The UPSC Mains 2020 is approaching and the bright bulbs of our society are preparing for it. One of the most interesting and sometimes difficult things about the mains are essays. Writing down 1000-1200 words at a stretch, canvassing your opinions and thoughts about a given topic is piece of cake for some and a nightmare for others. After all, 125 marks ride on each essay which is a big deal by all means. Let us help you out with a few Dos and Donts to make sure your essays don’t fall short of being masterpieces.
Ideal Structure of an essay written in the UPSC examination
A good essay fills the reader’s mind with intrigue and leaves them satisfied that the given subject has been tackled and a well-drawn out conclusion has been put forward. A good essay lets the reader form a more informed opinion on what is discussed in the essay.
Here is the structure of a good essay.
Introduction of the topic
This part sheds light on what the essay is going to be all about. You don’t have to jump into the topic straight here and can move around before delving into it.
This is the part where you talk about the subject head-on. A neutral and rich language (one that chooses words carefully but doesn’t throw obscure vocabulary at the reader) defines this portion of your essay.
Current scenario/current news related to the topic
The next section pries into the impact of the events included in your topic on the current world and how the world is taking it forward from here. You may also include forecasts here, if you can be positive about their probability.
Positive and negative aspects
Every coin has two sides – everything in the world has good aspects and bad. This section of your essay would cover the pros and cons, good and bad about your chosen subject of discussion.
Should your essay run towards changes or showcasing a different world in the future, this is where you bring up the obstacles in the way ahead.
Once you have shown the challenges, it turns to shed light on possible solutions. Practical solutions to practical problems never fail to impress any reader’s mind.
Summarise your essay or pen down your conclusion here. Keep this section short and sweet as there is a very good chance your audience is beginning to lose patience by the time they reach the concluding part.
Try to get your essay covering most of these things and you should be impressing the evaluator quite a bit
Have Thorough Knowledge
You get four topics to choose two from. Write your essay on the ones you think you know best about. Trying to write something on a topic you don’t really know anything on would be detrimental to your score. Each essay offers 125 marks. Make sure you possess adequate information and can write a long essay on your chosen topic.
Once you have chosen your subject, take a few minutes to think about what you’re going to write. Don’t start off hastily. Decide what you want to write about beforehand. Write your points down on a rough paper if you want to before beginning to pen it down for real.
Structure First, Write Later
Be sure to form the structure of your blog once you have decided what points you will be making. Once you establish your structure, it will be a smooth ride ahead as you’ll be deterred from straying too far away from the task at hand.
Add quotes/statistics/govt. References
Quotes from famous personalities, leaders, philosophers etc. tend to have a positive impact on the reader’s mind. Statistics and figures too have a similar effect. However, include numbers only if are 100% sure about their authenticity and accuracy. Doing this is not mandatory, but earns a few brownie points from the reader.
Avoid Aggression/Extreme Points of View
Extremism in any case only serves to worsen things or turn them bad if they already weren’t. No type of extremist values or aggression is entertained in UPSC. Officers are expected to keep a calm, composed mind. Let it reflect through the writing as well.
Don’t Show Problem(s) Only / Avoid Unwarranted Criticism of any Kind
In case your essay features highlighting a social issue or administrative problems, don’t forget to include a possible solution as well. In case you cannot focus on the solution more than a problem, it is best to avoid writing about it in the first place. Remember, you drafted your structure right at the beginning.
Personal Attacks or Personal Experience Have No Place in UPSC Mains Essays
Your opinions on a personal level matter very less to the commission. Matters of administration and public service cannot be dictated by dogma, past personal trauma etc. Do not formulate your points based upon your experience, but write as a third-party observer.
Don’t Show Dreams of a Utopian World
The commission recruits officers to solve real-world practical problems. At the very-least manage those problems so that they don’t harm the common folks. Writing down about an ideal world will only serve to put the reader’s mind off and will do more harm than any good to your essay.
A readable and well-formatted essay is written with a clear, calm, and composed mind. The essay not only fairly judges a situation, but also analyses what can be done to improve it. It does not bear any extreme views and doesn’t draw such conclusions either. The writer understands practicality and does not stray far from it while the pen runs on the paper. The reader feels satisfied after reading a good essay.
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