Answer-Writing Practice: Read this to avoid Mistakes

Answer writing is the main tool & practicing is the key for perfection in mains examination. The article below addresses some of the Unanswered Questions of every aspirant regarding Mains Answer writing.

How is it different from answering our university papers?
What should be done to score high?
How should we start as a beginner?
How to balance our approach in answers?

Lets see the above questions one by one.

How is it different from answering our graduation papers?


In University theory papers one can write as much as he/she can. But in CSE-Mains, there is a fixed word limit and it is expected from you that you would not cross that limit. The trick is that in UPSC, You have to touch every aspect of the question and have to frame it within that limit. Though this will be difficult in the beginning good practice will help a lot.


In university paper, both matter but in CSE -quantity is fixed and quality only rules.


In university exams questions are quite repetitive but in CSE ,No one knows.


University is better of passing you and sending you out … less work load, better statistical image.Government is better of keeping you out … coz if you are not knowledgeable and you get through you turn into a long term liability

What should be done to score high?

  • Answers should be multifaceted.
  • Try and keep the introduction and conclusion very short.
  • Avoid reiteration of the similar thoughts
  • Use as many concepts as possible especially for your optional papers.
    For example:-While writing about top down model of globalization or modernization One can use Durkheims concepts of Anomie or Ogburn’s concept of Cultural Lag. Or say while answering a question on grassroots democracy, one can write about Ambedkar and Gandhi’s debate
  • Give as many examples as possible to support your view. Try to have a contemporary relevance to you answer.
  • Write in very simple English, Academic jargons is not appreciated by UPSC.
  • Your answers need to be more dynamic and holistic. As UPSC says “The candidates must give relevant, meaningful and succinct answers.
  • Write answers directly; do not beat around the bush. Some punctuation marks like this one (;) play a crucial role.

How should we start as a beginner?

  • As a beginner starting from point zero one can buy previous years question paper module and attempt some questions daily, moreover the questions from NCERT too will help.
  • Start writing answers as and when you study, don’t wait for the whole or even sufficient amount of syllabus to be finished.
  • Say you are studying polity and finished President, soon after, check previous years’ papers on this topic and try to answer as many as you wish, you could pick a single question that is the easiest for you and start answering on a piece of paper.You might not be able to answer questions that involve president and the prime minister as you wouldn’t have covered the latter yet. You can skip such questions for later.

How to balance our approach in answers?

  • For a balanced answer that too within the specified word limit -you first need a reasonable level of knowledge base.
  • First read and learn a topic. Attempt simple questions, Commit mistakes again and again while practising. Practice makes it perfect.
  • When a Question is asked to present your views try to give a generalist’s view. Sometimes you need not to give your suggestion, but you are expected to present existing facts in the present context. For e.g. Instead of writing ‘I feel’,it is better to write ‘it is felt….’.
  • If they are asking what innovation means, then a simple definition with one relevant example will be better rather than explaining it with lot of jargon/theory/models.
  • Also while writing for a particular paper do not think that you can write points from that particular syllabus only. Take a holistic view, broaden your outlook, Use relevant concepts/knowledge from other subjects also.
  • Communication skill, command over a language etc are known as SOFT Skills. A good vocabulary is needed to articulate your thought in a precise manner.

All the best. Keep writing 🙂

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