Civil Services Mains: Answer Writing

Civil Services Mains is one of the most challenging stages of the Civil Services exam.The syllabus is enormous, competition is cut throat and the time frame is a binding on the aspirants. Even the most hard working individuals tend to lose their peace of mind during the course of preparation. Yet, the best make it each year despite all odds and that is the category you should aspire for too.

One of the most effective hacks of cracking the IAS Mains examination is to practice writing answers. I say this with my own experience and insist on you trying out the same.

Practicing answer writing has 2 benefits –

  • Helps you with remembering concepts in the exam.
  • Helps you with Time management

An aspirant should develop the craft of writing good and crisp answers so that the examiner understands them clearly. Crisp and ‘to the point’ answers will make sure that you get awarded with the appropriate marks.

Here are 5 writing hacks that every Civil Services aspirant must do –

  1. Make notes and modify them regularly according to the word limit.This will not only help you gather useful content  but also help you save time in the exam.
  2. Use the content of the notes effectively in the exam as and when asked in the respective questions. Using your own content will help you gain confidence. Remember it is an exam and not an extempore competition where you need to express opinions on the spot.
  3. Always refer to multiple resources while crafting notes and hence answers.This way you will develop an excellent grasp on the subject matter.
  4. Each note should be an answer in itself. This will not be easy at first but eventually you’ll master the art.
  5. Lastly, revise notes daily, weekly, monthly and nobody can stop you from qualifying the exam

All the very best. Put in your hundred percent and make your attempt count 🙂

For any query on any aspect of the Civil Services Exam, feel free to post your comment on —> CIVIL SERVICES EXAM: DAILY DOUBT SOLVING SESSIONS

Akriti Mattu


  1. Hello mam

    Please help me to figure out a daily routine. I will appear for UPSC next year.

    • Sure.

      Create a time table and stick to it.

      Include all the subjects and alternate them. That way your preparation will not get monotonous.

  2. Hey there!!
    I have some doubts regarding the subjects of UPSE Mains.
    1. There are two papers, PAPER A-(Indian language) and PAPER B-(ENGLISH). Which language can/should I select?
    2. There are 2 optional papers. Since I am a mechanical engineer so one optional is mechanical but I have no any idea that what should I select for my 2nd optional subject. Kindly help me with these.
    Thank you!!

    • Hello Raushan, Apologies for the late reply. I was transferring my blog on a new server so I saw your question today itself.

      See Both Paper A and B are mandatory. In Indian language, opt for Hindi. If you feel you have a better grip on some other indian language, go ahead.

      Now coming to optionals, you need just one subject. Both the papers will be of that one subject , which in your case is Mechanical Engineering.

      All the very best.

  3. Hi, I’m from electrical engineering background but after lot of analysis I want to choose either psychology or mathematics as optional. But in my graduation I didn’t do great in maths and I’m interested in psychology but fearing at the fact that I don’t have prior knowledge in it. My doubt is can a person will complete the syllabus and score good even he doesn’t study it in graduation. Actually I have such interest that I wish I could study psychology in bachelor’s / master’s.

    • Apologies for the late reply Thilak. I was traveling from the past few days.

      Psychology is a damn good optional. I chose it while appearing for the state services exam. I’ll recommend that you go in for formal coaching for psychology since you’re new to the subject. Good guidance is paramount to this optional. Lastly, buy Mukul Pathak notes. Very useful.

      All the very best.

  4. If ramsonware is malware then patches are its ideal solution .comment

    • See, Microsoft released the ‘patch’ to fix the malware because the flaw was found by their team. The flaw was a part of windows.

    • Hi.

      Decide it on the basis of the following 2 criteria –

      1. Your interest in the subject
      2. Availability of resources and guidance

      What is your academic background ? In what stream did you pass graduation ?

  5. hello can you let me know the list of books for maths optional or how can i start studying for it??

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