How to Write a Winning UPSC Mains Answer: Tips and Strategies

The UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) Mains is the second stage of the prestigious exam, comprising written exams in nine papers. One of the key components of the Mains is the answer writing, which plays a crucial role in determining a candidate’s score. In this blog, we’ll discuss tips and strategies to write winning answers for UPSC CSE Mains.

Understanding the UPSC Mains Answer Writing

The Mains answer writing requires candidates to demonstrate a deep understanding of the subject, critical thinking skills, and the ability to articulate thoughts clearly and concisely. Each answer is evaluated based on its content, coherence, and relevance to the question.

Research published in the International Journal of Educational Research and Technology (2018) suggests that effective answer-writing skills are crucial for success in competitive exams like UPSC CSE. According to the study, candidates who write well-structured and coherent answers tend to score higher marks.

According to data from the UPSC, the Mains examination carries a total of 1750 marks, out of which the written papers contribute 1750 marks. This highlights the importance of answer writing in determining the final rank of the candidate.

Tips and Strategies for Writing Winning Answers

  • Understand the Question: Read the question carefully and ensure that you understand what is being asked. Identify the key keywords and concepts that need to be addressed in your answer.
  • Organize Your Thoughts: Before you start writing, take a few minutes to brainstorm and organize your thoughts. Create a rough outline of the main points you want to cover in your answer.
  • Be Concise and Clear: Write your answers in a clear and concise manner. Avoid using unnecessary jargon or complex language. Focus on conveying your ideas in a simple and straightforward manner.
  • Use Examples and Evidence: Support your arguments with relevant examples and evidence. This not only adds credibility to your answer but also demonstrates your understanding of the topic.
  • Stay Relevant: Ensure that your answer is relevant to the question asked. Avoid going off-topic or including irrelevant information.
  • Structure Your Answer: Divide your answer into paragraphs, with each paragraph focusing on a specific point or argument. Use headings and subheadings to organize your answer and make it easier to read.
  • Revise and Edit: Take the time to revise and edit your answer before submitting it. Check for grammatical errors, clarity of expression, and coherence of ideas.


Effective answer writing is a skill that can be developed with practice and guidance. By following the tips and strategies outlined above, you can improve your answer writing skills and increase your chances of success in the UPSC CSE Mains exam. Remember, the key to writing winning answers lies in understanding the question, organizing your thoughts, and presenting your ideas clearly and concisely.

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