Tips For Writing A good Answer in UPSC IAS Mains Exam

How to write answer in UPSC Mains?

UPSC IAS Exam is the toughest examination in India. The IAS Exam consists of three stages- Prelims, Mains, and interview. The Prelims are screening test where the IAS Mains Exam is the deciding stage. If the candidate fails to get fair enough marks in the IAS mains exam, the will fail ultimately. Read on for more UPSC mains answer writing tips.

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Tips For Writing A Better Answer/How to write answers in UPSC mains?

Here we are giving some tricks to fetch good marks in General studies Papers in IAS Mains exam. These tips will help you to score good marks in UPSC IAS Mains Exam.

Understanding the question

To write a good answer, knowledge is not enough. Writing an answer in the IAS Mains exam is understood the question and it is needed, then giving relevant points and opinion to the same. The aspirants should know the directive word or keywords to understand the question fully. Throughout the question, one should remember the keyword and topic. This will help not to deviate from the central point. Some questions have two parts. Here aspirants should answer the two parts in an organized manner with a logical flow.

Read more | Decode the directive words to crack Civil Service Mains Examination

Maintain  the word limit

The word limit is a crucial factor in UPSC IAS Mains exam. UPSC sets a word limit of 150–200 words for every question in the GS mains paper.the UPSC question paper says “content of the answer is more important than its length.” to maintain the word limit one must practice answer writing. Writing an answer on a daily basis will help one in UPSC IAS Mains exam.

Read more | How to approach Civil Services Main (Written) Examination General Studies Paper III

Answer Structure

For general studies paper, UPSC demands a descriptive answer. If there is an introduction- body, conclusion, it will fetch you good marks. The introduction and all the paragraphs should lead to a logical conclusion. Aspirants must highlight the important and relevant points. According to the questions demand one can add bullets, subheading to bring more visibility in their answers. Aspirants should be careful while dumping facts in your answer. It is better not to exhibit excess knowledge and end up getting mediocre marks.

We are citing the four general studies paper for UPSC IAS mains along with the crispy answer writing tips. The tips given in the box can be used according to the need of question.

Click here for more UPSC Answer Writing Practice

General Studies

Topics covered

Tips(apply wherever needed according to the question)

General studies Paper I

Indian Heritage and Culture, History

  • Answer to the point including dates, timeline according to the demand of question

Geography of the World and Society

  • Add flow charts, diagrams, maps etc

General studies Paper II

Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice

  • Add SC verdicts
  • Cite articles
  • Relevant quotes from personalities and newspaper
  • New policies schemes
  • National and global Survey reports findings

International relations

  • Recent developments international relationships
  • Highlighted term coming in newspaper
  • Maps if needed

General studies Paper III

Economic Development

  • Recent statistics and figure highlighted by Economic survey
  • Use the phrases in Economic survey
  • Global rankings, reports and finding
  • Schemes and policies


  • Innovation and multiple dimensions
  • Draw figure is feasible

Bio-diversity, Environment

  • Relate it with recent happening wherever needed
  • Environment reports and ranking
  • Flowchart and diagrams

Security and Disaster Management

  • Include controversial and highlighted issues

General studies Paper IV

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

  • Be thorough with keywords in syllabus
  • Cite logical solutions and draft simply
  • Cite quoting wherever needed
Language and diagrams

The Candidates are supposed to write the answer in the medium authorized in admission certificate. Language is a medium of communication. It matters in UPSC Mains exam as well. This is not a place where you are supposed to show your proficiency in languages. The aspirants try not come up with complicated sentences. They must draft the answers in simple and lucid manner.  It is good to add diagrams, flowcharts for geography. Whenever necessary, they should add enough facts and figures flowcharts. Candidates try to highlight the important points to fetch a good score.

Time management

Time management is an essential factor in IAS mains exam. Three hours are allotted for General studies paper. Before the mains examination, candidates should start answering writing practice. Aspirants should manage their time properly in the examination hall. Allot 9 questions in the first and second hour and 8 questions for the last hour. Enrolling to a good mock test will also help you to manage time, gain new knowledge and assess yourself.

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