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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Writing an Essay

How to prepare for the essay, is one question that many of us have been asked several times. Many of us did not prepare for it at all and relied on our general readings for writing the essay. It is very difficult to prepare for the essay paper since, one has no clue as to the kind of topics that might be asked. The best way to prepare for it is: to read newspapers and magazines regularly and to keep oneself fully abreast with the current affairs.

You may keep following points in mind while writing the essay:

1. Choosing the right topic is extremely important. You should choose the topic you are familiar with. It does not matter if the entire world is writing on the same topic. Never ever fall for exotic topics unless you have the necessary confidence and intellect to write well on that particular topic. There are no marks for brave attempt. Please remember that the marks in the essay fluctuate wildly (20 to 170-180). I wrote on SEZ and IS INDIA A SOFT STATE? for the main 2008 and 2009 respectively and got reasonably good marks.

2. Always stick to the topic. Do not let your creative imagination run wild. Try to Write simple and gramatically correct English. Do not write a long essay just for the heck of it. I wrote 8-9 pages (both sides included) both the times. Lenght of the essay is not important, content is.

3. Spend 30-40 minutes thinking over the topic and preparing the rough draft of the same in the point form. Note down all the relevant points and arrange them in the correct order. This would ensure that your essay is not only structured but also fairly comprehensive.

4. Write a good introduction. Give a brief outline of the essay in your introduction. A good introduction would set the tone of the essay and would get the reader interested. Write a balanced conclusion. Always end on an optimistic note and try and come out with solutions to the issues that you have adressed in your essay. Do not take a radical stand even on a contentious topic. Middle path is the best path. While constructive criticism is fine, do not overdo it and blame state for all the ills.

5. Cite contemporary instances and examples to make your essay more interesting and relevant. For instance, for the essay "Is India a Soft State?", I mentioned in brief the abduction of a Poilce Inspector in West Bengal by the Maoists and the debate about the nature of the Indian state that followed. (The newspapers had carried reports and editorials on the issue a day before the essay paper.)

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