Civil Services (Main) Examination – How to write a good essay?

What is essay?

Essay is a short literary composition on a particular issue. The essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything.

I. Personal Essay: It is a reflective biography in which the essayist sees the world through his own eyes.

II. Objective, factual and concrete essay: Here, the writer does not talk about himself directly, but goes on some topic. In this type of essay, the art of writing involves moving forward, passing judgment, and drawing general conclusions from relevant data.

III. Abstract-universal type of essays: These are neither personal nor objective type, they are abstract with an inclination towards philosophy.

UPSC issues a detailed notification on the scheme of Civil Services Examination every year. As per the UPSC notification, the expectations in the essay paper have been put in the following words.

Candidates may be required to write essay on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep close to the topic of the essay, express their ideas in an orderly manner and write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and precise expressions.

How to Structure the Essay Topic:

Although there is no word limit prescribed by UPSC for writing an essay, it is generally believed that it should be 900-1000 words. The first paragraph of the introduction should be around 200 words. In the introduction, the essence of the topic should be highlighted by capturing the topic, and disclosing the author’s position.

Thus, the introduction is very important to convey to the examiner the understanding of the issue in the subject of the essay by the candidate. After the introduction, one should plan to write five to six paragraphs of similar size, that is, each paragraph comprises of 150 words or more. Each paragraph should be linked with each other.

That is to say, there should be a link between each paragraph in the sense of the developing story. In these paragraphs, different dimensions of the issue should be raised. Each paragraph should have an independent dimension and not a mixture of ideas.

Finally, the conclusion should summarize the entire writing and also provide a way forward. The conclusion should always be shorter than the introduction and ideally not more than 150 words.

Attempting Different Topics of Essay Paper

  • Philosophical Essays: The recent emphasis in the essay paper is on philosophical essays. At least three to four essays belong to this category. To attempt a philosophical essay, one should be fairly well aware of the thoughts, quotes of various philosophers, writers, publicists. For example, they should be familiar with the works of Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Gandhi, Buddha, Ambedkar etc. One should also have knowledge of the words used in ethics, namely; Compassion, kindness, empathy, generosity, goodwill, etc. and judiciously use them wherever they are found relevant and relevant.
  • Essay on Socio-Economic Topics: It requires a good understanding of contemporary social and economic issues and only careful study of issues related to social evils like women, lower caste problems, dowry, corruption, patriarchy etc. Essay on these topics can provide writing facility.
  • Essay on International Relations: Contemporary issues in International Relations, namely, refugee crisis, climate negotiations, wars, Cold War 2.0, etc., form the topics in this category of essay paper. It is clear that one needs to have a very good hold on these international issues by reading newspapers, magazines etc. widely.
  • Essay on Political Topics: There is always an essay topic on current political issues. It could be on Panchayati Raj, federalism, state of Indian democracy, role of opposition or other related issues. Again, a close look at the developments on the political front would help in writing such essays.

Caution: There are some misconceptions about the essay paper prevalent among the candidates. The first is to underline some of their sentences to attract the examiner’s attention. It is clarified that no such thing is required. The examiner himself will know what is important in your writing and what is not; rather you focus on your sentence by underlining it. You may think that a particular sentence of yours is very catchy, but that may not be the case with the examiner. Second, don’t include diagrams and charts in your essay paper.

About the author

Rangukumari Jha (Founder of, who is professional Blogger & YouTuber (Finance & investment) from Goa, India. She is a basically from Account & Finance Department and qualified from St. Xavier College, Goa with some skills of Personality Development and Marketing filed. Her interest in computers & the internet has made her a self-proclaimed geek.

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