How to write a good answer in UPSC Mains?

1. Divide your answer under relevant subheadings.

Eg. Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab travellers in the reconstruction of the history of India


  • Travellers
  • Importance of Chinese
  • Importance of Arab
  • Limitations of these accounts

2. Substantiate your arguments with facts/data or examples.

Issues with MGNREGA

  • Wage disparity across states. Eg. Haryana- 294/-, UP-192/-

3. Write short sentences. It will make your writing coherent.

4. If you write answers in paragraph format: write one concept in each paragraph

5. Define unknown terms in questions.
Eg. What are the consequences of spreading of ‘Dead Zones’ on marine ecosystem?
In this question Define dead zone in intro

  1. Include reports/facts/data/bill/policy/constitution in answers - makes your arguments effective & authentic.

  2. Use maps/flowcharts/diagram wherever possible. But remember, these illustrations are not to be replaced the content, but they should complement the content.

  3. Use keywords.
    Eg. If question is about caste- use keywords like endogamy, purity and pollution, hierarchy etc.- it'll make your answer stand out!

Pro tip: collect keywords of each syllabus topic in your notes!

  1. Try to cover maximum dimensions with brief explanation of each (as opposed to only few dimensions with a lot of explanation!) - UPSC awards multidimensional answers with more marks.

  2. Try to include positive aspects in your answer. Be optimistic!

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