(Getting Started) How To Complete Lengthy UPSC Mains Papers In 3 Hours

(Getting Started) How To Complete Lengthy UPSC Mains Papers In 3 Hours

Top 5 Answer Writing Tips for UPSC Civil Service Mains

UPSC Civil Services is one of the toughest competitive examinations in the country, perhaps even the world, but with good reasons. The upsc preliminary examination itself is considered tough enough, but the upsc main examination; which comprises of 9 conventional written papers, is even harder to get through. IAS aspirants work for years developing their knowledge base and improving their writing skills to score above the cut-off. However, knowledge and writing skills cannot help you score enough if you are not able to complete answering all questions. 

So here are the top 4 tips to help you complete your mains papers within the allotted 3 hours.

4 Tips To Finish Your UPSC Mains Papers On-Time 

  1. Don’t Just Start Writing From The First Question Itself

Each mains paper is a good mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. Not all of them need to be answered. Usually, candidates are expected to answer 1 or 2 mandatory questions, and they have the option of choosing which ones to answer from the ones left. Take 5-7 minutes at the very beginning of the examination to choose the questions you have the most knowledge about. Start with writing the questions that come most easily to you. This way, when you finish those questions before time, you are left with more time to answer the ones you are less comfortable writing. In the rush to answer, do not start writing tough questions only to miss out on the easy ones.

  1. Don’t Try To Switch Between Multiple Pens And Pencil

A lot of aspirants believe using multiple colors on the paper will have the examiner more attracted to and invested in your answer. And though this may be partially true, it is ultimately the information you put down on the paper that matters. In your rush to use different inks, and draw neat diagrams and maps in pencil, do not miss out on answering questions that can fetch you 10-12 more marks. Be wise. Write neat answers and underline or indent the information to highlight them. Draw rough maps and diagrams with a pen. As long as your facts are accurate, and you have met the demand of the question, you will score well.

Why do aspirants prefer Pilot V5 pens for the UPSC CSE Mains, though it is  not water-resistant? - Quora

You only need one pen

  1. Use A Good Quality Pen

Imagine the stress if your pen stops working in the middle of such an important examination. Even if you do not lose more than a few seconds in picking up another pen, the distraction and stress alone can affect your abilities. Use a good quality pen to avoid stress. It doesn’t have to be very expensive. A regular ball-point with a wide nib should give a smooth writing experience and even help your writing speed.

  1. The Watch Is Your Friend

Keep tracking the time. The goal is to answer 20 questions in 180 minutes. 10 of these are shorter ones and 10 are longer. Allot 6-7 minutes to the 10 markers and 8-10 minutes to the 15 markers. You should absolutely spend no more than 10 minutes on a single question. Keep an eye on the watch as you start and keep checking it every few sentences to ensure you are on track. As long as you don’t slow your pace, you should be able to finish the paper with at least a few minutes to spare.

Practice Makes You Perfect

All of these tips will not be applicable overnight. As you write more answers over the months preceding your mains examination, time yourself, and keep revising, you will find yourself falling into this pattern. Practice will ensure you finish your mains papers on time, so do not stop writing answers. Remember, your mains score is the ultimate deciding factor as to where on the final list your name sits. 

Give it your best and you’ll achieve your dream.




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