The Civil services examination comprises of three successive stages:

  • Stage I: Preliminary Examination is of objective type that shortlists candidates for the Main Examination.
  • Stage II: Main Examination comprises of written test.
  • Stage III: Candidates obtaining minimum qualifying marks in the written part of the Main Examination as fixed by the Commission are summoned for a Personality Test/Interview.


So a candidate must score the minimum qualifying marks in the Main examination that qualifies a candidate for the next stage? We need to know what a candidate must keep in mind while writing the answers within the stipulated time and space allocated. What is the minimum required criterion that differentiates a candidate from the rest to be awarded an extra score? This article provides you an insight which goes as follows.


Factors that affect the process of evaluation

  • At times an evaluator’s mood determines a lot the way you are marked. But how can that be managed? You can’t change the mood of the evaluator but you can always take care of small things that can make a huge difference while you are answering.
  • The content you are carrying may be extraordinary but make sure that the handwriting is readable. When writing is legible the reader need not exert pressure on mind, it won’t irritate him/her. If the ideas, keywords are arranged legibly, the reader loves to read and award marks accordingly.
  • Apart from writing the languages as mentioned in the study materials it is necessary to supplement it with the original texts like NCERTs. Evaluating an original writing gives a feel good factor to the evaluator.
  • Except while writing an essay where bullet points are not permissible, make extensive use of writing in bullets in other papers. This practice not only helps you manage the time well but also to the evaluator as the evaluator has been assigned so many answer sheets to evaluate.
  • Keep underlining the keywords and use keywords because at times the examiner only reads the keywords.
  • Keep in mind that the evaluators look forward to a very good inspiring answer.
  • Your writing must be grammatically correct. Don’t try to frighten the examiner by bombarding difficult words. Write very simple, lucid English, instead of a poetical one.


Moderation principle in evaluation

  • In the process of evaluation, there is a revaluation of top 10 answers (scores) by each examiner and an average is taken to normalize the scores using an equipercentile method.
  • There is an inter examiner, intra subject and inter subject moderation which ultimately gives a level playing ground to all the aspirants.
  • There is no practice of revaluation after the results are out; there is only a scope of retotaling in case if candidate is not satisfied with the evaluation.
  • Unlike CBSE, UPSC doesn’t entertain RTI or photocopy of answer copy.


Few extra tips to carry in mind

  • Fight your way through earning even half marks. One mark can make a huge difference.
  • Content must be relevant. Conceptual clarity must be there and conceptual clarity comes through reading original text, writing original sentences.
  • Must have a good writing practice. Writing more gives you a better writing speed along with a good legibility because while you write speedily the writing distorts but practice shapes it perfectly.
  • Read the question 2-3 times so that you write relevant.
  • At times while practicing previous year questions one doesn’t pay much emphasis on the last 2-3 year questions. But keep in mind that at times even the questions that have appeared recently, repeat.
  • Before writing your thoughts on paper, weigh properly how to present, what to present and what has been asked in the question.


What not to do

  • Don’t put religious marks or sacred words on the answer sheet that may lead to the cancellation of your candidature.
  • Do not try to deceive UPSC.Whether it is writing or an interview, be honest.
  • Don’t write long sentences. Do not mix up the ideas in one paragraph. Try to write one idea in one paragraph. Your very first paragraph in the answer speaks a lot about the entire flow of writing.
  • Don’t underestimate the capacity of the examiner. Don’t make the examiner feel inferior to you in your answer writing.
  • While reading or studying do not carry short temper within you. At times you don’t understand things in one reading. It is fine. Read it again. Doesn’t rush. The process of learning requires a good amount of patience.


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle


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