Learning to write good answers in the IAS mains exam is as important as preparing the subject material itself. This is because no matter what you have read and studied and practiced, it is what you have written in the answer booklet that matters at the end of the day. You get your marks for what the examiner actually reads in the form of your answers and the countless number of hours that you put in studying doesn’t matter to him/her. So, it goes without saying that the art of writing answers that are suitable and most expected from candidates is an important one. Read on a few tips that candidates should keep in mind while answering writing for UPSC Mains.

Tips for Answer Writing Practice for UPSC Mains 2021

Given below are some tips to keep in mind when doing your daily answer writing practice for UPSC mains.

General Studies Topics covered Tips (apply wherever needed according to the question)
General Studies Paper I Indian Heritage and Culture, History
  • Answer to the point including dates, timeline according to the demand of the question
Geography of the World and Society
  • Add flow charts, diagrams, maps, etc.
General Studies Paper-II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice
  • Add SC verdicts
  • Cite Articles
  • Relevant quotes from personalities and newspapers
  • New policies and schemes
  • National and global survey reports, findings
International Relations
  • Recent developments, international relationships
  • Highlighted terms featured in newspapers
  • Maps if needed
General Studies Paper III Economic Development
  • Recent statistics and figures highlighted by Economic Survey
  • Use phrases in the Economic Survey
  • Global rankings, reports, and findings
  • Schemes and policies
  • Innovation and multiple dimensions
  • Draw figure if possible
Biodiversity, Environment
  • Relate it with recent happenings wherever needed
  • Environment reports and rankings
  • Flowchart and diagrams
Security and Disaster Management
  • Include recent and highlighted issues
General Studies Paper IV Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
  • Be thorough with keywords in the syllabus
  • Cite logical solutions and draft simply
  • Cite quotes wherever needed

Also Read: 20 Tips to Practice Answer Writing for IAS Mains

General Things to Pay Attention to for Daily Answer Writing Practice for UPSC 2021

  • Before you start writing any answer to any paper, read the question very carefully. Understanding the questions and the requirements mentioned in the question are the main thing.
  • Portraying the structure or sketching the answer in your mind is very crucial. The very moment you read and understand the question, set your mind about the procedure in which you are going to answer. If possible, write down the points when you remember it with a pencil so that you can erase it.
  • Don’t fabricate answers to remember any answer. It will just waste your time in both the practice period and exam hall. Rather try to remember the facts and important information related to this topic which will help you to remember the answer and also it will save you time more than usual.
  • If any question mentions the word limit or word count, you should finish up your answer around the limit. It shows your control over the power of language and choice of words.
  • Almost every answer should maintain the three stages: Introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Avoid compound sentences and keep in mind the one-word substitutions as well as write in simple small sentences.

Also Read: UPSC Prelims 2020: Done with the Paper? Check out these Tips for Mains Preparation

Common Mistakes to Avoid Making for Your Answer Writing Practice for Mains

  • You should not wait till you finish the whole UPSC syllabus to embark on an answer writing spree. You should start it simultaneously while covering the syllabus.
  • If you think just by filling up the prescribed word count, you can fool the examiner, think again. So adhere to the word limit and also make sure your answer is rich in content.
  • You should also get your answers evaluated by teachers, seniors, or mentors. Only this way you can analyze your shortcomings and correct yourself.
  • Your answers should be clear, neat, have examples and relevant concepts, crisp (not vague and jumbled), and creative. Dynamic questions warrant dynamic answers. So, read newspapers regularly to improve your vocabulary and writing style.
  • It is better to avoid jargon in the GS papers since your answers should be multifaceted and broad. However, in the optional subject papers, you can afford to go a little deep and include technical terms. This is because the examiner, in this case, is also a specialist.


While practicing answer writing, keep in mind that it involves four things primarily. These are the abilities to recall, process, and write down thoughts with the timeframe. So do not forgo your daily practice of answer writing for mains. Writing your college answers and writing answers for UPSC is different. Understand this and do not underestimate this part of your preparation for UPSC.

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Answer Writing for Preparation Tips UPSC: Daily Answer Writing Practice for UPSC Mains 2021
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Answer Writing for Preparation Tips UPSC: Daily Answer Writing Practice for UPSC Mains 2021
After your Prelims, daily answer writing practice for descriptive type questions asked in the mains paper is a must need for every candidate. Learn how to go about it and what mistakes to avoid.
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UPSC Pathshala
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