General Overview About Essay

“I write to find out what I think.”-Novelist Stephen King

Essay writing is a window to your thought process, your argument, the way you look at things, attitude, emotional intelligence etc. Essay tells about your overall personality. This is the importance of essay writing in competitive examinations and so with UPSC.

There is a myth that Essay Paper does not require separate preparation. But this not the case. Essay paper requires separate attention and preparation; as it also constitutes 250 Marks and one can easily fetch 130-150 marks. It should be borne in mind that essay paper has no syllabus. It should be prepared based on themes like Education, Science & Technology, Social Media, and Environment & Ecology etc.

General Perception: – Most of the candidates think they can write Essay with whatever knowledge they gather from studying GS and Optional Subject but it is often seen that this is wrong calculation. Do not take risk and do enough practice to fetch good marks in this paper.

Way to Prepare: –Collect useful quotes, important articles, make notes and go through the previous year question papers regularly. Keep on thinking and jotting down the points on a paper and see it after sometimes for more improvement.

How to approach this Paper?

Guiding Principle of Essay Writing? Read this again and again you will get to know many things: –

“Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay, to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression

If you read the guiding principle of essay writing carefully then you can get answers of many of your doubts. Essay papers need special attention in organizing content, prioritizing the ideas, analysis of claims you made and use of examples in support, coherency and well-structuring of thoughts and ideas. It should be simple and lucid.

What to Read?

With GS preparation most of the content is prepared itself and rest one can cover from-

  1. Reading non-fiction will help you to develop your thought process and the way ideas generated and presentation.
  2. Follow Magazines: Yojana, Kurukshetra, G&Y, Down To Earth, Economic survey etc.

3.Collect some good Quotes: Anecdotes, quotes and real life stories have to be prepared and notes should be made.

Language and Presentation: Everyone loves simple and lucid presentation. Do not try to impose heavy knowledge on examiner. You should make examiner life simple and joyful when he/she reads your essay. Your essay must compel examiner to read from start to end. Avoid use of indirect sentences and passive voice in writing.

Your simple writing shows your simple thinking yet powerful.

Vocabulary

No need to have hi-fi vocab. Simple vocabs will enough to fetch highest marks provided you use that in proper way. Use proper words at proper place. You can appreciate simple writing by reading Times of India and Indian Express Newspapers.

Innovation?

Yes, you can be little innovative in framing your paragraphs. You can use heading, subheading, diagram, flow chart etc. There is no bar of innovation in writing provided you justify your points e.g. if you write on a topic technology then start like “Technology: A Double edged Sword” and then start writing and analyzing with examples.

Dimensions:

Cover as many dimension as possible e.g. Social, political, technological, Global, Local, etc. Your approach should be balanced. Give positive as well as negative aspects of the issue you are discussing but in the end you should conclude with optimistic tone. Never be too critical or judgmental with any issue.

Flow of Ideas Smoothly:

There can be several ways to ensure flow in your writing:-

  1. Link last sentence at the end of the paragraph with starting sentence of the next paragraph e.g. if you are writing the last sentence of a Para like “Education has many challenges but quality of teachers are major challenge.” To connect this sentence with next sentence in next Para you should start like “Quality of teachers are paramount in achieving educational goals set by the Government of India or similar to this……”
  1. By way of asking question you can smoothly transit to next Para. Ask a question in the last sentence of your Para and then start explaining the same in next Para.
  1. Give an indication to examiner that what next you are going to write e.g. Globalization, politicization etc. It will generate interest in examiner to read your next Para.

And also there may be many ways to do this. Just avoid random shifting of paragraph. It can be achieved through making rough ideas about what you are going to write.

How to start writing Essay?

First choose the topic very carefully based on your strength. Do not jump into a topic where you just remember a quote and few lines but choose that topic on which you have enough ideas to write and show your creativity.

How to start generating points for Topic you Chose?

30 Minutes exercise before start writing: –

Make three column of Introduction, Body and Conclusion.

Then start making sub parts of your introduction like I-1, I-2, and I-3 etc. Similarly with Body like B-1, B-2, B-3 etc. And similarly with conclusion like C-1, C-2, C-3 etc. Then keep jotting the ideas on different themes like political, social, technological etc. Then give a fast look on the jotted points and make sure if there is any irrelevant points then remove and prioritize the rest of the points in a sequence.

How to write a good Introduction?

You may write introduction like: –

  1. A fictitious incident or story (where you start with introducing a character);
  2. A real life anecdote;
  3. A quote; or
  4. A simple definition of the words in the question

You can start like. …Tryst With Destiny….
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially…”
Keep on looking the topic while developing the content: –

You may approach in this fashion while thinking upon the topics-

1.Temporal: Past, present and future

  1. Sectoral: Media, Science & Tech, Business, Sports, Religion, Politics, Administration, Education System etc.
  2. Walks of Life: Individual, Family, Professional workplace, Society, Community, National, Regional, Global etc.
  3. Problem & Solution: Concept, benefits, problems, solutions, suggestions etc.
  4. Standard: Social, Political, Economical, Administrative, International, Environmental, Historical, Scientific, Security/Defense, Legal, Ethical etc.

Analysis?

Do proper analysis of the theme you pick. Substantiate your arguments with facts and examples. One Para should contain one theme only. Do not leave an argument incomplete.
Concluding an Essay

Conclusion should not be more then 8-10 lines.

Conclusion should be futuristic, optimistic and looking forward. Summaries the whole essay in 3-4 lines and then write vision and suggestions.

Use phrases like “Sabka saath sabka vikasSabka Viswas” “Reform-Perform-Transform”, “Building A New India”, “Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat” etc. Constitutional Ideas, Preamble etc.

But if you have started with a character then always end with that character to give a completeness of your ideas. Conclusion should be in coherence with Introduction so that it binds the whole essay.

We will talk more about in actual essay writing practice!!

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