[Tips] Nine Types of Questions in UPSC Mains Exam: How to write answers?

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Mrunal's Economy Course

This article was originally written by Sivaharimani on ioforum way back in 2007.

  1. 9 types of Questions in Mains Exam
  2. Break the Question in 3 parts
  3. 7 steps answer writing

9 types of Questions in Mains Exam

In UPSC Civil service Mains exam, by and large you’ll face these nine types of descriptive questions:

Question is instructing you to What should you do?
Discuss Give both the positive and negative points(prelution and conclusion are must)
Describe focuss should be only on that particular subject matter(for ex: e-governance only)(prelution is must but conclusion is your optional)
Explain the answer should be based on answering in detail Why, How, for what, of that subject of the question.ie., we have to give all the important points.(prelution and conclusion are must)
Distinguish answer should be based on How the suject of question differs from otherthings.(only prelution is must)
Differentiate there should be detailed comparision and distinguishing(as said above) the subject of question with others.(only prelution is must)
Examine the answer should consist of the how good, what disadvantages, what impact of the subject of question.
Enumerate first list out the all the relevant points, then explain one by one.(prelution and conclusion are must)
Reason Find out what is the correct reason for the subject and explain one by one without side heading but highlighting the point with dots or numbers.(only prelution)
Analyse try to give your view with future impact and goods and bads.(both prelution and conclusion are must)

Break the Question in 3 parts

First step is break the question into its configuration parts.
For example, consider this question asked in General Studies (Mains) exam of 2004
“Discuss the e-governance in Indian context”
Let’s start the process of breaking this question.

  1. Focus on  topic on e-governance (subject of question)
  2. How to do in the cotext of india(base of question)
  3. What to do  dicussing the positive and negative points of view(tool of question)

7 steps answer writing

  1. Find out the conclusive theme, when you read the question at first.
  2. Write shortly what is meant by e-governance(should be ideal/neutral)
  3. Directly go to the discussion neutrally.
  4. Try to begin with the positive points
  5. Give a negative point only after a positive point. This shows you to the evaluator that you are on the correct way of the answering the question and understood the question perfectly.
  6. Carefully keep the word limit
  7. At the end, give a finishing touch with the positive points. Why because, the evaluator provide marks only at the end of the answer, if you do so, it will make a good impression in the minds of the evaluator. Then we will get more and plus marks.
  8. Draw a conclusion in accordance with your answer. Do not give your suggestion but give the existing fact with currant context of India. Worth noting when handling a question(what you are asked to do)
Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

58 Comments on “[Tips] Nine Types of Questions in UPSC Mains Exam: How to write answers?”

  1. sir plz get updated with how to write answers in mainsssss

  2. I am eager to learn. With due respect sir i hope you won’t take it otherwise.
    Its difficult to conceive the meaning of “analyze” after reading some other sources.The various sources that i found after googling are:
    1.http://academics.smcvt.edu/cbauer-ramazani/IEP/acad_skills/essay_questions.htm:- says application of previously learnt concept to current situation refraining from expressing opinion.
    2. oxford : Examine (something) methodically and in detail, typically in order to explain and interpret it.
    so my dilemma is:
    a) should i express personal opinion in these question.
    b) should their be future impact thing.
    c) should their be that good and bad element. if yes then what is the difference between analyse and discuss.
    d) i found in the exam paper the hindi word for analyse is vishleshan: किसी विषय के सब अंगों की इस दृष्टि से छान बीन करना कि उनका तथ्य या वास्तविक स्वरूप सामने आए। i won’t relate tathya to views.
    e) at last what would be the difference in answers if the question were :
    analyse the circumstances that led to tashkent agreement of 1966.or elaborate replaced analyse … or discuss replaced analyse…..

  3. its realy helpful info.

  4. Awesome….Very Helpful

  5. sir what is the meaning of – analyze critically analyze commen critically comment .

  6. Sir
    Can u please explain me on how to practice writing a perfect answer in civil service mains exam? I hope many of the aspirants have the same problem like me. So can you please tell me what are the steps we should follow to write a perfect answer for Indian civil service mains exam..?

  7. Thanks !! It was clear cut information .

  8. Thanks a lot mrunal sirjeeee it will help while writing mains question’s practice

  9. Sir please suggests about ras mains.

  10. Dear respected sir
    Good afternoon
    Sir ,2015 me Jo drug inspector ka exm.hua he.uski interview schedule nhi aata abhi tak . kab tak hoga sir ,
    Thanks jitendra singh

  11. How to comment on a question

  12. Introduction

  13. Please provide model answers of all these “question directives” from previous years upsc mains questions

  14. is of lot of help

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