How do you write mains answers? Nitty-gritties of answer writing. - ForumIAS

How do you write mains answers? Nitty-gritties of answer writing.

Other than sources, note making etc., I think, we also need to discuss and think about how to write answers given the time and space constraints. Different approaches work for different people, let us share ours so that we can learn from each other. These are some of the queries that I have in my mind:

1. Do you take some time to think about the question after you read it? Or do you directly start writing?

2. Do you generate points just after reading the question or do you think about them after finishing the intro?

3. How do you generate points? Do ideas just pop up in your head? Or do you use approaches such as PESTEL, thinking about stakeholders etc.? 


Also, feel free to post about specific issues that you are having while writing, hopefully we can help each other out. 

Naadan_Parinda,June_Osborneand9 otherslike this
2.3k views

11 comments

I have very less experience in mains answer writing. But here are some of the learnings from whatever little answer writing I've done:

1. After reading question, I try to figure out why this question must have been asked, and then make an overall structure of the answer (what Dipin sir say as QI).

2. In the introduction part, I've different approaches in different subjects. Eg, In History, I write the background in which the particular event was taking place. In Polity, I write the purpose behind the provision in the constitution and whether it is a part of original constitution or a later development by parliament or judiciary. Likewise in IR, I try to write the overall big picture related to the topic. etc. However, this is not necessarily the way I address every question.

3. In body part, I try to make the answer very simple, easy to read and having some structure. My effort is to convey the examiner the way I understand the issue or topic. I try to avoid bombarding the answer with many points. According to me, it irritates the examiner. I want to engage the copy checker instead. To add many points in the answer I draw a flowchart and diagram instead.

4. Conclusion part should link present status with the futuristic one. A kind of way forward. And it should be linked to the content I've written in the body part ie, there should be a natural flow in the answer.

I have problem in writing Ethics answers and Essays. Probably because I've devoted least time to both. How do you approach these papers?

Neyawn,SAand6 otherslike this
1.7k views

With the limited knowledge that I have with respect to answer writing, I would like to address these questions :

1. While reading question, I make sure I am reading it with all the concentration, I highlight the important keywords along the way and finally after completion have a closer look at the underlined to get an idea of where to attack on question. These sometimes become my subheading too. 

2. I prefer more of a natural flow in exam. So I see question, I think of a relevant intro - which is more often a fact, a background story or some simpler defination and then according to the highlighted thing, have a subtopic and write points as they come. But there is an issue which is prioritisation, sometimes I loose priority and sub-classification. 

3. That's more of a questions I would like to ask all of you as well, If like there are 5 points , I don't see any requirement or sense of dividing them under PESTEL heading, I mean it won't really look good to have a point under each heading. I have seen many topper copies as well, I have never seen these PESTEL sub-classifications or any other thing 

So if you guys could suggest with some example from own copy I would really like to see. 


SA,Titaniumand3 otherslike this
1.6k views

I have very less experience in mains answer writing. But here are some of the learnings from whatever little answer writing I've done:

1. After reading question, I try to figure out why this question must have been asked, and then make an overall structure of the answer (what Dipin sir say as QI).

2. In the introduction part, I've different approaches in different subjects. Eg, In History, I write the background in which the particular event was taking place. In Polity, I write the purpose behind the provision in the constitution and whether it is a part of original constitution or a later development by parliament or judiciary. Likewise in IR, I try to write the overall big picture related to the topic. etc. However, this is not necessarily the way I address every question.

3. In body part, I try to make the answer very simple, easy to read and having some structure. My effort is to convey the examiner the way I understand the issue or topic. I try to avoid bombarding the answer with many points. According to me, it irritates the examiner. I want to engage the copy checker instead. To add many points in the answer I draw a flowchart and diagram instead.

4. Conclusion part should link present status with the futuristic one. A kind of way forward. And it should be linked to the content I've written in the body part ie, there should be a natural flow in the answer.

I have problem in writing Ethics answers and Essays. Probably because I've devoted least time to both. How do you approach these papers?

I agree with your third point , rather than bombarding examiner with 10 points , I would write 5 concrete points. That's what I am trying to incorporate in my notes now, not have too many points on something but 5-6 points but concrete which add value to answer. 

P.S - Really want people's approach to ethics and essay. I am just too bad at them.

THE_MECHANIC,Brave
1.6k views
Deleted
.
THE_MECHANIC,
1.6k views

With the limited knowledge that I have with respect to answer writing, I would like to address these questions :

1. While reading question, I make sure I am reading it with all the concentration, I highlight the important keywords along the way and finally after completion have a closer look at the underlined to get an idea of where to attack on question. These sometimes become my subheading too. 

2. I prefer more of a natural flow in exam. So I see question, I think of a relevant intro - which is more often a fact, a background story or some simpler defination and then according to the highlighted thing, have a subtopic and write points as they come. But there is an issue which is prioritisation, sometimes I loose priority and sub-classification. 

3. That's more of a questions I would like to ask all of you as well, If like there are 5 points , I don't see any requirement or sense of dividing them under PESTEL heading, I mean it won't really look good to have a point under each heading. I have seen many topper copies as well, I have never seen these PESTEL sub-classifications or any other thing 

So if you guys could suggest with some example from own copy I would really like to see. 


U don't hv to use PESTEL format in every answer... 

Do it only if the question demands... Else stick to the question... That's what I've observed.. The people who score amazing are the ones who wrote to the point... 

It also saves time 

Neyawn,SAand3 otherslike this
1.6k views

I have very less experience in mains answer writing. But here are some of the learnings from whatever little answer writing I've done:

1. After reading question, I try to figure out why this question must have been asked, and then make an overall structure of the answer (what Dipin sir say as QI).

2. In the introduction part, I've different approaches in different subjects. Eg, In History, I write the background in which the particular event was taking place. In Polity, I write the purpose behind the provision in the constitution and whether it is a part of original constitution or a later development by parliament or judiciary. Likewise in IR, I try to write the overall big picture related to the topic. etc. However, this is not necessarily the way I address every question.

3. In body part, I try to make the answer very simple, easy to read and having some structure. My effort is to convey the examiner the way I understand the issue or topic. I try to avoid bombarding the answer with many points. According to me, it irritates the examiner. I want to engage the copy checker instead. To add many points in the answer I draw a flowchart and diagram instead.

4. Conclusion part should link present status with the futuristic one. A kind of way forward. And it should be linked to the content I've written in the body part ie, there should be a natural flow in the answer.

I have problem in writing Ethics answers and Essays. Probably because I've devoted least time to both. How do you approach these papers?

1. Please elaborate about Dipin sir's QI part.

2. I am also trying to adopt a similar approach. In polity, I start with consitution's article or legal provisions. In economy, I define terms and give some data. In IR, I try to use history (e.g. on a question about Bangladesh I would mention partition and 1971 war). One problem I am noticing is that I don't mention current events in intro much. I mostly end up relying on definition or data. 

3. I try to have at least 4-5 points under each subheading. These days I am focusing more on substantiation with data or examples. I am also trying to convey the idea using keywords more e.g. rather than writing "lack of infrastructure" somewhere and "we do not have adequate infrastructure" elsewhere, just writing "infrastructure deficit" everywhere. But sometimes I end up taking too much time to generate enough points.   

4. In conclusion, I write way forward and then one or two line including some "acche" words e.g. SDGs/ atmanirbhara bharat, new India etc. Here, I am thinking that I need to use constitutional articles more. DPSPs and FDs can be used in almost all subjects. 


In ethics, I am facing serious time problem. Just finished a half length test in 2 hours. Here i think the main problem is I am doing too much "bol bacchan" in case studies. Need to keep them point wise and straightforward: options, what I will do (point wise, short term, long term), justification and conclusion. In theory questions, again at some places I am taking too much time in generating points. 

Naadan_Parinda,SAand2 otherslike this
1.7k views

With the limited knowledge that I have with respect to answer writing, I would like to address these questions :

1. While reading question, I make sure I am reading it with all the concentration, I highlight the important keywords along the way and finally after completion have a closer look at the underlined to get an idea of where to attack on question. These sometimes become my subheading too. 

2. I prefer more of a natural flow in exam. So I see question, I think of a relevant intro - which is more often a fact, a background story or some simpler defination and then according to the highlighted thing, have a subtopic and write points as they come. But there is an issue which is prioritisation, sometimes I loose priority and sub-classification. 

3. That's more of a questions I would like to ask all of you as well, If like there are 5 points , I don't see any requirement or sense of dividing them under PESTEL heading, I mean it won't really look good to have a point under each heading. I have seen many topper copies as well, I have never seen these PESTEL sub-classifications or any other thing 

So if you guys could suggest with some example from own copy I would really like to see. 


About the second point, I do the same thing. I too face the problem of ordering. Points don't come to mind in the order of priority. Also, sometimes i don't write about all the subparts equally. I write too much in the first one, then there is little time and space left for the other ones. That is why I was thinking maybe taking a few seconds to visualise the answer just after reading the question may help. 

Naadan_Parinda,sstarrrand1 otherslike this
1.6k views

With the limited knowledge that I have with respect to answer writing, I would like to address these questions :

1. While reading question, I make sure I am reading it with all the concentration, I highlight the important keywords along the way and finally after completion have a closer look at the underlined to get an idea of where to attack on question. These sometimes become my subheading too. 

2. I prefer more of a natural flow in exam. So I see question, I think of a relevant intro - which is more often a fact, a background story or some simpler defination and then according to the highlighted thing, have a subtopic and write points as they come. But there is an issue which is prioritisation, sometimes I loose priority and sub-classification. 

3. That's more of a questions I would like to ask all of you as well, If like there are 5 points , I don't see any requirement or sense of dividing them under PESTEL heading, I mean it won't really look good to have a point under each heading. I have seen many topper copies as well, I have never seen these PESTEL sub-classifications or any other thing 

So if you guys could suggest with some example from own copy I would really like to see. 


About the PESTEL thing, I meant it as a thinking tool to generate points, not to write points under these subheadings. 

Naadan_Parinda,sstarrrand1 otherslike this
1.6k views

sbhatisaid

I have very less experience in mains answer writing. But here are some of the learnings from whatever little answer writing I've done:

1. After reading question, I try to figure out why this question must have been asked, and then make an overall structure of the answer (what Dipin sir say as QI).

2. In the introduction part, I've different approaches in different subjects. Eg, In History, I write the background in which the particular event was taking place. In Polity, I write the purpose behind the provision in the constitution and whether it is a part of original constitution or a later development by parliament or judiciary. Likewise in IR, I try to write the overall big picture related to the topic. etc. However, this is not necessarily the way I address every question.

3. In body part, I try to make the answer very simple, easy to read and having some structure. My effort is to convey the examiner the way I understand the issue or topic. I try to avoid bombarding the answer with many points. According to me, it irritates the examiner. I want to engage the copy checker instead. To add many points in the answer I draw a flowchart and diagram instead.

4. Conclusion part should link present status with the futuristic one. A kind of way forward. And it should be linked to the content I've written in the body part ie, there should be a natural flow in the answer.

I have problem in writing Ethics answers and Essays. Probably because I've devoted least time to both. How do you approach these papers?

1. Please elaborate about Dipin sir's QI part.

2. I am also trying to adopt a similar approach. In polity, I start with consitution's article or legal provisions. In economy, I define terms and give some data. In IR, I try to use history (e.g. on a question about Bangladesh I would mention partition and 1971 war). One problem I am noticing is that I don't mention current events in intro much. I mostly end up relying on definition or data. 

3. I try to have at least 4-5 points under each subheading. These days I am focusing more on substantiation with data or examples. I am also trying to convey the idea using keywords more e.g. rather than writing "lack of infrastructure" somewhere and "we do not have adequate infrastructure" elsewhere, just writing "infrastructure deficit" everywhere. But sometimes I end up taking too much time to generate enough points.   

4. In conclusion, I write way forward and then one or two line including some "acche" words e.g. SDGs/ atmanirbhara bharat, new India etc. Here, I am thinking that I need to use constitutional articles more. DPSPs and FDs can be used in almost all subjects. 


In ethics, I am facing serious time problem. Just finished a half length test in 2 hours. Here i think the main problem is I am doing too much "bol bacchan" in case studies. Need to keep them point wise and straightforward: options, what I will do (point wise, short term, long term), justification and conclusion. In theory questions, again at some places I am taking too much time in generating points. 

QI= Question Interpretation. He usually starts his model answers with some broader structure and pointers.

Like your approach to ethics questions. Keeping it crisp is key to save time.

sbhati,Brave
1.3k views

Sharing something shared by someone on Whatsapp with me

Naadan_Parinda,ssver2and12 otherslike this
1.3k views

Made this to help myself keep on track (which is turning out to be hard). Might be useful to others too. 



Naadan_Parinda,D503and6 otherslike this
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