#21: How to Write a Good Essay for the UPSC IAS Exam?

Paper 1 of the civil services examination is Essay based where you will be asked to write Essays.250 marks out of 2025 is the weight-age of essay paper. You will be  asked to write two essays out of 8 choices. Each essay is for 125 marks (1000-1200 words) in 3 hours duration.

To write an effective essay you must keep following points in mind:

  • Introduction : Introduction to an essay is like an opening scene to a movie. It should start strong, give a brief idea of what’s coming ahead, and make your audience want for more. A well-crafted introduction creates that urgency and curiosity in the minds of the readers, captivating them into reading the rest of the write-up. A splendid introduction is, therefore, a prerequisite for a splendid essay
  • Historical context
  • Main issue/problem/subject
  • Current scenario/current news related to the topic
  • Positive and negative aspects
  • Obstacles
  • Reforms/way forward

To make your essay look more effective include:

  • Begin with a Quote (or a Poem)— A famous poem or quote is a time-tested way to start the essay. After you write the quote, the rest of the introduction must be an elaboration of the quote, explaining its significance and relevance to the question.
  • Relevant government schemes and policies.
  • Any figures or numbers (must be accurate otherwise don’t include them).

What are things I should avoid while writing an essay? What are the don’ts of essay writing?

  • Never get personal in your essay. You must write essays as an officer and not like a journalist. It should be balanced and positive.
  • Do not come to any opinions or contradict with your Opinions in the same essay. Try to be neutral.
  • And lastly, practice always makes a person perfect, so practicing writing essays before sitting for the actual Exam should be your priority.

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