UPSC Preparation: Framework for essay writing

Essay writing is the most taken for granted area in the civil services exam preparation although it happens to be one of the most scoring papers. It can be decisive as there is no specialisation in this genre and hence it’s tough to claim expertise, unlike optional/general studies. An essay, in general, is a reflection of your thought process and general traits.  The Union Public Service Commission expects an aspirant to stick to the subject of the essay, to organise their ideas and write concisely. The effective and exact expression of thoughts is what will fetch you marks. Below are a few pointers to be noted on how to approach an essay

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What should an ideal essay consist of?

Structure: It forms the backbone of an essay. And hence one should start with an

Introduction: It acts as a preamble. The introduction can start with a quote, an anecdote or a simple paragraph. A powerful introduction should clearly set the tone for the reader as to what the essay will entail.

Body: Next part is the body of an essay which is all about critical analysis of the core areas. It is essential to present both the sides of the argument and substantiate with the examples and illustrations.

Conclusion: Coming to the conclusion part of the essay, it needs to be balanced and optimistic. It is advised to summarise the topic and end an essay on a positive/visionary note.

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What should be kept in mind while writing an essay for UPSC?

  1. Brainstorming: is very essential before you start the essay and it helps a person to get the right material that can be incorporated into an essay like thinking from various dimensions/perspectives and key words. While at it, you can look for quotes, events, examples, facts and figures etc.to name a few. While brainstorming, develop a flowchart/skeletal structure which will help organise your thoughts and serves as a reference while writing the actual essay.
  2. Stick to the topic: It’s extremely crucial to stick to the central theme of the essay. From the start till the end, the theme of the essay should be reflected and the flow shouldn’t be interrupted. The word limit prescribed by UPSC is 1000 – 1200 words. Deviating from the topic and not sticking to the word limit will result in negative marking.
  3. Content: should be presented in a simple language. This paper is to understand one’s analytical abilities and their command over writing.
  4. Dimensions: It is a given that an essay is open to one’s interpretation but an aspirant should ensure that it has various dimensions to it. Create as many linkages as possible. Depending on the essay include elements related to core areas of IAS exam like public policy, constitution, good governance, social issues etc.

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