Samajho UPSC Essay Series | Part 1 | How to Write an Effective Essay?

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How to Write an Effective Essay?


  • Essay paper carries the same marks as any GS paper, yet it does not require as extensive efforts as one needs for GS. With minimal and effective strategy one can score as high as 140 plus marks in essay paper. Pay attention that, to score the same number of marks (140 plus) in any GS paper, one needs to prepare extensively and exclusively, and yet such a high score is not guaranteed. But for essay paper, such extensive and exclusive preparation is not required, if you follow a proper strategy.
Essay Paper GS Paper
250 marks = 2 essays, score more than 140 250 marks = more than 20 topics, struggle to score more than 100
No separate prepration required, only proper strategy and practice needed Separate and exclusive prepration required
Essay paper will boost your score and rank. Toppers usually scores high in essay paper. Best cost:benefit ratio

Table1: Significance of Essay Paper

  • Generally aspirants can grouped into three categories as far essay paper preparation is concerned:
    1. Those who put too much efforts and time
    2. Those who simply neglect essay preparation and directly write first essay in exam hall
    3. Those who follow proper strategy with sufficient efforts and time
  • Category 1 and 2 aspirants fail to score high in essay paper and thus their final selection gets hampered.
  • Category 3 aspirants not only score high in essay paper but also get better rank.
  • Essay paper along with optional papers can either break or make your entry into IAS. Thus it is necessary to have a proper, simple yet effective strategy for essay paper. In the following section we are going to explore such a strategy.
Now Let's Explore Various Dimensions of Effective Essay Writing

The Content:

  • The backbone of an effective and high scoring essay is solid content. Now from where we can get such solid content. Answer is pretty simple. The GS Syllabus.
  • The entire syllabus of GS is content for our essay writing. And mind that, the core content of our Essay will come from our GS preparation. For example, to write an essay on a  current affairs based topic like India’s Foreign Policy in Multilateralism, we will get solid content from the static syllabus of International Relation (GS2).
  • GS syllabus provides solid foundation and depth to our essay, without it the essay will become dull and ineffective.
  • Therefore, our GS preparation indirectly helps in our Essay preparation, and we do not study differently for content.

So the very first step in our strategy is: Master GS syllabus.

Making Essay Alive:

  • Now essay writing is a dynamic process. Thus mere GS knowledge, though it is the backbone of our essay,  is not sufficient to score high in essay paper. We have to make our essay interactive & persuasive.
  • How to make essays interactive and persuasive? Here comes the role of anecdotes, quotes and good command over language.
  • Anecdotes and quotes can be compiled from current affairs sources, whereas good command over language is developed by practice.
  • We have already compiled anecdotes and quotes for you. (link)

So the second step in our strategy is: Making essay dynamic and persuasive with help of anecdotes, quotes, and good command over language.

The Edge:

  • To add edge to our essays, follow following things:
    • Reading newspapers daily: Regular newspapers reading will help to
      • Build a strong vocabulary
      • Case studies, real life examples, quotes and anecdotes
      • It is advisable to make short notes from newspapers.
    • Reading government magazines
      • Magazines like Yojana, Kurukshetra, etc cover one specific theme in a holistic way.
      • This is very useful content for our essay papers. It gives us all relevant and authentic data at one place. For example, the theme of every year’s March Month Yojana is the Government Budget, thus we get relevant financial data with analysis.
    • Previous Year Essay Papers
      • From these we get a list of recurring themes, so that we can streamline our essay preparation effectively.
    • Practice, practice and practice
      • To master the art of essay writing it is very necessary to write a sufficient number of full length essays.
      • You can join either our essay test series or write previous year essays and get them evaluated.
Now Let’s Discuss The Structure of The Actual Essay

Essay should be well structured in to following three parts:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

Let us discuss them one by one..

Writing Introduction:
  • Introduction to essay is like the Preamble to our Constitution. Thus like the Preamble, our introduction should be:
    • Concise, yet it should give a brief idea about the topic of our essay.
    • It should generate curiosity in the mind of evaluter.
  • All these things can be satisfied by writing:
    • An anecdote
    • A story
    • An quote
    • Historical example
    • Giving relevant facts and stats
    • Current affairs based relevant incident
    • Framing a relevant question
    • Decoding and defining given keywords in essay topic
  • Remember that, the length of introduction should be around 120-150 words.
Writing Body:
  • By writing an introduction we introduced our topic, now we must dive into our essay topic. Body should be coherent, it should have flow and it should cover all relevant dimensions.
  • To achieve all these qualities in our essay, we can use following methods:
  • The Braking and Making Approach:
    • In this approach, to achieve all above mentioned qualities in our essay, break the given essay topic into numerous small small questions.
    • These questions should be framed in such a way that there should be logical flow and sense of movement in our essay.
    • Answers to these questions will be our main body.
    • Now let’s frame some questions. Consider the essay topic: Floods in India
      • Always start with a simple question: What is that? For example, what is meant by flood or flooding?
      • Now, explore causes for the given phenomena or issue. For example, what are the causes for floods in India?
      • Cover as many dimensions as possible or required. For example,
        • Natural (technical) or geographical causes
        • Environmental Causes
        • Anthropogenic or manmade causes
        • Miscellaneous Causes
      • Now, we will explore the impact given phenomena or issues. Here also try to cover as many dimensions as possible or required, such as:
        • Natural (technical) or geographical impact
        • Environmental impact
        • Impact on society:
          • society as a whole,
          • various sections of society such as weaker sections, women, children, old age people, etc
        • Economic impact
        • Political impact
        • Impact on India’s international image
      • Now, we will explore solutions for given phenomena or issues. Here we will follow multifold approach:
        • First, given generic solutions.
        • Second, here we explore various government’s efforts towards given phenomena or issues. Use following dimensions
          • Constitutional Provisions: various articles and provisions regarding given phenomena or issues.
          • Legislative mechanisms: various acts made by parliament or state legislatures
          • Institutional mechanisms: various regulatory bodies or governing bodies established by the government. For example NDMA, SBI,etc
          • International Conventions, protocols or initiative
    • Now, while writing these solutions, also write their critical review.
  • The Temporal Approach:
    • Now we will explore temporal dimensions for writing essays.
    • Temporal dimensions include:
      • Past, Present and Future
    • Here we explore the given topic from a historical perspective. We trace its origin, subsequent development and finally arrive at its present status.
  • The Debate Approach:
    • In this method we present the body in the form of small small debates.
    • We divide the body into various sections that have arguments for and against the statement.
  • Now let's discuss some useful tips to make our essay more attractive:
    • Subheadings
      • Give appropriate subheadings for different passages or dimensions.
    • Diagrams
      • Wherever possible draw some diagrams. Diagrams need not be elaborate, rather they should give brief information about the subject.
    • Dimensions:
      • Social
      • Economic
      • Ecological
      • Cultural
      • Historical
      • Constitutional
      • Political
      • International
      • Legal, laws and acts
      • Ethical
      • Science & Technology
      • Development
      • Government Schemes
      • Personal & Professional Life
      • Problems
      • Solutions
Writing Conclusion:
  • As introduction should invoke a sense of curiosity, the conclusion should invoke the sense of completeness.
  • Thus, conclusion should provide
    • Brief summary of essay topic – this will invoke the sense of completeness
    • Optimistic ending of the essay – this will leave a positive impression.
  • All the elements discussed for introduction writing are equally applicable for conclusion writing.


All the best!!!

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