UPSC Mains Answer Writing Strategy

Here we have share most comprehensive and lucid strategy for answer writing for civil services main examination. This strategy is prepared by mentors, we hope it would be beneficial for the aspirants.

Analysing UPSC Pattern 

The main examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidate rather than merely the range of their information and memory.

The nature and standard of questions in the general studies papers will be such that a well-educated person will be able to answer them without any specialized study. The questions will be such as to test the candidate’s basic understanding to all relevant issues, and ability to analyse and take a view on conflicting socioeconomic goals, objectives and demands. The candidates must give relevant and meaningful answers.

Mains examination questions of general studies unfolded many thing, about word limit, approach to the questions, analytical demand of the question, and many turns and twists attached to most of the question in the form of common instructions i.e. Analyse, Critically Analyse, Discuss, Evaluate, Explain etc.

Lets study these terms in more detail:

  • ANALYSE: Break up an issue/event into its component parts and explain how these relate to one another.
  • ASSESS: consider the importance of something stress is given in the question.
  • Comment: Here you need to present your point of view on the major issue highlighted by the statement
  • COMPARE: simply examine the similarities and differences.
  • CONTRAST: concentrate on the differences.
  • CRITIQUE: point out the limitations and usefulness of the subject in the question.
  • DESCRIBE: give detailed account of a topic
  • DISCUSS: explain various perspective and present a logical argument
  • Enumerate: list out the all the relevant points, then explain
  • Elucidate: Clarify
  • EVALUATE: weight up the importance, success or value of something with evidence to support your view. Present a judgement
  • EXAMINE : give a detailed account, questioning and exploring the relevant issue
  • EXPLAIN: give a precise account, with reasons for why or how it is as it is.
  • Highlight: Focus on important points/features
  • ILLUSTRATE: use examples from a range of source to demonstrate your understanding of the subject.
  • JUSTIFY: make a case for a particular perspective. Establish the truth through supporting evidence or logical reasoning
  • REVIEW : examine how a topic has been studied and comment on value and limitations of its treatment



How to approach questions in main exam?

Most basic and common approach is to break your answer into 3 parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion


This included a very precise and short introduction of the topic mentioned in the question. The introduction is of crucial importance. Remember – well begun is half done.

Main body

Body of the answer should include all the necessary information asked in the question. It is utmost important to understand the necessities of the question i.e what exactly has been asked in the question. Take care of terms such as AnalyseCritically AnalyseDiscussEvaluateExplain etc, used in the question as well as stick to the word limit as over dose of words may fetch negative marks. Body may be in points or in paragraph form. We recommend you to write answer in points, in simple English and small sentences, preferably one point of view and its analysis in one paragraph while interlinking various point of view as balanced view.

Keywords to be kept in mind - ANALYSIS + INTERLINKING + BALANCED VIEW


Try to include max points from different  angles and dimensions. Don’t bluff in facts and analysis as examiner is experienced enough to make genuine. Facts should not be forced into answers but should be inserted to strengthen a point of view.

Adding colors to your answer: Pictures,Diagrams, depictions, underlining etc add color to the answer. A picture is worth thousand words. Adding pictures, diagrams etc will add value to your paper.

FOCUS and FLOW  should be maintained throughout the answer. Focus means- Every question has a particular focus,something specific that has been asked,that needs to be answered throughout the answer as well as while writing different dimensions,link it well to focus of question. Flow means - different paragraphs should be in a flow i.e. interlinked ,when someone reads the answer the different parts should not look disconnected. Like an argument may follow with a fact to strengthen,then counter argument, then other dimensions being balanced towards end.


Conclusion is as important as an introduction. It gives an insight into your analyzing powers. Try to give a brief overview in the form of a gist of the answer in the conclusion. You may insert your own point of view. conclusion should be optimistic and portraying hope.

Keywords for conclusion: OPTIMISTIC + PORTRAY HOPE



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