In old times, it was quite predictable, see the papers from 1997 to 2006: almost every year there is an essay on polity-judiciary, one on women empowerment, one on Science-tech, one on democracy and governance. But nowadays upsc is rapidly breaking the trends. Lets look @ the 2010 paper. People predicted: there will be some essay on games, due to cwg or Asiad or even on corruption and good governance given cwg and 2G scams. But there was nothing. Im putting the comparative list of essays asked in last two years (20). Make your own judgement and prediction and prepare accordingly.
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It was about are we a soft state? I wrote it only from the foriegn policy and law-n-order point of view, without seeing the cultural -historical contexts. It was a monotonous essay without any spark. Moral of the story: do and try to see different angles of the subject and give a thorough thought before you start writing. Some veterans are in opinion that you should pick up the essay on technical subject, example space-technology, advances in medical science, how it has changed lives and. Because only a few people attempt them, and due to technical nature, your ideas are unlikely to be in conflict with the examiner so youll get more marks. But then again you need enough content to write 1500 words else the padding routedigging your own grave. And there are enough toppers who wrote the non-technical essay and still got in the top-merit list so as usual for every generalisation made about upsc, youll find a counter example! As usual coaching classes try to anticipate which essays will be asked, and upsc makes sure they are not asked. So be prepared for everything- dont just rely on selected hot-topics like lokpal and civil society.
(not 30 minutes of thinking but atleast 5-7 minutes!) Essay is not something that can be learned reading one book or reading for 1 month. Its a continuous and long process takes some great diverse reading before youve enough content to write something decent and something big enough to fill 20 pages to fetch 100 marks. Editorials of english newspapers ( but dont get swayed about by either leftist or capitalist stuff preched by both sides) Magazines like frontline, yojana, kurukshetra. (it gives you the fodder material: statistical data to" like how many illiterate and so on but again dont use too much statistical data for padding and most importantly dont invent your own case studies and stat. Data) Watch English news channel discussions / debates. See the old question papers and try to make an outline of each and every Essay asked so far. To increase your idea and fodder-material for brain storming, you can read some books outside studies, related to Indian culture, democracy and development, just for time-pass for example me and my ruined essay in 2009s mains attempt, i got only 20/200 marks in the Essay.
This kind of padding goes on until time. Youve messed up the whole thing, you totally deviated from the subject. Your essay doesnt have any flow of thoughts or proper rhythm. The seasoned examiners immediatly sniff out this padding and they dont give much marks for it, your expected score for this kind of garbage writing is less than 50/200, means even with decent score in all other papers, your chances of getting interview call. Youve jeopardised your chances of selection in ias, youve front digged your own grave. Thats why take great care in picking up the subject first 30-40 minutes for thorough thinking. Stick to the subject Same applies while dealing with the big 60 marker question in gs and optional papers.
Donot pick up the subject where your idea or thought content is very low. You picked up do we need nuclear power so you start with how thermal power-stations create pollution, there is huge demand and low supply of electricity, nuke power is cheap, and then the dangers such as Japanese Tsunami etc. After 4 pages, your thoughts and ideas are exhausted-youve nothing more to say and assuming that you write 100 words per page, you realise that only 400 words wont get you any marks! Now you cant scratch those pages and write a new essay on new topic, youve wasted enough time on this one. So you decide to continue with this nuke-power essay and start rewriting the same stuff you already stated in different ways and then youll deviate from the main topic- like nuke power is unsafe as we saw in Japan so we need to switch. Then you realise omg, displacement of people also applies while making nuke-powerplants like in Maharashtra! so you come back to the topic -half page written but still youve not filled up enough pages so you start talking about to land-acquisition policy and start writing the other half page. Then you think oh i must talk something about the Indo-us nuke deal so you go on talking about how we havent signed the ctbt and yet. S.G gave us clearance and China-pakistan couldnt stop it so we are a global power now and we deserve a permanent seat in unsc!
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Im saying all this because you can never be sure about what will be the political / ideological / religious / regional alignment of the examiner. This suggestion also applies while dealing with Public Administration (optional subject). Dont make mistakes in writing who said what. You" Abraham Lincons sentence and write george washington said. Nothing will make you look more stupid in the eyes of the examiner than that. 2" Exactly as it was said. Mao said Power flows from the barrel of a gun so you should not write it as barrel of the gun contains power or english muzzle of the gun flows the power you must" the" verbatim.
If youre not sure then dont". Even in the worst case, youre supposed to write words for a 250 marks essay. Padding means, you dont know rights the exact answer so you just beat around the bushes and write the garbage stuff to fill up the pages, while this tactic does work in the school and college exams but dont try it in the essay paper. Dont write too many proverbs /"s/ (invented) case studies/examples per page. It makes the examiner think that youve no input of your own so youre just filling up the pages.
Panchayati raj is wastage of tax payers money. (yes it seems so, just like nrega but when youre writing an Essay you need to maintain some balance) poor people are their own enemies. In such cases just because he gave you statement doesnt mean youve to sing in his tune throughout the not forget to show the other side of the mirror. Its Easier to criticize a non working things than to fix. (Remember this all time during essay.) Donot give filmy solutions to real life problems. (Munna Bhai mbbs / Slum Dog Millioner.) Dont go naming individual politicians their achievement / scandals (Kalmadi, raja, Amar Singh etc.) (except in the foreign policy related essay, where youve to analyse from entire nehrus Panchsheel era to vajpayees Lahore bus visit and current affairs.).
Never write essay talking like congress did this and bjp did that. Its the trait of a common man, not of a future officer. Give a balanced answer With out getting into hero-worship or mud slinging If criticizing govenrment in the essay alone was going to make you ias officer, then every journalist of Aaj tak would be an ias officer. An officers trait is to remain anonymous, faceless and neutral- meaning your essay should look like it has been written by a graduate. Same applies for. Religion / culture/ language-literature (in philosophical essays). States (in polity / federalism / development) Im not saying you should transform into a sterile person writing the essay with out having any personal view/ opinion or righteous anger but, you mustnt become too much passionate about certain things.
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Good sides Negative sides / obstacles Suggested reforms Conclusion everything has to be written in its place. Gandhis Champaran must come in the beginning not in the end. Now some donts. Autocracy is better than democracy. (know that its the democracy thats allowing you to criticize it) so you should never justify certain solution to Indias problems. Excessive criticism of govt. administration (I mean the frontline and The hindus stand). Seeing negative sides with out suggesting reforms. Sometimes the essay topics are given in such a way, that you want to agree all the way.
Take a pencil and write them all (in very brief) on the end of the answer sheet, see if there is any chance of adding some diagram or table in it? Do you remember any? Current events, people, historical events, laws / Administrative polices related to it *Related to that topic, What are the. Positive, negative sides obstacles, reforms you suggest? Once youre done adding everything that you can essay think about, regarding the essay- then give those topics, order of preference. The order is very important, just like in wedding parties you start with soupdal-roti andIce cream in the end. The order should be Introduction Background / History related main concept / theory / what the subject is about Current scenario related.
mention of Champaran in the initial pages, then he gets an impression you forgot it less marks. Hence everything has to be written in its place. Thats why you must. Think for 30-45 minutes before you start the Essay writing. Youve 3 hours to write the essay. Dont immediately start 1st try to recall everything that you can remember / want to say about the essay.
In a 2 marker question, upsc specifically mentions that answer it in 20 words. So with that logic, youre expected to write an essay containing around 2000 words for the 200 marks. Before you start the Essay short writing. They asked an essay on Gandhi, i start writing. I write something like. Gandhi was born in Porbandar then he went to me backfreedom ndhi-Irwin.2nd round rtitionetc. After 1 hour of writing, i realize that I forgot mention about Champarans Indigo Struggle when Gandhi got actively involved in Indian Freedom struggle for the first time!
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Think for Thirty minutes, what *NOT* to write in an Essay? Provokative essays, dont get Personal (Cong. quot;ng the famous"s, padding with Fodder Material, suggested reading. Reading books as a hobby, related articles, this is what I learned from my seniors and toppers. There are plenty of articles on internet on how to prepare the essay (read editorials daily etc.) Im writing one about how to actually write it inside the exam hall. In the Essay paper, they really give you 4-5 essays and youve to write only one. Time limit -3 hours, max-marks200.