Abhijeet Yadav, who has spent five years of his life preparing and appearing for the UPSC, says there are a few common mistakes that aspirants make while attempting the mains.

He points out six common mistakes and offers constructive suggestions on ways to improve on them.

1. Lack of content If an aspirant pens a very generic response to a question, it will not carry much weight. “Every answer in your mains should be supported with relevant examples to make the answer better,” he says.

“Work on building your own content to be used while writing your answers,” he adds.

2. Lack of writing practice Abhijeet says, “In order to be able to write a good answer, you must have enough writing practice. It is a skill that needs to be worked on.”

He adds, “Use various ways to present the answer — tabular form, pros and cons, and even using mind maps when needed.”

3. Lack of perspectives Abhijeet says, “When writing your answer, always include multiple perspectives. An answer is bound to have both positives and negatives and it is imperative that you mention both.”

“If the question is about Indo-US relations, make sure you present as many facets of the question as possible.”

4. Not answering the question Abhijeet says, “There are times when aspirants pick on a keyword mentioned in the question and base their entire answer on that. That is not the right way.”

He continues, “Your answer must have a clear introduction followed by answering the how in the question, interlinking with other topics and then the way forward.”

5. Lack of structure It is not just important to mention all the relevant points in an answer but how you structure your answer also plays a significant role.

Abhijeet says, “You must begin your answer with the most important point. Doing this creates a good impression in the examiner’s mind as well.”

6. Lack of introspection Abhijeet says, “Organising information, adding value to the answer by making diagrams, including data points, etc. will also help, and finally writing your answer in a concise manner are points to remember.”