Rank - 8, Civil Services Examination 2008-09, ROLL NO:012651
For syllabus and previous years topics in Essay paper visit: www.IASaspirants.com
In Civil Services (Mains) Examination, Essay is compulsory and important paper. The paper is of 200 marks paper requiring one to write one essay in 3 hrs. It is usually on 2nd day of GS mains paper with compulsory English paper in the evening.
ESSAY is an important part of mains especially since a difference of 30 marks can be decisive in one getting interview call or for the final rank, which may affect service you get. Let us first analyze the words given in notification/syllabus for the essay (most dependable place to get direction for writing essay):-
- One is expected TO KEEP CLOSELY TO THE SUBJECT of the essay (focus should not be lost)
- To ARRANGE YOUR IDEAS IN ORDERLY FASHION (see the emphasis here is on your own ideas n order in presentation)
- Pay special attention to candidate's GRASP OF HIS MATERIAL, RELEVANCE TO THE SUBJECT CHOSEN (grasp means clarity of thought and obviously the material should be relevant to the topic chosen, and then only should be included in the essay)
- ABILITY TO THINK CONSTRUCTIVELY (having an optimistic orientation, especially while giving innovative solutions to the problem being discussed towards the end of essay....)
To present one's ideas CONCISELY, LOGICALLY AND EFFECTIVELY. (Very important point is here. Logically means idea should be logically analyzed, sentences connected logically and paragraphs also have a logical connection so a flow in essay may be there. Effectively means the idea should be communicated to the examiner in the manner you have interpreted it and should be convincing)
Credit will be given for EFFECTIVE AND EXACT EXPRESSION. (Thus, not only the ideas are important but the way they are presented is equally important)
- -selection of topic is important. Usually we used to prepare on themes (more generalized than topics-like education, gender issues, science and tech) but last years paper shows that unexpected topics may turn up.
- -write MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS, consider the essay topic at BROADEST LEVEL (e.g. in essay on education, everyone will mention functional literacy. Why not write about legal literacy (knowledge about one's rights) or financial literacy (managing savings through bank account and role of NREGA to provide financial literacy to rural people as it gives payments only through a bank account)
- -most of us must be making a BLUEPRINT before writing the essay proper where we jot down points and then decide which should b written first, which one next so that a flow is there in the essay. we can easily give around 35-40 minutes for same and utilize remaining time to write essay in about 1200 words (though officially no word limit has been prescribed, but 1200 is considered good enough to write quality essay and manage time for blueprint also)
- -a good essay has 3 parts-INTRODUCTION, BODY and CONCLUSION. Basically, the debating of topic happens in body but innovative solutions and suggestions can be given in conclusion. Conclusion should portray hope and vision.
- -content in the essay should have analysis, insights etc.
- -don’t start with quotations, I believe an innovative and currents related introduction will be best. E.g.: The essay I wrote in mains had first line as health is the central focus of inclusive growth. This had focus on topic-health n innovation in form of connecting it to the inclusive growth. This also gave it a contemporary touch.
- -for body, interlinking the requirement of your essay with knowledge of GS, both optionals, magazines like The Hindu and your own opinion will help. I used knowledge of sociology optional extensively in the essay but without giving any technical details like thinker’s names or sociological jargon.
(The content with some editing has been taken from http://garima-mittal-ias.blogspot.com/2010/08/essay.html)