How to Write Faster for the UPSC Mains Exam

The UPSC civil services mains exam is scheduled to begin in January 2021. There will be nine descriptive papers in which you have to write out the answers in the answer booklet given to you in the exam hall. Preparing for the IAS exam is one just one side of the coin. To actually make it, you have to write what you have prepared in the exam hall. A lot of factors go into your success there. You have to take care of space and time constraints while writing. You have to be able to finish the papers. Then, the examiner should be impressed with not only the content of your answer but also the presentation.

Your handwriting should be neat and legible. So, you should be able to finish the answer paper on time and also make sure your writing is legible. How do you manage to write fast without compromising on the neatness? Read on to find out how to write faster for the UPSC mains exam.

Get the correct tool

First of all, you must get the correct pen to write the exam with. Of course, different people have a different say on which pen is the best, but it is generally observed that a gel pen is the fastest. However, there is the problem of smudges. So, as a safer option, people suggest ballpoint pens. Again, you must select the brand that you find most comfortable and smooth.

Rectify your technique

Sometimes, it could be your technique that is slowing you down. So, improve your technique in the following ways:

  1. Loosen your grip over the pen. Don’t hold it too tight. It will slow you down.
  2. If you can, try and write smaller as it takes less time to cover more letters.
  3. Use your arm and not just your wrists. If you do so, you lessen the strain on your wrists thus enabling you to write faster for longer periods.
  4. Always sit with the correct posture. Never hunch because if you do, you would be adding more weight onto your arms. This makes your arms tired more easily.

Write crisp

Always write to the point. Don’t waste time beating about the bush. Writing in bullet points and giving headings and subheadings helps you to write fewer words and still drive home the point. Also, drawing diagrams, tables and graphs help you give more information in lesser words.

Prepare diligently

Another sure-shot way to write faster is to be well prepared. This reduces the time you take to think and form answers.

Think before starting to write

Always take a couple of minutes to frame answers in your head before putting your pen on the sheet. This reduces the amount of scratching later. If your thoughts are organised, you will be able to write faster.

Take care of the word count and the marks allocated

Always write according to the marks allotted to the question. Elaborate only where it is required as per the word count.


“Speed is a by-product of good, slow practice.” – Guthrie Govan

As with anything, your writing speed will improve if you practice daily. Practising previous years question papers and taking mock tests should be an integral part of your IAS preparation. With practice, you will develop speed without compromising your neatness and presentation.

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