Useful technique to practice on essay topics for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam

Essay paper was introduced in the year 1992 on the recommendations of S Chandra Committee. This paper was included in the UPSC Civil Services Examination to assess the candidates’ skill that would help in their service while drafting policy papers and other government duties.

As mentioned in the UPSC Online Notification, the syllabus of Essay and what UPSC expects to candidates to have is as given below:

  • Linguistic skills (basic and understandable, grammatically correct)
  • Capacity to comprehend ideas
  • Ability to critically analyze what you write about
  • Integrated thinking
  • Assimilation of ideas with clarity and proper expression
  • Lastly presentation should be good


Now, you know why the Essay paper was introduced by the commission and the requisites of skill through Essay writing.


Now coming to the essay writing practice, it is recommended to candidates that they need not allocate a separate time for this as essay writing can be taken as the part of answer writing practice.


It is advised to go through the past 10 years Essay Papers and make a note of it and its theme like (Character, Disaster Management, Education, Environment, Future, Inclusion, IT development, Nationalism, Poverty/Inequality, Science & Technology, Women, etc.


By doing this, candidate will a get a fair idea of every topic, now start to writing on each topic. It should contain some statistic, comparison, quotes and make sure that you have a little information about each topic and to fill the single A4 Sheet.


To write essay on a topic one should analyze the topic in different angle. It will be hard to think of a topic in different angle during the exam. Hence, here is a simple and easy method on essay practice, as said earlier while practicing answer writing for UPSC Mains Exam, make Essay writing practice as part of it.


Here’s an example, following which will make a candidate to conquer the essay paper.


Let’s take a topic as an example:

Character of an institution is reflected in its leader

Advised to read the topic 10 times, before starting to write on the topic brain storm on the topic and write down all the points that comes to your mind in some corner of the paper, once you are done with, now pen it down.

Write a simple and straight introduction about institution and leader; now think how it can be related to the General Studies Mains Syllabus. Here, one can talk about institutions during the Mauryan period and taking Ashoka as leader later can explain about the character of the institution during this period and how Ashoka preached peace and non-violence through institutions. Then one can talk about the institution during Mughal period and how different it was and the character of institutions during the famous Akbar and Aurangzeb rule. Then, write about how institutions played major role during the freedom movement under various leaderships that led to the prominent leader like Mahatma Gandhi and others. Finally, talk about the present day institutions and leaders.


Also, relate it how leaders played their part in society, politically, administrative, geographically and become role model for others that made them the reflection of the institution.


Candidates can include quotes like “Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination, on cooperation, not intimidation.” – William Arthur Wood


And, try to take example of some leader to whom you can relate to the quote and talk about them what changes they brought that made them the reflection of an institution.


Similarly, for topics on Women empowerment, start with a simple and crisp introduction, define what empowerment is? Later empowerment opportunities available in various fields, like social, political, economic, cultural etc.


Then write about how women empowerment was during the Veda period.


Also, write about women role in family life, cultural, societal, and their positions in education, employment, sports and other sectors, give examples of women who made a difference in the society or played major role in the growth of the nation.


Don’t forget to include quotes and make sure that the quote should be written word-perfect and in case if you don’t remember the quote or the person name who wrote then it is advised to drop the idea of including quote.


Since, it is the conclusion don’t take it as grand finale and complicate it just conclude the essay topic in very simple words by summarizing whatever you have written till now in the essay.


Make sure the conclusion is optimistic and try to keep a balanced conclusion.

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