In this post, we will be talking about the Strategy to use to write an essay in UPSC CAPF Assistant Commandant Exam.
Already Published – CAPF Assistant Commandant – Study Plan, Cut offs, Study Material,books
- In CAPF 2013 Exam Candidates had to attempt 4 essays out of the total 6 in about 300 Words Each. Marking Scheme = 4 X 20 = 80
- Previously in 2011 and 2012 , a Candidate had to attempt 1 out of the 4 choices in about 800 Words for 80 Marks.
So, We would suggest aspirants to keep this in mind while practicing essays at their place and be prepared for both the scenarios.
Why Should we attempt and Prepare for Essay ?
No matter how good your written skills are, you can’t ignore practicing sample essays before hand. Considering this 2nd part – Essay & Comprehension being a make or break situation for a number of candidates, you can’t risk spoiling your chances just because you didn’t prepare your essay well. We highly recommend all serious aspirants to practice essays. This is the only part in the Written exam that gives the examiner an insight into your thought process and intellectual imagination and can place you above par other candidates. Our Advice – Practice. Practice. Practice.
What really is an Essay and what type of essays are generally asked by the UPSC ?
Literally, Essay means an attempt or effort or try, a short piece of writing on a particular subject. An essay is not a collection of facts, it is rather meant to display your analytical skills, power of reasoning, your intellect and written skills . It’s purpose is to bring out your thought process and your refined ideas.
In CAPF Exam candidates are asked to write an essay on topics seeking their opinions on them. One point to remember though is that the assessor is more interested in the arguments that you give in support of your opinions rather than the opinion itself. Do check previous year Essay questions asked in CAPF Exam from 2009 to 2013 ( list given below ) below and you will get to know for yourself.
How to Write an Essay in UPSC CAPF Assistant Commandant Exam ?
Before you jump on to writing an essay , you must first Choose the Right Essay, an essay on which you have enough content and ideas. Take up each topic and ask yourself, “What can I say about this?” Make a mental note of number of points and ideas that you can write on different topics. After having done this, Select top 4 on which you are most confident.
Thereafter, the next step involves planning your essay. Planning is extremely important as it helps in organisation and clarity of your essay. An essay mainly consists of three sections namely,
- The opening paragraph
- The development or body of the essay
- The conclusion.
A Good essay is expected to have a definite opening, a considered development and an emphatic conclusion. Write an impressive opening sentence, which gets the essay off to a brisk start and grabs the reader’s attention. Avoid making Generalised and Empty statements that don’t talk about your topic directly.
Example of a bad opening —>
“This is a very important issue and there are many different approaches that can be taken in regard to it. Many experts have considered this matter, but no one has come up with proven solutions. There are arguments for and against and many people feel very strongly about it.”
Nothing has been said about the topic on which the essay is being written. Such General statements must be avoided at all costs as they make a bad impression on the examiner and appears nothing more than an attempt to fill up space. ( word count )
How to Open/ Start an Essay ?
Most People start essays with Quotes or hypothetical Questions related to the essay in question. This is a good strategy but do make sure that you quote them Verbatim and not as you please. For Eg :
‘An Eye for an Eye will make the whole world Blind ‘ – Mahatma Gandhi
If Instead you write
‘An eye only ends up making the world blind’ – Abraham Lincoln
You will only end up showing the examiner that you are stupid. Moral of the Story – use Quotes only when you know them verbatim with its Original Author/ Speaker.
Moving further, An essay must start with the Introduction, briefly explaining what is it about, defining the terms and your stand on it – for, against or mixed. By reading the Intro, the examiner will get an idea whether you have understood the topic or not. Make a clear and Concise Introduction without using much verbose.
How to Generate Content for Essays ?
Now let us talk about the ‘Body’ part of the essay and how you can generate content on any given topic.
Once you are done with the introduction, you must then create a rough draft, an outline – a framework of all the important points you want to cover in your essay. This involves Brainstorming ideas for the topic for different dimensions. There are 2 approaches for Brainstorming.
- Keywords approach – Here you form a mind map of all the keywords related to the topic and write on them focussing on What, where, why, when, who, when, how [ W6H Approach ]. Caution : Don’t deviate from the topic.
- HGSPELT Approach – In this, you look at your topic from different angles namely Historical perspective, Georgraphy, Social, Political, Economical, Legal & Technological aspect. One may even consider the topic from Administrative, ethical, psychological, humanitarian, Environmental angles.
Power Tip : A comprehensive understanding of these magical words is highly recommended – Sovereignty, Socialism, Secularism, Democracy, Republic, Equality, Liberty,Fraternity etc. as these are not merely words but a concept in themselves.
How to conclude an Essay ?
Don’t just end your essay in the mid-way. You should briefly sum up everything that you talked about in your essay in the concluding part. You can use this words to mark the end of your essay.
- “In conclusion,…”
- “In the end,…”
Remember this :
- Do not contradict anything you said earlier in the essay
- Be clear and concise
- Do not introduce new information
- Maintain the tone you used in the rest of your essay
- Do not repeat your introduction
- Do not use Quotes while ending your essay. Quotes must be included either at the Beginning or in the body.
How much time should I spend on writing as essay ?
Regardless of how much time you have to complete your essay, try to follow these guidelines.
- 1/4 of your time prewriting and organizing
- 1/2 of your time writing
- 1/4 of your time revising and editing
How to connect statements or begin new paragraphs ?
- To connect ideas, details, or clauses together while traversing from one paragraph / point /argument to the next. Use connectors like – Moreover, In Addition, Furthermore, However, Additionally, Besides that, Also, as well, not only…but also, Although, Wherever, Whenever, Unless, In order that, as if, as though, though, so that, otherwise, on the other hand, Nevertheless, therefore, Consequently, Instead, Afterward, Meanwhile, While etc.
- For giving examples, use different terms like – for example, for instance, consider this, notably etc.
- Terms to point out just how you are extending, elaborating, enhancing or analysing your material and structuring your own text. – firstly, in particular, consequently, in other words, alternatively, in comparison, by contrast, similarly, admittedly, certainly, to digress, to recapitulate, to resume etc.
- Linking words and phrases that you could use at the beginning of new paragraphs –
Another essential feature of …
While it can be argued that …, it is also true that …
However, many critics disagree with this …
To counter this argument, …
Nevertheless, the evidence is that …
The bulk of the available evidence, then, points to the fact that …
On the contrary, …
Having analysed this aspect, I would now like to …
In order to emphasise this point, I would like to point to …
Moreover, there are other convincing arguments to back up …etc.
What all Resources Should one refer for Essay Content ?
It goes without saying , The More you read the better. To be better at Essay writing we suggest aspirants to develop a diverse reading habit. We have the following recommendations for you.
- Newspapers – The Hindu or Indian Express
- Magazines – Frontline, India today, Seminar magazine, The Economist ( for International News )
- TV Debates – NDTV [ The Big Fight, The Buck Stops here, We the People], RSTV [ The Big Picture ], AIR
- Read books on varied topics – The Argumentative Indian, Everyman’s War, India After Gandhi, Outliers, Wings of Fire, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Shiva Trilogy etc.
- Practice writing Previous year Essays at your home and on our Forums
- Books of Essays – 151 Essays
Do’s and Don’ts in Essay Writing
- Don’t use more words than necessary just to use up space.
- Don’t get personal. Don’t take sides of a Particular Community, Political Party.
- Be Rational and Un-biased. Not only in Essay , in your real Life too 😛
- Don’t mention Examples from Un-authoritative sources . Citing instances from Movies, Fictions and TV Series is a Strict No-No !
- Don’t deviate from the topic. You are not attempting an essay for your school, it’s the UPSC.
For example, it is asked about the Tree and you start your essay with intro. Trees are very beneficial..Trees provide us this and that..Villagers tie their animals to the tree and thereafter you write at lengths about Animals leaving your Subject i.e. Tree [ This is just an example to make things clear, don’t ever expect UPSC to ask you to write an essay on Trees 😛 ]
- Maintain the flow and Coherence, Avoid Jumping from one point to another. Your essay should and must be well organized, connecting ideas logically.
- For Every point you make in an essay, always provide Compelling reasons and/or a persuasive example to support that point. [ Most Candidates don’t do this and thus get a poor grading ]
Essay topics from Previous Year UPSC CAPF Assistant Commandant Exam. [ 2009 to 2013 ]
- Should uniformed services personnel be allowed to form associations ?
- Not reason (or facts) but attitude resolves problems.’
- Should a developing country spend money on space research ?
- Should corporal punishment of children be banned in our schools and homes ?
- ‘Soft-skills’ training for our Security forces.
- International Cooperation on terror issues – a myth or reality ?
- Pluralism in practice in our Society.
- The ‘development’ vs ‘displacement’ debate.
- Do the modern means of Telecommunication and Internet pose a threat to our culture and society ?
- Can laws alone fight corruption ?Can laws alone fight corruption ?
- Women empowerment and national development.
- Security imperatives for India in the emerging geo-political environment.
- Emergence of regional parties and its effect on the federal structure of India.
- Population stabilization—India’s critical need.
- Migration from neighbouring countries to India and its socio-economic impact.
- The role of technology in coping with challenges to internal security.
- Nexus between Health Practitioners and pharmaceutical companies, a concern.
- Inter-State water disputes in India.
- Role of Social Reformers in the Struggle for Freedom.
- Impact of falling value of Rupee on Indian Economy.
- China’s Policy of Aggressive dominance in South-East Asia.
- Effect of Media Publicity on Terrorism.
Check out the infographic below for more on ‘How to write an Essay ?’ Credits : Grammarcheck.net
Candidates can discuss and Practice these essays with fellow aspirants at our Forum – CAPF Assistant Commandant Forum