How to write effective ESSAY in UPSC Mains ? By AIR- 55 (CSE-2016) – Essay Strategy

How to write effective ESSAY in UPSC Mains ? By AIR- 55 (CSE-2016) – Essay Strategy 

I think there is NO one fix strategy for writing an ESSAY . It all about IMAGINATIVE POWER …writing RELEVANT STUFF according to the TOPIC.

In my last Mains of CSE 2015 I had received 110 in ESSAY …and  in CSE Mains 2016,  I had 157 …Some things which I implemented this time.

  • Thinking properly over the TOPICs to choose among those given.
  • Once the topic are selected …thinking for 1 hour over the content in both the essays to write and writing down points on rough space given. The next two hours used for writing those.
  • I used to SIMULTANEOUSLY think on both the TOPIC selected …because at one point you might go blank over one topic so in the MEAN time you could think over the other TOPIC and come back again.
  • While selecting topic care must be taken that both topics be selected such that your content does not overlap…because if that happens then you are committing a disaster.
  • Thinking properly creating a chain of ideas, relevant examples, etc. is essentially …since last year, the one essay I wrote, I missed the FOCUS in the middle way and moved away from the topic which made me suffer.

The START !!

This is the most critical part of ESSAY, hence the start must be awesome. It must be such that it makes the Examiner to swim into your ESSAY, s/he must feel to read more and more about the essay!

Here is where your creativity is important, you need to create a SCENARIO relevant to the TOPIC! Like I wrote this essay!

  1. If development is not engendered, it is endangered

So it is clear that this essay was on WOMEN!

So I created a scenario where I portrayed a 3G call advertisement which you must have seen on TV at some point of time !

It goes like ” There was a commercial on TV, where we had a woman who was a BOSS and her husband was a subordinate working under her ! It happens so that she gives her husband work to do and He has to stay back even after office hours working late night. His wife, i.e. his BOSS goes home after office is over and she cooks food and while cooking she makes him a 3G call asking like ‘I am making food and kab aa rahe ho ghar? ‘ Leave aside the 3G part of the story but, here what we see is a INDIAN women in a dual role as a successful woman who is a LEADER at her workplace, at the same time she is one who is fulfilling her role as HOUSE MANAGER ” 

and this is how I began my essay creating a scenario and argued that ‘but these (the above) are just a few examples in INDIA but, in real BHARAT still the women has not come out of those four walls ! ‘and then the rest part of the essay !


  1. Near jobless growth in India: An anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms

This was my second essay, this was ESSAY which was basically asked as that year 2016 we had completed 25 years of LPG. So I had actually prepared something related to this essay as I had that intuition of it coming.

So even here,, I started with a scenario …

So I went down 25 years down the line into the Parliament where our than Hon’ble Finance Minister ManMohan Singh started his speech with a quote of Victor Hugo which say’s ‘Nobody can stop an idea whose time has come ! ‘ and that his how he advocated for LPG reforms in the budget speech.

I took this start of the quote and argued in the entire essay regarding the positives and negatives which India suffered due to LPG and critically analysing that had the ‘ TIME’ really come.


So basically what I want to say is that create a scenario,,,it can be anything ,.,,.. it can be a newshour debate,,,it can be two friends talking can be a event …it can normal day to day life scene you are putting forward.

Like in 2015 I wrote an essay on

  1. Quick but steady wins the race

Here I started like , It has been days of winter and I along with my friends have started playing Badminton and I’m learning the game and I have understood that the game is all about of QUICKNESS but coupled with that an element of steadiness is also required !  Quickness is required since you need to defeat the opponent by landing the shuttlecock in such a way that it falls in the opposite court in no man’s land. But here is ‘STEADINESS’ too is required since if the shuttlecock in that quickness and speed goes out of the court you will lose the point.

and this is how I started it telling that this is just the game ..but the same principle applies to every other thing happening around us be it history , life , etc.


So the ‘start’ is all about IMAGINATION power , creativity . Just keep a watch on how editorials are written , how anchors present some event. You will get ‘n’ no. of ideas to start your essay . It can start it with some Shayari , or Poem or anything else ..only thing is it must be relevant to the TOPIC ! But, it must not be a plain start which bores down the already bored examiner !


The BODY !

This is the place where you actually have the content. So there are can be different ways of dealing with it. It depends on the topic.

One approach can be like you deal with topic from angles like in the WOMEN essay I wrote I dealt with aspects like SOCIAL , ECONOMIC , POLITICAL , RURAL, URBAN , SECURITY ,etc. aspects of women and argued in each area the strengths and weaknesses and how EMPOWERMENT can be done and various solutions !

Other approach can be like …giving two sides of the story like the essay related to JOBLESS GROWTH … I had argued first he positives of LPG …like telecom revolution, transportation, TV industry , services sector boost and many other things. At the same time, the other side of the story, as LPG reforms have been largely JOBLESS , farmers still suicide and many other aspects

There can also be other approaches as suggested from other toppers !

Do not write the essay in Points …if you want to say three things could say like “ One, ……. Two,…… Three,….”


The END ! 

Yet another critical part of the essay. I personally believe that end must have SOLUTIONS ….it must end on a OPTIMISTIC note. It must reflect that you are the one who have ideas and a way forward and hence a candidate who must be recommended !

Like for the JOBLESS Growth essay, I said that MAKE IN INDIA , DIGITAL INDIA , SKILL INDIA all these are good initiatives , but they have some shortcomings one , two , three ,….. and they can be rectified by one, two , three ( solutions). The only thing it must be implemented in letter and spirit ! We have a strong leadership where there are no coalition compulsions and so on. Hence I ended on optimistic note that ‘Yes, the time has come as said by Victor Hugo only if above suggestions are implemented !’

Or in the WOMEN essay I had put forward idea of handicapped INDIA walking on a single leg very much like what happens in the game of langdi (hopscoth). I correlated this with India hopping on SINGLE leg that is of the MEN but if we have to move far ahead we will have to use the other leg that is of WOMEN to walk on path towards the superpower tag or be called for ever a THIRD world country and for that DEVELOPMENT will have to be engendered or else it will endangered !


How to bring in VALUE ADDITION in the essay ?

This is the important part of the essay, this is where you can get an EDGE over others !

One, ‘quotes’ . Great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi , Dr, APJ Abdul Kalam , Swami Vivekanand etc are an INSITUTION in themselves. They have said many things on almost every aspect of life. Making a dairy of quotes of say some 50 quotes can help in a great way. The quotes need to be used smartly in our different parts of the essay.

like in JOBLESS Growth essay I had a point where I accepted that entire world is facing recession and INDIA too is no exception but we will act SMARTLY. How smartly , just like the EAGLE which Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had said about in the quote

‘All Birds find shelter during a rain.But Eagle avoids rain by flying above the Clouds’ 

All other countries are the BIRDS but India will have to be that EAGLE to move forward !

Two, ‘facts’ are very essentially when we are making some point in the ESSAY. Like in Women essay I quoted Mckinsley report on Gender Power Parity, Achieving gender equality in India would have a larger economic impact there than in any other region in the world—$700 billion of added GDP in 2025—but comprehensive change is needed.’

But, for this we need not take extra efforts…since as  I had said in previous post on writing effective answers , you need to have handy facts on various aspects, that can be effectively used !

Three, ‘case studies’ having success models, like in WOMEN essay I had quoted the idea of SHE group of IPS Mahesh Bhagwat Sir for providing security to women and hence empowering them. So likewise you will be required for maintaining a dairy of UNIQUE facts and successful models which will also help in you in essay as well as answers in GS MAINS.

Four, I had prepared a set of atleast 10 Sanskrit shloks and shayaris which I could use in the essay at some point of time. This is not a big deal to do if we want good marks in essay !

Like in women essay I had used the Sanskrit shlok ‘yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra devata ‘ which means that ‘Where WOMEN are respected, GODS make their HOME’ . 

So shloks like —

VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM: The whole world is one family 

Om Saha Naav-Avatu |
Saha Nau Bhunaktu |

could be prepared and can be effectively used.

Five, keep a track of speeches of PM , President , Vice President , RBI Governor , etc. you will get many beautiful ideas and sentences from their speeches. Mnemonics used by our Prime Minister are also nice like I used ……Hon’ble PM at Madison Square said that India is blessed with three D’s Democracy, Demand and Demographic Dividend !

Six, draw diagrams or flowchart wherever relevant …like I showed the transition of Indian economy pre LPG , LPG , post LPG through a flowchart ! In case of the essay of Water disputes, River cauvery course can be shown through a rough map showing the dispute



Many times Essay topics have relevance with the current happenings around us ! Like this year

  • Jobless Growth – 25 years of LPG was very easy to predict as many articles had surfaced in newspaper during that time.
  • Digital economy: A leveller or a source of economic inequality was also predictable …
  • Water disputes between states in federal India was also predictable since the Cauvery issue.

Bottomline, is that even if you predict some 10 topics and prepare them well you can create MIRACLES in essay paper which is deciding factor of whether you are IN or OUT. That content will also help in GS Mains.

Every topic asked in Essay has some relevance to current happenings and hence that must come and reflected in your essay !


So this are some points which I implemented which took me from 110 in CSE 2015 to 157 in CSE 2016.  I would again like to tell that different people have different strategies while dealing with Essay. You need to create your ONE ,,,,bring in INNOVATION ,,,, create an interest for examiner to read your ESSAY and let him enjoy it and at the END of the ESSAY s/he must say ‘ Wah, kya likha hai !! ‘  🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *