Good writing skills are important to sail through the Mains stage of the exam. It is not the only thing but certainly one of the things. So here are some tips that will prove instrumental in improving your writing skills:
- Use short sentences. Avoid usage of conjunction.
For ex: India’s policy on international relations is that of non-alignment and that determines her relations with her neighbours. A better version of this can be: India has a non-alignment international relation policy. Her relations with neighbours are determined by the same.
- Be thorough with grammar. Most of us think that mere using difficult english word is what makes a language emphatic. That is a misplaced importance accorded. Grammatically correct sentences, whether or not having enriched vocabulary, enhance readability. The way to score good marks is to make the life of the examiner easier and that is through simple meaningful sentences.
- Words like “however”, “thus”, “In a sum”, set the tone of the answer that you are going to conclude or present a different perspective. A “however”is better to write than saying “ But it also has a drawback..” or the likes.
- Practice a lot. One way could be write precis of newspaper editorials. Break it down to simpler form. Mock tests are important in that respect.
- Do NOT write half sentences.For examples: ” India had to withdraw diplomatic relations with Pakistan owing to rise in terrorist activities.” This cannot be replaced with “She (India) had to do so.” A vague and ambiguous statement.
- (My favourite now) Watch English sitcoms, news talk shows. These will update you about the terms in vogue and improve your style of writing.
As always, UPSC is all about how well you express yourself. Good writing skills give you an edge over a knowledgable student who is not as efficient at being articulate as you are.