Testing is an important step in preparing for this giant exam. Any unsuccessful attempt will take one year of your precious life. So while you are studying, you must also test yourself, weather your studies are up to the mark.Lukmaan IAS test series program has been carefully designed to suit the newer approach of the UPSC testing. We try to test the candidate’s abilities in the traditional topics as well as the current and view based topics.

You often see a student who has studied less hours but do well in examinations. Those who burn their midnight oil for nights and nights together and do not even pick up the calls of near and dear ones` do not do well in their examinations. Why so? They often blame their bad luck, some bad omen, curses of the hated ones. Quit this blame game, don’t curse your labour and sincerity. Probably the cause lies in your lack of writing skill.
Give some thought to this, for every question of GS and Optional you follow a pattern of writing answers in which you normally first introduce the topic or the problem, then you write all aspects in different paragraphs and then you write a good conclusion. You have not written anything wrong but you don’t get good marks. The question is why? We think you did three things or at least one of them:

You may say, Sir, where is the time to brood so much, I will miss the answers. We must tell you don’t write the maximum number of words you are allowed. There is a limit on the maximum words but not one on the minimum but then the words must be adequate. In writing your answers you write the first paragraph in essay form and the rest in points but the last paragraph of conclusion should be in essay form. There can be changes in this scheme if there is expediency.

Read the question carefully and decide on three things:
What is the exact meaning of the question?
How many parts the question has?
What are the directions, demands or commands of the question?

  • How better one understands the meaning depends upon the level of knowledge and understanding on the subject-matter /topic on which question has been framed.
  • The context of the question means largely why/when/what of the question.
  • A question can have different parts which may require answering to all parts.
  • One should have better understanding of Pre-fixes and suffixes which determine the command and direction of the question.


“Your answer should have originality in structuring content, presenting, analyzing, giving an insight on the question and leaving an appealing impression”.


Generally, the aspirants’ main focus is to write answers so that the paper is completed on time. In that intense pressure, it hardly matter that what exactly is being asked by the question, especially the key terms used in the questions and the pre-fix or the suffix mentioned in the question, for example, analyse/describe/explain, etc., therefore, there is a mismatch between the demand of the question and what actually has been written
Most students know their subject, the concepts, theories and topics but they do not know how to present them. Remember,


  1. You did not read the questions very sincerely
  2. You did not care for the directions or commands or demands or whatever you may call it like Discus, critically examine, Explain, Illustrate etc.
  3. You did not give attention to the context of the question, parts of the question and the interrelation of the questions.

PLEASE read the questions as sincerely as possible followed by

  1. Take your time in selection of the questions.
  2. Write first that question answer you are most prepared.
  3. Focus on the substance of the answer rather than length.
  4. There should be a balance between quantity and quality.
  5. Relate with context, content and command of the question.


It is the pre‐fix or suffix of the question which determines direction and command of the answer. It is for your convenience, we are trying to make explicit what is meant by these words and what you will write.

Terminology Meaning and Demand of the directives/commands


In discuss, you have to write two or all the aspects of an issue. Don’t criticize, simply present all the sides in an analytical manner. In conclusion you write a brief summary of all the sides. Since one has to write all the aspects, towards end of the answer, one can write the contrary/negative view or a bit of criticism.
This makes the difference between the command Discuss and Explain as in explain, one doesn’t have to write anything negative.
Critically Discuss
It is like discuss plus evaluate.
In discuss one writes two aspects or all aspects of an issue or the problem. Discuss is an elaboration in which all the aspects of a problem, issue and a phenomenon are to be presented. Critically discuss is a recent command introduced by the UPSC. Critically discuss, one has to present all the aspects by examining its pros and cons. One does not only present all aspects but evaluate the different aspects. It refers to examine either two aspects or aspects by examining aspects. One has to give the plus points and minus points of a phenomenon. For example, one has to critically discuss the Gandhian view of nonviolence. In this one has to see the plus points of nonviolence and one must give the example of India`s national struggle. Then one has to severely criticize the concept of non‐violence and cite all the negative aspects of nonviolence.
It is also a common directive. You write the meaning of the problem, all aspects involved in it. You simply try to write all the why/which may emerge in the problem. We can give an example; Why smart city programme, this has to be written in `explain smart city. Explain is the answer to all `why`. It touches and explores all aspects.
Explanations require you to write the context of the question. You explain or convince by providing this context. In simple terms you write all aspects without any criticism and your opinion.
It means scrutiny of the statement/question. You first write after two lines of introduction, a brief statement of what the idea or presentation is. Only then you examine. Examine does not mean only a rejection of the idea or criticism. It also means support and praise, that is, examine doesn’t mean only to criticize. The given statement may or may not invite criticism. Since the command is to examine, the question has been framed in such a way that it will necessarily have some criticisms.
It simply means write pros and cons of the given statement.
Both have the same meaning when they are given towards the end of the question,
examineand Critically evaluate
that the given statement/question is not correct and it should be rejected. In nutshell, you should demolish the proposition. But that does not mean only rejection should be written. Rather first write after few lines of introduction, a brief statement of what the idea or presentation is about the statement. Only then you critically examine. Note: in such command, one must take stand in the answer which is essential condition. Generally, aspirants avoid taking stand by simply skipping conclusive view. That is, towards the end of the answer, aspirants don’t write what is the conclusive view. In such case, answer is considered as incomplete. Note: when Critically examine or Critically evaluate is given in the beginning of the question, in such case, one has to write first positive sides and then the negative sides of the question.
It is the most frequently asked command in the question. Generally, this is presented at the end of the question and so it is called suffix. In comment, you write the different aspects of a problem or issue or the topic in an analytical manner and you also give your opinion. In comment, the whole problem or issue is presented, and different aspects and different views are presented related to the issue or the problem. No criticisms are to be attempted. Criticism is the view of a scholar and comment is your view.
That is, the uniqueness of this command is that you can write answer in your own view.
Critically Comment
Critically comment is a double evaluation in simple terms. In comment one has to give one`s view on any particular issue. In comment one has the liberty to make any comments showing the for or against views. The comment should not be baseless. It requires you to do a general perusal and then you comment. This general perusal is also a type of evaluation.
Critically comment requires you to show all the aspects with an evaluation which is systematic and on concrete grounds. One has to meticulously see one by one all issues . The evaluation is on certain criteria. This evaluation must indicate the merits and demerits of the given topic or problem.
Critically comment therefore, indicates to comment after evaluation in a systematic way. Comment is the view of some body in a deliberate manner but when it is critically commented then the view has to be given after systematic evaluation. For example, if one has to comment on the question of nationalism, one can simply say nationalism is sacrosanct and nobody should be allowed to say anything against it. The other non‐critical comment can be nationalism has many bases and there can be different views on it.
Critically comment has to go by an evaluation of the principle of nationalism and then one takes a position. One has to evaluate both the consequences of nationalism and also the positive effects of nationalism.
It is also a very frequent directive. You simply remember one analogy. As the medical students dissect insects or human organs in their laboratories so you analyse a problem threadbare. You go deeper, you want to see the inner meanings. It is in‐depth view on the given statement.
Critically Analyse
We have already presented the meaning of analyze. One has to dissect any phenomenon trying to go deeper and present the causes of any phenomenon. This requires one to go inside any phenomenon and do the brain searching. Critically analyze means does not only show the underlying causes of a phenomenon but show all other dimensions. It requires any one to show the underlying causes but also the plus and minus of any cause. This refers to seeing and imagining all the interrelated aspects of the causes. This is in‐depth and analyzes underlying and interrelated causes. For example, one has to critically analyze the problem of black money in India. One has to write the sources of black money, the causes of black money, why it is difficult to identify black money, how other countries like USA have done this. Critically analyze is different from critically examine/comment/evaluate. It doesn’t mean to write criticism. Rather the examiner has in the mind that some critical facts/information will necessarily be written that is the question has been framed and command has been given as critically analyse.
It is the simplest directive. Describe is the description of a phenomenon or a simple statement of facts. In describe neither you criticise nor you analyse. You directly write about the apparent features. You write in straight way the features.
It simply means you have to expand the given statement/question suppose it is in 20 words then you have to expand to 150/250/300 words as per the marks of the questions.
Note: one must not write any criticisms in elaborate command. It is strictly prohibited.
It simply means you have to expand the given statement/question suppose it is in 20 words then you have to expand to 150/250/300 words as per the marks of the questions. Plus write one/two good examples which is an essential condition. It is like: Elaborate + appropriate examples Note: one must not write any criticisms in elucidate command. It is strictly prohibited
It means explain with diagrammatic/figurative explanation. Diagrams/ flow‐chart is must in such command.
One has to simply write in points in order about the given statement. Like enumerate the features of parliamentary democracy.
It indicates a directive when you have to write the differences between two or more phenomena. You distinguish all aspects.
Compare and contrast
It is a directive in which you first, in very brief present the meanings of the phenomena you are to compare. Then you write the similarities as well as differences of the two. Inthe conclusion when you are summarizing write what are more, the similarities or the differences. Note: in case of only compare, write head to head comparison.
It means you have to prove a particular proposition. You give only positive aspects. You present your arguments as a lawyer. You convince the examiner.
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