The UPSC Mains examination is well-known all over India to be one of the most grueling examinations in the nation. With a wide plethora of topics, subjects, and streams, this exam tests a candidate’s ability to have clarity of thoughts and the ability to make decisions and bring them on the paper as well. To make the UPSC Mains examination a little easier for candidates, the committee offers some optional subjects for students with a different educational background. One such optional subject is Literature of Languages. There are a total of 23 languages from which you can choose the one of your likings. This big number is a result of the various languages spoken in our country.
The UPSC Literature Optional subject covers two exam papers. The first one of these focuses on the history and literature of your chosen language. The second paper tests your knowledge of the particular writers, poets and artists the language has produced. Since language exams are usually the last papers in UPSC Mains, this subject is critical to improving your overall score if previous papers weren’t as good. Let’s take a look at a few tips to score better in languages and literature:
- Keep Your Answer Sheet Tidy
Nothing is more pleasing to the eyes of a linguist than a well-written piece of paper. Well written, optimally spaced words with good handwriting are akin to the golden rectangle for every language all over the globe. Keep scratching, cutting, and clutter to a minimum and you would have impressed the examiner already.
Work on Improving Your Handwriting
If your handwriting is not tidy already, work on improving it. Good handwriting is readable, large enough to read properly, and optimally spaced. Readability plays a huge role in the examination. Even the perfect essay falls short of the ability to impress if it is unreadable. Don’t underestimate the power of good handwriting. Start practicing as early as possible.
Precision and Consistency Go Hand-in-Hand
Just like essays, language examination in UPSC Mains offers some brownie points for being on the point and concise. Do not stray away or digress too much, use words carefully and keep it simple. Good grading is secured.
While writing your answers, keep your writing consistent. Do not try to rush your answers and take your time to form points and make them visible. Good presentation with consistency fetches great marks.
- Language is Not a Barrier
The language papers in UPSC are all about being able to express your opinions, observations and points of view openly. Be informed that you don’t have to stick to just one language while writing your answers, you can always refer to writers, poets and philosophies from other languages of the country as long as your answer brings your point across.
- Be Original and Summarised
Copying previous years’ answers will only fetch you negative marks and impact your grades. Also, taking points from others and trying to pass them off as your own will do no good. Write in your own words and keep your writing style original, don’t try too hard to get a point across and keep word limit in mind while writing your responses.
Improve Your Vocabulary
A tell-tale sign of someone’s mastery over languages is their vocabulary. The more words you know, the more sophisticated and fresh your answers would look. Also, at times, some words sound better when other words replace them. E.g. ‘very tired’ can be replaced by ‘exhausted’, or ‘loud and noisy’ can be replaced by ‘deafening’ or even ‘cacophonic’ while writing English. Try to find exact terms and jargon for stuff. Your answers would automatically start looking beautiful.
- Don’t Skip Answering
Whether or not you know the exact answer to the asked question, you still should answer the question. In the absence of negative marks awarding, writing the wrong, or inappropriate answer will not adversely impact your score. Of course, writing something is advised; not anything. Keep your answer basic and relevant to the very least.
‘Languages’ is one of the easier subjects to score when prepared well. Choose your language you are most proficient in. There is no ‘better’ or ‘worse’ language to choose from. Being the master of your chosen language is very important. Well, thought, precise and original answers fetch good marks. Work very hard and improve your vocabulary. Do not waste your words and cross the word limit. Practice good handwriting, write neat and tidy and stay consistent throughout the paper. While writing, take your time to think and write clearly. All these tips will help you score well in UPSC Mains 2020.
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