UPSC Essay: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspirants

If you are an aspirant for the UPSC examination, you must be aware of the importance of essay writing in the exam. The UPSC essay paper is a critical component of the civil services mains examination, and it is essential to have a good understanding of the nuances of essay writing to score well in this paper. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about UPSC essay writing and how to prepare for it.

Understanding the UPSC Essay Paper

The UPSC essay paper consists of two sections, each comprising four essay topics. Aspirants need to write two essays, one from each section, in a time limit of three hours. Each essay carries 125 marks, making the essay paper a total of 250 marks. The essay topics in the UPSC exam are generally broad-based and are aimed at testing the candidate’s ability to analyze and articulate their thoughts on complex issues.

UPSC Essay Paper
Must Read Book to crack UPSC IAS exam

Key Elements of a Good UPSC Essay

To write a good UPSC essay, you need to keep in mind the following key elements:

  1. Clarity of thought: The essay should have a clear and coherent structure, and the ideas should be presented in a logical sequence.
  2. Relevance: The essay should be relevant to the given topic, and the arguments presented should be related to the topic.
  3. Depth of understanding: The essay should demonstrate a deep understanding of the topic, and the arguments presented should be well-supported by evidence.
  4. Language: The essay should be written in clear and concise language, and the grammar and spelling should be impeccable.
  5. Originality: The essay should be original, and the ideas presented should be the candidate’s own.

Tips for UPSC Essay Preparation

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the UPSC essay paper:

  1. Read extensively: Reading extensively on a variety of topics can help you develop a broad perspective and a deep understanding of complex issues.
  2. Develop an outline: Before you start writing, develop an outline of the essay, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
  3. Practice writing essays: Regular practice in writing essays can help you improve your writing skills and develop a writing style that suits your strengths.
  4. Use relevant examples: Using relevant examples from history, current affairs, and literature can help you demonstrate a deep understanding of the topic.
  5. Revise and edit: Revise and edit your essay carefully to ensure that it meets the key elements of a good UPSC essay.
UPSC Essay PaperWritten exam by UPSC to test candidate’s ability to express their thoughts clearly and coherentlyTest candidate’s writing skills and knowledgeHolds 250 marks and crucial for selectionContent, Structure, Writing Style, Language, RelevanceRead extensively, Develop analytical and critical thinking, Practice writing regularly, Analyze previous years’ question papers
UPSC Essay TopicsList of topics provided by UPSCTest candidate’s knowledge and comprehensionHelps prepare for exam and score wellContemporary Issues, National and International Events, Philosophical, Social and Political issuesDevelop understanding of topic, Collect information, Analyze and organize, Present balanced view
UPSC Essay Writing TipsGuidelines and strategies to follow while writing essayHelp structure thoughts, ideas, and opinions effectivelyEnsures essay is well-structured, coherent, and relevant to the topicPlanning, Writing Style, Language, Time Management, RevisionPlan, Use clear and concise style, Use simple language, Allocate time, Revise
UPSC Essay ExamplesSample essays by UPSC or previous year’s candidatesUnderstand format, style, and tone of writing an effective essayLearn from mistakes and successes of previous year’s candidates and improve writing skillsContent, Structure, Writing Style, Language, RelevanceAnalyze essay, Identify strengths and weaknesses, Learn from mistakes, Develop unique style
UPSC Essay BooksBooks recommended by UPSC for essay writingProvide relevant and authentic information on various topicsBuild strong knowledge base and improve writing skillsGeneral Knowledge, Current Affairs, Philosophy, History, CultureRead extensively, Focus on concepts and ideas, Take notes, Analyze and evaluate, Develop unique perspective
UPSC Essay PreparationProcess of preparing for UPSC essayDevelop skills required for effective essay writingScore well in essay paper and improve overall scoreReading, Writing, Analyzing, Evaluating, RevisingDevelop reading habit, Practice writing essays regularly, Analyze and evaluate essays, Revise and improve writing skills, Seek feedback from mentors and peers
UPSC Essay


In conclusion, the UPSC essay paper is a critical component of the civil services mains examination, and it is essential to have a good understanding of essay writing to score well in this paper. To write a good UPSC essay, you need to keep in mind the key elements of clarity, relevance, depth of understanding, language, and originality. By following the tips provided in this article and practicing regularly, you can develop the skills needed to excel in the UPSC essay paper. Good luck!

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