Methodology for improving Answer Writing Skill

  • by Mayuri Khanna

Every student while preparing for IAS Mains concentrate on improving Answer writing skill by either practicing previous year questions, sample questions available through different sources but usually they come to get feedback such as:

• Improve articulation of the answer
• Place examples to justify the point, etc.
• Enrich the answer

So what does that depict…what is the correct methodology for developing the answer…

a) Develop right perspective:

The content of the answer solely do not determine the marks. Many a time a student have better knowledge with respect to others but fail to get good marks. Here the role of right perspective comes. The questions in the mains paper are not direct. They check the analytical skill, perspective of the candidate. Right perspective depicts seeing the question in right framework, right dimensions.

For example:

Ques: The quality of higher education in India requires major improvements to make it internationally competitive. Do you think that the entry of foreign educational institutions would help improve the quality of higher and technical education in the country? Discuss.

The question is related to challenges in higher education, but while writing an answer student has to depict right perspective i.e. those challenges should be placed in the answers which are related to dismal rankings of the institute. How entry of foreign education institutes would help in improving the quality. In this both the pros and cons of that should be discussed.

Many a times candidate answer the complete question based on one dimension and failed to anlayse the correct perspective asked in that.

b) Articulation:

The flow of the answer should be proper i.e. there should be connection while moving from one point to other, with proper introduction and conclusion.

For example:

The answer should clearly depict the division of:

Introduction: In GS question it should be of maximum 2 lines as increasing its length may reduce the main body content due to strict word limit guideline. The introduction may be inform of definition, fact, etc.

Main Body: Thus should depict the different dimensions asked in the question. If the answer is related to Pros and cons or similar to that, it should be written in point format. This will increase the visibility of different dimensions covered and candidate will be able to stick to word limit.
In the answer related to critical analysis paragraphs should be placed under each dimension with proper justification.

Conclusion: It should depict the crux of the answer as well as the way forward.

c) Place examples:

Concrete examples should be placed to justify the point. The examples should be based on some case study, governance, etc. A student should avoid writing examples that are related to some religion, caste or culture.

d) Enrich the answer:

As the questions are quite analytical in nature, the answer should incorporate multi-dimensions. Placing different dimensions requires proper understanding of the question as well as good active reading skill through which a student may be able to jot down good points from the article, report and place that at Right time at Right place.

Hereby discussing different sources which can help a student in enriching the answer:

• NITI Aayog Reports: The reports are available on different topics as health, nutrition, manufacturing industry, agriculture. The report discusses the issues related to different sectors but the recommendations are relevant and can be placed directly in the answers.

• PRS reports: There are few latest PRS reports on agriculture, police reforms as well as some standing committee reports on defence. The reports compile the issues alongwith concrete examples and recommendations. In few reports it provides summary of different committees formed in that sector earlier (as in case of police reforms).

• PIB: The reference material provided in the website can help in enriching the answer under the “Features” and “Backgrounder” column.

• Monthly magazines: The monthly magazines such as Yojana, Kurukshetra, Outlook, etc may provide better analysis of the particular topic. However, a candidate should be able to look out for chapters useful for Civil Services rather than reading complete magazine.

Hope this article will prove to be helpful for the aspirants in improving their answer writing skill.