The UPSC Civil Services Main examination consists of 9 aspects, of which the English language paper is mandatory. It is called Paper B and it is regarded as a qualifying paper, meaning that the marks obtained in it will not be counted in the final ranking, but in order to get into the final stage, i.e. the personality test/ interview round, you must pass it. An essay, reading comprehension, precise writing, and grammar consists of the compulsory English Paper B of the Civil Services Main Exam.

In the Mains and Prelims exam for UPSC, an important question posed is reading comprehension. In this exam, a passage from which questions would be asked would be given to you. Many students find this reading comprehension difficult and complain that the passage can not be understood well. If you are one of those UPSC aspirants who are struggling in this regard, here are a few helpful tips that you can follow for this UPSC syllabus in this question to score maximum.

Also read: UPSC Interview Questions of Toppers and Interview Tips to Achieve your UPSC Dream

A Guide to Comprehension

A passage with some questions based on the passage consists of the reading comprehension part of the Mains and Prelims English paper, which candidates should read and answer the questions. Most candidates find that reading the whole passage is time-consuming and it is daunting to address the questions.

Many candidates claim that in the UPSC syllabus knowing the given understanding of reading is difficult to comprehend, but it is recommended that you do not need to understand each and every word of the understanding and all you have to do is find the description of the understanding of reading.

Here, what we advise the candidates is not to go through the whole passage, first, read the questions and mark the keyword in the passage on the basis of the question asked is the shortcut to cover this section.

Practice Understanding the Passage

  • As much as possible, improve your vocabulary by reading. This is a sure-shot way to score better because you can better comprehend the passage.
  • No substitute for practise exists. Read previous UPSC syllabus question papers to gain trust and speed from the previous year’s practice reading comprehension.
  • Avoid getting distracted when you read the passage. You can identify keywords that would help you to answer the questions if you concentrate.
  • Avoid moving your lips in order to improve your speed while reading. In order to improve memory, speed reading also helps.
  • Answer from the passage of reading comprehension and do not apply your own expertise.
  • Along with these, you must work on your interpersonal skills including communication skills.

Also read: UPSC English Syllabus for 2021: Detailed Syllabus and General Preparation Tips for Literature Optional

Improving Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are also referred to as soft skills. These are the skills you need for better and healthier outcomes while you deal with people. During various situations, a master of interpersonal skills knows how to deal with different individuals.

The basic interpersonal skills can be summarised as the following

  • Skills for Communication
  • Skills for Listening
  • The Management of Stress
  • To be Assertive

These skills too are influential in your overall mains and prelims performance.


Regardless of your English skill level, you can always add one more tip which is to watch good English movies with subtitles or listening to western music, as it will help improve your comprehension skills. For more tips and tricks like these, visit UPSC Pathshala and you can also share your feedback in the comment section below.

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Comprehension for UPSC:  Tips for Reading Comprehension Aspect of the UPSC Exam
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Comprehension for UPSC: Tips for Reading Comprehension Aspect of the UPSC Exam
In the UPSC Exam, the Mains paper is for 300 marks and to pass this paper, one must at least score 75. For more tips on how to solve comprehension in the UPSC exam, read on.
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UPSC Pathshala
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