Our UPSC aspirants’ never-ending concern to impress paper correctors with their writing skills is a thing to really introspect. What we write on paper will be looked at by the board, which will judge us, interpret our thoughts and mark us based on our analytical skills. You must not only have a knack for writing, but a mind to think out of the box, yet pragmatic. Thus, improving writing skills will drastically change the chances of a candidate for the good in this exam. To be able to think and encompass every point accurately will not only be a plus point for your mains but also for your Personality test later.
UPSC can never expect its candidates to use exclusive jargons or extraordinary writing skills but wants you all to be very effortless in communicating your thoughts and knowledge in a way that is easy for everyone to comprehend. If your answer is simple, straightforward, clear, you will get the marks. Your smart strategy along with hard work, consistency and perseverance will give you the edge to set yourself apart from other candidates.
What Are The Requirements For Your Answer?
- The answer should be ‘to the point’. When you write your notes, you have keywords arranged in order for each answer. You must not miss out on these keywords.
- Know your facts as that gives your answer credibility. Update your notes with the latest information always. Focusing on official institutions’ websites can be very helpful.
- Depending on what is asked, you must develop a style for every type of question. Thus, understanding what is being asked is your first and foremost job.
- Just memorizing facts won’t fetch you marks. To put frame your answer according to the requirement of the question is another task.
- Identify the angle of perspective for your answer, i.e, the effective part of the answer.
- In UPSC Mains Exam, when your answer requires narration, you must use words that are time-related, like for eg- ‘Early to late’. You must even have the liberty of writing the answer in a manner that you are to predict future development based on present-day statistics and ratios. Bring in examples by going back in time to make comparisons.
Some Other Tips
- When asked to enumerate, your answer shall be including just facts, for eg- “The population ratio of India is 93 females per 100 males”. Also, When you are asked to define, you must define whatever is asked including all possible keywords, phrases, as well as an example.
- When you are asked to Evaluate/examine/assess, you have to give detailed explanations. One to two lines should be an introduction to the answer, which will include definitions, examples, as well as enumeration if required. It should be followed by a few lines in favour of the topic, a few lines against the topic, some lines from which one can derive implications, limitations of the concept, finally concluding with a general statement of conclusion.
- When an answer demands your opinion, in particular, treat it like a ball on your court. You have the liberty to be as optimistic as you can. Your answer for this particular question shall reflect your zest and enthusiasm with constructive and positive thoughts that are highly optimistic. You must have enough progressive ideas for such questions that can be largely acceptable.
- In UPSC Mains, when your question demands a critical examination, you have to simply weigh out the pros and cons, and finally give an unbiased opinion that is value loaded. It must have a feeling of closure. But when the question asks for justification, you have to load your answer with favourable opinions as reasonably as possible.
- When you are asked to illustrate, you don’t just have to draw, but explain in detail and draw tables, diagrams, charts to support your answer.
Through The Eyes Of The Examiner
Your examiner will be looking out for your answers in a neutral point of view so he/she is open to your opinions. But how you frame your points along with the knowledge and your approach is what they really mark you on. Thus-
- Give an eye-grabbing introduction to your answer.
- Your answer should have a proper structure.
- Your answer must be easy to view. Use points in your answer and underline what you want your examiner to see.
- Use headings and sub-headings for your answer.
- Your keywords are just like the lead to a news article, including all the important keywords based on who, what, when, why, where and how.
- Use flowcharts, diagrams, as well as maps only when necessary.
- Use some data, or quotation to start your answer. A story can also be a very unique start to your answer. This will draw your examiner into reading your answer with special attention.
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- Thus, you must make your answers easy to read and unique.
- Connect answers with current affairs in general studies papers.
- Don’t use extreme statements or way too opinionated statements.
- Don’t generalize.
- Bring in multiple perspectives into your answer for general studies.
- Give examples and practical solutions.
- Most importantly, complete your answer and your handwriting should be readable.
How To Frame Your Answer? The Anatomy Of Your Answers
- Based on your question, give a brief introduction with proper figures, facts and examples or just simply following the above tips to make your introduction attractive. It should lead the reader to the answer ahead.
- You are to argue in the next paragraph based on the thesis of the introduction as well as to elucidate the angle of perspective demanded in the question. Don’t forget to use the directive word or phrase from the question here.
- Bring in a multi-dimensional approach in the following paragraphs to explain various perspectives of the answer. The more dimension, the more marks.
- Include Inter-disciplinary approach as well for your GS papers (and in the whole UPSC Mains) as it integrates current affairs with static resources.
- You may also use real-life examples to elucidate.
- Maintain the continuity of your answer. After writing every paragraph, read the question.
- Include examples and statistics and diagrams when required to support every approach.
- Critical analysis and highlighting important points is a must.
- The conclusion of your answer should stem from the body of your answer. It must not be a separate answer altogether.
How to speed up your writing For UPSC Mains?
- To first understand where you stand, analyze your present speed by solving a full three-hour paper without stopping the time.
- With understanding your own speed, you will also find out the reasons you’re lagging like lack of concentration, less practice in answer writing, faulty pen, lack of knowledge, etc.
- You shall then begin writing ten answers next within 90 minutes.
- Understand how much time you are taking to recall answers. You will have to use keywords and instant framing of answers with the help of imagination.
- Do not hold pen tightly.
- Try to solve at least 20 questions in 1.5 hours.
- First, read the question paper in 30 seconds and then begin if you are stuck then leave that question and proceed to the next one. Completion of paper is the priority.
- This is why writing pointwise helps a lot compared to writing in paragraphs throughout.
- Finger and hand exercises help a lot.
- Keep solving papers. Practice makes one perfect.
If you have any doubts on how to improve answer writing for UPSC Mains exam. Therefore, you can ask your doubts in the comment section below.