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Do’s and Don'ts for Essay Writing In Civil Services Exam

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  • Published
    29th Aug, 2021

There are certain things that need to be taken care of before writing an essay in UPSC Mains Exam. People often commit silly mistakes while writing essay in IAS Mains Exam. So one need to follow certain cautious approach Before writing any piece of work, we ensure to give a basic framework to writing for making it effective and coherent. For this purpose, it is necessary to understand that what should be included and what to leave while writing. In Case of Essay writing, the common do’s and don’ts help to write in a comprehensive and structured manner. They act as guidelines for making the content more relevant and impactful. They help to minimize the most common mistakes, we tend to make while writing essay.

In this context, here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts for essay writing:


  • Structure: An essay is a structured write up, so you must have clearly delineable introduction, main body (description) and conclusion as essential parts of an essay.
  • Focus and relevance: An essay is thinking in orbit, which means that the write up should be focused and relevant to the central theme and its dimensions.
  • Original: An essay should mostly be formed by your understanding and perceptions and not be based on totally borrowed opinions.
  • Analytical framework- Exploration of relevant dimensions with causation, points-counter-points, logical evaluation, inferences etc.
  • Organic Connection: An essay should be marked by connect between the ideas paragraph after paragraph. To be more precise an essay should grow with organic connect from childhood, adolescence, youth, maturity and old age. An essay is not stand alone points; they must connect to the context and perspectives of the given topic.
  • Signposting- A prefixed trajectory, path, direction marked by an orderly placement of point number 1, point number 2, point number 3, point number 4, point number 5 and point number 6 etc. it does not mean one needs give numbering to each aspect rather arrange all aspects in such a way that examiner should get the direction and order in your writing.
  • Consistency and coherence- Consistency and coherence helps to sustain our arguments without contradiction and conflict.
  • Effective communication: An essay should be marked by clarity and flow and so it should not have “silt” of bulky information or tough academic ideas. These things disturb the flow. A simple style, small sentences, appropriate vocabulary, an emotional appeal, quotes, punch lines and right thrust at right places etc. are some of the essentials of effective communication.
  • Critical Thinking: Critical thinking, insight, understanding, consistency and coherence are the hallmarks of an essay.
  • Right placement of quotes: Placement of right quotes at right places adds punch, thrust and value.

For Instance have a look of IAS Topper Ankur Kaushik (AIR 37, CSE 2018) Copy

Click Here for Full Copy


  • Avoid long backgrounds: Avoid giving a long back ground; come to the topic as soon as possible.
  • Avoid beginning paragraphs by borrowed opinions or quotes: Avoid constructing/riding every paragraph with the help of quotations. Use of quotation in the beginning of intro and end of conclusion may be fine, or where you find most suitability and may add to impact. But avoid too much use of it.  When you make a hypothesis in a paragraph and evaluate it logically, you can cite statements and quotes within the paragraph for supporting your argument, but beginning the paragraphs with borrowed ideas or quotes should be avoided.
  • Avoid long backgrounds: Avoid giving a long back ground; come to the topic as soon as possible.
  • Avoid grammatical mistakes: Avoid mistakes pertaining to grammar and syntax as far as possible.
  • Avoid political and ideological biases: Neutrality and freedom from prejudice and bias are important benchmarks of rationality. Political or ideological affiliations should not influence your write up, but only facts, real life observations and established wisdom should guide you to a logical evolution and conclusion of the write up.
  • Don’t lose emotional Control: Don’t get swayed by emotions, try to remain anchored in logic, rationality and wisdom.
  • Don’t be unbalanced and biased: In intellectual endeavor, a balanced and rational approach is the best approach. No doubt an essay should be analytical, draw inferences and make value judgments, yet it should not only be emotionally balanced (anger, revenge, retribution, abuse, naming and shaming should be avoided) and politically neutral (obsession, fetish, bias, prejudice, contempt, outlandish views right or left should be avoided)
  • Avoid bombastic words: Ornamental words may be fine at some places, but the beauty of communication lies in simplicity.
  • Avoid irrelevant contents and references: Dragging irrelevant ideas without connect to the topic, central idea or the theme should be avoided.
  • Out of the box thinking should not be out of the context: Avoid being too far off the theme in the name of out of the box thinking Avoid one-upmanship and self-righteousness: In other words show respect to the ideas that are different from your ideas, yet relevant in their own way. You may critically evaluate a rival idea, but cannot demean it.

The copy of IAS Topper Ankur Kaushik (AIR 37, CSE 2018) gives you a true glimpse of do's and don'ts while writing essay:

Click Here for Full Copy

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