Art of Answer Writing for UPSC
Every UPSC aspirant knows the importance of answer writing in the Civil Services Exam. Once you are through the prelims phase of CSE, you have to write 9 papers in total in the mains phase. Thus, your final score depends solely on your ability to write answers efficiently. Every student who puts a serious effort in the preparation for UPSC CSE has knowledge of the syllabus. But still, only a handful of candidates are able to write answers that would impress the examiner. Sometimes, a candidate is confident of their answer writing skills but they are not able to score as much as they expect. The problem is not in the facts they present, or in their preparation, it is the way they attempt the questions that affect the score.
If you have practised answer writing, you might have noticed that even though the statements of the questions look similar in structure, there is a focussed keyword like explain, critically analyze, comment, discuss etc. in those questions. You have to write your answer according to the keyword mentioned by the examiner. If you fail to understand the requirement of the keyword, you will not get any marks even if your answer is perfectly correct according to you. However, if you write with these factors in mind, you can easily score beyond your expectations.
IAS ke Funde, you ever ready partner for UPSC goals, brings you the solution to this major problem. So, let’s dive in and discuss the keywords which confuse the candidates the most and turn things in your favour to get the maximum result of your efforts.
Define vs Describe
The most commonly used keyword in the questions framed by UPSC is ‘Define’. This means that you have to simply write a definition according to the given statement. However, writing a to-the-point definition is not enough. You can expand your answer by explaining the keywords present in your writing. For example, if you are defining pollution, you can carry on further by defining the greenhouse effect, concepts like flyash, acid rain etc. But do not dive deep into the concept and write any critical statements. Write the answer in the most simplistic way possible.
To ‘Describe’ a statement, on the other hand, you’ll mention each and every detail linked to the given subject. When describing make sure you not randomly stating facts. You should follow a suitable progression to add some sense to the article. Like for Historical events, you should write the events in proper Chronological order.
Evaluate vs Critically Evaluate
When you are asked to ‘Evaluate’ a statement, you have to describe it in detail. Start by writing an introduction and then move to the details, discussing the pros and cons of the topic. The same goes for the questions ending with ‘Examine’ or ‘Assess’. You can take a hint of this style of writing from journalism. Professional writers always evaluate the topic they are writing informative articles. They consider each and every aspect of the facts.
When you are ‘Critically Evaluating’ the subject you have to give a concrete judgement in the conclusion. You need to interrelate the nature of the positive and negatives and, justify your statement with facts.
Comment vs Critically Comment
The statements given to candidates to ‘Comment’ on are usually some famous quotes by important personalities. When asked, you have to give an analysis you the given statement, but in an assertive way. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with the statement, but the tone of the answer should be optimistic. Instead of Comment, the examiner might use keywords like give Opinion or Views. The core of the text remains the same in both cases.
When asked to ‘Critically Comment’, just like ‘Critically Evaluate’, you have to give a fair judgement in the end and support your views with unbiased opinions.
Exemplify vs Illustrate
Failing to differentiate between exemplify and illustrate is the most common for candidates. But in reality, there is a small difference between both the terms. ‘Exemplify’ means you have to explain your thoughts with the help of an example. Use any real-life event and give your opinion while giving the details of the example you’ve picked. It is like writing a case study.
However, when we ‘Illustrate’ the statement, it is done with the help of graphs and charts to represent the example we are using. We can not simply explain an example when asked to ‘illustrate’. Proper depiction through diagrams and graphs is essential.
So these were some of the most common keywords used by UPSC to confuse the candidates. Hope we were helpful in clarifying the method of attempting these questions. Practice with these tips in mind and improve your chances of getting high scores in the mains tier of UPSC CSE.
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