Answering Strategy to Ace the UPSC Mains Exam

UPSC Mains Exam: That “Extra” Thing needed in your Answer to score high and secure an interview call.

The myth of scoring good marks in the UPSC Civil Services Exam is not a myth at all particularly in the four General Studies Papers (I, II, III, and IV). Hope, serious aspirants’ and candidates who have cleared the IAS exam would definitely agree with this.

Most of the aspirants’ wonder in spite of attempting all the questions in each paper of the Mains exam and answers written elaborately but still couldn’t clear the exam and when they see their scores usually they panic and ponder where did they go wrong and what gave the other aspirants who made it to the final list an edge over them.

The aspirants’ need not to ponder looking at their scores, all they have to do is analyse where they went wrong and correct it.

Here, we bring some advice on how to add that “Extra’’ thing in their answer that would make them score high.

The secret of adding that Extra thing in their answer is simple, it all depends on aspirants’’ how well they compare and link one idea to another.

Let’s take an example, below given is a question asked in UPSC 2014 Civil Services Mains Exam.

Discuss the contribution of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to pre-and post-independent India. (200 words)

Aspirants’’ should read the question carefully at least twice, as already advised candidates’ should check for the type of question asked in the mains exam, identify the keyword then they should give a thought about why this question has been asked.

Here’ how candidates can answer this question.

The question was asked in the UPSC 2014 Civil Services Mains Exam and in the first place why was the question asked.

The question was asked as “the Finance Minister Shri P.Chidambaram Releases a Commemorative Coin of Rs. 20 and a Circulation Coin of Rs.5 to Mark the Culmination of the 125th Birth Anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad; Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was an Indian and A Muslim; a Nationalist, Patriot and Totally Secular: FM”, which released in PIB on 11 November 2013.

The question is “Discuss” type and candidate should remember our 7-5-3 Rule for answer writing in UPSC Mains Exam.

Write 5 points about the contribution of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to pre-and post-independent India.

A small introduction about Abul Kalam, He was an Indian and A Muslim; a Nationalist, Patriot and Totally Secular etc…

Contribution of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to pre-independent India like.

  • Head of Khilafat Committee
  • Supported Gandhi during Non-cooperation movement
  • Negotiated with British Cabinet mission for India’s independence.
  • Opposed two-nation theory of Jinnah. Advocated Hindu-Muslim unity.
  • Wrote a book “India Wins freedom”, to give firsthand account of the events

Contribution of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to post- independent India

  • Member of Constitution assembly
  • First Union minister of education,
  • Pivotal role in foundation of IIT, UGC, and other academies

After, writing the five points, elaborate each point and ensure to finish answering in 7 minutes.

Then conclude with saying “for his service to the nation, he was posthumously awarded country’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.” And also on the 125th Birth Anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad; the Finance Minister Shri P.Chidambaram honoured him with the Commemorative Coin of Rs. 20 and a Circulation Coin of Rs.5 to Mark the Culmination of his Birth Anniversary. (This two points in the answer would that extra thing, which other aspirants who attempted the answer would have missed.)

IAS Aspirants can follow this method in answering other questions as well.

So, what makes an answer good in the UPSC Mains Exam is arguable but one thing that gives an edge to a candidate over the others and adds that “Extra” thing to their answer and secures them an interview call is the variety, diversity and the profundity.

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