One of the questions IAS coaching students often ask is “what did this term mean?” The Mains Examination of the UPSC conducted civil services exam utilises terms like ‘enumerate’ and ‘narrate.’ A lot of IAS aspirants get confused with these terminologies, and instead of attempting to answer, they leave the question blank.
Ask any top IAS training centre, and they’ll tell you that the first principle of the IAS Mains Test is to write something. Leaving an answer blank drastically reduces your chances of scoring well.
So, to ensure that IAS test takers attempt every question, here is an explanation of the common terms used in the Mains question.
These questions are a combination of evaluate and comment. You have to give a detailed explanation of the event and then your opinion. It implies you interpret the event as per your knowledge and the given explanation.
A favourite term for UPSC question-makers, these questions require you to give the pros and cons of the topic. The answer should be unbiased and full of value. In the end, the answer should give the reader closure. Two more terms that the paper may use are critically comment or critically analyse; they mean the same as critically examine.
Comment, opinion or views questions ask for your judgment on the topic. Do not write personal opinions. Rather base the answers on facts. Use a constructive approach and be progressive in your response.
Such answers can include anything you want and write any opinion. The only condition for ‘discuss’ questions is to frame the reply as if you are talking to the examiner.
For these questions, you simply need theoretical knowledge. When answering, write down the parts of the topic, characteristics, constituents and attributes.
This is one of the simplest terms and means to give the definition. In such an answer, try to write the definition verbatim. If that is not possible, then include the key phrases or words that are critical to the definition.
If the question uses this word, merely list down the points under the given topic. You are not required to provide a detailed explanation.
It is the most commonly used terminology because it is the most frequent question in the Main. Instead of ‘evaluate’, the question may also use the words ‘examine’ or ‘assess.’ All three mean the same. You have to provide a detailed explanation. 2 lines of introduction, 3 to 4 lines ‘for’ the topic, 3 to 4 lines ‘against’ the topic and 3 lines of conclusion is how you answer an examine, assess or evaluate question.
For such questions, the answer should have time associations. Meaning you have to give a time-related sequencing. Early to late, past to future are some examples of how narrations occur.
These questions ask exactly what they say. You have to write down what the goals, targets, objectives or purposes of the given issue or topic.
Elaborate, expand, elucidate and exemplify all imply the same. The answer has to make the topic clear in simple language. Use a detailed explanation or a typical example to do so. If you are giving an example, use contemporary or current affairs.
Distinguish or contrast questions require you to write down the differences between the given topics. In case, the term used is “compare and contrast” then give the similarities and the differences.
The term means the impact or result of an event or topic. The Mains question paper may also use the terms “consequence” or “outcomes.” Their meaning is same as implications.
For these questions, you have to use examples in the answer. Data, diagrams and charts can be included to make the answer clearer.
In the answer argue in favour of the topic and use only favourable comments. The term “justify” means the same as advocate.
In the answer write what happens if the topic doesn’t exist or does exist. You have to explain the importance of it.
As the leading IAS coaching in Chennai, we cannot emphasise enough on the value of not leaving the answer sheet blank. If you don’t know the meaning of the term given the question, still try to attempt it. Most of the terms have a similar meaning, which means there is a likelihood that you would at least partly answer the question correctly. The difference between a blank answer and a roughly attempted answer can make a significant impact on your overall score.
A better tactic to ensuring that you don’t end up confused during the IAS Mains paper is to clarify all the terminologies with your IAS training centre in Chennai. If not that, then give this article one more read to have a better understanding of the frequently used terms in the IAS exam.
Current Affairs Books for UPSC
The book of current affairs plays an important role in the preparation of any competitive exams. The candidates give more importance to the current affair books as they act as a major pillar in the exams, which includes even the UPSC exams. There are many questions which are asked from the affair books and the happenings having the economic, political and country’s social ramifications. In this case, one just cannot compromise on the popular books which help you to get extra knowledge on the general but important information of the country. These books are available easily and can be bought online too. List of most searched books will give a fair idea about the authors and streams in civil service examination.