How to prepare Essay:
What does UPSC expect from your essays? Why are they asking you to write essay, while they already have GS papers and subjects to know how knowledgeable you are and how well you know to communicate?
The answer is that, UPSC wants to know your general traits. When you are asked to write 10 sentences about a topic, how you write discloses lots of things about you! So, UPSC wants to know who you are, than knowing how much you know! Your traits like, positive attitude, imagination, innovation and so on. come out on the essay! While the other papers are based on knowledge and logic, essay is based on imagination and description.
Please just don’t try to fill the essay with factual answers.
Understand the meaning and definition of essay so that you can prepare well.
An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author’s own argument
An essay has been defined in a variety of ways. One definition is a “prose composition with a focused subject of discussion” or a “long, systematic discourse”. It is difficult to define the genre into which essays fall. Aldous Huxley, a leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject. He notes that “the essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything”, and adds that “by tradition, almost by definition, the essay is a short piece”. Furthermore, Huxley argues that “essays belong to a literary species whose extreme variability can be studied most effectively within a frame of reference”.
One of the deciding areas in civil services exam is the ESSAY Paper. Incidentally, this paper is the most unpredictable one. This paper doesn’t have syllabus. Hence it doesn’t have a concrete strategy. There are aspirants with excellent writing skills scoring 60% in the essay in one attempt while just managing 30% in the another attempt.
- It doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare well.
- It doesn’t mean that we can’t predict essay.
- It doesn’t mean that it would spoil our result.
Here we try to explain the strategy to score good in essay, of course, we don’t claim, this is the best way. We can’t guarantee that if you follow this you would get good marks.
An essay gives you an opportunity to express your ideas and thoughts, generally not having any limitations. In the UPSC, the essay paper is there to test the depth and breadth of your knowledge.
Do not treat essay as a separate paper in the civil services exam, Essay is nothing but the blending of all General studies papers sometimes the optional subjects too. Hence do not prepare for essays in the conventional sense.
Strategy to write a good Essay:
On the last page of the answer booklet make note of topics and points under following headings:
- Intro – try to write a quote, story, poem etc so that it catches the eye of examiner
- Different issues under this topic such as history, present status and statistics, impact-social, economical, biological, ethnological, political, psychological, cultural, religious, historical, geographical and so on.
- Positive and negative sides
- Relate the topic to the conditions prevailing in the present day.
- Closing remarks
Once the question paper is received, choose either 1 or 2 topics which you feel you have more points.
- Be multi – dimensional in the essay. In the essay, you should write the content in the inter connected dots. The representation of all the dimensions that related closely to the question being asked.
- Remember, there is no universally accepted format for writing an essay.
- Of course, every essay starts with an introduction.
- In the body of the essay, you have to discuss the core issues of the essay. Prioritize the points in a manner that the essay follows a logical and coherent flow and related points are covered.
- Do not try to cover all the points in the essay whether they are necessary or not; you can trim the points and eliminate the irrelevant points.
- Try to be crisp and close to the point you are rising in the paragraph.
- The paragraphs which you are writing in the essay should have their own ‘clarity’ there should be no loose ends. Every paragraph in itself has to have a logical concluded sentence and it should be a lead to the next para.
- In the conclusion, do not show your intelligence. Conclusion should be balanced. There should be some amount of optimism.
- Do not predict doomsday in the essay.
- Please do not use ornamental and flowery language in the essay. The simple language and clearer expression are the heart and soul to the essay.The language used in the essay should impress the examiner. But do not try to use idioms and phrases unnecessary.
- You start improving your language skills right now and adopt your own writing style.
- Do not be superfluous, do not beat around the bush.
- Your paras should convey what you have in mind.
- Use complex sentences in English since complex sentences and passive voice are natural in the English language. But do not make the content complex.
- Essay should not be written in the “ point wise “ style since the very basic idea of essay writing is testing your writing skills.
This should take about 30 minutes for both topics you had chosen. That is 15 minutes for each topic.
- Choose the topic where you have more points and better grip in the subject.
- Start the essay with good beginning-quote/anecdote/song/statistics/some witty phrase made up
- Use Anecdotes in as many parts as possible.
- Sub heads can be given.
- Language and grammar are important.
- Points must have a flow. They must not appear disconnected.
- Underline some key words/stats/quotes/names of people etc and emphasize on neatness of handwriting and make sure you don’t scribble or strike out words or sentences in the main booklet.
There are the elaborated steps to write a perfect essay:
Model diagram , model video
There are the elaborated steps to write a perfect essay:
step 1: choosing the relevant topic
In the exam hall, you have a choice to select one essay out of four topics, don’t be in hurry to choose the topic. Think twice and thrice to select an appropriate topic. Here appropriateness means ‘suitable to you’. Every aspirant has his/ her own attitude and aptitude towards a specific topic.
So, evaluate the options given. Then choose the best favorable topic to you
Think for 15 – 20 minutes before you jump into the essay writing, first you allot 15 minutes for thinking and planning. Do not try to write the essay immediately after choosing the topic.
First – think about the topic, churn your mind try to recollect the relevant points.
Second – write in a single sentence that what exactly you want to tell in that essay.
Third – prepare a mind map on that essay.
Step 3: Write the outline :
In order to write a perfect essay, you must organize your thoughts. First, write down whatever you have in your mind in the rough sheet, then you can see connections between the points you have. Then construct an outline or diagram or flow chart with the points you have.
To create a flow chart, write the topic in the middle of the page and draw all the points in the format of branches from that topic, please write down all the headings and subheadings also. This can lead to ‘connecting the dots’
Now that you have chosen a topic and sorted your ideas into relevant subtopics, you should create the thesis. It is nothing but the heart and soul of the essay. It is the main theme of the whole essay.
Review the essay – written, Allot last 15 – 20 minutes to read the essay written and review it. Before you consider that your essay, is written, you must pay attention to all the small details.
Tally the essay with the flowchart or diagram.
Check out the order of your paras.
Make sure that your paras make a coherent structure.
Reread your paper once for all.
Check even the grammar and spelling mistakes if any.
The introduction should attract the reader’s attention and show the focus of the essay.
Introduction is the attention – grabber. The purpose of the introduction is to present your position on the issue. The essay should begin with a hook that attracts the examiner’s attention.
Following the thesis, you should provide a mini – outline which previews the examples you would use to support your thesis in the rest of the essay.Pay attention to the introductory paragraph but Do not exaggerate any thing.
The entire Essay – without the introduction and the conclusion – is the known as body paragraphs.
In the beginning, you should use your strongest argument which elaborates main theme.
The body argues, explains and describes your topic.
The topics and subtopics drawn in the flow chart will drive the essay.
Each body paragraph has the same basic structure.
The pre – conclusion is nothing but the anti – climax of a movie. This part will conclude the ‘body’ part of the essay. It will lead into the actual conclusion part.
The conclusion is the final part of the essay. Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition and an allusion to the hook used in the introduction para.
The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your over all ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic. Your conclusion should consist of three to five effective sentences. Simply review your main points and provide reinforcement of your thesis.
Do’s and Don’ts of the essay:
- Know – what not to write In an essay. Negative remarks, criticizing the Government, policies, adverse remarks should be avoided.
- Do not get personal. Don’t go naming individual’s names in the negative sense. Never use parties’ names like ‘’congress says’’ ‘’BJP did’’ and so on.
- Always give a balanced answer.
- Don’t make mistakes in writing quotes of the famous personalities. Also don’t misinterpret any quotes.
- Quote exactly as it was said.
- Do not deviate from the subjects
- Read books, necessary for the essay writings.