Short Film Contest

Suggested Strategy for English Qualifying papers

Short Essay

UPSC gives 4 general topics out of which an aspirant is expected to pick one and answer. The intent of this essay is not to test a candidate’s in-depth knowledge regarding the topic chosen rather the objective is to test whether a candidate can express his thoughts, emotions and opinions in English at a basic level. The word limit for this essay is 600 words. So, a candidate need not prepare exclusively for this essay as the preparation done for GS and Essay paper is sufficient. Regular reading of the newspaper will help improve your language and your writing skills.

    Structure your essay into 3 parts:
  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion

This way your essay looks organised. Ensure that you brainstorm on the structure of the essay before you start writing.

Reading Comprehension

The key to scoring well in this section is to focus and read the passage thoroughly to grasp the gist of the passage, it’s the essence, the theme and author’s opinion. It is advised to highlight some of the important points in the first reading itself. Then read the questions thoroughly and before answering read the passage again because the passage will contain direct cues to answer the questions. While writing the answer, express clearly and concisely.

Precis Writing

This constitutes the toughest part of the paper because compressing an essay of 1000 words into just 1/3rd without losing the very essence is a challenge indeed. Given the task at hand, the time required also goes up. So, the challenge is to efficiently compress the given passage within the stipulated time frame.

Read the given passage carefully and understand the core ideas involved. Then, prepare a rough draft which will contain all the crucial points. Later this can be made to fit into the boxes given. While filling up the boxes, be very judicious and try not to waste too many boxes for articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (on, at, in, on).

Note: Never deviate from the core idea in the given passage and be conscious of the time constraint.

Usage and Vocabulary

    This section will contain various 1 markers. Questions range from –
  1. Correcting a sentence
  2. Supplying the missing words
  3. Using the correct form of verbs
  4. Writing Antonyms/Synonyms
  5. Rewriting the sentence as directed
  6. Making Sentences as directed
  7. Fill in the Blanks
  8. Making sentences using phrases
    1. As you can see, these questions are very simple and the standard is of Matriculation or equivalent level. Try finishing these questions as quickly as possible since they are not time-consuming in nature.

      Time Management

      Sections Time
      Short Essay 50 mins
      Precis Writing 55 mins
      Reading Comprehension 45 mins
      Usage and Vocabulary 30 mins

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