How to Write Good Essays In UPSC?

If you have cleared the UPSC Prelims, you must be aware of the essay paper you have to attain in the UPSC Mains. Amongst all the papers in UPSC, the essay paper is the ninth one where candidates are asked to write two essays, each of nearly 1000 to 1200 words.

The essay paper consists of 250 marks, each essay bearing 125 marks. Many candidates fail to crack the UPSC exam due to their weak essay writing skills. For improving your essays, you may sit for the essay test series for IAS conducted by various UPSC coaching centers. First, however, here are some guidelines that you can follow to write good essays.

Guidelines How to Write Good Essays In UPSC?

  1. Think for a while

First things first. Before you start writing about a topic, go through the question paper well. In the UPSC Mains, there are options provided in the essay paper from which you have to choose any two. When choosing an essay topic, make sure you can write on it. Do not pick a topic that you are not well aware of. Once you have chosen a topic, move on to the next step -jotting down the points.

  1. What not to write?

Since UPSC is a civil service exam, you will be judged on the basis of whatever you write in the paper. Do not criticize the government policies too much. When writing on any topic, always try to find out the positive sides of it. Paying more attention to the negative aspects will make the examiner regard you as pessimistic and not fit for an administrative post. Writing essays critically does not mean only speak ill about the government laws and policies. 

  1. Provocative essays

Sometimes, UPSC provides the candidates in such a way that you are left with no choice but to agree to the topic. In cases like these, you do not have to always sing in favor of the topic. What examiners in the UPSC exam look forward to is how critically you can deal with an essay topic and how well you can express your thoughts either in favor or against the topic. All you need to do is to justify all the points in an essay. The better you justify, the better will you be able to impress the examiner.

  1. Provide unbiased opinions

Writing essays with personal views expressed in it is a big ‘No’ for UPSC essay paper. When writing essays, do not name any politician or take the name of any political party. When you get essays related to foreign policies, do not forget to mention the names of the ministers. Write in a balanced manner that will not hint at any mud-slinging or hero-worshipping. Further, do not point at any religious aspect that may hurt the sentiments of a section of society. Of course, you can provide your personal opinions, but that should be unbiased.

  1. Suggested readings

Writing essays is not something that you can learn in a day or overnight. It needs some prior preparation. To prepare well, go through the editorials of English newspapers, read magazines and watch debates and discussions. Further, go through previous years’ question papers and solve the essays.

  1. Reading books

To increase your vocabulary, thinking capacity, and writing skills, you need to make reading a hobby. Read books related to the Indian culture, development, democracy, and social policies. All of this will help you form a distinct idea about several topics.


For UPSC essay preparation, make sure you are prepared for every kind of topic. Do not expect to get repeated questions. You can join any online UPSC coaching center for better preparation.

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