How to Choose the Right Essay Topic in UPSC Mains

How to choose the right essay topic

In the UPSC paper an essay gives you an opportunity to express your thoughts in enough words. The time allotted for this limited but is sufficient to express your knowledge or views. The importance of essay has increased in the mains paper and very aspiring candidate is trying to maximize their score in essay. Everyone seems to focus on the optional, essay and the ethics paper as they are the most scoring areas in UPSC  mains. The best approach is to try and balance your scores in all the papers. While writing an essay try not to be a hero as it is a general observation that more often than not people try to choose a  different topic from the rest to appear unique and sometimes it backfires. The best bet is to write about a common topic and make it outstanding. This way you can probably score more than average. One thing is for sure that this way you won’t have any surprises in your mains score. You might still want to choose a not-so-common topic but the risk is very high. Here are a few points on how to choose the right essay topic:

  • Choose an easy topic: Choosing the right topic is the crucial part in an essay paper. After you have read the entire question paper, there will be one topic that you can most relate with. You should immediately tick that topic and then see how easy or how hard it will be for you to handle it. Only if you have prior experience of writing and comprehending complex topics you should go for the difficult one.
  • Do not write for a subject matter expert: Your essay should be easily understood by a general person. Avoid using jargons and high level language which calls for a subject matter expert.
  • Cover a lot of material: Choosing an easy topic does not mean being insincere. Even if you have chosen a topic which you are more familiar with please give it as much substance as you can.
  • Easy language: A candidate is always expected to write in the “NCERT style” i.e. simple, lucid and structured. Keep your thoughts closely to the subject and arrange your ideas in orderly fashion and be concise. Extra credit is given for effective and coherent writing.

Once you have chosen the right topic read it over and over again till the ideas start flooding your mind. Once you have enough ideas you can note them down on a rough sheet of paper. Let your natural thoughts flow on the paper. You must always make an outline for your essay which will define its structure. Write a good introduction. State the purpose of your essay in the introduction, this is called stating the thesis.Your introduction should be crisp and straight to the point. You should look at the rough draft again and again to keep yourself on the track. If tyou get fresh ideas incorporate them. Make good use of connective and transition words between paragraphs as this will make your essay readable. A logical essay naturally leads to a conclusion. So, ideally you should just sum up your essay in the end. All the best!

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