanagari
   Santhali                                Devanagari or Olchiki

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

Note: Paper A will not be compulsory for candidates hailing from the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Most Commonly taken up- Hindi

Only the basics of the language since it is a test of the Hindi ‘language’ is to be covered. No need to go in depth of the Hindi literature and intricate readings of the same. The paper consists of:

Nibandh: Hindi Essay: 2 essays (no choice in the topics) each for 50 marks totalling 100 marks.

Gadyansh: Reading comprehension: 12 passages each for 5 marks totalling 60 marks.

Sankshepan: Précis writing: Here you have to condense a piece of prose given, for 60 marks.

Anuvad: Translation: From English to Hindi (20 marks) and Hindi to English (20 marks) totalling 40 marks.

10 marks questions: Muhavare; Shudhi; Paryayavachi; Yugm (totalling 40 marks)


Samanya Hindi Book by Unique Publications

UPSC question papers of the past 10 years

After the analysis of the syllabuses of the qualifying subjects it can be easily concluded that leaving these on chance will be a foolish mistake to make. The only strategy one can follow is that of continuous practice for these papers. Keep your mind ready for all the possible challenges that might come your way. Be regular.


Happy preparation, guys!


Author: Anushka Mishra