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UPSC CSE 2018 mains Pointers for answer writing Roman Saini
Story I love eating Indian junk food. Be it Samosa, Kachori, sweets, Pani Puri etc. But if I have to go catch a fish, I will need to use fish food, insects, worms or a smaller fish as a bait. I can not put a Kaju Katli in the hook and expect the fish to eat it. So if I need to catch a fish, it is not about what I like / want, it is always about the needs of the fish. This is the most important principle when it comes to writing an awesome answer.
Golden Principle Write an answer which the examiner wants, expects, will enjoy reading, which makes his eyes lit up, put a smile on his face and in turn will make him give you the highest marks possible.
Few tips (especially for competitive exams): 1. Always write what the question ask (and not what you know). 2. Answer all the questions (do not leave any mandatory question) 3. Try to minimise the headache of the examiner as much as possible. They are severely underpaid, have huge work load and in general, do not like their jobs.
1. Write brief, succinct, to the point answer. 2. Try not to exceed word limits (beware especially if you know the topic too well). 3. Write in bullet points (except if you are writing an essay). 4. Draw flow charts, diagrams, pie charts, triangle, stars, any shape and label them (even if they do not exist in textbooks, create them out of your imagination) 5. Highlight key words. Do not highlight words which you are not sure about, otherwise your respect in the eyes of examiner will go away (and so will your marks in the final result).
i. Do not overwrite. Just cut and write again. i. Be expressive. Invest emotionally in an answer and make examiner "feel your knowledge" ii. Try to write a solid conclusion as to what you would do /which side do you support. iv. Leave spaces between 2 rows. Draw a line to separate one answer from the another. v. Use a high-quality pen (Pilot V5) to write answers. Nobody likes smudged ink. vi. Keep the copy as neat as possible.
If you do not know the answer and you still need to answer it (point 2), do it at the end (if possible). If the answer space is pre-fixed, still do it at the end, so that it does not destroy your mental peace and you can focus on those answers first which you know really well.
Since point 2 says that you can not leave any question, answer the dicey one at the last. Write confusing, ambiguous words which does not convey a straightforward meaning. For ex: If you do not know whether Insulin decreases or increases Glucose, you can use the word "change". If your previous answers are excellent, odds are examiner will give you the benefit of the doubt.