UPSC Civil Service Mains Paper 1, popularly known as the essay paper, is of 250 marks. Candidates are required to write two essays, each of 125 marks, within 3 hours. Candidates are expected to keep close to the essay’s subject, arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion, and write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.
How to write an effective essay?
To start with the basics, try to write the essay within 1000 to 1100 words. The aspirant is requested to focus on their content, presentation, and the language of the essay. Here, the right mix of all three can improve your score to the top. Hence, make sure that you get your facts right, grammar correct, and the presentation neat.
The content should focus on the main topic and adequately cover each aspect of the topic. Here, the arguments that are made must be coherent and convincing. Hence, a critical and analytical approach has to be taken while the content is created.
The grammar must be correct for tackling the language part, and it should have a clear and lucid expression. Make sure that the punctuations and spellings are made right, or else it can result in a penalty.
To make the presentation of the essay hit the right chord, make sure there is a logical development of ideas and arguments. And the entire essay must be connected with paragraph unity. Each of these paragraphs must contain one aspect that you wish to convey. And if the aspect that you want to share is significant, then you may use two paragraphs. And each essay must have at least 4-5 aspects overall.
One may follow the “Introduction-Body-Conclusion” style for the overall structuring. You may also underline the keywords if necessary, but make sure you do not overdo it. To improve the quality of the essay, an aspirant has to make use of statistics, facts, quotes, examples etc. Do not to make any mistakes here, as the examiners will verify the information you provide. Click here to go through our model Essays, in case you need a head start. Also, keep in mind that your handwriting is neat and legible. Compared to the GS papers, you will have more time to finish the paper comfortably. While the structuring is made, you may use subheadings to control the flow of the essay. It is wise to use the worksheet provided in the booklet to work a rough structure of the essay. I would recommend everyone use this worksheet to plan, instead of jumping right into writing the essay. You may allocate 15-20 minutes to plan how/what to write and use the rest of the time to implement it.
Often, the aspirants tend to allocate less time for their essay preparation. I would like to disagree here as a good mark in the essay paper can improve your rank in the final list. And, the essay is a subject where one can reap the maximum benefits with minimum effort. Hence, I request every aspirant to give their best for this paper. Kindly go through the previous years’ papers to understand the areas from which the essays are usually asked. Start preparing your content, language, presentation by writing essays on these topics. Not only does this help you in the Essay paper, it will also help you remember facts for your other GS papers and help generate points in mains. Officers’ IAS Academy wishes you the very best for your upcoming mains.