10 Tips to Improve Writing Skills for UPSC

It’s no secret that a competitive exam such as the UPSC exam or commonly known as the ‘Civil Services Exam in India’, needs hard work along with a smart strategy to be able to succeed. Students also need a lot of perseverance to be able to get an edge over other competing student as well.

tips ti improve your writing skills

It should be noted that the UPSC exam consists of about nine different subjects that are also descriptive. In these subjects, students must score the minimum number of marks to be able to get a call for an interview from the higher-ups.

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Since the syllabus is the same and the study materials are almost the same, how can one student distinguish himself or herself from the others?

Well, the answer is simple – students need to write in a systematic, good, and neat-looking style. Furthermore, the answer should be aesthetically pleasing and error-free, which will show the student’s grasp of the subject. Therefore, in this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best tips to improve writing skills for UPSC.

Best Tips to Improve UPSC Writing Skills

The following are some of the significant tips that students need to keep in mind when writing answers for the UPSC exam.

Enhance Reading Count

Tips to Improve Writing Skills for UPSC

When we read more, we are also able to write more as well. Such a process will help in enhancing the student’s dictionary of terminology and also the vocabulary – which is very much needed in passing exams such as the UPSC.

Students can easily improve their writing skills by reading a lot of different articles and magazines. It’s indeed important that candidates should first prepare for their UPSC exams, but when they will get free time, they should try reading newspapers and renowned magazines to focus on the overall writing style.

Reading more will help students get familiar with good writing practices without much effort. So, reading more should be the first step in getting the students to improve their answer writing skills.

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Keep Basic Structure Consistent

Keep Basic Structure Consistent

The outline or the basic structure of the answers should always be kept consistent, especially when writing them in the UPSC exam. Students should follow a common pattern when writing their exam answers, such as starting the answer with an introduction and then moving on to the body of the answer and then adding a conclusion at last.

Having a consistent writing pattern will help the exam teacher (examiner) who is checking the answer sheet understand the student’s writing well enough, which will, in turn, lead to greater marks. It’ll also be easier for the student to write and explain the answers.

Avoid Using Unnecessary Technical Terms Or Jargons

Avoid Using Unnecessary Technical Terms Or Jargons

When students are writing answers in the UPSC exam, they should always restrict their usage of various technical terms or cliches. The examiner will be greatly put off by a student’s answer script that comes across as something that the student is using to show off his or her knowledge. It’s not recommended at all.

Moreover, students should not be writing hefty answers. They should not write just to fill up the overall word count. Instead, students should focus more on quality, rather than quantity. 

It has always been a myth that long answers will be able to score more marks than the short ones – but the thing is – it’s not about writing short or long answers. It’s about covering all the relevant points in the answer to the given question.

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Therefore, the focus should be exerted on writing the best possible answer to the question rather than focusing on the answer’s length. Students should remove all unnecessary kinds of stuff that make the answers bloated. Since the examiners are experts in this field, it’s not easy to fool them and they’ll easily realize the same.

Avoid Generalisation 

Avoid Generalisation

It should be remembered by the students that they will be writing answers for the UPSC exam and not a novel. Therefore, candidates should not be too much generalized or philosophical when writing the answers.

It’s important to note that students should not be giving their opinions in certain matters when writing the answers – unless it has been asked specifically in the question itself.

Students can provide relevant quotes or phrases, but they should not at all exaggerate the entire matter. The write-up should be formulated in such a matter that it should always go in context to what the question is asking.

When writing answers, students should use as many facts as possible because any kind of generalization will never work at all. Students need to support their claims with as much useful information as needed. This will help in improving the overall quality of the answer writing.

The examiner who will be checking the answer sheet will also be impressed with the answer quality, which will help the student get better marks in the process. 

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Read NCERT Books First and Then Opt for UPSC Standard Books

Read NCERT Books First And Then Opt For UPSC Standard Books

It’s suggested that students should always form a strong base by reading NCERT books first, as it covers most of the UPSC syllabus. Books from the 6th standard up to 12 standards should be studied with the help of NCERT books. Once students have already completed the same, then they should move onto their graduation subject books as well. 

After getting the basic knowledge of all the subjects, students can now move forward to studying standard books that are made for the UPSC exam especially. It’s suggested that candidates should only read those UPSC standard books that are relevant and not everything under-the-sun.

Stay Tuned With All The Current Affairs Going On In The Country

Students should always keep themselves informed about the country’s current affairs, and there’s no easier way to do that than reading newspapers. Students can pick one or two of the most popular newspapers that are available around them locally and start reading them daily.

Apart from that, students should also cover what’s going on in the news channels regarding the country’s economic condition, commerce, taxation, and so on.

Knowing about current affairs has always been an important part of the student’s UPSC exam preparation procedure, as more than half of the entire exam syllabus is based on current affairs.

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Practice Answer Writing

We all might have heard about the proverb, ‘Practice Makes A Man Perfect’, and the same applies to here as well. Students cannot even think of improving something without practice. Practicing answer writing can be the difference between passing and failing in such a competitive exam.

And when it comes to tips to improve writing skills for UPSC, this is one of the significant ones out there because most candidates fail to manage their exam time efficiently.

Aspirants of the UPSC exam are always suggested to start answer writing practice after obtaining a base knowledge of the entire syllabus. Since the UPSC exam has a set time frame for each subject, students should time manage their answers well, so that they can cover all the questions within the stipulated time.

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Always Revise Regularly

It’s recommended that students should spend or dedicate one specific time of the day for only revising the past subjects or topics that have already been covered. Revision is very important to understand and also remember the entire syllabus of the UPSC exam.

Moreover, students should also make proper notes for each subject or topic, so that it becomes easier to revise anytime, without any hassles. Such a practice will come in handy before the day of the exam because students will get very little time in going through the entire syllabus all at once.

The notes made for each subject or topic should be designed in such a manner that the entire topic can easily be understood by just reading the notes during the revision phase.

Therefore, candidates should always highlight critical points in every subject matter or topic, which are of greater significance. 

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Solve Question Papers Of Previous Years

Once students get an overall knowledge of the entire syllabus and have done his or her due revision process, then he or she proceed towards solving questions from years’ papers. It’s essential that students should solve the papers from the previous five years, which will assist in getting an idea for the overall exam pattern.

Knowing the trend of questions for the UPSC exam is also necessary because it will help the student to focus more on the important topics and practice them really well. Students should mark the topics that attract the most number of questions and marks, which will assist in the overall preparation procedure.

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Understand Concepts Rather Than Mugging Up And Improve Grammar & Tenses

Students should not just mug up or copy the things that they have read in their textbooks. Candidates should instead read the topic, understand it, and then explain the answer in their own words when writing the UPSC exam.

Such a process will be much more effective in scoring good marks because the examiner will know that the candidate has a good grasp on the said topic or subject.

This will also be the differentiating factor between a good student who has understood all the subject concepts and another student who has just memorized the entire subject matter without deep understanding.

Apart from understanding the concepts, students should also improve their basic English writing such as grammar and the use of tenses. Focusing on grammar is very crucial as it will help the student to write well-constructed answers that will be easy to read and understand for the examiner.

The writing pattern must suit what the examiner wants for the question’s answer. Otherwise, the candidate will not be able to impress the examiner and thereby get fewer marks in the question – which will lead to an overall low aggregate mark.


The UPSC exam not only looks for candidates who have a strong grip on the theoretical subjects but also the overall problem-solving approach shown by the specific candidate. The candidate should also have an administrator-like approach or perspective of most of the topics or subjects, which will lead to the right decision-making ability in the future.

Therefore, students should work towards building their strong personalities which will help them think deeply and differently. This is because the students who pass the UPSC exams are posted in multiple areas of the Indian Government service where they need to solve problems faced by the Indian Society.

Moreover, candidates should also keep themselves updated with the latest happenings in the country of both national and international importance.  Such a step will be reflected heavily in the overall approach of the student in the UPSC exam. We hope students liked our list of tips to improve writing skills for UPSC and in case there are any questions, feel free to ask them. Happy studying!

By Sourav Pathak

A Guy Without a "Title". Good friends, Good Books, and a Sleepy Conscience: That Sums of My life.

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