How can I Improve my Answer Writing Skills in Civil Service Exams?- Given the unpredictable nature of UPSC CSE, it is important for candidates to focus on mastering the art of presenting their thoughts and viewpoints concisely in writing during the mains stage of the exam. The main Examination aims to assess candidates’ overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding, rather than just their range of information and memory. Therefore, candidates must provide relevant, meaningful, and succinct answers.
Many aspirants often complain that despite working hard, reading extensively, and writing mains exams every year, they still fail to qualify for the interview. However, they fail to understand that having knowledge of a particular issue is one thing, and being able to express that knowledge or opinion concisely on paper within a time limit is another. This write-up aims to address how to write meaningful, relevant, and succinct answers.
Important Aspects of Answer Writing:
1. Self-evident plan: Before starting to write an answer, it is beneficial for aspirants to spend a minute or two understanding the required dimensions and framing the answer’s skeleton. This helps in writing a logical and flowing answer within the given time. It is important to ensure clarity of thought process, provide a clear structure to the answer, and maintain continuity and linkage between different parts.
2. Address the ‘question’ rather than the ‘topic’: Aspirants should focus on addressing the specific focus of the question. Instead of cherry-picking familiar words or topics and filling pages, candidates should focus on the core content of the question. The answer should reflect understanding of the question and cater to its demands.
3. Proportionality: It is important to maintain a balance in the length and content of the answer. Too much or too little information can lead to abruptness in the starting or ending of the answer. The answer should have a concise first impression and a strong ending.
4. Visual appeal: A well-presented answer is appealing to read. This includes neat handwriting, uncluttered presentation, underlining key content, providing headings for sub-parts, and incorporating diagrams or flowcharts that highlight the strongest arguments.
5. Creative input: Adding inter-topic linkages, catchy terms, facts and figures, case studies, illustrations, or anecdotes can demonstrate practical awareness and application capabilities. Aspirants should think of relevant content from other topics that others may not find obvious.
6. Expressions: It is important to strike a balance between personal viewpoints and technical jargon, research studies, and expert views. The answer should use relevant terminology, facts, and figures to highlight the crux of the addressed issue while being in the aspirant’s own impactful language.
7. Concise and thoroughness: The answer should be concise, consist of thoughtfully framed sentences, and avoid ambiguity or meaninglessness.
8. Engaging with the reference statement: If a question includes a statement, candidates should quickly come to the statement and provide additional information about who said it, when, and in what context. Concluding with a reference to the question statement is always better.
9. Addressing the specific requirement of the question: Pay attention to the concluding word of the question, which indirectly indicates the specific requirement. Different words like ‘discuss,’ ‘elucidate,’ and ‘critically examine’ have different demands that need to be addressed.
In conclusion, practicing answer writing regularly, analyzing previous year papers, answering to the demand of the question, and having good content are crucial for improve answer writing skills in civil service exams.
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