UPSC Civil Services Mains Preparation Strategy for Essay Paper

UPSC Civil Services Mains Preparation Strategy for Essay Paper

The Civil Services exam, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission is considered as the toughest yet most coveted exam in India as it can get you into the most prestigious services of the Country like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Forest Services (IFoS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS) and others.

The essay paper in the Civil Services Mains Exam is worth 250 marks, which is equivalent to a General Studies paper. This requi+res the candidate to write two essays, for each one you get four topics to choose from. Each essay accounts for 125 marks.

Despite its great significance on the final tally, the essay paper does not always receive the attention they deserve from students. First-timers believe they will easily write an amazing essay on the final exam, whilst experienced candidates assume that because they have already prepared extensively for GS, which alone is enough to write a good essay. This is a deadly error in judgment.

On that note, let’s discuss a few crucial tips that will guide you immensely on how to write an essay in UPSC and score 150 marks in the civil services mains essay paper.

Improve Language and Expression

Essays should be written in plain English, avoiding jargon as much as possible. If you’re going to use a term with a lot of definitions, like “constitutionalism,” define it in a sentence first. The examiner will understand exactly what you’re attempting to communicate as well. Clear writing is the same as clear thought. And it is just what a reader seeks.

Maintain brevity and directness in your phrases. Because of the long, twisted sentences, it’s difficult to read and understand. You get a bad sentence sprawl when you use conjunctions to add one clause after another.


To produce an outstanding essay, it is not required to memorize difficult words. Using a powerful term or a creative phrase every now and then, on the other hand, will offer your content a competitive edge.

Furthermore, I believe that memorizing a big quantity of words will not help you retain them for an extended period of time. The easiest way to expand your vocabulary is to read nonfiction and English newspapers.

If you come across a good turn of phrase or a word you don’t recognize while reading them, scribble it down in a book, look it up in a dictionary, and figure out what context it was used in.

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How to Write a Good Essay?


Start with :

a real or made-up story (in which you introduce a character)

an actual incident

a quote/phrase

In GS, using a definitional method to introduce your responses is a terrific way to get started. However, in an essay, they are very bland and devoid of any human element. I always believe that having a touch of empathy and warmth in your opening is a fantastic way to start your essay.

For instance, if you are starting an essay on folk dances of India, begin with “ India is a land of diverse culture and tradition”

Main Content

It’s like weaving a web from a single thread. You can choose the best option from the list below depending on the problem.

Temporal notions include the past, present, and future.

To mention a few, there’s media, technology and science, business, sports, politics, and more.

Support your arguments

Each para in the main body of the essay must have an argument or an idea, as well as reasons to support that argument. You can back it up with a real-life example, a statistic, a legitimate committee or organizational report, and so on.

Statistics, examples, expert opinions, and constitutional clauses are all important, and they provide authority to your claims.

Concluding an Essay

The conclusion should be optimistic and forward-looking. After that, you must convey your future vision in three to four phrases that summarise the entire essay.

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