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How to Choose the Right Medium for UPSC Exam

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam is one of the most prestigious and competitive exams in India. It is the gateway to the civil services, such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), the Indian Police Service (IPS), and many others. The UPSC exam consists of three stages: the preliminary exam, the main exam, and the interview. The main exam is the most crucial stage, as it tests the candidates’ knowledge, analytical skills, and writing ability on various subjects.
One of the most important decisions that a UPSC aspirant has to make is the choice of medium for the main exam. The UPSC allows candidates to choose either English or any of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India as their medium of examination. The choice of medium can have a significant impact on the performance and outcome of the exam, as it affects the ease of expression, the quality of answers, and the evaluation by the examiners.

Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

The first step in choosing the right medium for the UPSC exam is to assess your strengths and weaknesses in both English and Hindi or any other language that you are considering. You should ask yourself the following questions:
– What is your native language?
– What has been your academic medium in school and college?
– How is your vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension in both languages?
– Which language do you prefer to read newspapers, novels, and watch movies in?
– Which language do you feel more comfortable and confident in expressing your thoughts and knowledge in?
These are some basic questions that can help you evaluate your proficiency and preference in both languages. You should be honest and realistic with yourself and not choose a medium based on peer pressure, social status, or false assumptions. If your answers are closer to English, then you should opt for English as your medium. If your answers are closer to Hindi or any other language, then you should opt for that language as your medium. The key is to choose a medium that suits your personality, aptitude, and interest.

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Consider the Availability and Quality of Study Material

Another factor to consider before choosing the right medium for the UPSC exam is the availability and quality of study material in both languages. The UPSC syllabus covers a wide range of subjects, such as history, geography, polity, economy, science, environment, ethics, and current affairs. You will need to refer to various books, magazines, newspapers, websites, and online platforms to prepare for these subjects. You will also need to practice writing answers, essays, and case studies in the chosen medium.
Therefore, you should check the availability and quality of study material in both languages and choose a medium that has more and better resources. Generally speaking, English has an edge over Hindi and other languages in terms of the quantity and quality of study material. There are more books, magazines, newspapers, websites, and online platforms in English than in Hindi or other languages. Moreover, the quality of study material in English is also higher, as it is more updated, comprehensive, and reliable. However, this does not mean that there is no good study material in Hindi or other languages. There are some excellent books, magazines, newspapers, websites, and online platforms in Hindi and other languages as well, but they are fewer and harder to find. Therefore, you should do some research and compare the study material in both languages before making your choice.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Each Medium

The third step in choosing the right medium for the UPSC exam is to weigh the pros and cons of each medium. Each medium has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you should be aware of them before making your decision. Here are some of the pros and cons of choosing English or Hindi or any other language as the medium of examination:

# English

Pros:
– English is the most widely used and accepted language in India and the world. It is the official language of the UPSC and the central government. It is also the medium of communication and instruction in most of the educational institutions and workplaces in India. Therefore, choosing English as the medium of examination can help you in the following ways:
– It can enhance your communication and presentation skills, which are essential for the interview stage and the civil services career.
– It can give you access to a vast and diverse range of study material, which can enrich your knowledge and understanding of various subjects.
– It can make you more comfortable and familiar with the exam pattern, the question paper, and the evaluation criteria, as they are all in English.
– It can increase your chances of scoring well in the exam, as the examiners are more likely to be proficient and fluent in English than in Hindi or other languages.
Cons:
– English is not the native language of most of the UPSC aspirants. It is a foreign language that has been imposed and adopted by the colonial and post-colonial regimes. Therefore, choosing English as the medium of examination can pose some challenges for you in the following ways:
– It can create a psychological barrier and a sense of inferiority complex, especially if you come from a rural or regional background and have not received a good education in English.
– It can hamper your expression and creativity, as you may not be able to convey your thoughts and ideas in a clear and effective manner in English.
– It can increase your workload and stress, as you will have to learn and master a new language along with the vast and complex syllabus of the UPSC exam.
– It can expose you to more competition and pressure, as most of the UPSC aspirants choose English as their medium of examination.

# Hindi

Pros:
– Hindi is the most widely spoken and understood language in India. It is the official language of the central government and many state governments. It is also the medium of communication and instruction in many educational institutions and workplaces in India. Therefore, choosing Hindi as the medium of examination can help you in the following ways:
– It can boost your confidence and self-esteem, as you will be able to express yourself in your own language and culture.
– It can enhance your expression and creativity, as you will be able to convey your thoughts and ideas in a more natural and effective manner in Hindi.
– It can reduce your workload and stress, as you will not have to learn and master a new language along with the vast and complex syllabus of the UPSC exam.
– It can give you an edge over other candidates, as you will be able to relate and connect better with the people and issues of the country, especially the rural and regional ones.
Cons:
– Hindi is not the native language of all the UPSC aspirants. It is a regional language that has been promoted and politicized by the nationalist and populist forces. Therefore, choosing Hindi as the medium of examination can pose some challenges for you in the following ways:
– It can limit your communication and presentation skills, as you may not be able to interact and impress the interviewers and the civil servants who are more comfortable and fluent in English.
– It can restrict your access to a vast and diverse range of study material, as most of the books, magazines, newspapers, websites, and online platforms are in English.
– It can make you less comfortable and familiar with the exam pattern, the question paper, and the evaluation criteria, as they are all in English.
– It can decrease your chances of scoring well in the exam, as the examiners may not be proficient and fluent in Hindi and may have a bias or prejudice against Hindi medium candidates.

# Other Languages

Pros:
– Other languages, such as Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, etc., are the native languages of many UPSC aspirants. They are the languages of the people and the regions that they belong to. They are the languages of their identity and pride. Therefore, choosing any of these languages as the medium of examination can help you in the following ways:
– It can reflect your respect and love for your language and culture, and show your commitment and dedication to serve your people and region.
– It can enhance your expression and creativity, as you will be able to convey your thoughts and ideas in a more natural and effective manner in your own language.
– It can reduce your workload and stress, as you will not have to learn and master a new language along with the vast and complex syllabus of the UPSC exam.
– It can give you an edge over other candidates, as you will be able to relate and connect better with the people and issues of your region and state.
Cons:
– Other languages, such as Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, etc., are not the official languages of the UPSC and the central government. They are not the languages of the mainstream and the elite. They are the languages of the margins and the minorities. Therefore, choosing any of these languages as the medium of examination can pose some challenges for you in the following ways:
– It can limit your communication and presentation skills, as you may not be able to interact and impress the interviewers and the civil servants who are more comfortable and fluent in English or Hindi.
– It can restrict your access to a vast and diverse range of study material, as most of the books, magazines, newspapers, websites, and online platforms are in English or Hindi.
– It can make you less comfortable and familiar with the exam pattern
– It can decrease your chances of scoring well in the exam, as the examiners may not be proficient and fluent in your own language and may have a bias or prejudice against other language medium candidates.

Learn from the Success Stories of Different Medium Candidates

The final step in choosing the right medium for the UPSC exam is to learn from the success stories of different medium candidates. There are many examples of candidates who have cleared the exam with English, Hindi, or other languages as their medium of examination. These candidates have proved that language is not a barrier, but a tool to achieve one’s dreams. They have also shared their tips and strategies on how to prepare and perform well in the exam with different mediums. Here are some of the inspiring stories of successful candidates who have cleared the exam with different mediums:

# English

  • Tina Dabi: She is the topper of the UPSC exam in 2015. She is from Delhi and has done her graduation in political science from Lady Shri Ram College. She chose English as her medium of examination and political science as her optional subject. She scored 1063 marks out of 2025, with 52.49% as her percentage. She is currently serving as an IAS officer in Rajasthan. She has shared her tips and strategies on how to prepare and perform well in the exam with English medium on her blog and YouTube channel.
  • Anudeep Durishetty: He is the topper of the UPSC exam in 2017. He is from Hyderabad and has done his graduation in engineering from BITS Pilani. He chose English as his medium of examination and anthropology as his optional subject. He scored 1126 marks out of 2025, with 55.60% as his percentage. He is currently serving as an IAS officer in Telangana. He has shared his tips and strategies on how to prepare and perform well in the exam with English medium on his blog and YouTube channel.

    # Hindi

  • Gaurav Singh Sogarwal: He is the candidate who cleared the exam with both Hindi and English mediums. He is from Bharatpur, Rajasthan and has done his graduation in engineering from IIT Roorkee. He chose Hindi as his medium of examination in 2015 and secured the 99th rank. He chose English as his medium of examination in 2016 and secured the 46th rank. He chose Sanskrit as his optional subject in both the attempts. He scored 1011 marks out of 2025, with 49.91% as his percentage in 2015. He scored 1044 marks out of 2025, with 51.56% as his percentage in 2016. He is currently serving as an IPS officer in Kerala. He has shared his tips and strategies on how to prepare and perform well in the exam with both mediums on his blog and YouTube channel.

  • Anuradha Pal: She is the candidate who cleared the exam with Hindi medium in 2016. She is from Agra, Uttar Pradesh and has done her graduation in commerce from Delhi University. She chose Hindi as her medium of examination and commerce as her optional subject. She secured the 62nd rank in the exam. She scored 1030 marks out of 2025, with 50.86% as her percentage. She is currently serving as an IAS officer in Madhya Pradesh. She has shared her tips and strategies on how to prepare and perform well in the exam with Hindi medium on her blog and YouTube channel.

    # Other Languages

  • Srushti Jayant Deshmukh: She is the candidate who cleared the exam with Marathi medium in 2018. She is from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and has done her graduation in engineering from Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya. She chose Marathi as her medium of examination and sociology as her optional subject. She secured the 5th rank in the exam and became the topper among the female candidates. She scored 1068 marks out of 2025, with 52.71% as her percentage. She is currently serving as an IAS officer in Madhya Pradesh. She has shared her tips and strategies on how to prepare and perform well in the exam with Marathi medium on her blog and YouTube channel.

  • Nandini K R: She is the candidate who cleared the exam with Kannada medium in 2016. She is from Kolar, Karnataka and has done her graduation in engineering from M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology. She chose Kannada as her medium of examination and Kannada literature as her optional subject. She secured the 1st rank in the exam and became the topper of the exam. She scored 1120 marks out of 2025, with 55.30% as her percentage. She is currently serving as an IAS officer in Karnataka. She has shared her tips and strategies on how to prepare and perform well in the exam with Kannada medium on her blog and YouTube channel.
    These are some of the inspiring stories of successful candidates who have cleared the exam with different mediums. They have shown that language is not a hurdle, but a facilitator to achieve one’s goals. They have also shown that one can excel in the exam with any medium, as long as one has the determination, dedication, and discipline to prepare and perform well.

    Conclusion

Choosing the right medium for the UPSC exam is a crucial decision that can affect your preparation and performance in the exam. You should choose a medium that suits your strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and interests. You should also consider the availability and quality of study material, the pros and cons of each medium, and the success stories of different medium candidates before making your choice. You should remember that language is not a barrier, but a tool to express your knowledge and personality. You should also remember that there is no perfect medium, only the best medium for you. Therefore, you should choose a medium that gives you confidence, comfort, and clarity in the exam. All the best!
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