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The biggest mistake that any UPSC IAS aspirant makes during his course of preparation is ignoring the importance of a good Essay. He/She completely ignores the Essay part and does not gives required attention to the Essay Paper. In order to appear in the merit list,  you must know how to prepare for essay in UPSC Mains to score expected marks.

To be very honest, the essay paper is highly crucial.  According to the UPSC IAS Exam pattern, there are two compulsory essays that are to be written, both of which carry 125 marks each. If for some reasons you are lagging behind in this section, it means you lose out on a big chunk of marks out of 250!

And trust me!

250 marks can literally make or break your chances at cracking your mains. Therefore, you must take your essay preparations very very seriously.

Today, in this article, we are going to cover the practical preparatory tips as well as an essay writing strategy that will help you score high in your paper and will also give a boost to your preparation.

Unique Tips to Prepare for your IAS Essay Paper

1. Opening the essay with an example.

We all have our smart phones with us and this is the right way to put it to the right use. Browse the Internet for essays written by the toppers and experts. Analyze how they have written each and every paragraph of their essay. Read their write-ups and understand their approach on the topic.

Remember, the more you read, better would be your understanding of the level that is expected by the UPSC.

2. Go through the editorial parts of your daily newspaper

Here is some smartwork that you are expected to perform. The Hindu is supposed to have the best editorial page of any newspaper in the country. From today itself, make it a practice of spending much of your daily newspaper reading time on this section.

Mostly, essay questions are asked out of current affairs. Editorials are the best gateway to the summation of the entire event, what went wrong, who’s who, and powerful insights into the topic on the whole. In short, an editorial will guide you through the length and the breadth of any topic in news.

3. Keep making handy notes for the quotes

Make it a habit to note down every time when you come across an impactful quote/phrase while reading your newspaper/magazine or even casually. Phrases directly said by authorities on the issue at hand are highly effective. 

Introduction with a good quote can make your essay quite interesting.

You must understand the importance of the opening and closing lines of an essay that forms the crux of it all. Therefore, make sure you keep it interesting with effective quotes/phrases.

4. Practice the General topics

If you go through the previous year essays topics, you will realize that there are certain themes that are pet to UPSC. These include women, healthcare, development, internet, education, technology, etc.

While practicing, you must try to include related data, quotes on the issue said by an authority figure, smart diagrams, case studies, initiatives of the government, etc.

5. Prefer Reality over Theory

You must keep your essay in such a manner that it highlights the topics in the sense of the present. In spite of the fact that essays are theoretical in nature and some subjects are unfortunately way too theoretical for you to state realistic points. You must try not to use the technical jargon as possible as could be. Always stick to current facts, data, and real-life examples.

Remember that there is no match to the situation that has practically occurred and hence try to give real situation that occurred and not any hypothetical one.

For example, if your topic is like “Is gender Equality a myth or possible reality?”: –

Avoid the repetitive mention of history of women in India, and theoretical paragraphs that are loaded with how bad a woman’s situation is and focus on data on disparity between male-female employment ratio, school enrollment rates, sex ratio, cases of female feoticide, government policies for women’s development etc.

6. Don’t Forget the crucial parameters

Whatever your topic may be, your essay will only be considered promising only if it addresses the following parameters:
  • Social
  • Political
  • Environmental
  • Economic
  • Historical
  • Cultural
  • Legal
  • Ethical
  • International (if the topic demands)
Therefore, keep in mind to not get carried away by your passion and your personal agenda for the topic. Always remember that the One-sided arguments and aggressive writing tone are harmful to a good essay.

7. Keep an eye on the Clock

When you practice essay writing, mind the time you are consuming to write that essay. 

“You must time each and everything, Right from selecting the right topic, brainstorming the pointers in your head, framing the structure and penning it down.”

8. Don’t hesitate to seek help from the experts

Even if you are definitely great at whatever you do, but nothing is as good as an expert guidance!  Make it a habit that you take your written essays to be evaluated by an expert or someone you look up to as a mentor.

This will help you identify and rectify your mistakes that too with an effective feedback.

Keeping in mind the above points, let us now understand the best strategy to write an effective essay:


The view that unconventionality will help getting a higher score” is the worst mistake that any candidate make by selecting an uncommon topic from the options. It is advisable that you should not make this mistake at all.

Always remember that it is the subject matter and not the topic that gets the marks home.  You should always select a topic you are really confident about. The first thing you should be doing is the quick brainstorming in your mind of all the related quotes, data, facts, current issues, examples, government initiates, pros, cons, etc., that you can easily draw on that particular topic. Never chose an uncommon topic if you don’t have enough information related to that topic.


You should always outline your essay around the PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE approach. Always stick more towards present and future and least to the past.
Broadly speaking, your essay must necessarily include the following components:

  • Introduction: An interesting introduction can be a quote, a hypothetical relatable situation, or a real-life example. Avoid definitions as they’re too cliché. It should clearly give an idea as to what will be covered in the essay.
  • Body: Analyze your topic in well-linked, clearly worded, simple sentences. If there is some debatable topic, discuss both the sides of the topic and avoid being carried away by your personal views. Keep it straightforward apart from the debatable ones and try to make it less story-like. Always put forward multiple arguments; examine both sides of an argument and give related examples.
  • Conclusion: Conclusion of the topic is as important as the introduction of the topic. Always summarize your topic and present your concluding stand. 

“End your essay on a visionary note”

These will hopefully answer all the relevant questions hope on How to Prepare for Essay in UPSC. Even after this you feel that you are confused or have any doubt, feel free to contact us.

Good luck!

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