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12 Techniques to Write Impressive Answers For IAS Mains Exam

Last Updated - February 07, 2017

IAS Examination is one of the most popular and important examinations. A very large number of candidates from various backgrounds appear for the examination every year.

Due to a very difficult competition, a candidate is expected to give his best shot at all levels of the examination. UPSC conducted the IAS Preliminary exam on 7 August 2016.

IAS exam 2016 is to be conducted from December 3 – 9, 2016. Those who are giving IAS exam must be aware how to give answers in the exam.

There are descriptive types of questions in the civil service mains exam. It focuses on testing the candidate on various levels and it is just not enough to know all the facts and information for each question.  In the exam, what matters is how that how a candidate is able to understand and attempt the questions in a given time frame.

Many candidates get confused while reading questions and as a result their answers do not match the questions’ requirements. This article is all about how to solve the mains paper without any difficulty. Many important points are jotted down in this article regarding the importance of time and how to solve the questions.

Read More:IAS Mains Exam Pattern

How to Write Impactful Answers for IAS Mains?

When the candidate has cleared the preliminary stage after that the most difficult one is the IAS Mains stage which requires a lot of hard work, determination and an effective preparation strategy. Descriptive essay type questions need excellent knowledge of the subject.

The most important thing in the exam is to read the questions carefully and within a time limit. The candidates should solve the questions they are sure and confident about. Then they should understand what it demands and how can they frame their answers in a precise and logical manner.

Apart from this, it is very important for the candidates to know the pattern of answering the questions asked in UPSC mains. The questions will clearly state the candidate to discuss, explain, critically examine, evaluate and examine and he/she should be careful in seeing the phrases used in the question and must answer accordingly to various questions.

The perspective of all the questions differs from each other and facts remain the same but the presentation differs. Candidates must know how to write the answer for each of the question. This article explains the meaning and application of some of the terms that appear repeatedly in questions of IAS mains exam and how to write impactful answers for the same. They are as follows:


This means that the candidate must explain the answers in accordance to what, why, where, how etc. The candidate has to present all important points with justification and explanation. This term requires the candidate to give detailed explanations of the facts in a precise and appropriate format.

Critically Examine

If the candidate finds that the words are critically examined anywhere in questions then he/she has to look at the positive and negative aspects of the given topic to present sound judgment.

Elucidate/ Illustrate

This part of the questions requires the candidates to make their content enriching and knowledgeable by giving possible examples of each kind. He/she must clear the point by giving intelligent examples for uplifting content-matter and making the answers attractive for the invigilator.


This phrase simply means to write the definition of a particular content. A bit of memory helps here for the definitions to be correct and appropriate. All possible keywords and phrases which a candidate knows are essential parts of that particular definition


The candidate has to present all necessary points and details. He/she needs to give explanation in a step vise manner for each point. He/she should not give any type of unnecessary/ irrelevant information in the particular answers otherwise that information will be considered invalid


The candidate has to check the validity of the statement on the basis of evidences; data etc and at the end has to give sound judgment. The candidate should check for any grammatical mistake as well.

Opinion / Comment / Views

Whenever an opinion is asked in any question, it should be full of optimism and positivity. The answer should be full of determination and enthusiasm. Give constructive opinions with optimistic, future oriented and progressive ideas. The candidates should put their points and explain how their opinions should be largely acceptable.

Critically Assess

The topic under observation should be analyzed and judged in a detailed and appropriate manner. The candidate has to give his/her comments and opinions clearly.


This phrase asks the candidate to argue in favor of the theme discussed and write favorable comments and opinions as far as possible. In a way, the candidate has to prove the validity of the statement.


It refers to elaborating the statement concerning the questions. In this section the candidate has to write or express himself in a detailed manner. He/ she should add necessary details as well as examples to make your answer appropriate and attractive.

Highlight the Salient Features

In this case, the candidate has to write the most important point related to each topic of the question. He/she can also support answers with the help of examples. The sole purpose is to highlight the necessary points with headlines and explain them in detail. The important points should be highlighted in an appropriate manner.


This phrase indicates to write the differences and not similarities. One can write similarities as well as differences if asked to Compare and Contrast. The contrast should be shown in a informative manner and not roughly.



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