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How to write essay in UPSC ?

How to write essay in UPSC?

There are nine papers in the UPSC Mains Exam, including an essay paper. IAS Mains Exam Essay Paper consists of two sections A and B with four topics each worth 125 marks, adding up to 250 marks (125 x 2). It takes candidates three hours to write 1,000 to 2,000 words about a topic from each section. In determining the final result of a candidate’s selection and ranking, the Essay paper is considered crucial. You can prepare for the same by enrolling in an essay course for UPSC.

 Essays are considered crucial since they are compulsory papers and their marks are included in calculating the total; however, unlike optional subjects, which can be studied in depth, essays require no in-depth analysis. An essay consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion, according to conventional writing practices. In terms of UPSC Papers, the concept of an essay is quite tricky, even though it is fundamental many students do not know how to write essay in UPSC? Essays should be comprehensive, succinct, composite, definite, informative, and logical, with topical text that is easy to follow or understand. Here are a few tips for structuring a UPSC Mains Essay Paper.

Choosing the topic

Choose the topic wisely from the given choices, after reading all the topics several times, so you can find enough points to write about it. As soon as you choose a topic and begin writing, you may find it difficult and decide to change it at some point, but it will be too late as you have already consumed much time. Spend 30 minutes thinking about the topic after reading it twice.

Spend some time on introspection

Think about the topic for 30 minutes before starting to write once you have chosen a topic to write about. Writing without thinking about the topic can result in a person missing out on many important points and in between or at the end they may remember more significant points, but it is too late since there isn’t enough time left in the answer sheet to write more.   Because you have three hours to write the essay, it is advised to spend the first 30 minutes thinking about the topic.


In order to structure it, you need to recall, collect and note the points as follows:

  • A brief introduction
  • Example of background/past
  • The main concept/theory
  • Relate to recent events
  • Both benefits and drawbacks
  • Proposed Changes
  • Conclusion

Don’t deviate

The ‘Five W’s and One Husband’ concept should be kept in mind when writing an essay, i.e., Who?, Why?, What?, When?, Where?, and How? This is taught on the first day of Essay Writing class. By following this concept, your focus will be on the topic rather than deviating from it.

Don’t be very proactive

You should avoid getting personal when writing an essay on a topic that may be provocative and criticizing someone or the government. There are some topics that may be provocative, resulting in you losing control and writing in an offensive manner, which is not acceptable and recommended.   It is suggested that you come up with some reforms that may turn the disadvantages into advantages if you are writing about the disadvantages.


Candidates are recommended to read diverse topics and books while writing essays, including the following:

  • A section of The Hindu newspaper dedicated to editorials
  • Frontline, Kurukshetra, Yojana and other magazines
  • Television is a good place to watch discussions and debates
  • Essay topics from previous question papers

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