The UPSC Mains Exam has a total of 9 papers which includes an essay paper as well. The Essay Paper in the IAS Mains Exam consists of two sections A and B with four topics each of 125 marks and a total of 250 (125×2) marks. Candidates have to select a topic from each section and write about it in 1,000 to 2,000 words within the given time of three hours. The Essay paper is considered as crucial in determining the final result of selection and ranking of a candidate. The Essay Paper is considered as crucial as it is a compulsory paper and its marks are incorporated in computing the total and moreover what makes it crucial is that there is no in-depth study in an essay unlike optional subjects where any aspirant can claim expertise. Let us take a look at the conventional way of writing an essay that includes introduction, body and conclusion. Though this is fundamental but the concept of an essay when it comes in terms of UPSC Paper it is quite tricky. An essay should be of topical text that is easy to understand or follow and comprehensive, succinct, composite and definite, as well as informative and logical. So, here are a few tips on how to structure an Essay Paper in the UPSC Mains Exam. For the effective composition of an essay one should generally follow the below points that are ideally suggested by the senior UPSC Aspirants and toppers: What to write in the Essay?
- Read the topic carefully
- Think and recollect the points to be included in the topic for 30 minutes
What not to write in the Essay?
- Provoking Essay
- Do not get personal
- Deviating from the subject
Tips to enhance your Essay writing
- Recommended Reading
- Reading Books as Hobby
Before choosing the topic, read all the topics more than once and choose the topic wisely from the given choices so that you will find enough points to write about the topic. Once you choose a topic and start to write you may find difficult and tend to change the topic in between which would be foolishness and it will be too late to change the topic as you would have already utilized much time. Read the topic twice and think about the topic for 30 minutes.
Once you have chosen the topic to write don’t start to write immediately instead ‘think about the topic for 30 minutes’. Because when one starts writing without thinking about the topic they may miss out on many important points and in between or at the end they may remember more significant points which would be too late as there would be no enough pace left in the answer sheet or time to write more. Hence, it is recommended to utilize the first 30 minutes to think about the topic before starting to write as you have three hours to write the essay.
- Think about the topic for 30 minutes
- Write down the random points that come to your mind at the end of the sheet
- Arrange the points that you have jotted down in sequence
Some important tips to make your Essay worthy
Once you have recalled, collected and noted the points then the next step is to structure it as given below:
- Background/past example
- Main concept/theory
- Correlate with current event
- Advantages and disadvantages
- Suggested Changes
It is advised while writing an essay on a topic that may be provocative not to get personal and criticize a person or government in your writing. Some topics would be provocative where you may tend to lose control of your writing and write something in an offensive way, which is not appreciable and recommended as well. If you are writing about the disadvantages it is suggested to come up with a few reforms that may change the disadvantages into advantages.
Always memorize the quotes correctly and the name of the person who has quoted them. If you are not sure about the quote then it is advised to leave it instead of writing it incorrectly.
For effective essay writing one should clearly be sure of the purpose of writing the essay and should remember the “Five Wives and One Husband” concept i.e., – Who?, Why?, What?, When?, Where?, and How?, that is taught in the school on the first day of Essay Writing. Following this concept will make you stick around the topic and not paddle away from the topic.
Essay writing also needs continuous reading; hence it is suggested to candidates read diverse topics and books some of the recommended are:
- Editorial section of The Hindu Newspaper
- Magazines like Frontline, Kurukshetra, Yojana
- Watch discussions and debates on television
- Work on previous question papers essay topic
Finally, when it comes to Essay as one of the papers in the UPSC Exam, it is all about understanding and assessing the personality of a candidate through which his/her views, ideas, suggestions, values, attitude, aptitude, coordination, and communication (written) abilities and other attributes are analyzed that especially UPSC looks for in an aspirant. If you want to analyze or enhance your essay writing skills then participate now in our UPSC Essay Contest and win a cash prize as well as free registration for UPSC Civil Services Mains Test Series.