Many people who clear Prelims, write their first Essay in their first Mains. Because now one has to write essays to two topics, most of the times for many aspirants 2 hours are spent on first essay and one hour is spent on second essay. Obviously, second essay suffers in quality. Overall marks will be either less than 100 or slightly above it. If you score 60 in first essay, you might score 40 in the second.
Many who have secured ranks have scored in the range of 135 to 160 (CSE-2014).
If you score 150 is Essay paper, it is equivalent to scoring 75 marks in Two General Studies Papers each. And the effort it needs is not even half of efforts you put for one General Studies paper.
So, instead of assuming that you can write good essay because anyway you are reading GS so much, or because you were the winner of numerous essay competitions in school and college; irrespective of your past achievements, you must write at least 15 essays before you go for Mains.
Let us illustrate advantages of this exercise with examples:
Neha Kumari who secured Rank 26 in CSE-2014 in her first attempt had never written a single essay before she started her UPSC journey:
Dear Sir,Thanks for considering my request. I am ready for the plunge, and I can assure you that i will put in my best efforts, watever be the circumstances. Hence, I request you to mail me the essay topic. ( my first try at an essay tho.. 🙂 .)Just 1 request , as the time to send the typed essay is 6 hours, i request you to mail me the essay at 7 p.m. today. As before that I will be unable to sit down to write it in office.( on account of disturbance ).
Looking forward to your reply and acceptance.
The above mail was our first communication (12th February 2014) when she wanted to join our classes. We sent her topics (we had adopted a criteria for selection where aspirants had to write two essays before seeking admission) at 7 pm and she sent her essays by 12.15 am same day.
During her stay in Bangalore between February to November 2014, she wrote more than 30 essays. The result is she got 158 Marks in essay paper.
Even Nitish K (Rank 8, CSE-2014), who had scored 85+ in 2013 Mains, improved his score to 142 just by writing 15 essays. So is Balaji (Rank 36, CSE-2014), from 80 he improved his marks to 138.
Good score in Essay along with good marks in their respective Optional subject was crucial in getting them Top 50 ranks.
Because for every one mark there are ten ranks (on an average), if you score 50 marks less in essay, you are pushed back by 500 ranks! Instead of IAS you might end up getting IIS (this is also a good service though).
Therefore, if you are still postponing practising essays, better start now. Write two essays every week. Show them to your friends, colleagues, family members or teachers and get their opinion. You can choose topics from previous papers. You can ask your friends to suggest a topic.
Or you can write essays to topics which we are posting every week on our website (for past 3 years we are posting them every week). Review others essays and get reviews for yours. If you don’t get feedback, it is fine. Just continue to write them and read your essays 2-3 times. You will yourself see what improvements your essay requires.
Just by practising many essays you will improve your score.
If you are dreaming of getting into Top 25, then just 3 marks can make lots of difference. Imagine if you can improve your score by 40-50 marks! And the effort you need to put in is so small compared to optional or GS papers. It is crime not to practice essays.
Even if you are super brilliant and has published an opinion article in the New York Times or in The Hindu, start practising them again. You should not take chances when you badly want to top in this exam.
Start now. Don’t worry about how badly you are going to write. Just start. Instead of writing a bad essay in Mains, better to write it now.
Road to Mussoorie is easy when you take necessary steps and tread along the proven path. Wish you all the best and hope you start practising now.