How to Prepare General Studies and Essays for UPSC?

Essays for UPSC: The importance of the Mains exam can be attributed to three factors. The first is the weighting of marks in the final list. Second, the General Studies paper’s extensive syllabus and wide range of optional courses. The competition among candidates who have passed the arduous Preliminary round is the third. To pass the second level, a Civil Services aspirant must devise a determined approach.

Split the syllabus during your preparation so that you can approach it from various angles. The two optional subjects will be worth 500 points each, with the essay being a separate 250-point paper. The remaining 1000 marks are divided into General Studies categories, which include a wide range of topics. Make sure you’re prepared for your optional subjects.

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General Studies Strategy for UPSC: –

UPSC general Studies preparation requires the aspirants to cover an extensive. 

1. Aspirants should begin their studies with NCERT 10th and 12th grade textbooks on history, geography, politics, science, Indian foreign policy, and international relations, among other subjects.

2. After finishing the NCERT, look over the additional G.S. reference works that have been recommended.

3. After reading the prescribed reference materials, applicants should look for value addition in a variety of themes. Magazines and newspapers can be used to do this.

4. The work of practising Answer Writing follows. Because you only have a restricted number of words to answer the questions, aspirants should be very careful with the word limit. This can also be accomplished with practise.To score good marks in General Studies Mains papers aspirants should focus on improving their answers. 

5. There should be any introductory remark while answering the questions of G.S Mains. 

How to write a good Answer(Essays for UPSC)?

  • Many people are concerned with what they refer to as “a decent answer.” Although there is no single definition, general parameters include clarity of thinking and expression, as well as effective presentation.
  • The responses can be written as essays, points, or a combination of the two. This will be determined by the nature of the query.
  • Given the enormous scope of the material, the Mains exam can be exceedingly unpredictable. As a result, the candidate must be prepared for unexpected events.
  • When studying, attempt to cover as much of the syllabus as feasible. Do not overlook areas of weakness while bolstering your strong points. If you’ve prepared effectively, you’ll be able to connect all of the dots as the question requires.
  • Cover the syllabus with a multi-pronged approach. Rather than exploring for additional resources, concentrate on content enrichment.
  • In order to integrate diverse perspectives, candidates will need to extend their thinking and analytical ability. 
  • The Governance, Constitution, Politics, Social Justice, and International Relations papers, for example, have linkages to the Ethics and Integrity papers. A review of previous articles will reveal similar relationships.
  • The Civil Services Examination is a mountain that can be climbed in a variety of ways. While some methods are universal, it is vital to determine which path will take you to the top.

Essay Strategy for UPSC: –

Essays for UPSC: An essay is described as a well-organized compilation of YOUR IDEAS that is professionally written and delivered. In other words, the essay must be well-structured and presented in such a way that the reader can easily follow it, and it must be neat and free of obstructions. It must be written in a clear, readable, and engaging language. Above all, it must contain your thoughts on the subject at hand. Preparation is required before the examination phase in order to develop the skill of writing an excellent essay. 

  • Writing is the key to a successful essay since it is the vehicle for transferring thoughts from your head to paper. It takes time to develop a language skill. It necessitates hard work and perseverance.
  • Your drive to master a language determines your command of it. 
  • The general essay paper is critical in making up for the lack of good results on the GS and optional papers. 
  • Many of us make the error of gathering facts and knowledge on potential themes at the eleventh hour of preparation, believing that we will be able to produce a good piece of work in the test room. 
  • What we must realise is that organising accumulated ideas using suitable language is a time-consuming task, especially when time is of the essence.

Strategy for Preparing for Essay: –

Essay differs from GS in that marks will be given only on the basis of substance in GS. Examiners will pay close attention to not just the substance, but also the language, coherence, and organisation of your writing in an essay.

As a result, you must take special care to organise your thoughts effectively and avoid common spelling and grammatical problems. The majority of the content in your Essay will be drawn from your GS preparation.

  1. Understand the format: -There are two sections in essay paper – Section A and Section B each of which has four topics of essays. Out of these, candidates can select one topic from each section to write an essay. Candidates can select the topic of their choice from a choice of four topics. The UPSC Essay Paper is for a total of 250 marks with one essay for 125 marks.
  2. Improving language and expression: In an essay, the language should be basic and straightforward, with as little jargon as possible. If you want to employ complicated definitional concepts like “Constitutionalism” or “Sanskritization,” define them in a sentence before using them. The examiner will also be able to grasp exactly what you’re trying to say. Writing clearly is the same as thinking clearly. And that is exactly what a reader is looking for. Keep your sentences succinct and to-the-point. It’s tough to read and understand because of the long, twisting sentences. When you employ conjunctions to add one clause after another, you end up with a terrible sentence sprawl.
  3. Vocabulary: – It is not necessary to memorise difficult words in order to write an excellent essay. However, using a strong term or a clever phrase every now and then will give your article an edge. Reading nonfiction and English newspapers is the best approach to expand your vocabulary. If you come across a good turn of phrase or a word you don’t recognise while reading them, write it down in a book, look up its meaning, and comprehend the context in which it was used. Long-term memory is aided by this. It also helps to have a dictionary app on your phone. Building a large vocabulary takes time, but with practise, anyone can improve their ability to use a diverse variety of words.
  4. Rough Drafts & Subheadings : – In terms of subheadings, we can be a little more creative. You can make a list of a few appropriate subheadings that you can use while you write your essay. You may need to adjust the structure based on the question’s requirements.
  5. Making Specific References to Magazines: You can refer to various issues of Yojana/EPW/Economic Survey, etc. for specific topics. For example, if you’re writing an essay about tribal issues or public health, you can look through specific issues of these magazines to get the most up-to-date statistics (IMR, MMR, malnutrition levels, and so on) as well as information about the benefits and drawbacks of government programmes in those areas.
  6. Gathering good tales/anecdotes and quotes: Make a list of anecdotes, quotes, and real-life stories that you find in newspapers and books that you might include in your essay. Starting the essay with a relevant storey or anecdote with the essay topic as its underlying theme is a good idea.
  7. Previous Year Questions: Scanning previous year papers will reveal a plethora of themes that have previously been asked in UPSC Exams. These subjects do not recur, but they can be used to appraise the document and practised to get a strong hold on the essay paper.

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Does and Don’t for Essay 


  •  An essay should have logical flow of movement. Hence, all paragraphs should be connected to each other. 
  • Quotes should be there in proper place and it should not be there only for the sake of quoting. 
  • Introduction should contain opening remarks and conclusion should connect all the dots.
  • We read a lot during the preparation process, so it’s reasonable that we have strong feelings about certain topics. 
  • Make sure you write what the question is, not what you think or feel.
  • Your essay should be broad in scope and multi-dimensional in nature.
  • Always keep to the topic’s main point. It’s a good idea to read the question in the middle of your essay to make sure you’re not getting off track.
  • You must convey both the advantages and disadvantages of capitalism, and the essay must end on a balanced tone.


  • Avoid queries that require you to focus just on one point or dimension (such as the historical or political component). If you are uncomfortable writing about abstract philosophical themes, stay away from them.
  • Your topic selection has no influence on your grades, so picking a controversial topic just for the sake of it is a bad idea.
  • Avoid radical or unpopular viewpoints.
  • There will be no ranting. If there is an issue about capitalism, do not scream or rail against it, even if you are a big fan of Karl Marx.
  • Don’t spend an excessive amount of time on the first essay and rush through the second. Both are worth the same amount of points, so please devote the same amount of time to them.
  • It should not be abrupt and blunt. Essay is not only about filling the pages but it’s an art of articulation.

Books and References For Essay Writing

For general reading –

  • My experiment with truth – M.K Gandhi
  • India after independence – Bipin Chandra
  • Discovery of India – J.L Nehru
  • Getting India back on track – by Ratan Tata
  • My experiment with truth – M.K Gandhi
  • India after independence – Bipin Chandra
  • Discovery of India – J.L Nehru
  • Getting India back on track – by Ratan Tata

For detailed reading –

  • Democracy in India NCERTe
  • Social Problems in India – Ram Ahuja
  • Women in Indian Society – Neera Desai and Usha Thakkar ( NBT Publication)
  • The Hindu ( editorial articles)
  • Yojana
  • Kurukshetra
  • Frontline

Tips for Writing a Best Essay: –

  • The essay is not merely a test of your factual knowledge. It is a test of your creativity, inventive spirit, and capacity for the generation of new ideas.
  • The choice of words and the proper statement is important.
  • For that make a list of the alternative words for the words you use often.
  • Note down powerful sentences, paragraphs, and quotations whenever you find them.
  • Keep close to the subject matter. Whatever you write it must be totally relevant to the subject matter.
  • The introductory note should be around 5 to 7 percent of the length of the essay, the body around 86 to 90 percent, and the concluding remark again around 5 to 7 percent.
  • To obtain good marks remember the abc of essay which stands for a – for accuracy; b – for brevity and c – for creativity.
  • Don’t take extreme views. Your essay should reflect your balance of judgment, holistic approach, and an analytical bend of mind
  • Select the topic wisely- A topic about which you are too passionate or feel strongly about. In this case, you may tend to get excited and fail to write a balanced essay. This can work against you.
  • After selecting the topic judiciously, you should not start writing straight away. It is advisable to think for some time and collect your thoughts. Write in pencil the points you want to write as doing so you can write your points in the correct sequence.
  • Once you have the rough points in hand, you can start writing the essay. While writing, you must adhere to a good structure.

Essays for UPSC: During your UPSC preparation, you will become a master of information longitude. The essay paper needs you to sift, arrange, organise, and even invent new ideas from that knowledge while staying on track with the chosen topic. Many pupils are held back by a lack of organising skills rather than a lack of content.

With consistent practise, expert evaluation, and working on the mistakes, this may be readily mastered. Once you’ve completed this, the UPSC essay paper will become the most rewarding section of the exam, taking you beyond the ‘the’ line.

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