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How to Write A Top-Scoring Essay in UPSC Mains 2022: Part 2


Hello Dear Student!

The UPSC Mains Exam is barely 1.5 months away. We hope that you are preparing sincerely and not just reading but writing a lot of tests in an exam-like environment! Keep going and persevere through every feeling of self-doubt or fear that you may have. Do not give up, not now. Writing the Mains Exam is a golden opportunity, you must utilize it in an optimal manner! Do not waste this opportunity!

As you are well aware, the UPSC Mains Exam is the most important stage & can be the determining factor that influences the final outcome. One of the easiest but oft-ignored methods to ensure a high overall score is to work hard at the Essay Paper. (This is article 2 in the series! Read article 1 here. )


What are the mistakes to avoid in an Essay?


In the introduction, you must state your thesis– your opinion regarding the topic/issue. Thus, do not show ambivalence in the essay or deviate from your stand that you have emphatically taken in the beginning.

Do not contradict yourself or your ideas.


Eg: Para 1: The problem of malnourishment can be solved by implementing the recommendations of X committee.

Para 2: Additionally, man has made giant strides towards setting up a colony on Mars.

Ensure a smooth & logical flow throughout.


Eg : As the sun rose over the horizon,the crimson-golden hues created a magnificent & picturesque scene.The warmth radiating from the rising sun enveloped her in a warm embrace, soothing her broken & tattered soul.

Instead, use simple language & make your point in a brief & concise manner.

  • USING JARGON which is hard to comprehend & may require specialized knowledge

Instead, use simple language

  • Avoid bringing complicated vocabulary or terms from your specialized area of study which may be incomprehensible to most.
  • Your essay shouldn’t be full of recondite content.


  • Use short sentences.
  • Be brief & precise
  • One shouldn’t lost track of what one is reading due to long & tortuous sentences.


  • ”We are ALL like this.”
  • ”This will ALWAYS be a problem!”
  • ”They will NEVER overcome this.”
  • ”We should ONLY follow this approach.”

REPITITION of Ideas, examples, sentences!

  • Do not use such tactics to lengthen your Essay, the examiner will see through them.



  • Eg:The population of town X decided that if everyone had chosen option A, then the outcome would’ve been B. Based on this, we can conclude that choosing option A is the best way forward.

Use real-world examples, it makes a more persuasive case.

Spelling & Grammatical errors

  • While you don’t have to be a prolific writer, please proof-read the writing once to rectify any spelling/grammatical errors.
  • Wrong grammar can distort the meaning of the sentence
  • Eg: confusion between your & you’re ; it’s & its; tenses, etc

Using ‘you’ & ‘your’: 

  • May be perceived as disrespectful
  • Do not address the reader personally

-Eg: ”Would you choose to follow this path at this stage?” Is not an appropriate sentence

Instead, “Would we choose to follow this path at this stage?”

Using Passive Voice: 

  • Eg: The scheme was implemented by the authorities in C State.

Instead use Active Voice

– it’s more effective, direct(ACTIVE) & hence more persuasive!

-Eg: The authorities implemented Y  scheme in C state & the outcomes were as desired.


  • You are not expected to have beautiful handwriting like this:

  • Instead, just write neatly, legibly & ensure that you make the examiner’s life easier & they won’t be left frustrated trying to decipher your writing as if it’s from an ancient age which is yet to be deciphered.

Want to know more about mistakes to avoid while writing an essay & how to bring in dimensions? Watch session 1 of our FREE ESSAY & ETHICS workshop conducted by Vinay Sir here:

We will be back next week with article 3 in this series. Comment below & let us know about the status of your UPSC Preparation for MAINS 2022 or for the next attempt. Do you have any other valuable tips on mistakes to avoid in the essay paper? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you!

Believe in yourself & keep going.

Until next time!