Points to keep in mind
while writing Civil Services Mains

by Chanakya IAS Academy

: Sep 25, 2018    : Tanima Anand

With Civil Services Mains just a week away, candidates who are going to appear for the exam must be over anxious at the moment with thousands of questions in their mind. One of them major question which often pops up in the mind of Civil Services aspirants is how they should approach the Civil Services Mains examination. So this article, written by the experts of Chanakya IAS Academy says all about the things and points which must be kept in mind while writing the mains examination, which you are going to write right after a week.

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Read your paper well –

Writing for the Civil Services Mains Examination, it is very important to first read and understand the question paper. Unless you understand the bent of mind with which the examiner has set the paper, you will not be able to answer the question well, for, every question is finalised by UPSC only after a lot of research and brain-storming. Plus, every question paper follows certain trending topics, which you must have read about in recent current affairs. It simply means that must have a clear idea about what must go in the answers and be able to prioritise your paper accordingly. Hence, make sure you have read the entire question paper very well, but do not waste a lot of time over it either. The focus is the key here!

  1. Time management – Civil Services Examination, alike other competitive tests, is a time-bound exam and no matter how good you are aware of the topics asked in the exam, you must complete the entire paper effectively in the given 3 hours. Here time management plays a crucial role, where you must divide the paper based on how well you know the questions. Also, try to attempt as many questions as possible within the stipulated time, but with a sensible and relevant answer.
  2. Frame answers as per the gravity of the exam – Examiner, through this examination, is not just trying to understand how knowledgeable you are, but your logical analysis and analytical ability as well. And your answers will mirror this part of your mental preparedness for the extremely responsible Civil Administrative Services. Hence, make sure you are not beating around the bushes only because you must answer this entire paper. Stick to the point of what is being asked and only provide relevant information, which is needed to back an answer. Crisp and quality answers always get the best scores and your answer must reflect an Administrators perspective too. Do not forget the gravity of the examination, you are sitting for! Also keep in mind the following points while answering the questions in Civil Services Mains.
    1. Read the question, twice and understand – While writing the Civil Services Mains Examination, focus on the question you are attempting at the moment, and make an understanding of the same. Give a quick second read to the question and then start writing your answer. When you are clear about what aspects the examiner is looking forward to read in your answer, the points will automatically start falling in for you and framing the answer will become much easier.
    2. Remind yourself that every question has a word limit – UPSC has set a word limit for every question in the Civil Services Mains Examination, within which, an aspirant must frame their answers to the best of their knowledge. Put your abilities at-test here and use this word limit as your tool. At a certain point or for a topic you have sound knowledge about, you may tend to get flying with the wave of knowledge, but a good control is essential to write an effective answer within given word limits.
  3. Enrich your answer – In this one examination, you will find questions from diverse backgrounds/subjects/topics and relevance, due to which you will have to command your brain to function in accordance to each answer, respectively. And the best way to make each one of the answers interesting is by enriching the same with needful representations, markings, maps, diagrams, facts, etc. Consider the following points, to make your answer more substantial and enriched –
    1. A perfect answer is multi-dimensional – UPSC frames every question after a very careful research and may not always ask a direct question. Candidates can expect hidden questions behind a plain looking statement, and thus an expected answer will also cover each of these dimensions, in regard to the subject of the question. Having read the question twice already, you will know the different aspects and thus UPSC frames every question after a very careful research and may not always ask a direct question. Candidates can expect hidden questions behind a plain looking statement, and thus an expected answer will also cover each of these dimensions, in regard to the subject of the question. Having read the question twice already, you will know the different aspects and thus make sure you address each query, very carefully. Reflect examples from current scenario to make it even more powerful.

      A perfect answer will establish your understanding of the topic. A simple introduction followed with a little background information or any related historical relevance, if needed will do. If your answer has more than two dimensions to be covered, address the core subject right after the introduction. Do not jump to another dimension straight away! Introduce or make a connection so that the following paragraphs are not a sudden blow to the examiner. For multi-dimensional answers, make sure you are weaving around the subject. Include all the relevant points that must back the answer and do not repeat your points only to cover up for something you are not able to recall at the moment. Simply, write what you know of and move on to the next question.
    2. Graphical representations will substantiate your answer – Words are one of the powerful tools to keep your point regarding a certain topic, but the importance of a graphical representation cannot be completely denied. In fact, while writing for the Civil Services Mains Examination, the graphical representations must be used as the ultimate tool to substantiate an answer. Maps, diagrams, drawings, mind-maps, etc, if used in the right places, will not just make your answer more powerful but also help the examiner understand the clarity & how well you have prepared your topics. For instance, while answering geography-based questions, you can use a physical map in almost every answer, where possible, even if you just have to show a river, plateau or simple boundaries of a state. For Science-based questions, you can use diagrams, graphs and other pictorial representations to express yourself better.
    3. Do not waste time over decorating just one answer – At this stage, you aim should be to focus on telling what an examiner wants from your answer. But in the process of substantiating your answers, do not overdo with any aspect. Balance your answers in simple paragraphs, and rather use bullets if you wish to keep multiple points, also to save time. Bullet form of answer writing is the best way to cover all the dimensions in the most effective manner. Outline your answer in these bullets and go ahead with explaining the same. Decorating it unnecessarily is not needed here!
  4. A Progressive conclusion is always most welcomed – An old saying reads that all’s well that ends well. Your answers in the Civil Services Mains Examination must also conclude on a good and rather progressive note. Add a relevant suggestion or find a positive solution to the problem in the conclusion, while making sure that no dimension covered in the entire answer is left open to speculations. A short and crisp conclusion must sum up the entire answer in the most attractive manner. And a good score gets assured right away!
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Mr. AK Mishra is a renowned motivational speaker, entrepreneur, educationist and Founder & Chairman of prestigious Chanakya IAS Academy that has churned out more than 4000 Civil Servants (IAS, IPS & other Government Servants) till date.

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