UPSC Mains: Preparation Strategy for Essay Paper

How to Prepare for Essay in UPSC

While preparing for UPSC Civil Services mains exam, aspirants spend a lot of time in handling the general studies and optional subjects as well. But they should also focus equally on Essay paper. You need to write two essays, for each one you get four topics to choose from. Each essay accounts for 125 marks. However, it is prudent to prepare for this paper since it is for 250 marks and can make or break your final tally. This article gives you a few tips to follow while preparing for the essay paper.

How to Prepare for Essay in IAS?

  • Read many of good essays. This will give you a feel of what constitutes a well-written essay.
  • Build a habit of reading newspaper editorials every day. Essay questions are many times asked from current affairs.
  • Note down relevant lines or quotes which you can use in your essay, whenever you read books or newspapers.
  • Have a good collection of opening and closing lines.
  • Prepare some material on general topics like development, women, education, healthcare, internet, technology, science, etc. Your material should include quotations, case studies, examples, government initiatives, etc. This will be useful while writing the essay. But beware of writing all that you have prepared. You must fine-tune your essay according to the topic, not as per what you have prepared.
  • Focus more on real-life examples rather than theoretical jargon. Even though many topics may seem like theoretical, you must write relevant, contemporary, current affairs-related stuff in your essay. For instance, in a topic like “Can capitalism bring inclusive growth?” (UPSC Mains 2015) you need not write about the entire history of capitalism, but tune your answer towards current events and focus on ‘inclusive growth’.
  • Similarly, even if your essay question is philosophical, your essay need not be so. Your essay should be relevant to current times.
  • You should try to approach a topic from different angles like political, social, historical, environmental, ethical, etc.
  • You must prepare by writing essays during your preparation time. Also get feedback on the essays you write from mentors, teachers or seniors.
  • You essay should have an introduction, body and conclusion.
  • Resist the urge to give too aggressive or one-sided arguments in the essay no matter how passionate you are about the topic.

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