“Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep closely to the subject of the essay, to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion, and to write concisely.”
In the essay part of the IAS (UPSC CSE) paper, along with the content, the examiners also pay attention to language, coherence, and the way you organize your write-up.
Download Durshetty’s list of essays to prepare here.
Source of Preparation
For the best preparation of the Essay Paper, collecting information and material from the correct sources is very important. Here are a few sources that the aspirants must rely on, while preparing for the IAS Mains Essay Paper.
- Reading non-fiction books occasionally in free time helps in developing a matured process of thinking.
- It imparts knowledge, good figures of speech, the art of argumentation, strong rhetoric, and unique content.
Referring to Specific Magazines
- Magazines like Yojana/EPW/Economic Survey, etc. can be referred for certain topics.
- They provide the latest statistics along with praises/criticisms of government schemes in specific sectors.
Collecting Good Stories/Quotes/Anecdotes
- Note down the stories and anecdotes in newspapers and non-fiction books.
- Use quotes from Eminent people too.
Find Anudeep Durishetty’s collection of quotes and anecdotes here.
Improvisation of Language and Expression
- Don’t use complex jargon, keep it simple.
- Define the complex definitional terms in one sentence before using them.
- Sentences should be short and powerful.
- If a sentence makes you run out of breath, break it into two.
- Use a few powerful words and good phrases.
- Reading newspapers and non-fiction books builds vocabulary.
- On coming across an unfamiliar word or phrase, note it down and learn its meaning and contextual usage.
- Keep a dictionary app on your phone.
Subheadings and Rough Drafts
- Be a little innovative with subheadings.
- Use creative words and phrases instead of bland and common sub-headings.
- Make rough drafts of a few essay topics.
Click here for Anudeep Durishett’s collections of subheadings and rough drafts of essays.
Things to Avoid
- Don’t dwell on one topic or dimension. The essay needs to be expansive and multidimensional.
- Don’t get carried away from the topic, stick to it.
- Don’t choose a topic you are not sure about. If there is a technical term in the topic, make sure you understand it correctly.
- Avoid making any extreme or highly unpopular opinion.
- Don’t rant about any topic. Present both positive and negative aspects of any topic and end on a balanced note.
- Don’t dedicate too much time to one essay and hurry through the other. Divide the given time wisely.
The Transition from One Paragraph to Another
The transition between the paragraphs should always be smooth and not abrupt. Thus, here are a few ways how you can achieve a smooth transition while changing the paragraph and not make it look sudden or abrupt.
Through a Sentence at the End of the Paragraph
For this technique, you can write the para on a certain topic and hint at the change in the next paragraph with a few words at the end of the prior one. The last sentence containing a few hinting words will link the two paragraphs.
Through a Question
Instead of using the hinting words in the form of a sentence, use them in a question. The question raised in the prior paragraph shall be answered in the next one, thus connecting the two.
Signaling the Shift at the Start of the Next Para
This technique is the opposite of the first technique. It involves making the change in the next paragraph with the hint of the previous paragraph in a few words. Here, the first sentence continues the topic from the previous paragraph and then shifts to a different one at the end of it.
Introduction of the Essay
- Use one of the following to write a good introduction to your essay-
- A fictitious incident or a story (where you introduce a character)
- A real-life anecdote
- A quote
- Newspapers, magazines, and books have real-life incidents and anecdotes. Note them down and see where you can use them.
Developing the Main Content
Choose the option that fits your topic from the following:
- Temporal: Past, present, and future.
- Sectoral: Media, Science & Tech, Sports, Business, Religion, Politics, Administration, etc.
- Walks of life: Individual, Family, Professional Workplace, Society, Community, National, and Global.
- Problem and Solution: Concept (historical evolution+ status), benefits, problems, solutions.
- Standard: Social, Political, Administrative, International, Historical, Environmental, Scientific, Legal, Security/Defence.
Substantiating your Argument
- In each paragraph of the main body, add an argument or idea and back it with a reason.
- Try adding a real-life example/ statistics/ an authentic committee or organizational report, etc.
- They add authority to your arguments.
Concluding your Essay
- The conclusion must be futuristic and optimistic.
- Summarise the essay in 3-4 sentences and then add your vision.
- Use rhetorics, lofty expressions, quotes, shlokas, constitutional ideas, etc.
- If you had introduced a character in the introduction, finish in relation to that character.
Find a sample essay written by Anudeep Durishetty here.
Above are the strategies followed and shared by the IAS (UPSC CSE) topper of 2017 Anudeep Durishetty. Links to her handmade notes have been provided also. She swears by these tips to help and we hope that they help you too.