When asked upon how to improve one’s writing skills, it’s often heard, sometimes involuntarily, PRACTICE! So much assertion on practice, which in a way is true, but such repetition make it sound like a spam. But, no matter how spammy it sounds, it is the only way to improve it for UPSC Exam
Like cultivating any skill, writing too, is majorly refined by a consistent practice.
In UPSC exam, out of three stages; Mains (1750 Marks) is the one that’s subjective in nature. It demands one’s commendable way of expression, and requires one to be to the point, clear and concise; often, all at the same time. It might sound like the writing improvements is only required for Mains exam, but, while facing the right side of the exam—you’d realize improvement in writing enables one to form opinions on several issues. Hence, It helps in the Personality test.
Being that said, we must acknowledge that UPSC doesn’t expect one to be Shakespeare, both in terms of vocabulary and command. Their demand is not extraordinary, they just want candidates to be clear enough to communicate their knowledge in such a way that it’s clear. And that alone, to be clear in a simple language, is a challenging job. The hardest form of English writing is writing simple and concise. But, it’s possible. As the cliché goes—practice makes one perfect. And, here you don’t require to be completely perfect.
NCERT books are a popular example to demonstrate what it’s like to write simple, clear and straightforward—explaining complex concepts in a very simple manner. Here is a list by our subject matter experts to improve your writing skills for UPSC Exam:
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It starts by Reading
A better writing and speaking, both requires a lot of reading. It’s advisable for all the serious UPSC aspirants to read The Hindu, Business School, The Economist and other similar resources.
Read a lot; serious literature or academic books, no matter what you read, make sure you read only quality stuff. Reach out to people with good reading habits, and get some well-written books from acclaimed writers.
Increase your Word Power
If we consider the basic structure of thinking, we’d know that thinking requires words and it’s only by connecting words you form a thought. Hence, increase in your vocabulary will substantially improve both; your thought quality and expression. This will help you think better and faster.
There are numerous resources to build your vocabulary, including apps like Duolingo and websites like vocabulary.com. And, always, for all the new words you learn—make a note with their meaning, synonyms and mnemonics.
Get a good dictionary
We would recommend an Oxford Advanced Dictionary for all the serious aspirant. It’s is the best choice for all the readers and writers, and highly recommended to carry it along, all the time.
Solve Previous Year Question Papers for UPSC exam
Go through the previous year question papers of last 15 years, and start answering these questions. With this, one—you’ll grasp the UPSC exam pattern and two, you’ll understand the type of questions it asks. It’ll also, with improving your writing skills, help you in time management.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Finally, the golden rule; practice—as much as you can. Start a blog, or sign up in Quora, or Jot down your daily thoughts in a personal diary. No matter what form you choose, being consistent with writing develops a flow, a style and substantially improves it.
Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor is a must for any kind of learning. Unless, there is someone who could point out your weaker points and the repetitive mistakes you are making—you wouldn’t improve. Show your written words to someone who is closer to the language, and consistently seek their feedback and abide by it. That’s the way to go about it.
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