Practical Tips For UPSC Civil Service Aspirants To Improve Their Answer Writing Skills

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On better answer writing in the exam.

The new pattern, which has been introduced from this year by the UPSC for civil service examinations, has six papers – Four General Studies, One Essay and One optional paper. They altogether carry a total of 1750 Marks.

Add to this 275 Marks allotted for the Personality Test. So, a total of  2025 Marks will decide the fate of a candidate whether he would be in the Final List or not.

Improving writing skills will drastically change the fortunes of a candidate for the good in this exam. Good writing not only helps in Mains, but will also enable him to form opinions on various issues which would help him during the Personality Test.

UPSC doesn’t expect a candidate to acquire extraordinary writing skills in English; It just wants candidates who are able to communicate their knowledge in a simple way so that everybody  understands the message clearly.

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One doesn’t require vast vocabulary, or ornamental style to write answers – marks are allotted to the answer which is clear, simple and straightforward.

If you go through NCERT books, you will understand why these books are popular – they explain concepts in a very simple manner using less difficult words.

Here are some tips to improve your writing skills:

  • Shoot A Letter To The Editor Of The Hindu – Every Day. Even on Sunday!

Yes. Reading The Hindu is just not enough. After reading an opinion piece or an editorial, form an opinion of your own. Write it in 100 words. Don’t hesitate, just mail it to this id: [email protected]

The next day when you don’t see your letter published, don’t lose heart. Shoot another mail. One day it will appear neatly edited with your proud name below.

This process will help you in forming a strong opinion on an issue, it will give you the confidence, and it will also help improve your English – when standards demanded are high, you are ought to raise your own bar. The thing is – just don’t give up.

  • Solve previous year questions

Take up a question bank and start answering every question. Stick to the word limit. For model answers, instead of looking at a guide, refer NCERT text books. Their explanation of concepts is simple and clear.

Before entering the examination hall, you must have solved at least 10 years questions. This practice helps in time management and improves answer writing ability.

  • Start a blog. At WordPress! It is awesome here.

Writing on your own terms helps a lot. When you start a blog, you are the editor and the publisher. If the Hindu rejects your letter, you can put the same on your blog. If the content is good, readers will read your blog and leave back valuable comments.

These days laptops are cheap, so buy Buy a laptop or a netbook and blog your views to the world.

IAS aspirants must be careful here. If you are starting a blog then stick to issues which would help you in the examination. Later when you crack the exam, you can diversify your posts. You can guide future aspirants too!

  • Read a lot. Especially good stuff.

You can’t write well if you don’t read well. Read The Hindu, The Economist, Frontline and Business Standard.

Or serious literature when you get bored by reading India’s Struggle for Independence or Laxmikant.

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source: businessinsider.com

Though the vocabulary doesn’t matter much in increasing your score in the mains, it does help in thinking fast. We think by connecting words. If we know more words, the more we will be able to connect our thoughts and think better and faster.

I suggest the book by Norman Lewis – Word Power made Easy which is very good if one reads it completely and solves all the exercises in it.

  • Own a good dictionary.

Hands down, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is the best choice for any serious reader and writer to have it with them all the time. This dictionary is said to be ‘the biggest English language dictionary’ and is so cheap! Grab it.

  • Finally, visit good blogs, or news sites and comment on important articles.

Try BBC, New York Times or The Hindu sites.

I am sure most of you knew these tips and are already good in English. I am still hopeful these tips are useful to many.

Mains exam demands speed, clarity of thought and consistency. These can be acquired only through writing practice.

Below, in the comment box, you can add your own tips. Any informed discussion is welcome.

Related Posts:

On better answer writing in the exam.

How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper-II (General Studies-1) Of New Syllabus

Reference Books For UPSC Civil Services Mains 2013 (New Pattern Syllabus)

UPSC Civil Services Examination New Pattern For Mains – Syllabus 2013

For Specific Info on GS answering (old pattern) From IAS Topper: Clcik Here

  • Super sir ! Very interesting suggestions for an aspirant to pick from 🙂

    Cheers, Vinay Nagaraju +91 95359 97249

    Sorry for the brevity, sent from my phone.

    • Thanks you Vinay. I hope these tips really do help people. 🙂

      Your blog is awesome for motivation stuff!

      • I’m sure it’ll vinay .. It’s quite a set of very practical suggestions.

        Thanks vinay, you’re far too kind 🙂

  • Asha Goud

    These tips are very helpful, i would start with writing to The Hindu. 🙂
    I even thought for a moment writing a blog is a good idea, but then i thought what would i write there . For that too i will need some tips.
    I write a sentence n then i think is it correct, can i put it in some other way etc etc. I am too conscious about what i am writing. I use back space more while typing.
    i realized writing practice is very important part during mains exam.
    i could either write or think, doing both the things together was difficult and it would be difficult if I dont practice.
    When i read this article it struck me that i cannot neglect practising answer writing. I went into a flashback sort of where I had made resolutions which i had forgotten. 🙂
    Thank you, this article was well timed.

    • Asha,

      People don’t observe small mistakes like if the content or message is clear in what we write. So, don’t hesitate, keep writing. Instead of Backspace, use SpaceBar and Enter often 🙂

      If you have observed, while reading Newspaper or a magazine, a parallel thought would be running in your mind – it may be nodding in agreement or disagreement to what you are reading, try put those thoughts on paper.

      Don’t worry about how good or bad is the writing, just keep writing. If one carefully observes, I make hell lot of grammatical mistakes in all my writings – you still read and comment 🙂 You don’t even observe those mistakes as long as the message the article wants to convey is clear.

      I hope to read your letter in The Hindu soon. Don’t stop because they won’t publish; keep sending them. You know – Manu Joseph? Author of Serious Men – He was awarded the first ‘The Hindu Literary Prize’ for a best novel. For many many years, Manu Joseph sent The Hindu so many letters but none was published.

      Today He writes for The New York Times and is the editor of the Open magazine. 🙂 So, never give up!!

      • Myrtle

        Thank you for the anecdote Sir.

        • nitish kumar singh

          Thank you sir for giving me a great thoughtful technique for preparation in the mains exam

      • ASHUTOSH PANDEY

        “If you have observed, while reading Newspaper or a magazine, a parallel thought would be running in your mind – it may be nodding in agreement or disagreement to what you are reading, try put those thoughts on paper.”
        most valuable suggestion

      • ritika

        I am not very good when it comes to writing. Same is the problem with me, i use backspace more while typing and this is something which decreases one’s confidence a lot.So your suggestions i must say have been very useful to me.Thanks sir 🙂

      • From Chandigarh

        Thanks you so much for giving us a real example and boost our confidence ,, 🙂

  • Asha Goud

    Sure, Thank you 🙂

  • gargi shee

    Sir, your tips are very helpful.thank you for inspiring us. I have a query about history optional paper. Is it a scoring subject? Please suggest some good books for European history. Can i appear in main exam with English medium and interview with my mother tongue?

    • Gargi Shee,

      Sorry for the late reply.

      Thanks. Yes History is scoring and is one of the top 5 optionals. 🙂 In the past, for European history, a world history book by Krishna Reddy was referred much. these days it is not available. Buy Arjun Dev + Norman Lowe. Both are good books. 🙂

      Yes you can give interview in your mother-tongue – even after writing mains in English.

      • gargi shee

        Thank you sir.

  • Kirthi

    Sir,
    Should I practice writing answers on a daily basis? As in fix a time limit and practice, or for now, will it suffice If I do online answer writing for now,because some much is there to study that I hardly feel anything concrete in my prep is done..

    • Kirthi,

      You should daily write at least two answers (400-500 words). This would make you very confident. Write on what you have studied. If you want to answer questions put on this blog, don’t research too much – ideally spend only 2 hours on them. Once you write an answer, you will remember it even after the exam. That’s the benefit.

      • Kirthi

        Thanks a lot sir.

  • gargi shee

    Sir, in a planner I find that there are some old ncert books and new ncert books. where would i get these old ncert books?

    • If you are in Delhi, in Muhkherjee Nagar you will get photo copies of all old NCERT texts.

      • gargi shee

        sir, I dont live in Delhi. I am from kolkata. do you know any place in kolkata or any web link where I can get my needs?

        • Sorry Gragi, have no idea about Kolkatta. If I find soft copies, I will forward you. But right now, you can study new NCERT texts. I don’t think you need old ones badly.

          • gargi shee

            Thank you sir for your suggestion.

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  • totallyRed

    Hello Sir,
    The above approaches are mostly related to improving the answer writing skill through practice. I know practice is the most important element in building any skill, but still if you could provide some tips apart from the practice e.g. tips to make answer understandable and writing it in a logical flow etc.. It would be very much helpful.
    Thanks!

    • lls

      yes, I agree. Admin are u listening?

      • IIs,

        Thanks for reminding me. Yes I am listening. In 2 days I am posting an article on answer writing skills. 🙂

  • Rashmi

    Sir
    I wanted to know one thing regarding interview. If I select Hindi as the medium of my interview, can I use English words frequently during the talk. Why I am saying this, is because most of the things we read, think and write in English and while talking in mother tongue (in my case Hindi in which I am more comfortable), we are bound to use many English words and even sentences. So, will it have bad impact on interviewer if I use English words or sentences (sometimes) during the interview and to what extent. Please enlighten as we have to fill up our DAF for the mains in few days.
    Thanks

    • Rashmi,

      In fact they will like it. They will encourage you to speak in English (with Hindi). It is an advantage for you if you fill Hindi as medium in DAF and use both Hindi and English during the interview. Ultimately, the substance in your words and how confidently and clearly you convey it to them matters.

      Board members are all good, experienced, encouraging old folks – they love genuine candidates and reward them with good marks. Do well in the mains. All the best! 🙂

      • ajay

        sir, can we do reverse of this,i mean we select english for interview but speak some words or sentences in hindi ,what will be the impact of this,positively or negatively?

  • Vipul

    Thank you so much sir !
    It was indeed a pleasure reading your suggestions and valuable advice.

    Sir
    Firstly I have major query about the synthesis of different topics while studying on a day . for instance should I read 2-3 chapters of Lakshmikant and then switch over to some other books in a similar manner for the day or should I try to complete 1 topic completely and then move to the next one ?

    Secondly do i need to maintain notes out of various ARC Reports also or just highlighting points there itself would be better because of the large volumes they all contain together ?

    And Sir I needed your methodology for the rest for GS papers(GS-3 nd GS-4) and also about reading India Year Book !

    Waiting for your reply Sir
    Regards

  • jagan

    I found this very helf ful..thank you sir..please change this background theme preferably to white..

    • Thanks Jagan 🙂 Even I felt so. Now removed.

  • Madhu Babu

    From past 3 years i used to read so many books and never missed articles in Hindu and Indian express but never used pen to write the notes even never commented in any blog. after seeing this blog today i realized what i missed so many days. All my preparation is void without writing skills. Thanks a lot for suggesting the value of writing skills and ur suggestions to improve writing skills. May God bless you

    • Madhu Babu,

      Thank you. I am glad this article helped you. Yes, writing is very very important for this exam. Looking forward to read your answers. All the best 🙂

  • KARAN

    Sir i have history as my optional….but i am facing a bit of difficulty in world history as i am not able to find all the topics in a book…..Sir how is Jain & Mathur’s book for world history…..i have Norman Lowe but i does not have all the topics…..should i buy History of the World from the Late Nineteenth to the Early Twenty-First Century 01 Edition (Paperback) by Arjun Dev, Indira Arjun Dev or Jain and Mathur…..Kindly reply sir

  • Dinesh

    Sir
    Fabulous article.

  • sj

    Good article, everyone can implements 1 or 2 tips as suitable. Thanks insights

  • Amd

    I havent written much till date during preparation for this year mains as i was more concerned in completing the syllabus.
    Is it too late to start writing daily now for mains 2013. Kindly tell me will it help now given that less than 3 months left.

    • It is not too late. Actually it is the right time to start writing. Make a plan and write answers to at least 5 questions a day.

      • Amd

        thnx a lot for giving guidance…..really ur reply has given new energy and focus to my preparation now. Kudos to u 🙂

  • Avinash

    Sir,
    First at all thanx for giving such useful guidance and suggestions……
    I was searching for writing skill method and I always worry about How to express our own opinion in Mains and Interview.. Finally i got from your site……..
    Ofcourse sir i will start write letters of my opinion to The Hinndu sicne today and onward……… I was little bit confused with whether NCERT level language is sufficient for upsc mains or they need much more difficult….. My question is it fine as a beginner to write Question answer which is given at the end of NCERT’s every chapter……… As i m started just….. One more thing about your blog is you reply every post / query thanks for that…

  • ABHISHEK SRIVASTAVA

    sir i had started the preparation from nov 2009 and had took exam twice but cant be succeded, mean while i am selected in central bank of india as clerk and joined this since 17 july 2013, but my ultimate aim is u.p.s.c. that seems to me as impossible because every body here discouraging me by saying that how can you manage enough time to study as it is a hard exam, but THANKS to your page it pumped me to do what is my aim and i can surely do it sir……….. but what i need is only some more guidance so please show me the way………………… or tell me that is it true that i cant do it with my bank job as i am posted on a rural branch………… what i had to do……..

    thank you very much sir!

    • It is good that now you are in a job. Remember that once you get first salary, motivation for UPSC exam starts decreasing. You should not let this happen at any cost.

      Working in rural area has its advantages. If you have internet, it doesn’t matter where you work. You can prepare well from home these days.

      Don’t listen to people who say you can’t to achieve something. Just lend them ears, smile at them and silently pursue your goal. Don’t make your aim public. Visit good sites, get information and prepare well. It takes time but keep going. Don’t leave the job.

      • ABHISHEK SRIVASTAVA

        thank you very much sir! i am totally agree with your reply and i will follow your suggestions…..just i want some guidance so please suggest me some useful sites for preparation……and give me a planner for this pre exam preparation……. thank you sir…. be in touch with us…..

        • Remember these lines..”YOU are the CREATOR of your own destiny” -Swamy Vivekananda.

          You decide if you want to be a Clerk or an IAS..

          I’m also a working professional..You are atleast in India. I’m not even in India. I can’t even buy standard books..not even online..Compare yourselves with me..Don’t be discouraged with anyone..The moment you think about other’s words, you are not confident of yourselves..

          “first they ignore you then they laugh at you then they fight you then you win” – . mahatma gandhi

          Today they laugh at you..Make them your sweet enemies..use their words as weapons and reason for you to crack IAS..prove them wrong..they are sweet because indirectly they will drive you to success,..

          Ok enough of philosophy..

          Chill bro and go for it.. 🙂

  • mihir ranjan

    When good writing is inevitable for scoring good marks in UPSC main examination,aspirant like me often find it very much difficult to write effective english.I have always attributed my ineffective writting skill to my vernacular medium of schooling.I often wish i were a product of english medium.But after understanding the nature of civilservice examination which wants you to express your writing with clarity of thought and content-specific answering,i find it that you don’t need to use metaphor language or pompous words in your writing,rather exact expression,content-specific answering should be your priority.Yes,like every other aspirants who are very much worried with their standard of writing ,i was worried about improving writing skill and i wanted to build good writing skill as i was to appear for civilservice examination.But good writing skill never comes in no time since Rome was not built in a day.i am still trying improve my standard by writing such useless things in INSIGHTSONINDIA blog………..

    • You are Nirmal Singh right? If so, you wrote best answers here. In the above comment too, your English is so clear and good.

      I didn’t get the last line (sarcasm). I hope you are not blaming this site!

  • sandeep

    Sir can u plz.tell me any website for IAS stuffs as well as some study provides in hindi…

  • Lokesh

    Sir,
    Will you please tell me how to improve my vocabulary (other than using Word Power Made Easy)??

  • sonali

    I m very thankful to u sir for such valuable advices on improving English writing n communication skills….

    It wil realy help a lot to al ias aspirants jss lyk me..
    Definitely I would have al such skills within in very short span of tym after following al ur advices…:-)

  • devesh pandey

    sir , i am very thankful to you for this valuable suggestion on how to improve your writing skills .Earlier , I was in a lot of confusion did not know how to improve my writing skills.but now with your guidance i think that i will easily overcome this problem..

  • prashant

    sir, its immensely helpful to read ur articles. today only i came 2 knw abt ur blog…its really really gret explanations of upsc syllabus , thanxx a lot for this invaluable support

  • deepika

    sir i am very confused that what medium should i opt.my reading speed is good in hindi up to 12th i studied in hindi medium. but when i write in hindi english words come automatically in my mind,but in essay paper i feel i can articulate better in hindi

  • Thanks a lot sir for this article. In the beginning of the month, I tried to write few letter to The Hindu but none of them got published :(. So I stopped writing to them but today I stumbled across this article and now again filled with motivation to fill their mailbox with letters once again 🙂

  • Shweta

    Sir i am having a problem, of forming my own point of view on the topics which i read. Many times i have understood that, at the end of most of the articles, I end up agreeing to what the writer has to say….
    why is happening sir ? what to do in order to form either a negative or a positive opinion about any topic…….please help sir…

  • Is it possible to increas english during serious preparation for ias? Is it not a good way to increase english through preparing syllabus of ias?

  • Thank you verymuch sir,,It is a good.encouraging and shaping my study.Thank you for you…

  • Sir i have a problem in my essay writing..I follow your questions daily.But i spend more time to prepare these essays what i do?

  • mahesh narala

    Nice to see this blog, recently i heard about it from my friend.
    Thank you very much sir.

  • Janmjay thakker

    This website is very efficient and to the point and above all very simple to follow. Sir can you help us with how to prepare notes and from where?

  • lakshmi

    SIr,

    I am preparing to take up 2014 prelims and I lack in managing study notes,
    I seek your valuble guidance on organizing study notes and how to update them routinely,……

    Thank you

  • Saurabh Somvanshi

    Hi Sir,
    I am working in a software industry.So I get very little time to study.. hardly 5 to 6 hrs (Max) a day. On weekends I can give 10 to 12 hrs each day. Please suggest me how to improve knowledge and writing skill as well in such a short time…… Please Sir reply me..

    Thanks 🙂

  • shailendra

    very impresssive sir…every step was an experienced ethics

  • devi gayathri

    thank you sir this
    article helped me a lot

  • jose

    how should one improve handwriting…is it good having cursive hand writing

  • Hi Jose,
    Hand writing improving involves lot of things. What you are asking?? How to improve flow of writing or hand writing stuff??
    If you want to improve handwriting you need to observe how you are gripping the pen.

  • venkey

    i have written and publish on wordpress and then i don’t know where it is available to see. please help me

  • jayden swarovski marck

    Superb! Thank you very much Sir for this excellent tips for improving writing skills. This is the best tips that I had ever come across in my life. As one of the civil service aspirant I will whole heartedly follow the above tips and im sure it will really help me in improving my writing skills in civil service. Looking forward for additional info(if any) in future too.
    Once again thanks a billions.

  • Pavash

    This blog is very helpful, enlightening and encouraging for an IAS aspirant. Every aspects of the related topics are succinctly discussed here. Thank you very much for providing such an organised and detailed information at a single place (forum).

    Dear Sir
    I do have a question regarding writing skill, the most important weapon, I believe. In my case ,pursing M.sc. course from IIT kharagpur, now I realize that my writing skill needs to be improved to the optimal level. Yes, the suggestions mentioned above are lifesaver but at this early phase of my preparation (wanna appear 2014/15 CSE), should I concentrate on developing basic concepts (currently I am going through mostly NCERT books), what should be the effective strategy ?
    Thank you.
    With Regards.

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      At this point of time, your strategy should be on building a strong base. If your fundamentals are clear, next level of preparation becomes very easy. NCERT textbooks must be read 3-4 times – it helps both in grasping of concepts and fine tuning our approach to writing. Latter happens because of the simplicity with which NCERT texts are written. We too need to adopt that simplicity to make our answers look impressive.

      Later on when reading The Hindu and such standard newspapers become a habit, language skills improve further. But to complete the cycle, you must daily write something – may it be an answer to a previous year question or a small commentary of your own a particular issue. You must write something daily.

      Hope this helps.
      Keep visiting. Thank you.

      • Pavash

        Thank you very much for your suggestion, once again I would like to appreciate you and your team work for providing such a forum.

  • F.SWAPNIL

    Thank you sir for sharing such a valuable information,in this period of struggle your words and guidance helping me immensely.
    Thanks a lot.

  • rahul khirwar

    sir,
    I am in b.a. ist year now . i want to prepare for civil services . how should i start my prepration now ? and how much time i should give for it ?

  • deep

    Hi Sir,
    I found this article very informative and encouraging.
    I have been preparing from the last 1 year for this exam but did not devoted time for writing. I read a lot but always felt a void in my preperation though I was very confident about my writing skills. I thought they will come autimatically by studying. But After 1 year of prep I have realised that simultaneous writing practice is very essential with reading. I have forgot a lot of things which I studied earlier may be because I dint practice them well by writing.
    Even I went through your article 6 months back also but I dint give much importance to it. but now I am sure that without practicing only confidence will lead me to nowhere.
    All the tips are very good to improve the writing skills upto the standard. Thanks for all

  • mukesh

    Sir,
    I m quit struggler… now I m a sub inspector…. nd I m edicted to becm IPS… PLZ help me.. as possible… I want to go with zoology…. I m waiting for response n if someone reading my blog plz suggest what I wil do…..
    MUKESH KUMAR

  • ankur pandey

    Mukesh

    Congrats on your decision to go for IPS, Now dont look back and just pursue your goal sincerely; This is really a good site explore it and learn from it. For a begineer ncert are boon. Just read them 3 or 4 times until you are totally aware of the patten and events

    Thx

  • Himanshu Agarwal

    Thanks Sir.
    These tips are immensely helpful.The best thing about the website is that it provides a very practical approach thought from the point of view of every candidate. How I feel during preparation, it directly relates to the stuff posted here.

  • Reblogged this on vivekadityacs's Blog.

  • mallikarjuna

    These tips are most enough to a candidate aspiring UPSC. Because,Most of them lose,without having any writing practice,solving previous questions.

    Very well jotted.

  • Vikram Singh

    There are good tips for not only UPSC aspirant but also any type of competitive examination.

  • thanks..i waz too mch obssesd with buildng a quality vocab n neglectng other factors..i hardly write bt nw i need to to get used to..

  • Make sure u should comprehend at least ten words every day from dictionary.

  • Nishant

    Sir that will help all the upsc aspirant if they do so…but giving that much time on improving writing skills may affect their time management for civil service ….

  • i will follow ur suggestions sir and as you already mentioned above m poor in English so please give some more suggestions to improve

  • Kiran

    Thanks a lot for your help..
    I would suggest one tip, make a group of few serious candidate those how are preparing the exam and discuss a topic that you read…

  • Kiran

    Thanks a lot for your help..
    I would suggest one tip, make a group of few serious candidate those how are preparing the exam and discuss a topic that you read.

  • srk

    Hi
    I was searching for this after feeling dejected. I saw my UPSC marks and they showed that my mains papers have not been processed because i could not clear in my language papers. I thought of giving it up, but than i thought i should try till i’ve time. So friends do not take anything lightly in your life. The easy things know how to make your life difficult.

  • mayank singh

    My problem is that ..I m nt able express the thing in writing about those I read very well n at the tym of writing I feel that I m skipping smthng important so loss faith in my aanswer..plz suggest me???2 remove this remedy!!!!

  • Rajender Kumar

    These suggestions are valuable and makes sense to those aspirant who are willing to run on the Avenue of success by putting thier efforts to go into higher dimession of achievement(IAS).

  • bhupendra

    that will surely help in gaining our confidence

  • kunwar abhay singh

    Fantastic tips to enhance writing skills and develop opinion forming power.It is more important to ponder over the things than just reading the materials.

  • ROhith kumar. T.R

    Thanks 4r ur valuable suggestion sir; i’l follow the every step to do seriously and i dont give up till my name get printed in the opinion page of hindu sir

  • Gopesh

    Sir please tell me how can I got consistent momentum during entire process?

  • uday

    how can i improve my english vocablury that i will be gain upsc writting skill

  • niya

    After reading your topics my fear of writing in English is over and proof of this, I am posting comment first time ever in my life. I really don’t know how it happened but certainly I can say it gives me enough confidence for doing this. Thank you for your valuable guidance. Now I am experiencing wonderful relief of my fear of writing English.

  • kiran……

    thank you sir..
    for these valuable suggestions wch would definitely help those(me) who are really worried abt their writing skills and as well as language skills . ……

  • raj

    we had been having fear regarding writing and language skills …….which has gone now bcs of u sir….thank u

  • Guest

    dsvsv

  • ashok kumar reddy a

    good information….

  • chandan kumar
  • Congrats Chandan!

  • Any

    Bravo 🙂

  • Shrinivas

    Great!!! Sir, These pragmatic suggestions will expedite my writing skills.Till now, i was reading only The Hindu articles, but newer tried to edify my own opinion on those. Now onwards i will continue with this type of approach.Thanks a lot.

  • tathagat0

    EFFECTIVE! BUT CAN YOU SAY HOW TO LEARN EVERY NEW WORD? AS IT TAKES TIME TO SEARCH OXFORD DICTIONARY.

  • mallu

    Sir thanks

  • nagarajan

    It is very useful information those who have less writing skills. Also, u have been mentioned that how to eradicate it. Thanks for your information.

  • dillip mohanty

    Can one read Indian Express instead of Hindu?

  • Bhautik Pansheriya

    Its an awesome trick to be good in writing skill.. It would help me alot … I got strength to write my first comment today only.. I am a student of First Year college.. And just started my Upsc preparation

    • Nayan Muni

      dear Bhautik, can you let me know from where you are started UPSC preparation please?

  • Ravi Ravindra

    Sir,

    Thank you so much…these are lot to me.Being a rural back ground i feel that my english not up to the mark.please help me i am not able form neutral opinion even though i am reading Hindu daily.

    Is it necessaryto follow atleast two newspapers?

    Thanks.

  • Leiter The Leader

    I think responding to these post after reading it is the first step in writing.everyone knew these tips..but what we need is implementation not intention.just like our govt.scheme’s.

  • Govinda saran

    Thanks a lot for providing your valuable suggestions,but I have certain queries which I want to get resolved.
    I do usually take part in the comments following the opinion in The Hindu,but I would say that they are rare events as I feel that my comment is much more generalized than the other comments mentioned over there,thus I usually hesitate from putting my comment.
    I usually can’t find a proper word to express my idea and thus I’m forced to write a long sentence to convey that idea of mine.
    Also while reading any opinion or related column in any newspaper sometimes both the aspects of any opinion appear correct and thus makes it difficult to choose the correct option and thus it also restricts the further flow of ideas.

  • Eithan Malachy

    sir,
    Some high ranked selected candidates suggest to answer all the questions in mains in bullet format. I am really confused. Please suggest me.

    • What is more important is relevance of content and coherence of thoughts in your answer. If you can articulate your thought well in either ‘bullet form’ or in paragraphs, you will always get good marks.

  • vipul saklani

    We are very lucky that guys like you are there to guide us. Advice taken and will implement. Thanx for your valuable suggestions.

  • harsh rajpurohit

    Thank you so much for your valuable thoughts on the guide to preparation. Taking a bit of inspiration i start writing with this comment . thank u again for opening the eyes.

  • swagatika

    Its very practical and authentic. .. Thanks a lot.

  • Pavani Puthepu

    Thank you for your valuable suggestions sir , you are doing a great job…..

  • shivakumar

    Hi. I have started my preparation a month ago, by looking previous year question papers and syllabus.. I feel that I can
    pass the exam through a disciplined hardworking.. But my biggest worry is about writing in the mains exam. My writing speed and English vocabulary are quite poor. I hope ur suggestions will work for me and I will follow them

  • Bala

    Thank you so much for the valuable tips.

  • Nisha

    Thanx a lot for sharing these tips . its very beneficial for ias aspirants. From today onwards I’ll start writting letter to hindu and I hope it will improve my writting skills. Thank you once again

  • Rajagopal

    Its is very useful for me..thank u for suggestions
    Now I am trying to start that…thank u

  • Shubham prajapati

    My english writing skills is not good enough because I don’t have an reading habit. But I want to be a habitual of reading for good english writing skills and speaking too. And I have the problems of making word power and vocabulary too.
    So plz suggest me some startup to do these tings and how can I improve it.
    so plz sir or man ,leave an helpful comments.

  • rehaan

    i found this article very much valuable.i am facing alot of problems while expressing my opinions and thoughts.i have got so much in my head but i always face short of words to express it.my vocabulary is very poor,i make alot of grammatical mistakes.this is hindering my growth in writing.i am very stressed,how to improve it.i curse myself for this,this will be the only reason i will not crack ias..please some one evaluate this comment,where i have made grammatical mistake,i know for sure there would be many..

  • Arunbalaji

    Highly valuable tips to get started. I’m one of those who stopped writing to The Hindu after they didn’t publish even a single letter sent by me. I’m nothing when compared to Manu Joseph. This motivates me to resume writing to The Hindu again. I will start writing from today itself. I used to think a lot and I used to form opinions about various general issues we come across in our day-to-day life but I face some difficulties when it comes to forming an opinion about the issues I read in newspaper. That is where I lag behind and that is the only thing which stops me from writing mains answers. To gain more writing practice, I started penning out my own movie reviews and my own cricket match reviews. But still I face difficulties in writing mains answers. Your tip -“while reading Newspaper or a magazine, a parallel thought would be running in your mind – it may be nodding in agreement or disagreement to what you are reading, try put those thoughts on paper”- gives an idea to get started in forming opinion too. I’m preparing for my 2nd attempt. I hope at least I should start writing from today so that it helps me in main exam. I didn’t become a topper yet to offer tips. So, I just want to suggest something to other fellow aspirants. Start writing about any topic that interests you. Be it a movie review or a match review like in my case, or be it an experience at a friend’s party, at a marriage hall, at a family function etc. I think this will help you to overcome the fear of writing. I thank INSIGHTS for providing a platform to share our views. Happy Republic Day everyone!!!!!

  • bhattraj

    Yes insight has provided right message about writing skill, many candidates do not be able to understand what is the meaning of good writing skill they comprehend it in their own ways and sometimes in absence of right guidance take wrong direction which results into wasting of time without much result in hands.Point of good writing skill is always an ability to express message clearly lavidly without much use of high fundas flowery language etc. IN exam one does not find time to think about phrases idioms and other flowery words. So why we bother about an exercise that is of not much use in exam hall.
    ultimately what we all need is just being master in clear ,simple, lucid expression and being perfect in connecting dots of various dimensions to our answer and to attain this two pronged goal we need rigorous writing practice accompanied by robust reading
    Upsc expects us to be administrator with quality of simple and exact expression not to be something like linguist
    All the best to all dear ones