Things You should know before UPSC Mains Answer Writing

Whether you are going to appear in UPSC 2019 or just starting practice for UPSC Mains answer writing and aiming for UPSC 2020 or 2021, this blog will be very beneficial in honing your writing skills and secure good marks.


As you must already be knowing that UPSC organizes Civil Services Examination every year to recruit candidates in Grade-A level services like IAS, IPS, IFS, etc., This examination generally has 3 stages- Preliminary, Mains and Interview.

Preliminary is just a screening exam, it’s mark doesn’t count in Final Merit list. Here in this blog, we will talk about Mains answer writing. As we know mains is the subjective examination, so you have to hone your writing skills in order to score good marks in this exam. Usually, all aspirant used to read a lot but they don’t focus on their writing skills and due to that, they couldn’t make a place in the final list.

So apart from studies, you must practice a lot. You can start it with writing about any recent news, and can express your opinion about that in your writing. For e.g Plastic Pollution is in news nowadays, almost every day you must have seen articles in various newspapers, so now you can write about what exactly it is, what will be its consequences and how can we stop it.

How to Identify Questions?

Before attempting you must identify questions, like what the examiner is expecting from the student through the answer. You should attempt questions with the right perspective. You must have seen terms like Analyse, Assess, Compare, Contrast, Critique, Describe, Discuss, Evaluate, Examine, Explain, Illustrate, Justify and Review, if you have gone through the Previous years UPSC Papers or Mains Test Series Papers.

They are all different and our approach should also be different while attempting the questions with these terms involved.

  • Analyse: Division of Question into its components, now explain how it relates to each other.
  • Assess: Write down the importance of key terms given in the question
  • Compare: Examine the Similarities and Differences of the key terms
  • Contrast: Focus only on the differences/ Dissimilarities
  • Critique: Write down the restraints and efficacy of the key term.
  • Describe: Give a full description of the Subject
  • Discuss: Present various perspective and coherent argument
  • Examine: Full Description along with relevant affairs
  • Evaluate: Give detailed information about the importance and support it through concrete evidence
  • Illustrate: Show your understanding of the topic through examples from various sources
  • Explain: Write down about the subject and Justify it by giving more details and relevant facts.
  • Review: Retrospective view of the topic (critically and deliberately)
  • Justify: Provide a rationale/Justification for the given topic

Apart from this, you should write your answers in multiple dimensions like socio-economic, political and others. Better articulation of issues and events leads to better understanding which results in good answer content while writing practice can provide you an edge over other aspirants.

Hope you will do well with these tips. All the best to aspirants who are appearing in UPSC 2019 mains and also those who are starting writing practice as well.

Do visit InfoDestiny regularly for fresh contents regarding UPSC Preparation. Thank You.

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Things You should know before UPSC Mains Answer Writing