Most important terms as asked in the IAS Main Exam

It is very important to understand the standard terms through which the questions generally asked in IAS Mains Exam. During IAS Preparation, the IAS aspirants must have clear understanding of such terms so that they can write their answer in the manner in which the examinee has asked the questions.

UPSC IAS Main Question Paper employs various important terms in their questions which have often very close meanings and the candidates become confuse in writing the answers. The candidates should know the exact meaning of such words in order to write the right answer in the IAS Main Exam. Writing the answers in the right context is mandatory to fetch good marks in the IAS Main Exam.

Following are some of the Important terms asked in the IAS Main Exam.

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The answer must explain a topic or concept, and then give details through supporting evidence, examples points ‘for and against’ and explanation for the facts put forward from various points of view.


Candidates  must investigate or inspect closely and give an opinion on your observation on the given subject.


Suggest means to convey thoughts or ideas indirectly. The candidates have to know the pros and cons of the given object in the question and suggest the asked measures.


Comment means to a statement of fact or opinion, especially a remark that expresses a personal reaction or attitude. Student does not conclude the topic.


Student must write how or why something happens and make understandable the nature or meaning of the topic or idea.


Student has to write, support or argue in favor of given subject in the question.


Student should write about the implied or inferred ideas from the given topic and impact on the system and all of its components as a whole.

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Student has to write significant or interesting fact, detail or event in the given topic.


Student has to highlight the importance of topic or implied meaning from the topic.


Student should explain the topic with the help of examples, diagrams, and figures.


Student must set items or ideas side by side to show their similarities and differences. A balanced, fair and objective answer is expected.


Student has to write the differences between two or more topics or ideas etc


Student has to write about the aim or goal of the given subject or idea.


A general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences.


Student has to examine in detail in order to discover meaning, essential features of the given question and answer should be methodically and logically organized.


In an evaluation question students are expected to present a careful appraisal of the problem stressing both advantages and limitations. Evaluation implies authoritative and, to a lesser degree, personal appraisal of both contributions and limitations.


Student has to write about the final goal or purpose of the given topic (one’s endeavour)

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Student has to write the possible influence of subject on the system both positive and negative.


Student has to write about the plan or course of action taken to achieve a particular task.


Student has to write about the different or distinct ideas of the topic.


Student has to write about the producer of an effect, result, or consequence.


Student has to add to the topic, by illustrations; make complete and expand the topic.


Student has to determine the value, significance, or extent of; appraisal of given topic or idea.


Student has to tell the attributes or characteristics of a  given topic and particulars of something.


Student has to establish given topic by proof or competent evidence or make firm or solid


Student has to increase the size, volume, quantity, or scope of the given topic or idea


Students have to identify the main ideas or events within the topic and briefly summarise them, explaining their importance and how they are related to the topic.


Student has to describe the precise meaning of term or topic or idea

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The word enumerate specifies a list or outline form of reply. In such questions student should recount, one by one, in concise form, the points required.


Student has to give a concise account of the main points about the given topic.

Critically examine

Critically examine means to look at or scrutinize carefully or in detail. It is to consider in detail and subject to an analysis in order to discover essential features or meaning.

Critically evaluate

Critical evaluation is a process of assessing the relative merit of a piece of work. It also means giving verdict as to what extent a statement or findings within a piece of research. One must probe the theory for weaknesses by trying to find all the ways in which it might be false.

Critically analyse

Student has to examine the topic or argument in terms of its strengths and weaknesses.

Critically review

A critical review is the summarization and evaluation of the ideas and information in an article. Reviewing critically means thinking carefully and clearly and taking into consideration both the strengths and weaknesses in the material under review.

Critically comment

Commenting critically on a given subject involves analysis and evaluation. And giving your opinion, reinforcing your point of view using logic and reference.

List of Important Topics for IAS Main Exam


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