UPSC Mains is a very important stage of the Civil service exam as it is the second stage of the three-stage examination that demands a proper answer writing skill along with the facts and figures. It consists of 9 papers in which you have to score well to get a call from the interview board and to find a place in the final merit list. Thousands of people who get qualified from the Prelims exam write this stage of examination that demands an opinionated answer from your side with mastery in writing skills to reflect your thoughts on the asked situation.

It’s not easy to differentiate between a good answer and a bad answer, especially in the case of UPSC CSE. However, there are some key points and basic thumb rules to put your answers in the niche category of good and well-structured UPSC Mains answers. This blog is a step-by-step guide that will help you master the art of writing powerful UPSC CSE Mains answers. It will help you learn how to write clear, concise, and to-the-point answers that give a complete picture.


  1. Read before you write

It is a common saying that “ A good writer is also a good reader”. The more you read, the more you will get the idea of different content and perspectives. Having a perspective is necessary for a good answer in UPSC Mains. Answer writing in UPSC demands a proper outline, structure, quotes, facts, data, opinions along with the proofs of whatever you are writing. Reading before writing familiarizes you with the different writing styles and with various content subconsciously which you can use in the final Mains examination. Refer to the UPSC syllabus first to get the idea of “What exactly to read ?”.

  1. Maintaining a proper outline is important

Outline basically means the structure of your blog consisting of an introduction, body, and a conclusion. Coherence is needed among these three sections while writing the answer. There are 9 papers of different subjects having different nature of answers. There’s an essay paper also demanding a lot more of your opinions in comparison to previous papers. The catch is to understand the nature of answer writing of different papers and genres and write it in order with coherence complementing each other. In this way you can maintain the consistency of an answer.

  1. Avoid Shakespearean language and unnecessary jargons

Writing with the purpose of filling word count is a bad practice and it can lower your chances of selection for the interview round of UPSC CSE. Avoiding unnecessary technical answers and cliché is the best practice while answer writing. You are not there to impress the checker with your technical writing skills, instead, you must write in a language that contains facts that are relevant to your given question and quite understandable for everyone. Showing off your knowledge can harm you for sure.

  1. Being original is the key

This point is self-explanatory as UPSC demands a subjective answer with full objectivity in answer writing. Writing your opinions in your own words without any generalization is the key to success in UPSC Mains. This will also help you in your interview round because your opinions reflect your personality and your thoughts. Keeping your answer original without copying it from any news source or book is the best form of practice and also inventing your own stuff should also be avoided. However, keeping your creativity alive is also very important while writing answers for mains.

  1. Avoid too many quotations

You must definitely give quotes in your answers but in a balanced and well-structured way. Quotes only show your knowledge and scholarliness. However, you must avoid too many quotes. Instead, you can write facts and data along with your opinions for a better answer. You can use metaphors, similes, and quotes but only when it seems too necessary to mention.

  1. Beware of generalizations

Always remember that you are writing for a government exam that too for a prestigious exam like UPSC CSE. You should avoid generalizing or writing based on urban dictionaries and crowd talks. Always substantiate your sayings and opinions with proven facts and data. Use quotes, metaphors, and similes as mentioned in the above point also, but only there where it is necessary. There should be no place for your personal opinions unless asked in the question. Formulate your answers in such a way that it matches the context of the question.

  1. Regular answer writing practice keeps you active

When you have 9 papers to crack in a single stage of an exam, then it becomes a necessity to write and practice it more and more. Without practice you will get exhausted in the main examination of UPSC Mains and exhaustion leads to a lack of ideas and points. To avoid this, you must start giving different online mock tests or various coaching centers’ test series to practice writing for a better-structured answer. With writing, you will get the idea to break down the contents with relevant data along with a proper outline.

You can write some answers in small paragraphs or in points but before that you must get some idea about the nature of the questions asked in the examination. To get this idea only, it is very important to practice answer writing for UPSC Mains religiously.

  1. Extra marks for error-free writing

It is expected from a graduate or the aspirants holding higher degrees than graduation to write their answers error-free as much as possible. It is not always easy to write 100% error-free answers but the errors should be avoidable instead of non-avoidable basic grammatical mistakes.

When you are writing for such a prestigious exam then it becomes your responsibility to write on-point without making any silly mistakes. Mere knowledge is not enough to crack the UPSC  exam. You need to convince the examiner correcting your answer booklet that you have good knowledge and ideas to become a first-class civil servant. This is possible by writing simple yet effective answers that not only give the required information but also are a pleasure to read as well.

It is very important to master the art of writing the correct answer, in the limited time frame that is given for this purpose. The students appearing for the civil services exam should master the art of writing the correct answer so that they can get the best score in the examination.