How to Answer Questions

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  • 7/31/2019 How to Answer Questions


    Please consider a few sign-post that are fashionable attributes of UPSC to consider relevence :

    Analyze: Literally, take apart. Break down a subject into its component parts and discuss how

    they relate to one another.

    Compare: Identify similarities and difference between (or among) two (or more) things. Onemay end by drawing some conclusion from these similarities or differences.

    Contrast: Set two (or more) things in opposition in order to bring out the differences between

    (or among)them. Again, draw some conclusion from these differences.

    Criticize: Make a judgment on the merits of a position, theory, opinion or interpretation

    concerning some subject. One must support ones judgment with a discussion of relevant

    evidence.Critic must remain equal or superior and should emphasize upon the area of


    Defend: Provide one side of an argument and offer reasons for the opinion held.

    Define: State as precisely as possible the meaning of some word, phrase, or concept. Develop the

    definition in detail.

    Describe: Give a detailed account of something. Where UPSC subjects are concerned, this

    account will typically be step-by-step, with the emphasis on cause and effect.

    Evaluate: Appraise something, rendering a judgment on its truth, usefulness, worth, or validity.

    Support the evaluation with relevant factual evidence.

    Explain: Clarify something and provide reasons for it.

    Identify: Define or characterize names, terms, things, places, events or other phenomenon.

    Illustrate: Provide an effective example of some stated point, principle, or concept.

    Outline: Show the main features of some event, concept, idea, theory, or the like. Please omit

    the details. Often such an answer will be in outline rather than narrative form.

    Pros & cons: A more specialized form of evaluate. List and discuss the positives and negatives

    about a certain position, idea, event, theory, or the likes.

    Relate: Narrate an observation or set of observations thereby emphasize the relation of one

    observation to another, especially focusing on cause and effect.

    Review: Survey a subject. This is much like an outline, but put in narrative rather than list or

    outlines form.

    State: Present the answer briefly and clearly, usually using a simple declarative sentence: Such-

  • 7/31/2019 How to Answer Questions


    and such are such-and-such.

    Summarize: Give a concise account of major points, ideas, or events. Skip details and examples.

    Trace: Follow an event, theory, or idea to its origin. The form of this response is generally: The

    origin of A is XYZ. Then the rest of the answer continues by elaborating on XYZ and movesforward to A.

    All the best! Play well! :)