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HOW TO WRITE A TOP-SCORING ESSAY to ACE UPSC MAINS 2022?

 

Hello Dear Student!

We’re back with an article on how to ace the UPSC Mains 2022! The UPSC Mains Exam is the most important stage & can be the determining factor that influences the final outcome & your rank.

One of the easiest but oft-ignored methods to ensure a high overall score is to work hard at the Essay Paper.

 

So, how to write a top-scoring essay?

  • READ THE UPSC NOTIFICATION

Didn’t expect that, did you?

First learn what is expected by UPSC & then act upon it.

 

“Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics.”

Thus, be aware of multiple topics. How do we ensure that?

READ! 

Develop a reading habit- read fiction & non-fiction books, broaden your horizons, learn to think & analyse all that you read.

Reading diverse books will also help you collect a rich array of examples!

“I read & think. Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

Warren Buffet

 

Do it! Reading sets you apart from the herd & will fetch you high marks.

Furthermore,UPSC says “They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay.”

 

Learn to write with relevance. Read the topic twice & think about it for 2 minutes. You may then brainstorm & write a rough framework- keeping closely to the topic. Stick to what is asked!

 

UPSC goes on to add “They must arrange their ideas in orderly fashion, and write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.”

 

Note 3 main keywords from the above statement :

(a) IDEAS:

“An idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”

John F. Kennedy

Bring your original ideas to the table; an essay is all about presenting your original ideas on paper & making a persuasive case for your opinions.

How does one get ideas? READ!

 

(b) ARRANGE THEM IN AN ORDERLY FASHION : 

Ensure that there’s a clear & logical flow to your essay. Do not make it haphazard & ill-structured. Write it like a story with a coherent flow & an orderly assimilation of ideas.

 

Best way to do this? Use TRANSITIONAL/LINKING WORDS! 

Transitional words help forge a connection between your ideas & paragraphs & ensure a logical & neat flow throughout the essay.

Words like:

  • Furthermore
  • Additionally
  • Moreover
  • Accordingly
  • In contrast to 
  • Despite 
  • Hence, Therefore, Thus
  • Since, etc

Can be used.

 

(c) WRITE CONCISELY: 

Be brief & precise. Do not beat around the bush. Don’t carry forward the tendency of writing 1 idea or sentence in 10 different ways. The examiner will see through this tactic.

Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.”

Louise Brooks

 

BE ORIGINAL :

Don’t follow the herd or blindly imitate every strategy you find on the internet.

Stay away from trite approaches like PESTEL, temporal, spatial: 99% follow this!

If you want a top score, differentiate yourself by bringing forth your originality.

Again, READ.

 

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS:

Don’t start your essays with stories just because somebody else does it- especially the rudimentary type where “X was a person who grew up & accomplished Y, so let’s learn from this!”

Or the listing of contrasting scenarios/cases.

Instead, Do what you’re good at- if you’re a poet: write poetry. If you have a collection of wonderful anecdotes, use them. Do you have a powerful & relevant quote that relates to the topic or an eyeball-grabbing fact or idea?Use it!

Hook the reader & entice them with an interesting start.

 

USE A VARIETY OF DIMENSIONS:

Enrich your essay with a multitude of dimensions. Ensure that each dimension is correlated with & easily transitions into the next one.

 

BREADTH OF IDEAS with good analysis > DEPTH(do not delve deeply into just 1 dimension or idea).

 

USE COUNTER-EXAMPLES & COUNTER ARGUMENTS : 

A good writer(& bureaucrat) takes into account the opposing views too. This is essential to present a nuanced & balanced essay. Showcase both sides of the story.

If you have an opinion X, take into account opinion Y too.

 

How does one do this effectively?

ASK QUESTIONS. 

Find holes in your argument & think about ways the opposing side may undermine your argument. Acknowledge why the opposing side may be right too with examples & reasons, but then state why your opinion/idea is more logical.

 

Illustrate with real-world examples – the differing consequences of following the divergent ideas/opinions presented in the essay.

 

An essay should represent you on paper. Thus, be balanced & acknowledge diverse views.

 

This adds to the credibility of your argument & opinion.

Remember : “The main Examination is intended to assess the overall intellectual traits and depth of understanding of candidates rather than merely the range of their information and memory.” 

Thus,

READ, UNDERSTAND, ANALYSE, BE ORIGINAL & SHOWCASE YOUR IDEAS coherently.

 

This was ARTICLE- 1 in the series.

We will be back with article-2 next week & delve deeper into “how to write a top-scoring essay?” We will also learn how to structure an essay & effectively implement all this with an example!

 

PS- There’s a surprise awaiting you’ll tomorrow! 

 

Comment below and let us know if you found this helpful? And please leave your valuable tips on how to write a top-scoring essay too! And, can you take a guess at what the surprise is? Comment below and we will tell you if you’re right(tomorrow)!

Until next time!