Civils Marathon - 29: Compulsory English Paper

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In the civil services Mains examination there are two compulsory qualifying papers.

In the civil services Mains examination there are two compulsory qualifying papers. One is an English paper and another is a regional language paper (Telugu) both of them carry 300 marks each. With these two papers the total number of papers for mains examinations will be nine.

The marks obtained in these two papers will not be counted for ranking.

Candidates should get a minimum of 75 marks each out of 300 marks to qualify for the mains examination's valuation. The main objectives for these two papers are – to assess the candidate's ability to read and understand serious descriptive prose. To assess the candidate's ability to express his ideas correctly and clearly. The standard of questions will be of matriculation or equivalent.

Broad Analysis

The main purpose of an English paper is that the candidate should be able to speak, write and analyse the subject in proper perspective. Many candidates neglect the preparation of this paper under the wrong impression that it is very easy to answer and there is no need for any preparation. Some candidates worry about this paper. This paper contains four parts:

– Essay -100 marks,

– comprehension 75 marks,

– precise writing, 75 marks,

– grammar 50 marks and the total is 300 marks.


In the mains examinations there is a separate essay paper for 250 marks. These marks are counted for ranking. In this compulsory paper an essay in about 600 words on the given topic is to be written. It carries a hundred marks. Let us go through the question paper of 2020 to have an idea about the questioning pattern. Four topics have been given out of which one topic is to be selected by the candidate. They are –

1) Indian universities are Indian in their geographical locations only

2) Journalism has been rendered into sensationalism

3) Information is not knowledge

4) Even a man can transform a society

While choosing the topic the candidate should be careful about his knowledge on the subject. The first question deals with the research and teaching facilities available at the universities. Lack of eminent educationists at the universities and the decrease of standards in research work, the infrastructure available at the universities and the library facilities are to be discussed in this answer. For the second question, the answer should be- most of the newspapers have a tendency to create sensationalism through news items. The old time journalists had dedication and devotion towards their duties. In the present journalistic career,

Breaking news is the main motto. News is presented according to the broad policy of the management of the newspaper.

For the third question the distinction between information and knowledge is to be discussed. Though it appears like a philosophical quotation the candidate has to present it in a proper way. The last topic is about an individual's capacity to transform this society. A person like Mahatma Gandhi was able to lead the freedom struggle with his ideology and was able to mobilise lakhs of people for the independence movement.

Comprehension: 75 marks

Read carefully the passage given below and write your answers to the questions that follow in clear, correct and concise language.

In this question of 2020 five paragraphs have been given. The subject deals with ``new history". After going through the passages, the candidate has to answer the five questions given below.

They are

a) Why does the author consider history and all inclusive areas of study?

b) According to the author, how has history suffered distortions and why?

c) How does the author describe the new school of historians?

d) What are the dangers associated with new history?

e) Why is it difficult to define and evaluate civilisation?

To give a proper reply, the candidate has to go through the message twice to assimilate the main structure of the content. The answers are already in the passage. Don't repeat the same words. Reply in your own words.

Precise writing: 5 marks

Make the passage about one third of its length. Don't give a title to it. It should be written in your own language. The main purpose of this question is to assess the ability of the candidate to condense the material available with him according to the situation. In preparing drafts for the approval by the higher officials the subordinate has to put up a draft and it should be comprehensive and well presented. Out of the total 600 words, it is to be condensed to 200 words. One should not use the same words by taking one line out of the three lines.

Grammar-50 marks

A) Rewrite the following 10 sentences after making necessary corrections. Each question carries one mark. 10 marks

B) Supply the missing words: 5 marks

C) Choose the correct forms of the words given in brackets. 5 marks

D) Write the antonyms of the following five words – 5 marks

E) Rewrite each of the following sentences as directed without changing the meaning – 10 marks

F) Use the following words to make sentences that bring out their meaning clearly. Don't change the form of the words. 5 marks

G) Choose the appropriate word to fill in the blanks – 5 marks.

(The author is retired Additional Director General Doordarshan Delhi)

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