Conquer the Essay paper


In my previous attempt , i got around 68 marks in my essay..However this time my score is 142.I will discuss my strategy here.Hope it clarifies the doubts of many aspirants who have been messaging me for the same

Click here for my this year’s essay

Click here to know the mistake in my previous year essay.

Click here for some frequently asked doubts regarding essays




My advice would be to choose a topic that is not very philosophical.(However this depends on your personal choice).Reason being , this eliminates the chance that your viewpoint will be in contradiction with the examiner (though , i believe that the examiner is wise enough to appreciate a different view point)

STEP 1 :When you see the question paper, at the first glance chose the the topics that seem a bit comfortable.

STEP 2:Now from the topics that  you have shortlisted from step 1,try to think how many dimensions can you write in each topic.Chose the topic for which you can write the most dimensions(i will clarify what i mean by dimensions)

Thus now you have chosen the  topic .Give at least 10 minutes to chose the topics.I would advice that one should chose a topic from one part first ,write it and then chose the topic from the other part.(i.e. first complete one essay and then after 1.5 hours ,repeat step 1 and 2 to chose the second essay)



1:Try to be simple and straight forward in introduction.Writing fancy stories or anecdotes might work but might also backfire (unless you are a very good writer).

PS:There are many candidates who have scored good marks by starting with short stories,conversations,cross questions or other creative ways.My only advice is having a simple start is not bad and is safe.Just think as if you are writing an article from the paper “The Hindu”.:Simple and crisp.

2:Try to explain or define what does the words used in the essay mean to you.For example

a)if there is an essay on “empowerment of women“,you can start as simply as by defining what is empowerment.For example one can  write that empowerment is availability of opportunites in political,economic,cultural and societal fields.

b)in the essay is “Is tourism the next big thing for India“,define what is the next big thing for India?The next big thing will be a field which will help us in improving our economy,international relations,cultural ties,employment generation etc.(i am just giving you an example ,there are various other domains apart from the above mentioned ones)

3:Give a brief idea about the essay:Introduction is just a brief summary of the essay

#3 : DEVELOPING THE ESSAY(temporal plus sectoral scale)

1 :After the introduction ,write at least one-two pages on temporal scale(giving an overview of topic from the prism of history)

example 1:For example in the topic “Character of an institution is reflected in its leader“,i wrote how in the mauryan age (institution),when the leader was Ashoka(leader),the entire character of the institution(mauryan empire) became peaceful and non violent.Then i came to the mughals,how the institution’s(i.e. mughal empire’s) character was very different under reigns of different rulers (example under Akbar vs under Aurangzeb).Then i came to freedom movement(institution) and how its character changed ,when it found a leader in Mahatma Gandhi (leader).Thus this is just a brief idea about how to develop your 2-3 pages on temporal scale

example 2: On the topic on empowerment of women, one can write how women were empowered in Rig vedic age (the concept of sadharamcharini) and then on time scale , give various examples till the present time..

2:Sectoral scale:Now your next few pages will be exanding the essay on various dimension

example 1 :For the essay “Dreams that should not let India sleep”,we will write what are our  dreams in myriad fields ,namely economic,social sector(women,tribal,child,old age),employement ,international relations,cultural,administrative,global power etc .Thus on each of these fields we write a paragraph

example2 : On the topic empowerment of women after writing the temporal scale that i mentioned ,write on sectoral scale ,that is empowerment in various fields -family life,cultural,societal,education,positions of authority,empolyenment,sports etc


1:The conclusion can again be very simple.U just have to wrap up the essay.Dont introduce any new idea.Just give a summary of whatever we have written till now in the essay.

2:Try to have a balance conclusion.Further your conclusion must be optimistic.



1:TIME MANAGEMENT:1:Give 10 minutes atleast to chose the topic

2:Brain storm on the topic for 15 minutes.

3:Rough work can take as much as 40 minutes.It is very important

4:Finish the first essay in 1 hour 20 minutes at max

2:ADVICE FROM GOOD SCORERS IN ESSAY:Memorize the topic of the essay by heart and repeat the topic many times in the essay.For example if the topic is “is competition good for youth “,after every paragraph write the topic .Example after a paragragh we write “So we analysed that yes (or no),competition is good for youth”.This will  create a feeling in the mind of the examiner that you are sticking to the central theme of the essay

3:WRITE THE ESSAY AS A GENERALIST NOT AS A SPECIALIST:So,an economic optional guy might as well not write an essay on economics .Seems very difficult to digest ,but yes dont choose a topic that lies entirely in your professional expertise area


a)Legible handwriting

b)Appropriate underligning of key words

c)Subheadings can be used

 5:WRITE MANY DIMENSIONS: Essay should be holistic and include following components:


b)LEVELS:Individual,to humanity, local to global, nation, state,district

c)SECTIONS – men,women,LGBT,rich,poor, linguistic groups,                                          caste,religion, ages, rural-urban,differently abled,tribals,schedule castes

d)ANGLES–                             Social,political,environmental,cultural,spiritual,economic,family life,international relations,security.

e)PRINCIPAL:democratic,constitutional,legal etc

PS:Do not be confused about how to include so many things in essay.Not everything that i mentioned can be included.Just keep these dimensions in mind



Character of an institution is reflected in its leader

(Disclaimer:i have written whatever i could recall from my attempt of the essay paper)



We identify nation with its Prime minster, companies with their CEOs and teams with their captains.The institution is often glorified or demeaned by the acts and character of its leader.Via this essay we would understand Why and how character of an institution is reflected in its leader .An institution can be seen as any organization that is oriented towards a common goal,with the leader being the one with the maximum authority in it.Character is the virtue or vice that define a person.In essence it is the most defining attribute of a person or the institution

The Mauryan Empire(Institution) under Chandra Gupta Maurya (Leader) was in various ways different form the Empire Under Ashoka(Leader).The character of peacefulness ,love and kindness was very prominent under the reign of the latter i.e. the character of the institution (Mauryan empire)was reflected in its leader(Ashoka).Fast forward to the mughals.We find that the same institution(Mughal empire) ,had a different character under Akbar than under Aurangzeb.Coming to the freedom movement(institution),the character, tempo and style of the freedom struggle became very different When Mahtama Gandhi , emerged with his own sui generis leadership style(Non violence , satyagrah, Civil disobedience and non cooperation towards Unjust laws).In the present times we see how our nation(institution) is being seen differently under the energetic and charismatic character of our present Prime Minister.

Similarly , let us focus on the French Revolution(institution).The entire movement became very violent(Guillotine was enjoyed),under the leadership of Robespierre ,who himself had the character of a violent personality.In the world war 1 , the birth defect of Kaiser 1 (Germany) is seen as one of the reasons for the war(Due to his birth defect,the kaiser always wanted to prove himself and his offensive character was reflected in the german army which was always keen on going to a war).Similar is the example of the massacre of Jews by the nazis.The naziarmy(institution),developed a sense of hatred for the jews under the leadership of Hitler.Thus we see how across the time scale ,the character of an insitution was being relected in its leader.Let us understand reasons for the same before analysing the topic further.

Why does the character of an instituion reflected in its leader

Leaders are the role model for any instituion.Thus their own approach and character percolates down into the organization.Second reason is well demonstrated by the Miligram experiment.The organization under the leader loose their sense of accountability.Due to this, they often blend their own character with that of their leader.This was the reason why during the Nuremberg trial the Nazi army men felt no guilt .Their own character was dissolved in that of their leader.Thirdly , for the general public ,it is often easier to relate the organization/institution with the leader.Hence we associate the character of the institution with the leader.Thus these are the reasons why character of an institution is reflected in its leader.Now let us understand further by taking examples of various instituions

Family is the first institution of our lives.Generally,the eldest male of the family that is the father of the family acts as the leader .We often see that whatever character the father possesses , the same is seen in the character of the entire family.A true,honest,integral and virtous father will see to it that his family possessed similar virtues ,Thus we see that characher of an instituion (family) is reflected in its leader(father)

Consider the example from corporate world .TATA’s are often quoted as an example for athical corporate governamnce.The reason will again firm our stand on this topic.The leader Ratan TATA is seen as a man of virtue and the entire instituion reflects that quality .Hence again we prove the point

Coming to international politics/governance ,we can take US as the world leader(though it is multipolar world)The character of the leader,in this case being a democracy is being reflected in the world ,with more and more countries moving towards a democratic governance system.This is the reason why a firm stance on environment issues is often expected from the bigger countries(analogy to a leader)

Similar example can be seen in the field of sports.Dhoni the captain of the Indian cricket team is often praised for his character of calmness and a cool demeanour.The entire team showed the same with a good performance under his captaincy.

The adminstrative side i.e. the government again has various such examples where the leader changes the way the entire governemtnmachinery functions.Now let us look into various illustrations where a particular character was incorporated in the governement due to its leader.

Honesty and integrity have been the hallmark for the success of Delhi Metro.Mr. Sreedharan (leader in this case),had these virtues which was reflected in his institution.Infact he started the Delhi Metro Pledge system,wherein the employees took pledge to show utmost honesty.

Consider puctuality as a trait.Lalu prasad Yadav ,as the railway minister was appreciated for his punctuality.He used to arrive at the office on time,due to which the other functionaries had to follow the line.Thus in government ,where punctuality is often an issue the leader showed how adopting the character in his own personality would effect the insitution.

Similarly , we can quote the example of Discipline ,as the character trait of General Manic Shaw.The entire Indian army under his disciplined leadership showed the same character and finally emerged victorious in the war against Pakistan.

Similar is the case with Panchayati raj instituions.The provision of reservig seat for women leaders .The entire instituion will then develop the character of respect for females.


We saw how across time scale the character of an insitution was being reflected in its leader.We saw examples of various insitituions and then various characters to further strengthen our stand.Further we tried to analyse the reasons behind the same.Governement is very well using this understanding ,to select better quality leaders.Hence ,A paper on ethics ,integrity and aptitude has been introduced in the selection process by UPSC.Thus leader is the foundation of a building,which if strong will impart similar strength it. A virtous leader will give rise to a virtous insitution.Hence we can say that character of an institution is reflected in its leader.

Is competition good for youth

I am just trying to point out what mistak did i do in my previous attemot, so that candidates do not repeat the same further

Analysis of the mistakes:

I started with a story which i could not connect later with the essay.One can start with a story only if u are confident that you are focused on the central theme of the essay.Another issue with such an introduction is,it will eat a lot of your time , leaving you with less time to focus on main body.

I wrote a very mediocre kind of essay,in the sense that i wrote 2-3 pages on how is competition good for youth.Further i wrote how is competition harming youth(Another 2-3 pages).

Then i wrote about what should be done by arents and government and then concluded my essay

What i should have done

In the introduction, i should have defined what is competition (It is actually an efficient way of distribution of resources).write any such simple definition,Then i would have defined what is good for youth,something that will help in their overall development:be it education,interactive skills,physical health,mental health,creativity etc….And i would have explained each of this point in relation to competition.

Along with this if possible i would have given a temporal aspect in the starting about how competition has emerged from ancient times and what has been its effect on children in particular


FAQ on essays


Yes,you can.Infact you can be innovative.If there are two essays write subheadings in one of them and do not write in the other.Using or not using subheadings hardly matters if you maintain a proper flow


I used to write an essay every weekend from Insights secure.Get it evaluated by some seniours who had good score in essay.I joined test series for essay under Vikash ranjan sir(Chronicle IAS) which i found useful.


I rarely used any qoutation.Dont overstress on this.If you know cool enough ,if u dont know it doesnt matter much.But if you are writing a qoutation you should know it exactly and try to explain its meaning in the context of essay.