Question Keywords-General studies Mains answer writing

How to approach upsc mains answer writing based on question demands is most requested question. Its necessary to understand question demands to answer effectively.You may feel questions are simple;but marks wont be as expected. Even if you know the answer ;you may fail to full fill question demands.. So we decided to give you a detailed overview to approach MAINS examination.

How to approach Discuss type Questions?

This is one of the most common question word in upsc mains examination. Question demands discussion on that topic with decent introduction ;Body and proper conclusion.Essentially it could be a written debate substantiating advantages & disadvantages with evidences and examples.


As it suggests you are supposed to comment. It doesnt requires accurate facts /definitions. just comment on the biased/unbiased statement given in a neutral manner. Dont limit your comments as you comment in facebook. It need a proper transition from beginning to end with a view point of your own.

Nb: If a question seems to ask positive answer, then give a positive answer.
if it seems to be negative approach, carefully approach the question to give a negative writing without challenging ideologies or ideas against Constitution / govt policy.

Critically Comment

This is also a comment but you should be critical. Even if the statement is positive ;You are supposed to mention negatives. Ideally you should cover pros & cons with a middle stand conclusion. Never conclude with a side view. Dont go much critical to a community or constitutional provisions or government policies.


This needs pretty more accuracy. Give precise definition or meaning of something. Focus more on exact problem or different interpretations if any. Eg: Define global warming.


This question may be familiar to all as everywhere we gets this question. Explain why you are late. Explain in detail as possible. You need to explain in simple words with clarity as its understandable to all. You dont need to express your expertise in this topic. Eg: How & why it occurs,What is its relevance in the particular context.You can also use examples if necessary.


This is somewhat similar to explain but you need to illustrate working of something with suitable diagrams /flow charts/Block diagrams.You can use detailed statistics and examples to substantiate your explanations.


You will be normally asked to compare A and B. So you need to point out similarities and differences. It doesnt needs detailed introduction and conclusion . Just compare point by point or in parallel. Eg: compare code of ethics and code of conduct.

Final words

These are the most repeated question words.Understanding these terms well is enough for a better approach.If you feel its not enough or Need more details of any of these then ask in comments.

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3 Responses

  1. Priyamvada says:

    Hi, this is extremely helpful. Thank you for this post. I have a query. I think I have understood the finer points of most types except the real difference between “Discuss” and “Comment” type. Can you please elaborate more on those two bringing out their differences in approach or answering?

    • admin says:

      Discuss: Giving both the sides of the story and conclude with positive/negative.
      Comment: This is the space for ur opinion… u can comment negatively/positively and conclude accordingly. To play safe, comment according to the mood of the question.

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