Answer Writing for General Studies

Many people have been asking me to write a post on “Answer Writing”. So here it is!

I am not a literary genius who knows how to play with the words. If you have seen my sample answer script which I have uploaded here, you would have realised the same thing.

You need not use any jargon or a high vocabulary set of words in your answers. The only set of vocabulary that you need is something that you can easily acquire from newspapers without any extra effort. If you read the newspapers for about a year, you would have automatically acquired the required vocabulary skill set. I personally did not focus on improving my vocabulary nor did I try and use any jargon in my answers. A word of caution here  –  if you use words which you don’t normally find in newspapers and which are difficult to understand then there is every possibility of things getting backfired on you. Remember the persons who correct your GS papers are not experts and are largely generalists. They are only aware of the normal vocabulary that comes in the newspapers and if they find anything strikingly different from that or something that they do not understand, like highly technical jargon, then they would simply not award you marks. So stick to plain simple language.

Answer writing should be done for 2 aspects

  • to be able to express what you wanted to say clearly
  • to be able to think and write answers quickly within the stipulated time

I personally do not believe in writing an answer every day, because you may be able to write a well structured and a high quality answer for one question, with/without a strict time limit. But doing that for 25 questions in 3 hours for 2 times every day, for 7 days in a row with 2 breaks in between is quite tricky. Instead I strongly recommend the aspirants to write full tests for 3 hours and try to maximise the precision as well as the attempt. I feel that test series is all the answer writing practice that you ever need to do.

Whether you adopt a paragraph model or bullet points model is entirely up to you. I used both of these models in my answers depending on the type of question asked. Usually if I don’t have much content, then I would write it in paragraph form. I also did not stick to the rigid “Introduction-Body-Conclusion” format. I only tried to answer to the point and if the question demanded for an introduction or a conclusion, I gave one in not more than 2 lines.

So I wish all the aspirants a very happy answer writing! 🙂


33 thoughts on “Answer Writing for General Studies

  1. Hello sir I just now went through your blog from(mrunal),it is so inspiring, thanks for the blog sir.I have a doubt regarding the arc reports,puncchi reports as I read in the mrunal article you have used both reports in gs2 topic,sir they are huge how did you manage to read it did you only read the recommendation? How are the commissions reports useful sir? Please explain me should we read whole report:(


    • I think reading the recommendations alone would not suffice, because they do not provide any context there. But you need not read each and every word in the report too. Try to identify various topics in the report and try to cover only them. For example the inter state river water disputes in Punchhi commission report is a topic.


  2. Brother your blog is just awesome, please complete all the strategies on mains gs2,gs3 please don’t leave us in halfway, 18th rankers are very helpful Ias to aspirants :), hope you continue your work after joining mussiore


  3. Hello sir..
    Can we have a detailed strategy for Anthropology..?? (from ur friend Md.Roshan sir)..
    curiously waiting for the same..


  4. It’s goes beyond the way what coaching centers will teach . Thanks for starting blog . Please try to post Books recommended for prelims and mains . How should one prepare for interview ? . Now i am in CA final year i want to start my preparation for CSE once i done with CA . Could u please guide me how should i start my preparation . Self study is enough ? or it needs any coaching ?


  5. Hello can you please guide, what to read in pib.nic website as many toppers it is important, what should I read? Please guide me


  6. Hello Sir GM,
    Thanks for your blog specially for aspirants who are self preparing.
    1. Optional: I have to decide optional among humanity subjects. I have decided to test Psychology and started reading for NIOS notes and covered 70 % of syllabus but on my second reading I lost interest this took around 15 to 20 days. Shall I keep testing remaining subjects like this? How shall I decide which subject I have the interest if everything is new to me (I am simultaneously reading and making notes out of GS).


    • For me, deciding the optional was easier because among the list of optional subjects, mathematics suited my background and interest the most. I really can’t guide (or rather misguide) you on how you should pick your optional. Try something related to your graduation or some subject which you already have an interest in. I would only tell you that whatever optional you pick, you should find it interesting. All the best 🙂


  7. Hello thanks for the blog
    1)sir can you please tell the meaning of keywords and summary,Many toppers say this make notes using keywords and summary,Sir what Is it, how to find the keyword? Did you make the


    • Hello thanks for the blog
      1)sir can you please tell the meaning of keywords and summary,Many toppers say this make notes using keywords and summary,Sir what Is it, how to find the keyword? Did you make the notes that way?please explain me?
      2)hello sir this question is out of topic sorry was can you please tell how the life after cracking services,what is your daily routine now?:)


  8. How brother I am starting my preparation from August-2015 for cse-2016,many has advice me to read last 15years prelims question paper and mains question.Is it necessary to to analyse them what is the benefit?I don’t know anything gs question what will I get from it?or should I analyze after my basic books please explain me

    Thanks in advance


    • For the last year prelims in Paper I, I did not do much practice by writing tests nor did I go through previous year question papers, because of my comfortableness with Paper II. However, this time I would surely have done it and one of my friends who used to score exceedingly high marks in Paper I strongly advised me to go through previous year question papers. But this is something what I heard from a friend of mine and so I can’t strongly recommend you to do the same. It is up to you. All the best 🙂


  9. Hello brother.I just went through your article in mrunal ,in gs3(economy)u have almost covered all the part with the new-paper.YOu did not mention anything books like ramesh singh.Did you go through this books?
    2)IN how much time did you cover your new-paper?
    3)While reading the new paper you will only write the keywords which are mentioned in the news paper or like guarav agarwal said you find the pros and cons where is issues relating articles,government measure like that?


    • 1) I did not read many books, especially none, apart from NCERT on Macroeconomics, for Economy.
      2) I used to read 2 newspapers – the Hindu and Indianexpress and including notes making it used to cost me about 3 hours everyday.
      3) I would make notes as per the topics/issues. I would focus on what the issue is, what its pros and cons are.


  10. Thanks for this post.:)
    My question is : What is the basic difference between the terms : Discuss,Comment, Analyze,Evaluate, Examine,Explain?
    Because Sometimes we can’t judge that what is really asked.
    So Requesting you to differentiate this terms. Thanks 🙂


  11. Hi sir, i have taken maths optional and i am finding it extremely difficult to manage time for GS and balance things out. I can either do Maths or GS along with newspaper as coaching for GS and maths is going on. Everyday i feel like a loser either in maths or GS. Can you please tell how did you manage time given that syllabus of maths is vast.


    • You may try allocating 15 days for maths only and next 15 days for GS only. That way you’ll have some continuity in subjects and it won’t be so hectic for you.


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