Tips for answer writing practice for UPSC ESE Mains

UPSC mains answer writing is also a crucial phase of UPSCexam preparation because it is the mains examination that has more weightage in the overall 3 phases. This is the main reason here to discuss better writing practice for the UPSC engineering services examination.

Tips for answer writing practice for UPSC ESE Mains

Every year the Union Public Service Commission, UPSC conducts the National Level Examination for Indian Engineering Services, IES exam to hire the Class-1 officers to work under  the Indian Government.  It is also known as the Engineering Services Examination, ESE exam. Depending upon the rank and marks, positions offered vary accordingly.

The UPSC engineering services examination is conducted basically in two phases.  Phase 1 Preliminary Examination and phase 2 consists of the mains of IES exam. The ESE mains exam consists of two Conventional papers for 600 marks. Mains of IES exam is a subjective exam where students are required to write the answer. This is the main step to remember while starting UPSC exam preparation. Many students feel that it is needed when we cross the preliminary exam. Once they clear the prelims they will get confused about ies mains exam. UPSC mains answer writing is also a crucial phase of UPSCexam preparation because it is the mains examination that has more weightage in the overall 3 phases.  This is the main reason here to discuss better writing practice for the UPSC engineering services examination.  

PHASE II IES Mains Examination conventional papers structure





Paper 1

Engineering Discipline- I (CE/EE/E&T/ME)



Paper 2

Engineering Discipline-II (CE/ME/EE/E&T)



Importance of UPSC mains answer writing

A large number of students every year plan to write the ESE Exam soon after completing their graduation or some people with job experience. In any case, the mains answer writing exam has obstacles for students due to its vast syllabus and type of exam. The mains examination is subjective type and requires answer writing unlike the ies prelims exam. The two papers of the IES mains exam will take place on the same day. It means the time of  3 hours for each paper to finish. Both the papers for the ESE mains exam are conducted in 2 sessions. A well-written and structured answer will acquire the highest marks. For this answer writing practice is a must. Many people fail at this point due to lack of learning and less practice in writing an effective answer.

UPSC mains examination tests the writing of the candidate who have cleared the prelims exam. It is not easy to clear the mains exam without proper writing skills. Many of the students fail in the mains exam due to ignorance of the answer writing practice.

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When to start answer writing practice for upsc

Once you attend the prelims exam, check with the answer key and if  you are confident about crossing the cut off of prelims ESE exam then you can start preparing for the ESE  mains exam. The IES mains exam for 2022 is in the month of June. There is a three months of gap for the exam. Now you can start preparation for the exam. Actually the 3 months of gap is a positive aspect, one can get enough time to prepare for it.

Answer writing practice for mains

Always keep in mind that UPSC mains answer writing is different from writing subjective answers in traditional college exams. It matters what you have written in the answer booklet at the end of the day. The countless hours of practice need to be shown in 3 hours.

Learning to write good answers in the IES mains exam is as important as preparing the subject material itself. This is because no matter what you have read and studied and practiced, it is what you have written in the answer booklet that matters at the end of the day. You get your marks for what the examiner actually reads in the form of your answers and the countless number of hours that you put in studying doesn’t matter to him/her. So, it goes without saying that the art of writing answers that are suitable and most expected from candidates is an important one. Here are a few tips that students need to keep in mind while writing answers for the UPSC mains exam.

Read on a couple of tips that students should remember before starting of mains answer writing practice:

  1. Make a list of topics and notes of important points to practice answer writing.
  2. Remember the content you studied for preliminary exams related to the topic and revise once if needed.
  3. Try to write what you remember and what you studied.
  4. We learn better when we write than studying for hours. It also helps to remember for a long time.
  5. Practice any topic in the way of answer writing. It will help you raise your writing speed day by day which helps in the mains exam.
  6. Write down the points of your opinion or study and structure in a concise manner.
  7. Avoid adding unnecessary content and try to add some numericals and infographics that give value to your information.
  8. Practice topics from ESE previous year question papers.
  9. Try to collect free/paid UPSC engineering services examination papers or ESE previous year question papers available on the internet.
  10. Access sample answers available on the internet but always go with your style.
  11. Leave unsure questions and only attempt to answer known questions. Don’t give a try to unknown questions.

How to write answers in UPSC mains?

  1. Writing can never be perfected or improved without proper practice, and without proper practice they are unable to attempt 3 hours of IES Mains Exam. Focus on every  aspect of the topic and get ready with equal concentration and energy. Try to implement the below points while appearing for engineering services exam 2022.  
  2. Here are some answer writing tips for UPSC mains:
  3. Read the paper thoroughly twice or thrice.
  4. Tick on the answers familiar to you and try to remember them.
  5. Keep an idea in mind of “How to answer the question”.
  6. Use a multi-dimensional approach of 360 degrees while starting.
  7. Use relevant keywords in the answer writing for mains and highlight important keywords which turn into scoring points in your answers. Try to underline them.
  8. Use simple language but make sure it is error free which is complete, clear and concise.
  9. Avoid using any quotes/taglines/ jargons.
  10. Follow word count. Make sentences not more than 15 - 20 words.
  11. In paper -1  of Essay paper, try to write two essays with the word limit of 1000-1200.
  12. General Studies (GS) papers have a limit of 200 words per question so try to avoid compound sentences and keep in mind the one-word substitutions to compress the content.
  13. Leave unsure questions and only attempt to answer known questions. Don’t give a try to unknown questions.
  14. Follow daily newspapers to get an idea of  current situations.
Get more tips by experts at ESE Coaching Online

UPSC Engineering services examination mains answer writing style

It is better to start answer writing with the relevant format.

  1. Introduction

Few lines of introduction about the topic gives an idea on the topic. Try to add 200-250 about it by using short sentences.

2. Body/Brief

Write all your ideas about the topic and the current scenario of the topic. Add Infographics, tables, everything in this section.

3. Conclusion

Conclude the topic with relevant ideas and try to finish with soft language.

ESE previous year question papers

Students searching for ESE previous year question papers can end your search here. We have added the link below to find the PYQs .Click the link below and get ESE previous year mains question papers to ace your preparation.

Start with the basics and cover all the topics along with practicing previous papers. Always maintain  clarity in your answer, Flow in your structure to succeed at UPSC IES mains exam. ALL THE BEST!! ACE it.

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