[Download] Compulsory English 2013 Question Paper of UPSC Civil Service Mains Exam + last 17 years as Bonus(1997-2013)

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  1. Compulsory English: 2012 vs 2013
  2. 2013: Compulsory English Paper
    1. Essay (100m)
    2. Comprehension (50m)
    3. Précis #1 (60m)
    4. Précis #2 (40m)
    5. Make sentences (10m)
    6. Antonym (5m)
    7. Sentence Correction (10m)
    8. Do as directed (15m)
    9. Fill in the Blanks (10m)
  3. Download previous papers (1997-2013)?

Compulsory English: 2012 vs 2013

UPSC English paper Mains 2013

2012 2013
300 marks | 3 hours same
allowed candidates to take question paper home yes
attempt any one out of five essays (100 marks) Two essays given and both compulsory. No options. (50 x 2 =100 marks)
One essay of 300 words 300 x 2= 600 words= lengthier paper
reading comprehension passage worth 75 marks just 50 marks
Comprehension passage just ~380 words to read. ~530 words= more time spent in reading=lengthier paper.
One précis worth 75 marks. two precise 60+40=100 marks.in other words, reduced comprehension by 25 marks and shifted them précis portion.
Précis specifically said: write 200 words.
  • Asked you to reduce length to 1/3rd of the original passage.
  • 1st passage=537=>reduce to 179 words.
  • 2nd passage=541=>reduce to 180 words.
  • Meaning, overall you had to write ~360 words=again lengthier paper. and its not just about writing 360 words, you’ve to read two original passages with patience, before compressing them=even more lengthier paper.
total grammar worth 50 marks same
fill in the blanks 15 just 10
sentence correction 10 same
antonym 5 same
insert suitable article none
passive voice 5 only 2
direct/indirect speech 5 only 3
rewrite sentence with “it” 5m same
new type of “Do as directed” question e.g. combine sentence with had, combine with had, make exclamatory sentence with “how” etc.

Anyways, let’s check the paper itself (Thanks Kartik for sharing this paper.)

2013: Compulsory English Paper


  1. All questions are to be attempted.
  2. The number of marks carried by a question is indicated against it. Answers must be written in ENGLISH only.
  3. Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to and if answered in much longer or shorter than the prescribed length, marks will be deducted.
  4. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the answer book must be clearly struck off.

Essay (100m)

Q. Write short essays in about 300 words on each of the following (50 x 2 =100 marks)

  1. We Indians are hypocrites.
  2. Fitness and healthcare — latest fad in urban India.

Comprehension (50m)

Q2. Read carefully the passage given below and write your answers to the questions that follow in clear, correct, and concise language of your own. 50 marks

In barely one generation, we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives, to trying to get away from them — often, in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like a teenager, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much, all but overnight.

The average person spends at least eight and a half hours a day in front of the screen. The average teenager spends or receives 75 text messages a day. Since luxury, as any economist will tell you, is a function of scarcity, the children of tomorrow will crave nothing more than freedom, if only for a short while, from all the blinking machines, streaming videos and scrolling headlines that leave them feeling empty, and too full all at once. The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. Even half a century ago, Marshall McLuhan warned, “When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself.”

Yet few of those voices can be heard these days, precisely because `breaking news’ is coming through perpetually on the news channels, and Meena is posting images of her summer vacation and the phone is ringing. We barely have enough time to see how little time we have. And the more that floods in on us, the less of ourselves we have to give to every snippet.

We have more and more ways to communicate, as Thoreau noted, but less and less to say. Partly because we are so busy communicating. And — as he might also have said — we are rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines. So what to do ? The central paradox of the machines that have made our lives so much brighter, quicker, longer and healthier is that they cannot teach us how to make the best use of them; the information revolution came without an instruction manual. All the data in the world cannot teach us how to sift through data; images don’t show us how to process images. The only way to do justice to our onscreen lives is by summoning exactly the emotional and moral clarity that cannot be found on any screen.

Maybe that is why more and more people, even if they have no religious commitment, seem to be turning to yoga or meditation, or tai chi; these are not New Age fads so much as ways to connect with what could be called the wisdom of old age. A series of tests in recent years has shown that after spending time in a quiet rural setting, subjects “exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.” More than that, empathy, as well as deep thought, depends on neural processes that are “inherently slow”. The very ones our high-speed lives have little time for.

QUESTIONS: (10 x 5 = 50 Marks)

  1. According to the author, what is likely to become a scarcity in the future?
  2. What ability have people lost thanks to the constant inflow of data?
  3. Why does the author say, “We have more and more ways to communicate, but less and less to say?
  4. Why are people taking an active interest in old-age fads?
  5. Why is modern man unable to empathise with others?

Précis #1 (60m)

Make a précis of the following passage in about one-third of its length. Please do not suggest a title. 60 marks.

Honesty in business dealings or in other areas are not the only measures of morals and values. The strength of character of a person is also measured by uncompromising aversion to cowardice, intrigue, envy, ambiguity, falsehood, disloyalty, treachery, in short, all undignified actions. There are, in reality, few human beings endowed with a truly spotless character. This is because an almost immaculate character does not exist until the last lives in human form. Educated individuals are not necessarily endowed with good morals and values. In fact, some of them use education and their intellect as a tool for deceit. However, the advantages and the need for education and culture cannot be denied. They contribute largely for the development of intellectual ability and the power to reason, which are the means by which the spirit analyses, compares, infers and arrives at conclusions in the search for truth about the meaning of life. The most precious assets of the soul are its morals and values, but they are not easy to build. The character of each person requires longer periods of thoughtfulness, reasoning and the practice of those values, during many reincarnations, in the course of which, ideas sink in under life experiences. It is only after enduring much disillusionment, grief, injustice and ingratitude for many successive corporeal lives, that a person will be able to measure, in the innermost recesses of his soul, the extent of human moral misery. Then, disgusted, he rebels against it and opens the door to a more ethical and honourable life. Thus, having known and experienced suffering, the spirit, in countless reincarnations, gradually frees itself from evil actions and, through enlightenment and conviction follows the rigid tracks of a flawless conduct. It is of great significance to talk about morals and values but it is also crucial to define the lines of character that everyone should consider in their lives. Some of the most important ones are: good judgement, fairness, common sense, punctuality, loyalty, courage, magnanimity, dignity, gratitude, politeness, faithfulness, moderation, truthfulness, self-respect, respect for others, etc. All these qualities, if properly cultivated, compose a prime set of dignifying virtues which accounts for a refined character. For example, we all make mistakes and to err is human. However, once an honest person is advised and becomes convinced of his mistake, he should admit it and try not to repeat it. Unfortunately it is common practice to conceal one’s mistakes, instead of avoiding them. This is very detrimental to spiritual growth. Most people seldom use impartiality and justice in the innermost evaluation of their own actions. Even those who are too harsh in the judgement of other people’s actions, for whom they always have words of criticism and reproach, do not escape the usual tendency. When their own faults are concerned, they find a full, lenient, absolvent justification. In this way, not only it denotes lack of character, but mistakes often end up incorporated to human habits. By acting this way, an individual loses his self-respect and his sense of character and dignity and becomes corrupted. What everyone should do, is to face up his mistakes and avoid new mistakes, by improving his sense of morals and values, with the help of his will-power. (537 words)

Précis #2 (40m)

Make a précis of the following passage in about one-third of its length. Please do not suggest a title. 40 marks

People write and publish autobiographies and autobiographical sketches for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is to put on record the events of a famous or influential career. But not all autobiographies, not even the autobiographies most frequently and widely read, are by famous or extraordinary men. Another reason is to hand on to others, wisdom won through experience and hard labour. Yet many fine autobiographers seem to have little concern to teach or to persuade. A third reason is to distill from past experience events, persons, and situations which hold a firm place in memory, and to put true values on them. In this sense, autobiography is, as Somerset Maugham has said, a ‘summing-up’, and its first utility is to its author himself.

Whatever its purpose or the fame of the man who writes it, autobiography is a thing created out of the recollections of life. It is not life itself. Whether it be valuable or useless depends upon whether it is well- or ill- made. Good autobiographies can be mined from inconspicuous lives.

For autobiography is the inclusive and summary form of what we call `themes of experience’. It may contain reminiscences, descriptions of places, of animals, of people, the identification of characteristic preferences and prejudices, and other matters as well. It has the traits of all these minor forms.

An autobiography is objectively true, but is not indiscriminately inclusive. It presents a selection of detailed episodes with sufficient fullness to preserve their essential qualities. It is usually written within the framework defused by a consistent point of view. It presents its subject in more than two dimensions, fusing the person and his actions with setting, manner and purpose. One further trait of autobiographical writing raises a few special problems: by its nature autobiography tempts its author to proceed chronologically. The events sort themselves by the calendar, and it is a natural impulse of every autobiographer to begin with the words “I was born on …. ”

Strict chronological arrangement poses a discipline of some force. It is by no means easy to “begin at the beginning, go until you come to the end, and then stop.” Considerations other than the calendar have a way of forcing their way to notice. With due care, however, a chronological autobiography can be accomplished.

It is important to remember that chronology is not the only principle by which autobiography can be organized. Benjamin Franklin, whose procedure in his autobiography is basically chronological, does not hesitate to recognize the Philadelphia girl who laughed at him as the very one who subsequently became his wife. Joseph Conrad prefers the pattern of walking tour to that of the calendar, and his richly imaginative account is stored with pertinent associations of the past with the present and future. Often, to the autobiographer, it seems that life does not pass so much as it accumulates. Qualities emerge as identities independent of time. For this reason, we should not as we write feel compelled to maintain a steady rate of advance through the time marks of our stories. Like Hazlitt on his journey, we linger over a choice adventure or a valued friend, and then, if we choose, we skip a few years to catch up. (541 words)

Make sentences (10m)

Q4. (a) Use each of the following words to make sentences that bring out their meaning clearly. Do not change the form of the words, (No marks will be given for vague and ambiguous sentences.) 10marks

  1. desultory
  2. grapevine
  3. holistic
  4. insidious
  5. intransigence
  1. paradigm
  2. susceptible
  3. ubiquitous
  4. voracious
  5. venerable

Antonym (5m)

  1. Amateur
  2. Modesty
  3. Shallow
  4. Conceited
  5. Atheist

Sentence Correction (10m)

Q4(b) Correct the following sentences without changing their meaning. Please do not make unnecessary changes in the original sentence. 10 marks

  1. One must do what he thinks best.
  2. He will surely not do that, did he ?
  3. Can I leave the room now, Sir ?
  4. My neighbour, along with two friends, were pushing his car which is stalled.
  5. I thought to help him, but he did not welcome my suggestion.
  6. When I was a child, I enjoyed to eat ice cream in the bench.
  7. The Principal, along with the teachers, are planning to apply for a leave.
  8. Do you have an idea who is that man ?
  9. Unemployment as well as poverty influence the votes.
  10. When I woke up, the man already disappeared after committing murder in the running train.

Do as directed (15m)

Rewrite each of the following sentences as directed without changing the meaning (total 10 marks)

  1. No one dares to criticize her for what she says. (Rewrite the sentence starting with ‘No matter’)
  2. Radha was the eldest. She had to look after her parents. (Combine to form a single sentence)
  3. She decorated the room. The purpose was to make it look beautiful. (Combine using ‘so that’)
  4. “What a beautiful day !”, said the young tourist. (Change the narration)
  5. The one-man committee determined there was no need to take action.(Rewrite using passive structure)
  6. The proud father remarked, “What a wonderful batsman my son is !” (Change into indirect speech)
  7. My mother remarked, “Aren’t the children lovely ?” (Change into indirect speech)
  8. Cricket fans filled the streets during the World Cup. (Rewrite using passive structure)
  9. It would be wonderful if we could go to Shimla. (Change into an exclamatory sentence using ‘how’)
  10. I could have finished the work. But I would have had to go out early.(Combine into one sentence beginning with ‘Had’)

Rewrite the following sentences using ‘it’ at the beginning of the sentence: 5marks

  1. Impressing Ramesh Mohan would be a piece of cake.
  2. Visiting old people in hospitals is a very good idea.
  3. To smoke 20 cigarettes a day is bad for your health.
  4. Chatting with strangers on the computer can be very dangerous.
  5. My father says, keeping the computer on all day is a waste of electricity.

Fill in the Blanks (10m)

Compulsory English-AP-Bhardwaj
Fill in the blanks using one of the following linkers : 1×5=5
(in case, but , even though, so, provided, as)

  1. ____ he was late for the meeting, his boss didn’t get angry.
  2. ____ he was late for the meeting, his boss became angry.
  3. I’ll not get angry, ___ you are not late for the meeting.
  4. I started early ____ I was still late for the meeting.
  5. I’ll give you her telephone number ___ you have problems finding her place.

Fill in the blanks (5m)

  1. My teacher said that I need to___ (practice, practise) more.
  2. The hot weather ____ (affects, effects) people in different ways.
  3. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had to work only on _____ (alternative, alternate) days?
  4. Our politicians are known to ____ (avoid, evade) taxes.
  5. The Principal ____ (complimented, complemented) the students on their fine performance.

Download previous papers (1997-2013)?

If you want last 17 years’ compulsory English papers in both PDF and MS Word format, then click this link https://files.secureserver.net/0sNYp0XS55m7X5

Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

99 Comments on “[Download] Compulsory English 2013 Question Paper of UPSC Civil Service Mains Exam + last 17 years as Bonus(1997-2013)”

  1. Good analysis… & thanks 4 providing prev papers..

    1. @Mrunal Can I send you scans of other papers?

      1. If you want to send then sent it through CONTACT ME Tab. But the thing it you cant upload the Scan.

        For that you can use anonfiles to upload the scanned papers.

        1. thnks :) …

          I’ll do that – mail stuff…

          1. please send me mains 2013 papers…

      2. Neena please send other exams scanned copies too….

      3. how are you? i need these papers very much. please send all to my email. thanks in anticipation

  2. thanks a ton sir… 4 providing papers…

  3. Is UPSC trying to compensate for the precis paper which they were forced to drop by making the English paper much more lengthy??

  4. Hi,
    How much marks one need to secure to pass in this exam.

    1. It’s competitive so you never know . 40-50% is a good bet though .

      1. Bro,

        People here were not able to finish the paper.

        40-50% is way too high for a good bet.

        I will say for general if you score between – 105-125 then it will suffice. Rest of the categories adjust accordingly.

        1. I wud stick to the golden rule of 33%

        2. No issues keep 60%, dumb paper!
          But yes, Precis 1 was really tough!!!!

          But yes scared “white” of Hindi Paper :(….

          Best of luck :)

          1. @Miss Neena –

            You may be well acquaint with English. But many people from Hindi Medium / and regional medium schools background found it difficult.

            Btw any comment about todays papers? How you felt it?

            How much u attempted if you dont mind sharing?


          2. Neena ji. Any UPSC paper is corrected and marked in such a way that not many get more than 50 %. Anyways that was in the past. Now the correction style itself might have changed. So I dont think your prediction of 60 % is correct. BTW I got 100 last year n cleared it. The paper was drop dead simple. But this year not so. To write 2 essays crisply with content and structure and adhering to word limit of 300 is a real challenge too. And remember no options for 2 50 marks questions. If you dont get one essay for some reason then you are in deep trouble. Overall the paper dificulty level has seen a rise!

          3. @raghu It was a rhetoric remark to express my confidence in it.
            Difficulty – well I spent more than an hour on first Precis. yes it was damn tough. Was really relaxed when had only precis left with 1.5 hours on my hands. Was really bummed by the precis(later my friend pointed out word limit was 180 and not 240, so apparently not well done either). 2nd one was far more simple, should have attempted that earlier.
            And please I am not claiming to be some Tagore or Munro but yes do feel that I am good enough to pass these subjects just like thousands of you will :)
            Best wishes

    2. every year cutt off keep changing…….2011 it was 100…..in 2012 it was 75………so it was just 25%……….but marking was very hard……i secured 78……..approx 1200 unable to qualify last year…………people are taking about 60% in qualify……….are they preparing for upsc or ssc?

  5. Thanks a lot sir.

  6. It seems UPSC vented their anger for being forced to drop compulsory paper on the candidates.
    Not easy topic for essay for most of the aspirant, I guess.

  7. Thanks a lot sir for the paper..nd for the perfect analysis.
    ur really doing a noble job. Thanks a lot again.

    ppl lyk me who cnt go for coachings..wuld hv nvr got to knw ol such analysis u do for d UPSC ppr or others too. (y)

  8. But the marks of this paper will not be added to final score na and hence the marks in this paper would also not affect our final ranking. I think this paper is of qualifying nature only. Correct me if i am wrong.

    1. please release the remaining answerkeys of cds-2-2013 and complete the indian history portion . please.

  9. thanks for analysis sir, it will be more helpful for us if u could light on the answers or standard writing too,

  10. sir, please release the remaining answerkeys of cds- 2-2013 and complete the indian history portion. please.

  11. Sir, could you please upload papers of regional languages too. Specially Hindi.


  13. aaj to upsc ne baccho k saath bahut galat kia. 50 questions 500 marks bahut nainsafi he.

  14. sir plz upload today gs 1 qns

  15. Thanks a ton sir for your effort in compilation of last 17 years papers :)

  16. sir, please upload general studies paper 1 &2.

  17. If this paper was lengthier… today’s paper surpassed all… 5000 words in 3 hrs is like expecting a machine to write it… repeat same in evening session… surely UPSC expecting something else from us… quality of the answers deteriorated gradually :(

    1. it’s complete mayhem……..

  18. papers were reallyy lengthy..but I jst knew 50% of the questions in both papers rest just managed to write something or the other on it and attempted all

    how abt u guys..

    1. same is here…..

    2. Which centre you people have ? What was the overall attempt level at your centre? How were people reacting?

      The general opinion at your centre?

      If you could share

      1. overall reaction ws of dismay n many could not complete the paper..most of them said they wrote vague answers fr many ques…how abt other centres…

        1. I dont know but at my centre also the same reaction was there. people found it hard to complete or even attempt all questions.

          Everyones seems on equal footing i guess.

          1. YA i think now the quality of answers is gng to be the real deciding factor..
            other papers r also gonna b on same lines..nonetheless upsc has adopted a good pattern which is based on complete understanding…

      2. same reaction of many ppl at upsc centre too ….60-70 marks portion in gs-1 was left completely untouched…ppl realized this and started vomiting out fast in gs-2 comprising with the quality of answers . gs-2 left portion ranged from 30-50 marks …….we should not be panicked by it ..its happening to all

        1. compromising******

        2. did ppl had idea abt section 66 of IT act question??

          1. its been in the news for obvious reasons…made front pages of major newspapers…it was an expected question

  19. Which centre you have ? What was the overall attempt level at your centre? How were people reacting?

    The general opinion at your centre?

    If you could share

  20. English Compulsory paper was very difficult. I m a Kannada medium student & felt very difficult

    1. English oodida namdu avarigu kasta agbittu, kannada odida nimdukke ellinda sulabha aggutte? Pity you brother

  21. paper was lengthy and i was not able to complete it

  22. overall reaction ws of dismay n many could not complete the paper..most of them said they wrote vague answers fr many ques…how abt other centres…

  23. Now what is the conclusion?

    1. i think it can b concluded that if we ve reasonably attempted 50% f the paper well den v dnt need to panic

      1. Are they giving questn papers to us?

  24. Todays attempt 210 Marks in Paper I …200 in Paper II….Paper i bit lengthy…I tried everything not able to complete in full….Attempted few question in vague manner..Sure attempt 130 in paper I….140 in Paper II…how about others….

    1. I have attempted 17 questions in paper I and 18 in paper II. papers were too lengthy and each question was having 2-3 sub questions. Hence, 190-200 words was required for me to completely address the issue.
      I could have restricted the word limit to 160 words to attempt 3-4 more questions.

  25. That was holy shit. I knew about 40% bluffed in another 20%. I think there is no point in me writing the other papers. The caliber of those getting selected will be very high. May we get right bureaucrats. Hats off UPSC! You have not failed the nation.

  26. Sir,
    Based on your analysis and experience please throw some light on how the qualifying marks are determined by UPSC in qualifying language papers?


  27. i knew all the answers of gs 1 and 23 of gs2. in both i was able to attempt only 17.i wrote continuously for three hours. even if i had a register in front of me i could not have written any nfaster. wht i did, i did good, wht i dint touch i didn’t.

    i am asking u guys, plz if anyone has found the secret strategy then kindly let me know. exam k baad tou mein bhi free ka gyan baaton ga.

    i need sound focused and legitimate advise, there might still be a chance to make it.

    i cnt focus on tomorrows exam.wasting time in trolling on net.

    1. Same here. Attempted 17 in GS-I and 18 in GS-II with proper conclusion. Papers were too lengthy. I think we could have attempted more if we would have restricted the world limit to 150-160.

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