How to write high Scoring Essay in UPSC Mains

essay preparation for upsc
Written by Dr. SS

In UPSC Mains, one paper is on writing the essay. This is to test the ability of UPSC aspirant to express in a logical and systematic sequence. This paper of essay writing does not only tests your knowledge but also your writing skill or you can say your command over language. Essay writing also checks your skill to frame and expresses your views on issues of your surroundings. In this blog, we are trying to tell you  ‘how to write’ essay for UPSC Mains, when you are in the exam hall.

essay writing

UPSC  Mains Exam:


In UPSC Mains Exam, Paper-I, in ‘Essay writing‘, the candidate will be asked to write two essays. Paper will be divided into two sections and one topic from each section is to be selected by him. Each essay should be about 1000-1200 words which will be evaluated out of 125 marks for each.  Thus it counts 125 x 2=250 marks.

This paper of essay writing plays a crucial role in determining the ranks of the candidates. UPSC Toppers usually score more than 55 % in the paper of essay and score of this paper makes a remarkable difference in the marks of toppers and of that stand comparatively in a lower position in the rank list.

It’s true that in UPSC mains those who has presented the essay in an articulate way with effective expression, they score high.

Here, we are telling you precautions which you are advised to take when you are in exam hall. Your preparation strategy should not end at the entrance of exam hall. While giving UPSC Mains paper, following tips should be considered for essay writing.

1.Take time to decide essay topic to write.time for upsc mains

Selection of correct topic for your essay is equally important as is your writing skill. Try to avoid topics of controversy for your essay and select factual topics where you can give a lot of information.

2.Think for 10-25 minutes before writing essay.essay thinking

In UPSC mains ,you get 3 hrs to write two essays, allocate at least ten minutes for thinking contents of each essay.Technically, we call it Brain Storming Stage. Recall everything you know about the topic selected for essay writing. Use the back/last page of answer sheet to note down hints to cover in your essay. Don’t try to systemize at this stage, just pen down ideas as its flow. Look for the opportunity to insert diagram or table in your essay. Recall famous quotes, current events, pros and cons, famous people related, obstacles and law or administrative rules etc.

Once you call everything, now you can think about the order of essay in which you will pen down everything. No need to say, your essay would be in given sequence.

History Related/Background
Main concept/theory / what the subject is about
Current scenario related to it
Positive Aspect
Negative Aspect

If we assume that you write 100 words per page then you need to write approx. 10 to 12 pages for UPSC mains. You can’t afford to stop after four pages and thinking in a new direction. You have to plan it in well advance before writing.

3.Avoid blunt negativity in essay.negative essay

In India, we are allowed to criticize but don’t strongly justify the certain solution to Country’s Problems. Avoid excess criticism of Government or administration in your essay. Never write negative aspect of anything, if you are not suggesting reform in it.For UPSC mains,balanced approach is being considered best for writing essay.

upsc mains essay4.In Essay make balance on both sides of Coin.

It is very much possible, that essay topic has been given in UPSC mains paper, in such a way that you get agree all the way. Be careful, don’t flow with the stream of the river, every coin has two sides. Cover both the aspects.While writing your essay, donot get agree one sided for any topic given.  Try to see all the aspects of the topic of essay.

5. Stay ‘anonymous’.essay

Do not name individual politician and their achievements unless it is part of the name of policy such as Nehru’s Panchsheel. Avoid hero worshiping or showing your inclination towards party particular. In UPSC and Civil Services, you are expected to be neutral and you have to reflect it in your essay.

Same rule is for culture/religion/caste etc. You cannot be passionate about any particular aspect. UPSC mains is very crucial stage. In exam room, you have to keep control on your emotions to cross this stage.

6.Quotes in Essay

In essay writing, use of Quotes give you edges but a mistake in writing correct person name can make you loose marks. If you are writing a quote of Gandhi Ji and wrote the name of Pt. Nehru, imagine how the wrong impression will it give? Secondly, quotes should be written exactly same as it was said. It should be practiced well in advance. In UPSC Mains exam room, if you are not able to recall exact quote, avoid to write that in your essay.

7. Don’t try to deviate

You can’t be-fool evaluators by beating around the bush. You can’t fill the pages with garbage stuff because it will not work. Essay writing paper has been introduced in upsc mains to check your ability to answer logically.

Too much of anything is bad. Too many examples, proverbs, quotes make the examiner think that you are not having your own opinion and depending only on the stuff you have remembered.

This was all tips, which you should take care about when you are actually writing the essay. Below you will find few tips for your essay writing preparation for upsc mains.


TIPS For Getting Prepared for Essay Writing for UPSC Mains.

Essay Writing Skill cannot be developed by reading any one book or magazine or in a month or two. You have to give time on a regular basis as it needs time to get the confidence of writing 10-12 pages on a topic. You will be required to make yourself habitual of reading from diverse sources and different topics. To write decently on any topic, you need to have in-depth knowledge i.e. huge content.

Be a regular reader of editorial column of a good newspaper. Read magazines like Kurukshetra, Yojana, frontline etc. Select any good balanced English news channel for watching discussion and debate.

Make yourself a lover of books. Read few books outside your studies to increase your content’ Books on Indian Culture, Development or Books like Discover of India. So, Start reading.

Here. I finish my article with my good wishes in advance for your success.

Read about importance of time management in the given link.

For strategies and books for upsc prelims read given link.upsc

About the author

Dr. SS

1 Comment

  • i learn from this topic that about pattern of topic which things should be kept in mind while writting a essay for upsc exam how i have to write effective and expressive essay and at the end conclusion what is to be concluded from the essay which yu have to choose

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