How to write answers in IAS Mains?

Following are the tips and techniques to score good marks in the mains examination. Follow them to achieve your best.

  1. Writing skills forms a back-bone of the IAS Mains. Most of the candidates giving the Mains examination possess outstanding knowledge, but they lack in case of writing skills. You should be able to show all the information or knowledge in a coherent and logical manner, as needed by the examiner. For example: Stating with the facts and substantiating your answer with relevant concepts and focusing your view-point.

  2. Preparations for the Mains examination should be done deeply and it requires dedication.

  3. It always helps if the choice of the optionals for the Prelims examination is one of the subjects chosen for the Mains. After deciding the optional one should sort out the Main question papers as per to the syllabus topics of the Mains examination. If one consider these questions, after sometime the questions are repeated in one form or the other.

  4. Prepare a standard answer to the question papers of the earlier years. The task will be easy at the Mains examination.

  5. Do Not miss the concepts. Questions asked are of the Masters level examination. Sometimes the questions are ‘conceptual’ in nature, aimed at testing the comprehension levels of the basic concepts.

  6. Get a list of standard textbooks from the successful candidates, or other sources and also selective good notes. The right choice of reading material is crucial and crucial. You should not read all types of books as told by others.

  7. Always prepare for Mains even while preparing for Preliminary examination. As there is much in common for study and if less time is left for the preparation for Main examination after the results of the Prelims examination are declared.

  8. While looking for the optional subjects, there is no scope for selective studies in IAS. Entire syllabus must be included in well detailed. Equivalent stress and weight are there for both the optionals you have being chosen.

  9. The ultimate analysis of both subjects will have exactly the equal amount of maximum marks.

  10. For subjects like Mathematics, Statistics, Geography maps etc, practice plays a very crucial role. One should also practice other subjects and should not consider the same examination, as an experience gathering exercise to get a chance for writing mains is a vital thing, which you may not get again.

  11. Solve the unsolved papers of earlier papers and solve them frequently to induce the ambience of the examination.

  12. Maintain a reasonable time frame. Speed is the very essence of this examination. Time management holds a crucial importance.

  13. As far as the writing skills are concerned, keep writing model answers while preparing for the Mains examination. This will basically develop a habit in you of writing meanwhile the time constraint in the Mains.

  14. Do not be over confident pertaining to writing skills. It is very subjective and behavioral in nature.

  15. Follow your own, independent style of writing. Try not to be repetitive and a flow should must be there in your writing.

  16. Do not copy anyone's writing style.

  17. Balance a sequence and proper style of answering, which comes after a lot of practice and after judging the standard answers.

  18. Try to induce the actual examination hours to evaluate the performance and to understand drawbacks.

  19. Do not cross the word limit. Sticking to the word limit that will save time. Also, the number of marks you get will not increase even if you exceed the word limit. Just keep in mind that, It's the quality that matters not the quantity of the answer, Otherwise it will degrade the essence of answer.

  20. Frequent revision of all the subjects is very crucial. The reason is that you have been preparing for months or years together. As it is a human mind, and it tends to forget with time.

  21. Do not panic, if you are not able to revise before examination. Just mention everything clearly as it will simplify the evaluator's work and he can also read the answers easily.

  22. Highlight the crucial points which are vital and relevant.

  23. Focus on paragraph writing instead of essay form. A new point must begin and introduce with a new paragraph.

  24. If it the demand of question, that answer should be in point format, then write it in a bullet format.

  25. Maintain sufficient or desirable space between two lines.

  26. A similarity must be there in your writing in the overall paper.

  27. Because of time constraint, the answering framework should not go from bad to worse in the further stages of answer sheets.

  28. You need not to count words after each and every answer. If you have prepared well you will ultimately get to know the limit you made.

  29. Maintain sufficient or desirable space between two questions.

  30. You must focus on scoring 1300/2000 marks in the Mains. The main cut off differs as year changes.

  31. Just be calm and faith in God.

Discussions & Questions

  • I want to know exact way of preparation for UPSC exam because I cant afford coaching class right now I am preparing for SSC CGL and from January 2016? ( - on ))

    1 Answer

    IAS Preparation strategies are available at and You can definitely do a self -study for UPSC, refer The Hindu news paper daily, one good monthly magazine like Civil Services Chronicle, cover all NCERT books and Spectrum series for Mains.

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