Every year thousands of IAS aspirants write the UPSC Mains after clearing the Prelims. The UPSC Mains are a descriptive type of examination, which means the importance is on writing long and precise answers to the questions asked.

Through this exam, the comprehensive ability of the candidate is tested. The candidates that clear the Mains with the minimum required marks receive interview calls from the board.  UPSC preparation regarding writing long answers is one of the most competitive features of the civil exams.

Here are some important tips that will benefit you in improving your writing and presentation skills for the UPSC:

  •  Increase your Reading Count and Familiarize with your Syllabus

Going through the syllabus and reading only what is relevant is very important. Try to increase your reading count by reading diversified content and by closely examining the different types of writing style.

By doing this, you will subconsciously pick it up. You will try incorporating it in your answers. Read newspapers, magazines, and your IAS preparation material thoroughly, and compare your original writing style to the ones present in aforementioned material sources This will help you set higher standards for your writing.

  •   Keeping a Proper Structure for your Answer

Write the answer to the actual question asked and don’t fill up just to complete the word count. Quality conquers over quantity in these exams. Your answers should have a proper structure from the introduction to the conclusion, and should be consistent every time. Keep in mind the examiner will appreciate a well-structured, relevant, precise, and illustrative answer over anything else.

  •   Cover NCERTs followed by Standard Textbooks

Reading NCERTs will form a stronger base as most of the syllabus is covered from the NCERTs of sixth to twelfth grade. The optional subject syllabus can be covered from standard textbooks. Take extra care to read-only relevant content.

  • Never Use Unnecessary Technical Terms

Irrelevancy and unrelated jargon is off-putting. It will affect the consistency of your answer. Write crisp answers which are grammatically correct and to the point. Avoid writing cliches.

  •   Stay Updated with Current Affairs

Current affairs constitute half of the Civil Services Mains syllabus and are very important. Newspapers like the Indian Express and The Hindu are recommended strongly for current affairs. Watching channels like the Rajya Sabha TV and the Lok Sabha Tv can be quite insightful.

Apart from these, there are regular magazines, periodicals, compilations of current affairs, economy-related surveys, and budget reports that are also very important sources to look forward to. Reading such material will significantly improve your writing style as discussed above.

  •       Do Not State Unsubstantiated Facts

Always back your answers with relevant and enough statements. Never claim or state something without context or proper evidence to prove it. Always give answers that you can back up with basic and true information. In short, don’t make stuff up on your own without proper facts to back them.

  •       Every Subject is Important

Equal importance should be given to every subject. All the subjects in the MAINS paper are equally important.  Keeping this in mind, the candidate should make a proper timetable.

  •     Solve Previous Years Papers

Go through the previous five-year question and answer papers. This will give you a fair idea of the UPSC pattern and answer presentation. It will also help the candidate to interpret the question paper style. Make sure to adhere to the time limit and word count prescribed on the question paper.

  •       Make Precise and to-the-point Notes

Make short and crisp notes for every subject, including current affairs which is of utmost importance. These handy notes should help you with your weekly revisions. The notes should underline all the important facts and statements. Marking the important parts among the notes will also help immensely in your preparation. Placing important points under bullets is also a great way to prepare.

  •   Practice Writing Answers

Make it a habit to write a few answers every single day to improve your UPSC writing skills. Answer writing should commence immediately after forming a decent amount of knowledge base of that particular topic under a particular subject. One should not expect perfectly structured answers in their first few tries.

It takes a lot of practice and patience. Make sure to practice writing your answer within the stipulated time. This will help you in writing the answers keeping in mind the time taken during the actual examination.

  •       Revision.

Make sure to revise. Dedicate at least a day in the week to revise all the content studied during the week. Continue your answer writing practice even on this revision day. The notes prepared while studying may come in handy in this. Perfect your notes and make them precise. This will help you to retain the vast MAINS IAS exam syllabus.

  •     Answers in Points or Paragraphs.

If you think you can express what you have studied better in points, then focus on writing your answers in bullet points only. But if you think you can write answers better in paragraph form, then practice writing them in paragraph format. However, don’t try to change your writing style on the day of the examination itself. Stick to the format you have practised during your preparation.

  •       Presentation

Write your answers in neat and comprehensive handwriting to improve your UPSC presentation skills. Practice keeping this in mind. Give heading and subheading wherever required in your answers. Draw tables and graphs if you think that will increase the quality of your answers. Do not scribble or overwrite. If you need to cancel something, do it neatly.

  •       Structure your Answer

Structure your answer properly before you begin to write the answers. Once you have read the question, try to recollect all the facts and information you know about that topic, and then frame a rough structure from introduction to conclusion. Also, do not waste time writing slowly and beautifully initially, only to run out of time in the end.


We always hope and wish for you to unlock your 100 percent every single day. For more of such insightful UPSC-related blogs and content, stay connected with our regular blogs. We post regularly keeping in mind all your doubts and queries. All the best with your exam preparations!

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How Can I Develop Writing Skills and the Way of Presentation for UPSC?
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How Can I Develop Writing Skills and the Way of Presentation for UPSC?
Check out the important UPSC writing skills to excel in your UPSC Mains. Read this article to find out how you can improve your presentation skills for UPSC.
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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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