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IAS Mains Exam Tips !

How to Write Answers (IAS MAINS ) ?
The civil services main exam consists of descriptive type of questions. It focusses on testing the candidate on various levels. The time limit for the essay paper is 3 hrs without a word limit, but for the optional paper, there are questions with specific word limit like 250 words in optional subjects and 250 words, 150 words and 20 words in general studies. The candidate then has to prepare himself to answer all types of questions. The most important thing to be kept in mind is the time constraint. Therefore it becomes necessary to answer these questions quickly and effectively and in minimum words.
One common doubt that students have is with regard to the style of answering questions, whether to adopt the paragraph or the point style of answering questions. Though there is no set rule, it is wise to adopt a style depending on the question asked. If the question says to discuss, analyse or critically examine, it would be better to answer the question the paragraph format. On the other hand, if the question asks you to list the advantages or give reasons for/ against etc., it is better to go in for the point format of answering.

For this it is very important to understand the question first. Depending on what the question is, whether one is asked to "discuss", "elucidate", "explain","critically Appreciate" or "give reasons for and against", the answer should be written Accordingly because it is only through the examinee's style of answering questions that one can assess his or her originality of thought and analytical abilities. The question should be read properly, in fact the question paper should be read thoroughly in the first five or ten minutes of the exam and then one should decide on the questions which are to be answered first. Time should also be given to frame
the answer so that there is no confusion
later on.
A good way to write effective and precise answers is to pracise writing out
answers. our answers should present the facts and concepts in an interesting way and should never read like a passage from a book. It is best to use simple English and avoid flowy and decorative langauage wich takes our attention away from the original facts and our opinions about a given topic. Making a practice of writing out answers is especially useful in managing the time limit set for the exam and to write the best possible answer in the allotted time It not only improves one's style of expression, but also one gets used to the time and word limits.

It is just not enough to know all the facts and information but the most important thing to be kept in mind is to write an answer which has a clear and a logical frame, which presents information in a clear and concise manner, which does not contain any irrelevant or piling up of information, which is interesting and able to hold one's attention.
So the next logical step is to know how to write a good answer. The first step is to prepare the framework where one can list all ideas, thoughts and facts and write them down. It is important to adopt an answering style which is natural, original and to the point. Emphasis should be given to the kind of language used, one which is simple and clear without unnecessary use of nouns and verbs. Use of archaic and fancy words or language should be avoided at all costs. Care should be taken to avoid grammatical mistakes which will give a negative opinion however good the answer may be. Last but not the least, it is very important to have a good and a legible handwriting.

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