Tuesday, 6 October 2015

IAS Mains - 7 tips to improve your Answer Writing

Hi friends ,

90% of the candidates who take up  mains know the same information as you know .But still, only around 3000 candiditates make it to the interview .Why is it so ?

Its not what you know,but what you write and how you write .

Tip 1. Answer the question completely. Read the question twice to understand ,what all is asked.

Foreign direct investment in the defence sector is now said to be liberalized. What influence this is expected to have on Indian defence and economy in the short and long run?
                                                                                                 (GS Paper 3,2014)
In this question ,you have to answer two parts -
a)Impact of FDI in defence .
b)Impact on economy .
Also ,in both the parts ,you should write about "short run" and "long run" perspective.

Tip 2. Understand what is exactly asked .Do not write whatever you know in the topic without understanding what is asked.
While we flaunt India’s demographic dividend, we ignore the dropping rates of employability. What are we missing while doing so? Where will the jobs that India desperately needs come from? Explain.
                                                                                              (GS Paper 3,2014)
The moment you see "demographic dividend",do not start writing about it . Read the question again. The question is refering to the unemployability of the demographic dividend. Thereby refering to skill development of the demographic dividend. Now connect the two and write your answer.
Also ,dont miss the second part of the question on "where will the jobs come from".

Tip3.Use key words and phrases
Though the federal principle is dominant in our Constitution and that principle is one of its basic features, but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong Centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss.
                                                                                                 (GS Paper 2,2014)
 Use key words related to the question like  cooperative federalism,bargaining federalism,etc.This will add weight to your answer.

Tip 4. Manage your time for each answer properly.
Every paper of GS requires you to answer 20/25 questions. Hence , do not spend too much time on one particular answer because you know it too well /you are not able to generate points .And dont spend time too much time to write introduction /conclusion in the GS papers.

Tip 5.Present the answer well .
Keep this in mind .An examiner has to evaluate a lot of sheets along with yours,on a single day . How will you make the examiner feel your answer is better ? How will you make it easy for him to give you marks ?

Its possible when you write legibly,make use of charts/diagrams/subheadings/maps .

Donot write at a stretch.Break into paragraphs/ subheadings /bullet points .Follow according to the needs of the question.

Tip 6. Use relevant facts/data to substantiate your answer.
Instances of President’s delay in commuting death sentences has come under public debate as denial of justice. Should there be a time limit specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyse.
                                                                                                     (GS Paper 2,2014)
 To substantiate your argument in the above answer, you should quote instances of Supreme Court ruling ,Bhullar case ,Constitutional provisions on death penalty,etc .This will give more validity to the answer.

Tip7. Practise Answer writing.
Practise .Practise .Practise .Thats the only way !
Take up mock tests and monitor your performance .

Good luck !
(This is a part of a series of blogs on IAS Exam simplified -like never before)

Here is the list of blogs in this series so far -

Here is the list of blogs ,on my experience as an IAS officer:

Bharat Darshan - the dream of every IAS aspirant.
One night at Flood Centre
My experience with a toothache

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  1. It is really great to see such knowledgeable blog.

    1. Thank you .It is my pleasure to share my insights and see the aspirants move ahead .

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. For local language point of view, how would we authenticate our practice writing ??? As we really don't know about the good mentor

  4. Thanks for these valuable and most beneficial tips. Normally in GS paper, most of the students go run out of time. It's common in students who think a lot and want to give more precise answer. Though it's a good practice, but you've to be more quick in that thing. The more you go deep, there is a chance that somewhere at point you may go wrong. Time management is the most important skill an IAS aspirant should have. Another thing is that you shouldn't try to follow a number of books for a single topic. This will confuse you.
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  5. Very helpful sir. Thank you so much

  6. Hello Sir, I am Preparing for UPSC 2018. How should I start Answer writing without proper knowledge base. Where can I get questions related to Current Issue ?