Answer Writing Tips for General Studies Paper I - History

History is the important element of the preparation as well as for the General Studies Paper I of IAS Main 2013.

Created On: Nov 9, 2013 16:01 IST
Modified On: Nov 13, 2013 12:44 IST

As understanding of the question is very important to provide a good answer, providing certain ways in which questions could be asked along with their meanings; so that answer could be provided accordingly.
The key to write good answers in exam is to practice writing the answers before exam. Make sure that while you practice, you keep the answer within word limit and see how much time it takes to write the answer. It will help you to manage time while answering in exam hall.
Below are some tips to write an ideal answer:
•    Before answering the question, read the question at least 2-3 times. Underline the key words and keep looking at it till you complete writing the answer to make sure that you don't go out of the way.

•    Think about the answer. Organize the points you want to cover in the answer according to their importance.

•    Start the answer with an opening sentence.

•    Express answer in your own language.

•    Keep word limit in mind, while writing the answer. Don't exceed word limit or write too short answers. For example: If word limit for an answer is 250, words in the answer should be between 235-260.

•    Answers must not lose coherence, so points should be in order; so that the answer presents a balanced and integrated view.

•    Write simple answers; don't use very long sentences and paragraphs.

•    Give major points of your answer in separate paragraphs and put all the minor points in one paragraph at the end.

•    Don't try to push in as many points as possible. You should have the good sense to critically expand the points as required by a given question.

•    Elements of bias and prejudice must be avoided in the answer.

•    You need not to write a lengthy introduction. Write the main body of the answer including facts and logics to support your viewpoints and analysis along with a good conclusion.

•    You can draw diagrams to present a good answer especially in Geography. But, make sure that you have enough space left to explain it.

•    In question where you have to provide some facts from history, try to put events according to the chronology; so that the flow of the answer could be maintained.

The Following are some of the terms which are used in the Questions in Previous Year papers.

 Account for

Give reasons

Account of

Focus should be on facts and description


Provide strength and weaknesses


Write your viewpoint supported by facts


Provide similarities and differences


Analyse by examining all sides of the argument


Provide only differences

Critically examine/

Reach to a conclusion by analyzing pros and cons and rejecting other alternatives giving some suitable reasons


Explain the answer using examples and data


Provide importance and positive effects

To what extent

Analyse arguments and state the importance of the subject










General studies paper-I could be broadly divided into three parts: Indian history and culture, History and Geography of the world and Society. Selection of right sources to study is important for preparation. The right strategy is to study from few books sources and then to study some specific topics through few legitimate sources. Different sources for the study material have been provided sub-topic-wise.


Indian culture will include salient features of Art forms, literature and architecture from ancient to modern times. The material for Indian culture is scattered. Most of the topics could be covered in Class VIII and Class XII history NCERT books.
Candidates can prepare events and personalities from 18th century till date when they are covering other topics of history and culture.

The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country: Bipin Chandra's struggle for India's independence.

For Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country, please refer India since independence by Bipin Chandra.

History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society. Please read old NCERT class X history textbook.

Part- II

Salient features of Indian society are covered in NCERT Class XII Indian society textbook.

Role of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. These topics need static as well as dynamic approach. These topics need static as well as dynamic approach. For women related topics read block-7 , for poverty and development read block 3 and parts of block-8 from the given link: Dynamic part should be covered through newspaper and magazines.

Globalization, Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism: These topics are general and could be covered in newspaper. Basics of these topics could be covered in NCERT Class XII Indian society book .

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