Generally, many aspirants tend to underestimate the importance of answer writing. We have our brain to blame for that as writing requires our brain to get out of comfort zone of reading (where it is hardly put to test). Thus, developing a new sort of habit requires lot of self-discipline. I have seen students not completing test series and writing first time in the exam hall itself.
Always remember : “The more you sweat during practice the less you will bleed in the battlefield.”
First of all, for preparation regarding answer writing of the UPSC Mains Exam, it is extremely important to recognize that “good knowledge” does not automatically translate itself into “good answers”. It requires a lot of efforts and practice.
Let’s divide mains papers into 3 parts and discuss them separately.
- Go through last 15 years paper and try to identify the key areas from where essay are being asked. Try to note down some points on these topics.
- Now, write down one essay on weekly basis on these topics. If you feel satisfied after writing an essay then believe me you will score well.
- Join online/offline UPSC test series and write as many essays as you can. This will be of immense help in the exam hall where you won’t face much problem in time management.
- Now, If you organize your ideas well then you stand to get very good marks.
- General Studies:
- Please does not neglect any paper completely try to cover whole syllabus. Give extra focus on areas which can fetch you extra marks.
- Join at least one Mains test series of UPSC to get feedback on your answers.
- Also, UPSC mains test series will help you in grasping of new topics.
- Try to write answers of previous years question papers in a time bound manner.
- Join a good UPSC mains test series and get your answers checked. In some optional, even if you have written well the marks awarded might be horrible, this is because you wrote what you knew and not what question demanded. So, a good test series will help you to improve such mistakes.
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The structure of every answer consist of three parts i.e. introduction, body and conclusion
Some tips to effectively convert your effort and knowledge into good marks:
- Your answers should be easy to read and have a basic level of neatness not necessarily in beautiful handwriting. If certain letters are not legible, try to improve them separately. Also, appropriate spacing between words, sentences and paragraphs would go a long way in making your answer presentable.
- Simplicity is the ultimate need of the answer. Use simple language, short sentences and small paragraph framing. Try to incorporate the language used in NCERT Textbooks while writing your answers.
- Begin your answer with a relevant current affairs related to the topic, piece of data or a quote, wherever possible. This could help the examiner to distinguish your answer from the rest.
- In body, divide your answer into sub-parts as much as possible. This would make your answer look, diversified and holistic.
- Answers can be framed through key-words of the question or dimensions like socio-economic-administrative-political-legal angles.
- Ensure that there should be a logical flow to your answers; one point leading to the other in a connected manner in such a way that it helps in final conclusion.
- Diagrams will help you to present more content in less words in an easy way. For example: to bring out the interrelation between different dimensions of a topic or a time-line of events. But note that these diagrams should not merely a repetition of the same content which you have also written.
- If there is nothing that you know about a certain question asked, please do not attempt it or if you know only 2–3 points, write only that.
- Conclusions should be written in such a way that it should give a sense of “closure” to the examiner.
- Practice framing answers in your mind. You could look at past-UPSC question papers or of UPSC Mains Test Series and make a mental map or scribble down as a structure what you would like to convey in your answer. This would prepare you to think faster in actual exam and structure your answers in a better way.
- Pay attention to words like critically evaluate, examine, analyze etc. in the questions and answer accordingly.
- Substantiate your answers with meaningful data is a great way to fetch good marks in the paper.
The more you write answers under a constraint of time, the better your preparation become. Join any good test series for UPSC, to plan your preparation and get accustomed to the environment of a three hour examination.
The time between Prelim and Mains is approximately of 3 months and is the golden time for writing practice. Even if you do not have much practice before, a serious effort in these 3 months (approx.) can be a game changer.