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.
- 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.
- Underline or circle a key word in each topic. Think over them for a few minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once you have chosen a topic, next step involves planning and brainstorming.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Now the raw material for your essay is ready. The blueprint is ready.
Writing an Essay
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.