How to Write Answers in UPSC Mains?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

How to Write Answers in UPSC Mains? This is one of the most-played questions on the minds of the aspirants who have cleared the Prelims exam. The key to scoring well in this exam is to write precise, coherent, and well-structured answers that meet the expectations of the evaluators. However, many aspirants struggle with this aspect of the exam, and end up losing valuable marks despite having a good grasp of the subject matter.

In this article, we will discuss some essential tips and strategies that can help aspirants write effective answers in the UPSC Mains exam. From understanding the question to structuring the answer to presenting the arguments with relevant examples, this article will provide a step-by-step guide to help aspirants improve their answer writing skills for UPSC Mains and score better in the exam.

How to Write Answers in UPSC Mains?

As you all know, the Prelims is just a screening process to find eligible candidates for  Mains. So, the difficulty level of Mains is higher than that of Prelims. The subjective nature of the Mains paper is one of the biggest challenges for the candidates. A good approach to UPSC answer writing in Mains must be perfect to fetch good marks.

It does not matter how diligently you must have worked and studied because the only thing that counts is how well the examiner judges your ability to write an answer. So, the conclusion is that the UPSC Mains answer writing holds significant importance.

UPSC Answers Based on Question-Type

Below we have mentioned How to Write Answers in UPSC Mains based on the question type.

  • When asked to Enumerate: In this case, you just have to simply list the points about the topic without giving a detailed explanation.
  • When asked to Narrate: Here, time-related sequencing is crucial. The narration should occur in an ‘Early to Late’ manner. You can also predict the future if asked.
  • When asked to Define: When you are asked to write a definition, try to include all the possible phrases and keywords which are part of the particular definition.
  • When asked to Analyse: These types of questions require your opinion. When you keep your opinion, it shows you are interpreting the event as per your knowledge.

How to Write Mains Answer When Asked to Evaluate/ Examine/ Access?

  • Here, a detailed explanation is required.
  • Try to write in detail-answer and include one or two lines of introduction followed by 3-4 lines in favor and 3-4 lines against the given topic.
  • The conclusion in 2-3 lines needs to be added as well.

Mains Answers for Opinion/ Views/ Comment

  • When asked to give an opinion, it should be given full of optimism.
  • Your answer should reflect zeal and enthusiasm.
  • You can add constructive opinions with future-oriented ideas.
  • However, the opinions you provide must be largely acceptable.

Things to Keep in Mind about Mains Answer Writing

Before practicing or writing the UPSC Mains Answer, beginners must keep a few things in their minds.

  • The answer must be impressive, and the examiner must think that a future administrator is writing it.
  • The answer needs to be clear, neat, precise, and represented in a concise way. The answer must be what the question has asked and not related to other irrelevant topics.
  • In optional subjects, the examiner expects a deep understanding of that subject’s concepts. The answers should reflect that understanding.
  • However, in General Studies papers of the UPSC Mains Syllabus, candidates can represent the answers multi-dimensionally for better results. It means candidates can correlate one domain with other domains if they want.
  • To a great extent, Mains writing should always be correlated with Current Affairs. This makes an impression on the examiner that the candidate is aware of his/her surroundings and has a positive approach.

Tips to Write Answers in Mains

Below are useful tips and tricks that would help aspirants to improve their Mains answer writing.

  • Understand the question – Before starting to write, it is essential to understand the question and the keywords in it. This will help in framing the answer in a relevant and coherent manner.
  • Complete Answers – as we have mentioned above, candidates can take a multi-dimensional approach while writing answers. Candidates can think about the answers from 360 degrees and then proceed further.
  • Keywords – Highlighting the important points and using the right keywords can be highly rewarding.
  • Presentation – your answers must be written in legible handwriting and presented in a concise and neat manner. You can add subheadings and headings wherever required.
  • Simple Language – You don’t have to use fancy language to get marks. Try to write in simple and error-free language, and avoid using flowery language, or it can reduce marks.
  • Use Facts and Examples – To add weight to the answer, use relevant and accurate facts and examples to support your arguments. This shows that you have a good
  • Maintain a flow: Ensure that your answer maintains a logical and coherent flow. Use transitional words and phrases to link the different parts of the answer.

How to Start UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practise?

One of the major challenges candidates face during the Mains paper is the limited time. That’s why it is crucial for the candidates to start Mains answer writing practice as early as possible.

  • However, before starting answer writing for UPSC Mains, one must have basic knowledge and a strong foundation. Then candidates can glance through the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to see what questions are asked in the Mains exam.
  • Before 3-4 months of the Mains, candidates must start their answer writing practice so they are accustomed to the UPSC Exam Pattern.
  • Candidates can easily crack UPSC Mains if there is enough knowledge and practice in answer writing with time management skills.
  • Candidates should solve 2-3 questions on a daily basis by reading the editorials from the newspapers. It would help in developing comprehensive knowledge about a particular topic.
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