What are the Important Points to Note for Essay Preparation in UPSC Exams?

One of the mains papers is the Essay Paper. Amidst the hullabaloo of the General Studies and the optional subject papers, the essay paper tends to get side-lined. No issues there as there is no set syllabus for this paper, but it would be imprudent to take this paper without any preparation whatsoever. You have to practice writing essays by making some rudimentary preparation about a few general relevant topics. The below points should be adhered to in the Essay Examination.

  1. Must write the essays in the language authorized in the admission certificate. The medium must also be mentioned by you on the cover of the answer booklet. Answers written in any other language will not be evaluated by the board.
  2. One must adhere to the specified word limit.
  3. If any page or portion of the answer booklet is left blank, it must be struck off.

Aspirants would find this topic very helpful in the IAS Exam.

Which are the Subject Areas a Candidate Must Focus on while Preparing For Essay Paper of UPSC Mains Exam?

A candidate preparing for Essay Paper of UPSC Mains exam must focus his or her preparation on the below given subjects.

  1. Education
  2. Women
  3. Technology
  4. Democracy
  5. Economy
  6. Ethics
  7. Social Issues

Questions hover around the above given topic, in fact, a candidate can get a lot of material from the general studies preparation itself.

Also, read Important Quotes for UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam General Studies and Essay Papers

What can we Analyse from the Previous Years Essay Question Papers?

The below 2 graphs gives an interesting perspective of the Essay papers. It gives us an idea of the subject areas that needs to be covered and requires the attention of candidates to handle questions of Essay paper.

Essay paper of 2015 and the number of questions asked from each topic.

Essay paper of 2016 and the number of questions asked from each topic.

There was a better mix of diverse topics in the 2016 paper when compared to the previous one. There was no question on education but there was one on innovation.

Question on innovation: “Innovation is the key determinant of economic growth and social welfare.”

2016 also saw a question (albeit controversial) on women empowerment after a gap of three years. The last time there was a question on this topic was in 2012.

The question in 2012 was: “Managing work and home – is the Indian working woman getting a fair deal?”

Capitalism and technology continue to be favourite topics. The questions generally tend to focus on the negative aspects of these concepts. But you must remember the answers must be balanced.

What is the Difference Between Essay Paper and General Studies Papers?

A comparison of the Essay Paper with the General Studies papers is given in the below table

GS Questions Essay Paper Questions
The nature of economic growth in India in recent times is often described as jobless growth. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer. (GS Paper III, 2015) Near jobless growth in India: An anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms. (2016)
The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and the extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings. (GS Paper II, 2015) Cooperative federalism: myth or reality? (2016)
Constitutional mechanisms to resolve inter-state water disputes have failed to address and solve the problems. Is the failure due to structural or process inadequacy or both? (GS Paper II, 2013) Water disputes between States in federal India. (2016)
Explaining Mahatma Gandhi’s quote: “There is enough on this earth for every one’s need but for no one’s greed.” Need brings greed, if greed increases it spoils breed. (2016)

The above table gives credence to the fact that a lot of the material for the essay paper is obtained from the General Studies material itself.

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2021.

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