The first thing to do is find a topic to practice. There are two ways of doing so:
a. Pick up a topic from the current affairs. Source: Newspaper. Example: AFSPA
There are a lot of sites that even organize essay competitions for UPSC, these are mainly weekly.
From 2014, there are eight topics in the IAS Mains Essay paper segregated in 2 sections. Write two essays choosing one from each of the sections A and B in about 1,000-2,000 words each. The word limit must be adhered to strictly.
You can find yourself a good topic without wasting your time over the stress of finding a topic and dilemma of which one to choose. Source: Websites. Example: www.civilserviceindia.com
An essay is a reflection of your thought process. A well structured essay needs to have a proper format, information, language, and logic.
An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the
author etc.The importance of writing essays needs
to be underlined because in Civil Services Main examination Essay is a separate paper whose marks are counted in the mains examination.
After you have finalized the topic:
1. Educate yourself on the topic, spend good time (not the entire day) on researching on the topic, wikipedia is the best source, also skim through white papers if you can find any on the topic.
We are glad to announce an essay contest for our readers. You can choose any one topic and send your entries. The selected essays will be published on our website with the name of the author. The best essays on each topic will be ranked winner who will be getting the free subscription of E magazine for six months. We hope more and more of you will participate for the Essay contest.
While researching on the topic take bullet points which may be the key historical events related to the topic, important people, famous quotes, laws/administrative policies, current events, facts, data supporting the facts, so on and so forth.
2. Churn your mind and pen down your take on the topic in pointers as well alongside the researched pointers.
3. Organize your bullet points in the order you are going to use them in your essay, viz.
Candidates will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.
introduction, main body, and conclusion.
Build up a good start by introducing the topic, giving background/history of the topic, explain the central theme, basic core concepts and definitional criteria. The introduction should arouse interest and generate curiosity in
the mind of the reader, be it an examiner
5. Main text body-
With the help of your pointers, build the main text in a systematic fashion. The main text should be able to support the basic core concept mentioned in your introduction. I found a good piece of advice mentioned on a website in order to write the main text body, which essentially says, your main body should deal with the topic and related issues to be addressed, the correlation of facts, figures, ideas, views, concepts
; an in-depth, systematic
, coherent analysis based on the topic leading to logical inferences; as well as making (if it is required) plausible projections and providing with (if necessary) viable solutions.
The essays must be written in the medium as specified in the admission certificate issued to the candidates. The name of the medium must be stated clearly on the cover of the answer- book in the space provided for the purpose
. No credit will be given to the essay written in a medium other than that specified in the admission certificate
Your conclusion should hold the summary of the entire essay in a manner that it still supports your core concept. You can close the essay with fresh evidence, facts or figures.Some Dos:
1. Make sure to write on a few topics every week. Setting weekly targets is easily attainable.
2. A key to better writing is better reading. One who doesn't read can not write. It is like saying I never learnt how to fly a plane but I still can. So read anything and everything you can lay your hands on.
3. Watch English news channel - discussions / debates
4. See the old question papers and try to make an outline of each and every Essay asked so far.
The Civil Services aspirants are requested to go through the essays listed in the essay contest page to have a proper understanding of the subject. You can also pick up the style of writing essays way ahead of the exams. You can also practice the skills of writing essays by
participating in Civil Services India Essay writing contest
. The best written essay can fetch you a free subscription of our Emagazine.
1. Always remember the pointers you took down while researching are just systematic organisation of information to make your composition structured and educate you on the topic, not necessary that you stick just to them, if you do so your mind will not be able to think out of the box and will be confined to only those few words.
Any page or portion of the page left blank, must be struck off clearly.
2. Do not make researching about the topic a habit. You will feel paralyzed in the examination hall, without the net. Use it to give yourself a kick start, let go of it slowly. After a few months you should be able to take down your pointers without researching
. It is like how you learnt to ride a bicycle, slowly somebody let go of the carrier. Again, in order to do so reading is essential.
3. Refrain from getting personal and excessive criticism about any topic.
4. Always support a negative point with a plausible solution.
5. Do not deviate from the subject. (that's a given but I still mention)
No plagiarism. High quality papers from subject-relevant experts.
Now, have a rough idea of every topic.
Make some notes for each topic. This should contain few statistic, working comparision among nations, quotes if you can… overall you should have a little info about each topic in a single A4 sheet.
To write essay you must include multiple dimensions. Its tough to think of such dimensions during exam. So there is a simple technique. I will explain it with example:
Let me take “Inclusiveness in India - Still a distant dream?” topic as essay.
Now during brainstorming the topic…You need to note down all the points that come into your mind… This can be done wrt syllabus of Mains. Relate the given topic wrt the topics of syllabus accordingly…like in GS1 you can relate the given topic with culture, history, geography, society. GS2—constitutional/political, internaitonal, administrative… GS3-economic, scientific, IT related, national security etc… GS4-ethical. All these dimensions can be related to the given topic of inclusiveness…
This works nicely. It was also mentioned in one of the VisionIAS lectures bu Ruchika ma’am. I was feeling good that my thought process is correct for essay preparation.
One thing to remember is Essay scoring can only happen with practising lots of essays.
AIR13, 2015 Siddharth Jain’s tips about essay preparation are also very good and useful. He speaks about temporal and sectoral writing in essay.
Also check Ira Singhal ma’am’s prep tips about essay. She scored 160 in 2014.