IAS Exam Preparation

How To Practice Answer Writing Skills For IAS Mains Exam?

Many IAS aspirants suffer from poor answer writing skills. They are so much worried. The students spend one whole year and prepare...

Written by Abhinash Chaudhary · 5 min read >
Answer Writing Skills For IAS Mains Exam

Many IAS aspirants suffer from poor answer writing skills. They are so much worried. The students spend one whole year and prepare for UPSC exam. But still, they fail to enter the interview round.

Otherwise, they get just 4 marks above the recommended cut-off margin. You do not know where the mistakes are happening. Above all, you end up getting totally frustrated. .

Please do not develop any kind of hatredness towards UPSC exam preparation. Try to examine what was wrong in your written answers. Ask a few questions to yourself:

Have I analyzed the questions properly?

Is my answer quality is as expected by the UPSC board?

Did I answer according to the demands posed by the question?

Generally, candidates tend to recollect the relevant points and add them up in the answer. Just hoping to see the good marks. But, critical analysis is very much necessary!

UPSC asks questions at different levels of difficulty. All they want is to test your logical and critical abilities. In this blog post, find the list of tips that help you to write better answers.

Critical Examine Type Questions

There are standard types of questions asked in UPSC exam. One of the common types is to examine. In this type, you have to move deep into the issue of topic.

Think about the detail from a different perspective. Find out whether there are any causes or implications. Try to understand with the below example.

Assume, the question is about “Examine Gandhi’s Strategy”. How do you go about this question? In the first place, go deep into the details of Gandhi Strategy.

Explore whether the topic had any kind of limitations. Above all, you are expected to provide an unbiased view. All this should happen within a given word limit.

Finally, look into two aspects of the same issue. Think about both bad and good of the question asked. Explain in both perspectives. The conclusion must be balanced and seem like a fair judgment.

Critical Comment Type Questions

Whenever you hear the word comment, it has got a special reference to the famous personality. Also, it can refer to the information driven out from the famous book.

In UPSC exam paper, think of the main points when you come across the comment type questions. If you just list down the main points, your answer is not complete.

Additionally, you must support your answer with clear evidence. The evidence can be in the form of facts and figures. You would have accumulated from the wide knowledge base.

Your opinion can be for or against the topic. Make sure you support it with evidence. It maintains the quality of your argument.

In this type of question, students get the opportunity to connect different points about the subject. Justify your answer with the proper set of points.

Critically Analyze Type Questions

Here, you will be asked to analyze certain topics and issues. Please examine the issue in a systematic manner. Divide the topic into different portions.

Later, arrange them in the perfect order. This will definitely impress the examiner. It is a must to examine each small portion of the topic.

Sometimes, the questions can appear confusing. You must overcome all the kind of conflicts. So that it becomes easy to conclude your answers properly.

After you analyze the small portions separately, give a valuable inter-linking between them. This helps you to end the answer with fair judgment.

Structure Of The Perfect Answer

Starting the answer with an introduction paragraph is very much necessary. You have an amazing opportunity to create the best impression.

In introduction para, give a brief overview of your answer. You let the examiner know about what is waiting in the next few paragraphs.

Use clear statements while narrating your points of description. Please do not mistake. The introduction does not mean a summary of your answer. It provides a clear direction to the reader.  

In the consequent paragraphs, start your argument based on the hint given in the introduction para. Keep the question in mind. Do not go out of the topic.

Remember the directive word while answering throughout the question. Do not forget to split the answer into small paragraphs.

Let each paragraph explain one simple idea. Make sure you provide a link with the previous paragraph. It should be like an indicator for the next one.

Keep checking the question after each paragraph. So that you will not lose the track. Ultimately, all your paragraphs should lead to an unbiased conclusion.

Avoid repetition of the question in the conclusion part. Many of the aspirants are still in the wrong assumption. Please make a note of this point.

There is no need to suggest any point in the conclusion paragraph. Your conclusion should be based on the body of your answer.

Do not isolate it with a different perspective. Never use jargons or verbose in your answers. Do not use ornamental language tone. Be as simple as possible.

It leads to an effective and precise answer. Above all, it ignites happiness in the minds of an examiner. The final tips regarding the perfect structure of an answer is –

Stop dumping all the facts you know about the question asked. Do not show off your knowledge density. It might end up with only average marks.

Things To Remember While Writing An Answer In Exam Hall

As a first step, read all the instructions given on the question paper. Do not assume that you already know about those instructions from previous year question papers.

There might be the introduction of a few changes when compared to previous years. It is absolutely fine to spend 5 minutes scanning the whole question paper.

Mark only those questions you are 100 percent sure and comfortable. Ensure that you will do this using pencil only.

Now, begin answering the big questions. Read the same question for two to three times. Note the directive word in question. If possible, underline it to avoid any confusions.

In the verge of answering, the IAS aspirants end up crossing the word limit. So, highlight the word limit for big answers.

Do not start writing immediately after reading the question. Analyze the question properly. Understand what it is demanding from you.

Prepare the outline for your answer. After completing the skeleton structure, start answering the question properly.

Preparation Tips – How To Write A Perfect Answer?

Trust me! The practice is the only key to success. Follow the everyday routine answer writing practice. Assume you are taking up the final exam every day.

Get that level of seriousness to your mind. Mark the directive words in each question and work on the same. Understand the actual demand of the question.

Practice with the word limit. Now, UPSC is providing the question paper along with the provision for writing answers. So, you will find it easy to think and formulate the best possible answers.

In recent years, the process of thinking and writing has become fast. It is because of the change in the question paper pattern as explained above.

Ultimately, you should be able to quickly grasp the nature of the question on the exam day. It is possible only through consistent practice.

You get only three hours to write the answers. Spend your time thinking about answers and not questions. Perfection eliminates all kind of worries and last minute tensions.

Please do not commit this mistake. Students generally enter the exam hall without knowing the meaning of directive words. So, they end up giving generic answers. It leads to average marks and low score.

Aim for at least 100 marks above the cut off the margin. It is definitely possible. You must answer a good number of questions with high accuracy.

Your Vocabulary Plays An Important Role

You need to write the UPSC answers using simple vocabulary. But, it is very important to improve your word power. Good vocabulary does not influence your score.

Of course, it is indirectly important. One way it helps you is making you think faster. The process of thinking depends on your vocabulary power.

Yes! Absolutely. You think by connecting the words. When you have a larger number of words in the mind, it triggers your thinking process.

Connect your thoughts well and think in a better direction. Only one way to do this is reading a lot. There is no need to worry! However, you have to read so much for UPSC preparation.

Especially newspapers and magazines. Focus on the vocabulary along with understanding. Try to include them while practicing the answer writing.

Once you add them to the knowledge base, it improves your critical thinking capacity. UPSC mains exam demands few exclusive qualities from every applicant:

  • Should Work with a Good Speed
  • Should be consistent while Answering
  • Clear in the expression of thoughts

To get these qualities, practice is the only solution.

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Written by Abhinash Chaudhary
Abhinash Chaudhary is a Passionate blogger, Entrepreneur & Digital Marketer in India. He has been blogging since 2013 & writes about Education, Web Design, Web Development, SEO and Technology. Profile
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