Expression is an essential skill for anyone hoping to be in public service. Where every word we say is under scrutiny, the skill of expressing our opinions in a manner that is palatable to all, becomes very important. The essay paper in the Civil Services Main exam tests this skill.
I have been in the habit of reading and writing so I never really had a specific strategy for essay. However there are a few tips that I can give on the matter. In this post, I will briefly deal with the key points that one should remember when they attempt the essay paper.
Here we go.
- Choose wisely. Your entire effort depends on which topic(s) you choose to write about. Select a topic that you know enough about and have adequate vocabulary to express your views. If you choose a philosophical topic, do it only if you know enough about the idea. If you choose a factual topic, you must have appropriate facts/data to support your views.
- Stay on course. Do not deviate and go onto some other tangent. It is very easy to go off course since you have a lot of space to write. Cover all relevant angles and aspects of the topic but tie them all together.
- Simple language. Do not use technical jargon. Remember that your essay will be examined by a Generalist and not a professor of your optional subject. However if you do want to invoke a concept, make sure you explain it well.
- Facts and figures. Use these wherever relevant but only to substantiate your opinions. Filling your essay with just numbers isn't going to fetch you marks.
- Quote authors and thinkers. While this isn't necessary, it gives a good finish to your essay. But even if you cannot recall any relevant quotes, it's not a problem.
- Practice makes perfect. If you are someone that isn't into writing, then please practice writing an essay. Get it assessed by a friend or family member. Test series may not be necessary. But if you are not confident then you may consider a test series.
- Be balanced. Taking extreme positions is a strict no no. Be it idealism or opportunism, both are to be avoided, pragmatism is the winner here. Same goes for ideologies. At no point should you give the impression that your views are coloured by your social background, educational background, ideological leanings, etc. Reason and objectivity are to be maintained throughout.
Here is a sample of my writing. I wrote only two essays one of which is here. This is on a topic that appeared in the CSM 2013. I hope this helps.
In the CSM 2014, I wrote my essays on "With power comes responsibility." and "Tourism:Is it the next big thing in India?"
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