IAS Target

Strategy How To Deal With Essay Writing Challenges

Tips for Essay Writing
Tips-1 : Think for 25-30 minutes -

Think before you start the Essay writing and organize all the points in structured form in 10 minutes.

Example :

Essay on Science and Technology Science and technology in the past, like in ancient times, then further evolution in the medieval and modern world. Application of S&T, benefit, disadvantages. S&T in different fields, country-wise analysis, govt role and implication on people's life. Future prospects, defense, human welfare, etc...means think how much you think.

Youve 3 hours to write the essay. Dont immediately start

  • 1st try to recollect everything that the aspirant can remember/want to say about the subject of the essay.
  • Take a pencil & write all the important points (in very brief) on the last page of the answer sheet.
  • Discerning if there is any possibility of adding some diagram or table in it?

Once youre done adding everything that you can think about regarding the essay - then give those topics in order of preference. The order is very important.

The order should be -
  • Introduction
  • Background / History related
  • Main concept / theory / what the subject is about,
  • Current scenario related to it.
  • Good sides
  • Negative sides / obstacles
  • Suggested reforms
  • Conclusion
Tips-2 : What Not To Write In Essay -
  • Autocracy is better than democracy. So you should never justify certainly the solution to Indias problems.
  • Excessive criticism of Govt/administration.
  • Pick out negative sides without suggesting reforms in it.
Tips-3 : Provocative Essays -

Occasionally the essay topics are given in such a way that you want to agree all the way.

E.g. Making India a Hindu Rashtra or based only on single faith Govt's charity in poor people should stop.

It is Easier to criticize nonworking things than fix them. Do not give filmy solutions to real-life problems. (R-2 / Gabbar.)

Tips-4 :Do Not Get Personal -
  • Dont go naming individual politicians their achievements/scandals (Lalu Yadav, Mukhtar Ansari, etc.)
  • (Except in the foreign policy related essay, where youve to analyze from complete Jawahar Lal Nehrus Panchsheel era to Atal Bihari Vajpayees Pakistan Bus visit & current affairs) our Foreign policy has changed with every single prime minister, so there names need to be mentioned.
  • Never write an essay talking like, Indian National Congress did this, and Bhartiya Janta Party did that. Its the characteristic of a layman, not of a future administrative officer.
  • Give a balanced answer without getting into hero-worship or mud slinging.
  • Only criticizing elected Government by the people in the essay alone was going to make you IAS officer.
  • An officers trait is to remain anonymous, faceless, and neutral- meaning your essay should look like it has been written by a graduate.
Same Applies For -
  • Religion / culture/ language-literature (in philosophical essays)
  • States (in polity / federalism / Development)
  • Writing the essay without having any personal view/ opinion or righteous anger, and you mustnt become too much passionate about certain things.
  • You can never be sure about what will be the political/ideological/ religious/regional alignment of the examiner.
  • This suggestion also applies while dealing with Public Administration (optional subject).
Tips-5: Quotes -
  • Dont make an error in writing who said what. For E.g., you quote Gandhi's sentence & write Swami Vivekanand said it.
  • Quote entirely as it was said, not manipulate in your own words.
Tips-6: Padding & Deviating From The Subject -
  • Even in the worst scenario, aspirants are expected to write 1200 to 1500 words for a 250 marks essay.
  • Stuffing means you dont know the correct answer, so you just beat around the bushes & write the garbage stuff to fill up the pages, so dont try to use these tactics in the essay paper.
  • Dont write too numerous proverbs/quotes/ (invented) case studies/examples per page. It makes the examiner think that youre just filling up the pages of the answer sheet.
Do not pick up the subject where your idea or thought content is very low.
  • Ex. you picked up Panchsheel Principles between India and China, So you start, and After four pages, your thoughts and ideas are exhausted. Only 500 words wont get you any marks! Now you cant repeat those pages and write a new essay on a new topic; youve wasted enough time on this one.
  • But you decide to continue with this Panchsheel Principles essay and start rewriting the same content you already stated in different ways, and then youll deviate from the main topic- like Panchsheel Principles is relevant in current geopolitical scenario.
  • So we need to switch to related topics like not following Panchsheel Principles make things worse than relate to the global tension you write about the pro-cons of adhering to Panchsheel Principes.
  • You have messed up the whole thing; you totally differ from the subject. Your essay doesnt have any flow of thoughts, idea or proper rhythm. The seasoned examiners immediately sniff out this padding, and they dont give any marks for it; your anticipated score for this kind of garbage writing is less than 50/200 means even with a decent score in all other papers, your chances of getting an interview call are close to zero. Youve jeopardized your chances of selection in IAS; youve dug your own grave.
Thats why -
  • Take great care in picking up the subject.
  • First 30-40 minutes for thorough thinking.
  • Stick to the subject.
Suggestions -
  • An essay is not something that can be learned by reading one book or by reading for one month.
  • Its a continuous and long process that takes some diverse reading before youve enough content to write something decent to get more than marks.
  • Editorials of English newspapers (it is advisable that aspirants should not get swayed by either leftist or capitalist stuff perched by both sides)
  • Magazines like Frontline, yojana, and Kurukshetra. (these magazines give aspirants the useful information and statistical data to quote like how many % illiterate & so on, nevertheless again dont use exaggerated statistical data for stuffing, and most crucially dont innovate your own case studies & stat data)
  • Watch English news channels and discussions/debates on national and international issues.
  • Comprehend the old question papers and try to make an outline of each and every Essay asked so far.