The essay paper in UPSC Mains: What you should know
Writing is a mandatory requirement for any UPSC aspirant. Knowing what to write and how to present one’s thoughts on a paper and explain one’s understanding of a concept is a vital talent that each aspirant must possess. It can be an inherent talent or an acquired one. But to tackle essays in a competitive exam like the UPSC, writing is a must-have requisite.
The UPSC exam essays are legendary. Although they are the most scoring paper, they are also the only paper where the UPSC syllabus is not clearly defined. It is also one of the most neglected papers that are often taken lightly or completely ignored.
However, the essay holds importance and can influence the outcome. To make the most of the essay paper, aspirants need to be aware of essay topics and the important aspects of writing a good essay.
All about the UPSC essay paper
Every reliable IAS training institute makes their candidates aware of all the important factors of the essay paper in the UPSC Mains.
The essay paper has two sections, and each section has four topics. Candidates can choose any one topic from each section. An essay carries 125 marks, making it a total of 250 marks for the essay paper alone.
Many candidates make the mistake of not focussing on the essay paper because of its general nature and because it has no separate study material. Candidates should be prudent enough to choose essay topics that are based on their studies and optional subjects. Each essay carries a word allotment of 1000-1200 words, which can be time-consuming if you are not well-versed with the chosen topic.
To write two 1000-odd word essays within the three-hour duration needs a lot of practice.
Tips for structuring your essay:
Aspirants should follow these tips to write impressive essays to garner maximum marks.
- Ensure the essay stays relevant to the chosen topic.
- Write in an organised, orderly fashion by writing the most relevant facts first.
- Keep your sentences concise and precise.
- The essay should have an introduction, the main content and finish with a proper conclusion.
- Remember that credit is provided for the proper form of speech.
- Your mastery in grammar, coherence, and writing structure is also taken into account.
- Your essays should have a historical perspective and have all the facts and events related to the topic.
- Take care to ensure that your views on the topic are not biased but balanced and neutral.
- Take extra care to avoid any spelling or grammatical errors.
Important essay topics for the UPSC Mains
There is no given syllabus for the UPSC Mains essay paper. Hence aspirants must learn, analyse, and prepare in-depth notes on some general topics such as:
- India and its relations with its neighbouring countries.
- Child labour and the restrictions imposed by Indian laws.
- Impact of technological advancement in Indian society.
- The changing trends in Indian agriculture and economic reforms.
- India’s health infrastructure.
- The status and condition of women in Indian society.
- India’s Foreign Policy and bilateral issues.
- Border security.
- Urban and rural divide in India and the role of technology.
- Child age, youth age, and old age in India.
- Structure of the Indian economy.
- Environmental changes and their impact across the globe.
The topics asked in the exams can be an interplay of the above-mentioned macro topics. Having a thorough knowledge of these topics will help you write a good essay.
Tips from a leading IAS training institute on writing an impressive essay
Your UPSC exam preparation should have a specific time devoted to essay writing. That is the only way one can master the art of writing an essay worthy of scoring great marks in a competitive exam like the UPSC Mains.
- Avoid sharing any personal information or anecdotes from your personal life in the essay.
- Allow it to be simple and lucid, so it holds the person’s attention who corrects the paper.
- Transitioning from one paragraph to the next should be organic and well-blended.
- Always present your views in a neutral tone because the essay is given to assess your intellectual capacity, rationalising aptitude, and logical thinking.
- Have a strong introduction and an equally strong conclusion.
- Always stick to the active voice while writing the essay.
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