Things To Consider Before Writing An Essay in The Exam

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A typical essay UPSC asks candidates to write in the civil services Mains exam year after year is an expository or analytical one. Unlike literary essay which tend to be descriptive and narrative requiring candidate to explore his literary skills, expository essays demand reasoning and logic well argued with the help of relevant evidences and examples.

There are certain steps to follow while attempting an essay in the civil services exam in order to get  good marks.

  1. Choosing a right topic is the crucial part in Essay paper. First, read all the questions carefully. Instantly you will like a certain topic – tick it. Then prioritize other topics. See which one you think is easy to handle.
  2.  Underline or circle a key word in each topic. Think over them for a few minutes.
  3.  You will be given easy and difficult topics to choose from. Easy topics are chosen by the most and help in getting decent marks. Difficult topic is chosen by very few – they either get lowest or highest mark in it.
  4.  If you want to play safe, choose the easiest one. In case you have prior experience of writing and comprehending complex topics, go for the difficult one. Usually, difficult topics are difficult to interpret correctly. They will be either vague or appear abstract. If you are familiar with such topics and correctly understand them, then go for them. Otherwise settle down for the easy topic. You would be ensured decent marks.
  5.  Now, the form of the question should be carefully noted down. If it is  in a question form such as, “What do you think……?”, you must provide an answer and your opinion.

If the topic is just ‘Women In Parliament – Achievements and Prospects’, you will have a space to explore the topic from many perspectives with relevant facts and conclusion can be anything.

Also look for directives at the end of the questions and write essay accordingly.

insights essay writing


  1.  Once you have chosen a topic, next step involves planning and brainstorming.
  2.  Reread the question many times. Think over each word in it. You will observe that ideas start flooding from all directions. Write them down on a rough space.
  3. While thinking on the topic, don’t think about the examiner. Sometimes one tends to impress the examiner with big ideas. Avoid it. Let your impulse work. Let natural thoughts flow out on to the paper.
  4. Think all the possibilities that throw up and try to connect each with the topic. Whatever you write down, it must be related to the topic you have chosen.
  5. Most topics demand a balanced approach. Even if it is your express opinion, you should be objective and try to portray other aspects too. While brainstorming, think of such other possibilities too. Balancing doesn’t mean giving 50-50 share to both the views. It just means being objective and the tone should be subdued.
  6.  Do this brainstorming on the first page itself. Write down all points legibly. Sometimes, a good examiner might be just impressed by your meticulous planning and be generous while awarding marks.
  7. Try to include examples, meaning of any jargon you might want to use in essay, or comments on particular argument of a person (if it’s an example in the essay) and evidences in support of your argument.
  8.  Interlink each point you have jotted down. Prioritize and rearrange them by giving ranks. Eliminate irrelevant points. Again make sure that everything you have jotted down is relevant to The Topic. Use the number one point in the first paragraph after introduction.
  9. Now the raw material for your essay is ready. The blueprint is ready.

Writing an Essay

  1.  Write a good introduction. After the planning process you will clearly know what your essay is all about. State the purpose of your essay in the introduction. It is called stating the thesis. Let it be crisp and straight to the point. A good introduction clearly tells us what to expect in the rest of the essay.
  2.  Look at the rough work again and again to keep yourself on the track. Now start answering the essay after the introduction using the ranking you did while planning. Now you might get fresh ideas. Incorporate them.
  3. Make good use of connective and transition words in and between each paragraphs. This makes your essay readable and gives a good flow. But use them only if the context demands.
  4.  A logical essay naturally leads to a conclusion. You should not repeat the content of the introduction here. You should neither sum up your essay in conclusion.  State what conclusion you draw from all the arguments you wrote in the essay.

In the exam, you will get good three hours to write a thoughtful essay. Use 30 minutes to Plan it well and rest of the time for execution. Write neatly, legibly and use many small paragraphs.


    this is gold dust..!!!!!!!

  • shiva

    Informative and apt.Probably this site should not only accessed by civils aspirants but also students of school and college going..all this research will help them in excelling in their respective academics.Thanks a ton 🙂

  • shiva

    your work is really contagious..

  • Naveen shekhar

    thanx for the last moment post

  • ruthvik

    Seriously the work Being done by you…grtttttt…i wish you best future and good health….hope u continue this gud wrk for future aspirants also…and the strength and patience….thanks a lott…

  • himanshu singh

    thanks a lot, may god bless you…………

  • raghusharmag

    @Insight sir: Do u mean we shd do all planning & rough work on first page and not the last? Won’t the striking at the entring page will hv negative impression.

    • insight sir pls do reply to this. & thks for ur effort

      • Reserve couple of sheets either in the beginning or in the end for your planning and rough work. Examiner will see it wherever it be. But you should clearly mention that it’s rough work.

        • raghusharmag

          thk u sir & god bless u for ur input on shaping my answers & assisting many candidates like me.

  • Anjali

    Thanks a lot insights.

  • wanderer

    I am feeling bad, why I didn’t got to know about the site 6 months back..
    Whatever you write is head on..BANG..!!!
    Highly indebted!!

  • Siddy

    I have attended couple of essay workshops in ORN , Delhi and i can say this is just as good if not better than whatever they taught all put together..
    What they didnt say was how to make an effective use of rough work by outlining ur whole essay structure in it…so that u dont loose track which is very easy while writing 800 – 1200 words per essay .
    Kudos to Insights !!

  • Iam 2014 civils aspirant i dont hav clear idea about syllabus nd exam so i was tensed but not now bcoz i joined insights daily i follow insights updates .this site giv
    spoonfeeding information to aspirants specially for freshers…..thanks to insights

  • bhel apps

    I have a question.
    how do we prepare the Essay that is philosophical in nature or pertains to Gandhiji’s teachings, like the one we had in 2013 ” Be the change you want to see in others” etc.
    Please guide.

  • meena

    can you please explain how to read ncert books.. like should we note down all the important points , should we read line by line, any strategy of reading ncert books

  • sai

    Thanks sir, iam know understand .

  • really very helpful and gives right guidence.

  • priyanka

    thank you for sharing information to all,all the best for your future ,please do some thing good to society -sakshi madam

  • It is Sagar in Gagar for us…..

    Thanks insights for providing this……Please keep it up.

  • kannana r

    Thank You… whenever i required details about the UPSC. insight helps me a lot.
    thank you.

  • akn

    is it very wrong to sum up your points in the end, before concluding? Wouldn’t a summary give a logical brief logical premise, to your conclusion?

  • samant megh

    very good suggestion to the civil service aspirant.
    This is a noble work for society…so i thanks you from bottom of my heart at lot.

  • really insightful…

  • roop mehta

    sir do you think one should take coaching classes for honing answer or essay writing skills or one can do so from having a wide range of knowledge?

  • Mohammad

    Thank you for your wonderful suggestions.

    I am not able to understand this point.
    Can you please explain with some examples.

    “You should neither sum up your essay in conclusion. State what conclusion you draw from all the arguments you wrote in the essay.”

    What is the difference between summing up and stating your conclusion ?

    • sashi

      mohammad garu,it mean conclusion in essay should not be the summary of essay,but what you want to tell from the essay

  • banothu

    Sir please send explanation about these words” Comment, Discuss and Elucidate”

  • devy

    This is a good tip,, I learn how to write essay .Thank you insight.

  • Chandrashekhar Maury

    thanks sir ji

  • Pravin……

    Really very helpful and informative….thank you insight.

  • maical

    Thanks sir

  • Saurabh Pratap Singh