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  • Writer's pictureATISH MATHUR

The Evening Before the Essay

Updated: May 5, 2021

As you gear up to write one of India's most sought after competitive examinations in perhaps, one of the most unprecedented circumstances.

Notwithstanding ensuring the logistical arrangements including but not limited to travel, stationery, food and medical supplies etc, I wanted to pen down a few suggestions that might assist you for the next two weeks.

The Non-Negotiable :

a. Do not write anything except the question/heading numbers beyond the margins even if you are running out of space.

b. Do not make any religious/auspicious symbols anywhere in your answer sheets.

c. Do not disclose any personal information about yourself in your answers in any manner.

d. Do not compromise on sleep before the exam no matter what. If you are feeling anxious, try exercising a bit which might tire your body and help you sleep better.

The Commandments:

  1. Spend a minimum of 5-8 mins plotting each Essay on the rough sheets before you actually start attempting them.

  2. You do not have to write an unconventional essay just because most people wouldn't. Always play to your strengths. Use every edge you can to make your Essays the best; be it your optional or any specialised knowledge you may have gained through any means whatsoever.

  3. Do not forget to give an outline/brief of your Essay right after the Introduction.

  4. An Essay is nothing but an assimilation of your GS knowledge garnished with Quotations, Data, and Substantiated Opinions.

  5. Maintain a balance between diversity and depth to project a good Essay.

  6. Write neatly, not necessarily beautifully.

  7. Gender, Environment, Health, Education, Federalism, Judiciary, Corruption, and Technology are always asked in some form or another, rotate arguments and data to suit your Essay.

  8. Philosophy Essays are essentially about variables such as Does A mean B or Do A + B = C. Identify the variables, make your permutations and combinations, explain them across dimensions and you are good to go. For example : Courage to Accept (A) and (+) dedication to improve (B) are the two keys (=) success(C).

  9. In at-least 1-2 paragraphs, argue the opposite to the Essay Statement if it is an opinion based on. Never just argue the affirmative. This is especially true for Philosophical Essays.

  10. Do not use more than one ink.

  11. Do not make any flowcharts, diagrams, or any illustration whatsoever.

  12. You can divide your Essay into themes/headings and write smaller paragraphs under those themes/headings

  13. Please carry gloves if you are in a cold place. Fill some hot water or beverage in a flask which you could sip and also use to warm your hands in case you need to.

  14. Do not get too political/controversial in your arguments/examples.

Always remember, the simplest answers are always the best answers.

You've got this :) I wish you the finest of luck and please take care of yourselves.

Let the Mains 2020 begin,


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