Hello dear student!
The UPSC Mains exam is barely 1.5 months away. We hope you are earnestly preparing for not just reading but writing lots of tests in an exam-like environment! Carry on and persevere through every feeling of doubt or fear you may have. Don’t give up, not now. Passing the Mains Exam is a golden opportunity, you must make the most of it! Don’t miss this opportunity!
As you well know, the UPSC Mains exam is the most important step and can be the determining factor that influences the final result. One of the easiest but often overlooked methods of ensuring a high overall score is to work hard on the essay. (This is article 2 in the series! Read article 1 here. )
What are the mistakes to avoid in an essay?
In the introduction, you must state your thesis– your opinion on the subject/problem. So, don’t show ambivalence in the essay or deviate from your position that you categorically took at the beginning.
Do not contradict yourself or your ideas.
- ARTIFICIAL/ILLOGICAL LINKS:
For example: Paragraph 1: The problem of malnutrition can be solved by implementing the recommendations of committee X.
Para 2: Additionally, man has taken giant steps towards establishing a colony on Mars.
Ensure a smooth and logical flow throughout.
- USE FLOWERY LANGUAGE:
For example: As the sun rose over the horizon, the crimson and golden hues created a beautiful and picturesque scene. The radiant heat of the rising sun enveloped her in a warm embrace, soothing her broken and tattered soul.
Instead, use plain language and make your point briefly and concisely.
- USE LANGUAGE which is difficult to understand and may require specialist knowledge
Use plain language instead
- Avoid bringing complicated vocabulary or terms from your specialized field of study that may be incomprehensible to most.
- Your essay should not be full of obscure content.
USE LONG SENTENCES:
- Use short sentences.
- Be brief and precise
- One should not lose sight of what one reads because of long and tortuous sentences.
Rough GENERALIZATIONS/Using EXTREME WORDS
- “We are ALL like that.”
- “It will ALWAYS be a problem!”
- “They will NEVER get over this.”
- “We should ONLY follow this approach.”
REPITITION of Ideas, examples, sentences!
- Do not use such tactics to lengthen your essay, the examiner will see through them.
USE HYPOTHETICAL STORIES:
- For example: The people of town X have decided that if everyone had chosen option A, then the outcome would have been B. Based on this, we can conclude that choosing option A is the best way forward.
Use concrete examples, it makes a case more convincing.
Spelling and grammatical errors
- Although you don’t have to be a prolific writer, please proofread the writing once to correct any spelling/grammar errors.
- Bad grammar can distort the meaning of the sentence
- Ex: confusion between your & you are; it’s his; time, etc
Using ‘you’ & ‘your’:
- Can be perceived as disrespectful
- Do not address the reader personally
-For example: “Would you choose to follow this path at this point?” is not an appropriate sentence
Instead, “Would we choose to go this route at this point?”
Use of passive voice:
- For example: the program was implemented by the authorities of State C.
Use the active voice instead:
– it is more effective, direct (ACTIVE) & therefore more persuasive!
-For example: the authorities implemented scheme Y in state C and the results were as desired.
- You are not expected to have beautiful handwriting like this:
- Instead, just write neatly, legibly, and be sure to make life easier for the reviewer and they won’t get frustrated trying to decipher your handwriting as if it’s from an ancient age that hasn’t yet been deciphered.
Want to learn more about mistakes to avoid when writing an essay and how to bring dimensions? Watch session 1 of our FREE TRIAL & ETHICAL workshop hosted by Vinay Sir here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqSpjawt77k
We’ll be back next week with article 3 of this series. Comment below and let us know your UPSC readiness status for MAINS 2022 or next attempt. Do you have any other valuable tips on writing mistakes to avoid? Let us know! We would love to hear from you!
Believe in yourself and keep going.
Until next time!