While writing UPSC mains Answers what should be the ratio in which various parts of the answer may be divided?

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  • While writing UPSC mains Answers what should be the ratio in which various parts of the answer may be divided?

● Follow an organic approach – don’t predetermine the approach while entering the exam hall
● Think for few seconds, structure your answer in your mind and then proceed
● Always keep a tab on time while writing and stick to time and word limit
Answer writing for Civil Services Mains is a creative skill hence there is no standard template which ideally an aspirant should follow. In recent times the word limit is around 200 per question where in an entire paper, one is expected to write 4000 words. Its a challenge to write quality answer in a stipulated time 8–9 minutes that too within word limit.
There are still few points which needs attention :
Be specific : Be direct in your approach where sticking to the core of the question in a brief and precise manner should be the intention of the candidate.
Introduction is must: Even if it is one line, make sure you start the answer with introduction. Ideally 10% of the word limit can be utilized for introducing the answer. Intro sets the base of the answer and it should start making sense in reference to the question from the first word itself.
Body: It should cover the question in terms of all the dimensions. Anything upto 80% of the word limit should be utilized for this. Here it can be in paragraph mode, points form with diagrams and flow chart.
Always remember picture is worth thousand words, hence flowchart and diagram can actually push up one’s score especially if there is a word limit with limited time.
Conclusion : Again it should not breach 10% of the word limit. But content of the conclusion is important, it should be balanced with optimistic, positive and problem solving approach. It reflects one’s personality in terms of issues, a good administrator is one who has sagacity, foresight, optimism with emphatic and humanistic approach.
Other points to remember :
● Structure of the answer should be smooth with interlinkages and flow.
● Use simple and lucid language while explaining concepts
● Read the question properly and process in your mind ‘what exactly question is looking for’
● Practice answer writing a lot before exams – can devote 30 minutes daily on an average-500 words
● Underline important keywords if possible
● Use examples from contemporary trends
Always remember after a certain level its more about presentation and less about content.

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