Tips to write an effective essay for IAS Mains

Tips to write an effective essay for IAS Mains

Indian Administrative service is considered to be the most prestigious among all the services under the Union Public Service Commission. Lakhs of students from different streams appear for the IAS examination every year. One can witness the real cut throat competition and the survival of the fittest while undergoing the selection process.

The selection procedure for IAS examination is very stringent with three levels of screening of the candidates. Preliminary examination test is objective and the candidates are assessed on the mental ability. The main examination is written in nature where the candidates are assessed on their intellectual traits and depth of understanding of the subject. The face to face interview is the third and last stage where the personality of candidate and suitability to the service are assessed.

Essay writing is one of the papers in the main examination, where the candidates have to choose a topic from the given 4- 5 topics and write an effective essay. The essay writing carries 200 marks and hence plays a crucial role in the scrutinizing process. The time slot given for this is 3 hours and a maximum limit of words is not mentioned. The topics would be general and current which are mostly related to India, Society, Education, Information Technology, Ethics, and Politics.

There is no standard material for candidates to prepare for IAS main and it is mostly based on gathering information from different sources. Preparation should be focused and practice is required for candidates to succeed in these examinations.

Tips on writing an effective essay

1.Choose the topic and plan the approach

Out of the three hours time given for writing the essay, utilize the first 30 minutes to choose the topic and plan as to what you want write. The choice of the topic should be based on your knowledge and area of strength. Depth of understanding and critical thinking are what the examiner’s look forward in your essay.

2.Arrange the ideas in an orderly manner

Brainstorm and list down all the key aspects you want to present and prepare a logical structure. Ensure that you arrange the ideas in a sequential order of prominence.

3.Present a striking introduction

The introduction should be striking and give a positive impression to the examiner. In fact the introduction helps in understanding the flow of thought that you would present in the rest of the essay.

4.Include all dimensions in your content

Analyze the topic in as many dimensions as possible like social, economical, psychological, environmental, international and so on. Quote the expert’s views that you have read in the news papers and magazines. Also refer the constitution wherever possible.

5.Present factual information

The supporting facts and figures show the writer’s hold on the subject. It puts the examiner off after a certain stage and being factual helps in igniting the interest rather than just sharing the personal opinion.

6.Be concise

Even though the maximum word limit is not mentioned, it is advisable to restrict the essay up to 2000 words. Crisp and clear presentation always attracts attention and carries a good weightage. Unless specified on the minimum number of words\pages, do not make the essay lengthy as it puts you off from the topic.

7.Stick to the style

Adopt a style that is you feel is apt for the chosen topic be it expository, persuasive, analytical or argumentative. Fluctuating from one style to the other leave does not leave a good impression and leads to confusion.

8.Articulate effectively

The essay should reflect your command on the language. The language should be simple but powerful. Also be creative in articulating and use good vocabulary to express your views and opinions.

9.Be optimistic in approach

Avoid criticizing and present a balanced view. Be realistic in explaining and avoid supporting political parties and their approach.

10.Reaffirm with a strong conclusion

Conclusion is very important part of an essay and carries equal weight as introduction does. It should summarize the topic and has to strike on the ultimate message that you would like to convey to the examiners.

Sustaining the cut throat competition like that of IAS main examination is very tough. The old adage still holds good in this context, “The path to success can only be accomplished through hard work, dedication and determination.”
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