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Essay Writing for UPSC

If you are a UPSC candidate, you might be aware of the importance of the essay paper as it is a crucial component of the UPSC Mains exam's overall structure. In the total scores, nearly 250 marks are reserved for this paper. Before 2013, applicants were only required to write one essay in three hours. However, the new syllabus requires candidates to submit two reports on various topics in three hours, and the most crucial point to keep in your head is that each piece should be between 1000 to 1200 words long.

Essay Writing for UPSC

Each of the two sections, Section A and Section B, contains four essay themes. Candidates can choose one of these subjects to write an essay on from each section. Candidates have the option of four different themes to choose from according to their own preferences. You should always be careful that every essay contains 125 marks so you should write accordingly. I'm sure you might be thinking about what is making this topic so hard, but there are a few points that every candidate who is preparing for the UPSC exam should always know before practising for this exam or going for the actual Exam.

Understanding Essay Writing

Essays are concise pieces of content that clarify a certain subject. In other words, we can define an essay as "some short piece in the narrative that attempts to explain a problem, convey a viewpoint, or convince us to support a theory on any subject".

Essays can be divided into two broad categories: formal and informal. It is the formal essay that we are concerned with during the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE). The formal essay tends to be less emotive, the writer wrote it as an expert, and it is somewhat impersonal. Formal essays may also contain factual information, such as data from official reports or other sources. It should never take the shape of a dialogue, never refers to the audience in the first person, and hardly ever gets personal. Simply said, a formal essay should have an air of sincerity about it.

How to write the essay for UPSC?

1. Examine the topics carefully

The most important phase in the procedure is this one. One of the four categories should be your selection. Make sure that, among the options provided, the topic you choose is one regarding which you are most educated. What should not choose:

  • A delicate or contentious subject, like feminism, for example.
  • A subject that excites you excessively or over which you feel very strongly. As a result, you might produce an unbalanced essay because you're too enthused. You might be harmed by this.

2. Take some time to think

After choosing your subject, you shouldn't immediately begin writing. It is wise to gather your thoughts and reflect for a while. Write the ideas you want to make in pen. This is essential since only then can you properly compose your thoughts in order. For example, if you are writing concerning India's connections with her neighbours, Write the historical information and events towards the beginning. Imagine that you begin to write the essay and discover until near the finish that you have neglected to include a significant historical fact; it would be far too late to include it due to related constraints. So it's helpful to start by writing down your broad ideas.

You can gather all of your thoughts in one spot during a brainstorming process. Despite the lack of strict guidelines, you can typically start with the subject and then list the ideas that instantly come to your mind. Ideally, you may dedicate a page to this activity. Focus is the first condition for thinking. One must be able to concentrate exclusively on the task at hand, in this example, making as many notes as possible about the essay topic. Additionally, boundaries must be well specified. A topic should be avoided if it does not necessarily demand a hugely complicated statement or if it doesn't necessitate keeping to a difficult line of reasoning.

3. Always create a proper structure for your essay

You can begin composing the essay when you have the broad points in your possession. You should follow a sound framework when you write. The following is a good essay structure:

  • Introduction
  • Historical background
  • Principal problem/issue/topic
  • Current events or news stories concerning the subject
  • Positivity and negativity
  • Obstacles
  • Reforms/the future
  • Conclusion

In general, body paragraphs might be descriptive, critical, or encouraging. The best way to begin any argument is with a well-written narrative paragraph that briefly summarises the subject and then transitions into a supporting section that presents a few persuasive facts or thoughts. There are no strict rules regarding the placement of essential paragraphs; for some themes, they can serve as the topic's introduction.

The start of the essay may be its most crucial section. First, perceptions are crucial, and the examiner will undoubtedly be impressed by a thoughtful introduction. Further on in this method, we will go over how to construct a formal introduction.

4. Planning on writing an essay

A good essay requires preparation and this is why it is very important before you start writing an essay. Plan how you're gonna write it. There are three parts to it: clearly identifying or understanding the subject of the essay, coming up with ideas for the topic, and finally creating the essay's structure. You should try keeping your essay as simple as possible but also try not to skip the most important parts of the essay.

5. Ignore the Controversial topics

It is advised not to become personal and criticize an individual or authorities in your writing when composing an essay on a subject that might be considered controversial. Some subjects would be so inflammatory that you might lose control and write anything offensive, which is not acceptable and not advised either. When you're writing regarding drawbacks, it is advised to suggest a few changes that might turn the drawbacks into benefits.

6. Be careful about the quote you use

Ensure that you always remember the exact quotations as well as the author's name. It is best to leave a quotation blank if you are unsure of it rather than writing it wrong.

7. Stick to the main purpose of the Essay

The "Five Wives but One Husband" concept-Who? What for? How?, And then? In which?, and When?-which is taught in the classroom on the initial day of essay writing-should be remembered to write an essay that serves its ultimate purpose and is beneficial. By following this idea, you will be forced to stay on the subject rather than drift off.

8. Read and stay up to date

Constant reading is necessary for writing essays, so applicants are advised to read a variety of literature and topics, including the following:

  • The Hindu publication's editorial page includes periodicals including Frontier, Kurukshetra, and Yojana.
  • View arguments as well as debates on television.
  • Focus on the essay topic from the past examination papers.

To remember these points, in short, you have to remember these ABCs of UPSC Writing Essays and get successful in the exams.

A stands for accuracy, acceptability, reader attention, and avoidance of confusion.

B means Brilliance or brightness, brevity or preciseness.

C stands for Conciseness, Clarity, Continuity, and Grammatical Correctness.

You develop a mastery of knowledge while you study for the UPSC. You must filter, organise, analyse, and even invent ideas from that knowledge for the essay writing while staying focused on the chosen subject. Many pupils are held back by their poor organising skills rather than a lack of material. Therefore, consistent practice, professional assessment, and attention to the flaws can make you a master in this exam. After completing this, the UPSC essay would turn into the most lucrative section of the paper, pushing you across "the" line.

Some essential points you can use to make your essay profitable

You'll win points when you also incorporate:

  1. A few wise words or phrases from well-known people ( but if you are adding irrelevant quotes, then you should be considered lazy or careless).
  2. relevant government programs and initiatives.
  3. Any figures or statistics (which must be correct; if not, leave them out)

Important information to keep in mind when you write:

  1. Don't use racial slurs as an insult. In your writing, avoid becoming too personal.
  2. Don't hold irrational beliefs. You can benefit from the Buddha's middle ground here!
  3. Don't just list the issues. Include any reforms or remedies that might be implemented.
  4. Don't be overly critical of the administration or the government.
  5. Your essay shouldn't be inflammatory, regardless of what the topic is. Create a fair picture. You are not REQUIRED to concur with the topic.
  6. Do not provide idealistic solutions.

How and where should you get fully prepared?

Your GS study will be the primary source of the knowledge base that you will write in your essay. In addition, there are a few such topics that can help:

  • Reading nonfiction enables you to grow intellectually: Along with knowledge, it will expose you to effective rhetorical devices, the art of argumentation, compelling storytelling, and original material, among other things. Or, you may read Why Countries Fail, a book that is full of examples, to learn how important development and political and financial freedoms are useful to move a country forward.

So, even if you don't read anything UPSC-related, adopting the habit of reading nonfiction books would be beneficial to you. To earn high marks on Essays, I don't mean to propose that you start to read one non-fiction book on each topic, but studying them sometimes in your spare time will help you in the long term.

  • Pointing to particular publications: You can check particular issues of Yojana, EPW, Economic Survey, etc. on a number of themes. For example, if you're writing an article about regional issues or global health, you can look through relevant problems of these journals to get the most recent figures (IMR, MMR, malnutrition levels, etc.), as well as the benefits and drawbacks of government initiatives in such fields.
  • Gathering remarkable tales, stories, and quotes: It is beneficial to take notes when reading tales, quotations, and true stories that can be utilized in essays in magazines, newspapers, and books. You can begin most of your essays with a meaningful anecdote or story with the essay topic just like its central theme. In addition, you can also utilize a few quotes from famous names.
  • Try to use better language and communication skills: Essay language must be straightforward and contain as little complexity as necessary. Please clarify any complicated conceptual terms in a phrase shortly before using them, such as "Constitutionalism" or "Sanskritization." Examiner also will plainly understand what you are trying to say. Writing reflects how you think. not only in exams but even in common reading And any person searches for that. Short, impactful sentences are preferred. It's challenging to read and comprehend statements that are too long or complicated. The result of adding clauses one after the other using conjunctions is a poor sentence sprawl.

An example of a poor sentence sprawl:

Despite the well-known misconception that piranhas are harmful to humans, many individuals still hold this myth to be true. This perception of piranhas is made even worse by the incorrect interpretation of them in popular culture. For example, the movie poster for the 1978 slasher Piranha shows a huge piranha about to attack the leg of an unfortunate woman. Such a horrifying portrayal is easy to get lost in and promotes unjustified anxiety. The man-eating piranha's cliche makes it more exciting to adventure stories, although it has little in common with the actual piranha. Humans may eventually be able to just let go of this false notion by paying greater attention to actuality than fantasy.

Readers will have forgotten the sentence's purpose by the moment they have finished reading, and therefore, it has a straightforward rule: If you find yourself out of breath while going through the sentence, you should divide it into two.

Despite the well-known misconception that piranhas are harmful to humans, many individuals still hold this myth to be true. This perception of piranhas is made even worse by the incorrect interpretation of them in popular culture. For example, the movie poster for the 1978 slasher Piranha shows "a huge piranha about to attack the leg of an unfortunate woman".

Such a horrifying portrayal can make anyone feel unsafe and promotes unwanted anxiety. The man-eating piranha's myth makes it more exciting to adventure stories, although it has little in common with the actual piranha. Humans may eventually be able to just let go of this false notion by paying greater attention to actuality than fantasy.

  • Vocabulary and good terms: It's not necessary to remember difficult words to write an excellent essay. But occasionally using a strong word or a brilliant phrase provides your writing a significant advantage. Additionally, memorising a significant number of words will not help them stay in your memory for very long.
    Studying non-fiction and English-language newspapers is the right strategy to expand your vocabulary. If you discover a creative phrase or a term you don't recognise during reading them, please write it in a notebook, look up its definition, and know the situation in which the phrase can be used. Long-term memory is improved from this. It also helps to have a dictionary app installed on your smartphone. Although increasing one's vocabulary takes time, anybody can improve their ability to use a wide range of words with practice.
  • Initial Drafts & Subheadings: We have some creative flexibility when it comes to subheadings. Rather than boring subheadings. you can just simply use small but strong subheadings You also can change the structure and subheadings as per the demand of the topic you are writing. For example, you can shorten your heading from "Mobile- Its uses, advantages, and disadvantages to "Mobile- An Innovation which changes our lives"


So there you have it-a concise overview and instruction on how to prepare the essay for something like the UPSC exam. The essay exam is seen to be quite important in determining how a candidate will ultimately be selected and ranked. It is easy to get the ideas, perspectives, and solutions necessary to tackle those problems by reading the CSE essays from the previous year. The key to crafting a solid essay for the CSE is having a straightforward understanding of complicated social problems.

A modest collection of quotations, quotable phrases, and related incidents can also be kept on hand for use when writing the essay. This maintains a person is ready to write any kind of essay.

At last, when it arrives at the essay, a component in the UPSC Question paper focuses on understanding and evaluating a candidate's individuality through which their perspectives, concepts, suggestions, principles, attitude, intellectual capacity, coordination, and interaction (written) skills are studied, in addition to other qualities that the UPSC specifically looks for in an applicant. So if someone wants to clear the exam, he or she should be careful regarding these facts, with all this information, all the best to your exams.

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