Insights into Answer Writing: UPSC Mains Exam

Cracking the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) is the dream of many aspiring civil servants in India. While clearing the preliminary stage involves objective-type questions, the Mains exam demands a different skill set – compelling answer writing.

This blog delves deeper into the nuances of answer writing for the UPSC Mains exam, equipping you with valuable insights and strategies to maximize your score.

Understanding the Importance of Answer Writing

Statistics reveal the significance of answer writing in the UPSC Mains. According to a 2021 report by the Union Public Service Commission, the average marks secured by successful candidates in the written exam (mains + essay) were 1129.49 out of 1750. This emphasizes the critical role exceptional answer writing plays in securing a place in the coveted merit list.

Key Strategies for Effective Answer Writing:
  1. Comprehending the Question: Before penning down even a word, meticulously understand the demand of the question. Identify the keywords, instructions, and specific aspects to be addressed.
  2. Structuring Your Answer: A well-structured answer showcases clarity and organization, making it easier for the examiner to assess your knowledge. Here’s a recommended framework:
  3. Introduction: Briefly introduce the topic, providing necessary context.
  4. Body: This forms the core of your answer, where you elaborate on the various aspects demanded by the question. Utilize subheadings, bullet points, and diagrams to enhance readability.
  5. Conclusion: Summarize the key points and provide a concluding remark, reiterating the main arguments.
  6. Content and Relevance: Focus on providing relevant and insightful information. Integrate your knowledge from diverse sources, including current affairs, government reports, and credible academic research.
  7. Critical Thinking and Analysis: Don’t merely offer factual information; demonstrate your ability to analyze, evaluate, and critically examine the topic. Present balanced arguments and perspectives, considering all sides of the issue.
  8. Language and Presentation: Maintain a formal and professional writing style. Ensure your answer is grammatically sound, using clear and concise language. Improve readability by employing a logical flow of ideas and proper presentation with headings, subheadings, and diagrams.
Enriching Your Answer Writing
  1. Incorporate Examples and Case Studies: Support your arguments with relevant and recent examples, both national and international. This showcases your understanding of contemporary issues and strengthens your answer’s credibility.
  2. Quotes and References: Utilize well-chosen quotes from experts and credible sources to add depth and authority to your answer. Ensure proper referencing to avoid plagiarism.
  3. Interdisciplinary Approach: Don’t limit yourself to the specific subject of the question. Draw connections and integrate relevant insights from other disciplines to demonstrate a holistic understanding of the issue.
Practice Makes Perfect

Developing mastery in answer writing requires consistent practice and rigorous self-evaluation. Utilize resources like mock tests, previous year question papers, and answer writing initiatives offered by various coaching institutes or online platforms.


Effective answer writing is a cornerstone of success in the UPSC Mains exam. By understanding the importance, adhering to the outlined strategies, and diligently practicing, you can equip yourself with the skills and knowledge to craft compelling answers that impress the examiners. Remember, consistent effort, focused learning, and a strategic approach are key to mastering the art of answer writing and achieving your UPSC dream.

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