This is the last stage of writing an essay which is related to your exam’s time. This is very important to write a good essay in the examination hall and to score the best of mark. Although you will use this in the examination hall, but, if you take my advice and practice writing essays then you can use it even during practice. It would be better to practice using the following points:
(a) Take out some points: what is the biggest challenge of writing an essay? It is that you think you can write an essay, but, when you start writing it, then, you cannot. The topic is very easy. You feel like writing as soon as you read the title. You feel that you can write a lot. However, you write a little and you are tired. The same points keep coming to your mind which you have already written. It seems that you don’t have many new points-provided you are careful. Otherwise, students think that whatever they are writing has something new in it.
The question is how can we overcome this problem? The solution is: points should be made. You shouldn’t start writing the essay immediately. You should read the topic and keep writing the points that keep coming to you. You should make a long list of the main and even the small points. You should also write the examples or the- events you are going to talk about. Basically, you should prepare as many points as you can. You should neither rush it nor be lazy in this. You should avoid thinking that, ‘I can write this point directly in the essay’. It is confirmed that you will forget it while writing the essay. You must write the points that come to your mind at this point. It is also going to happen that while writing the essay, you may get some new points. This is not a problem and you can include those points too. However, if you get those points right away, you should include them in the list.
This is very important as you have collected all the ingredients to make the final essay.
a. Classify them: you must read the points which you have written at least twice or thrice. After that, you should try deciding the way you are going to classify them. That means which categories the points will be. divided in. You will get many points which you can classify in one category only. You should, hence, put them in series. You will realize that the map of the whole essay would be very clear in your mind. Suppose you have got 50 points. While classifying them, you will realize that you can have 7-8 different categories. These 7-8 categories are said as an example and not as a rule. This entirely depends on the number of points.
b. Decide the priority: after writing and classifying the points, students start writing the essay. They feel they should just copy the raw material on the paper. This way you can include all the points, but, the essay is not structured. I have already told you that essay is not only presenting the points, but, presenting them impressively. For a structured essay, it is very important that you prioritize the points that you have got till now. ‘Deciding the priority’ means deciding which point will come first, which one after that and which one at the end. It is obvious that the most important point should be mentioned first and then according to this, the points should be written. You will see that there will be a harmony in the thoughts of your essay. As the harmony develops, the essay will be more structured.
c. Do rough work: the best thing with essays is that the time given for writing it is sufficient. Rather it is more than sufficient. Being a good student you should make sure that you use it to the maximum. That is why you shouldn’t be in hurry. You can do your work taking all the time so that you can do it properly and you must do this.
If you instantly start writing the essays, you would find that you have completed it in an hour only. What will you do in the rest of the time? Either you will keep revising them or you will give your copy and go out of the examination hall. Isn’t it better to think about the essays first and even create a rough structure for it? You think yourself that the total word limit for two given essays is 2400 words. In other papers, you have to write around 5000 words in 3 hours. Then why have you been given essays of maximum 2400 words which are to be written in the same 3 hours? It is very clear that you utilize your time and only after thinking you write the essay.
I am not asking you to write the whole essay as rough work. However, this is for sure that after deciding the priorities of the points, you must write them separately on a paper. You should see if anything has to be rearranged or not. If you feel that way, then, you should do it. Even after doing the rough work, you should see if any other point can be added to it. There is always a possibility of adding something. As soon as you get something to add, you should note it down in the rough work at the right place. I feel that at least half of the given time should be used in doing this as it is only by doing this, that you will get the material to create a structured essay.
You should remember to cut the rough work. Never think, ‘I will cut the rough work once I write the essay’. It is quite possible that you may forget to cut it. If this happens, then, according to the examination’s rule, the examiner will check the part he gets to see first and will cut the latter part. You just need to draw a slanting line. As soon as the work is completed on the rough paper, you should cut it. You will not be affected by it. However, if you forget to draw this line, then, this will affect you a lot. You shouldn’t take risks in such matters.
d. Start writing the essay: After doing the rough work, you should close your eyes for 5 minutes and relax your mind and try to set it as per the essay’s topic. Just think how you are going to start the essay and then just start it.
- You should start very slowly and leisurely. You have enough time. You shouldn’t be in a hurry. Let the ideas come to your mind slowly. In the beginning a lot of points will come to your mind simultaneously. But don’t panic. This problem would have been more severe, if you hadn’t prepared the points.
- You would find that even after preparing the points, new ideas are coming to your mind. They should be included right away if it is possible to do so, if not, then, you should note them down on the rough paper.
- While writing the essay, you should go back to the points which you have written and should also see the prioritized points even in the rough work. Now, you should match the essay with the rough work. That’s not a rule, though. If you think the points have to be reorganized, then, that can be done too.
- An essay is like a flowing river. If you add a lot of sub-titles or a lot of points, then, the flow is disrupted. Hence, it is very important for the flow that you don’t add many sub-titles and use them wherever necessary.
- But yes, if there is any important word, important sentence, or a point, which you think needs a definite attention of the examiner, you should always underline them. The examiner will understand that you think the underlined part is important. This will help you in attaining the purpose and at the same time it will not reduce the essay’s flow either.
e. Word limit: I fail to understand how students don’t focus on the word limit and end up crossing the word limit even in those questions in which it is very clearly mentioned ‘not more than a particular number of words’. This is called breaking the rules and I feel that a person who himself breaks the rules doesn’t have the right to make other people follow his orders. This word limit is one of the most important criteria to check your personality and this shouldn’t be taken for granted in any case.
In 2014, you were asked to write two essays with a combined word limit of 2400 words. Students wonder how many pages they should write for these essays. Why should this question even arise? This is a simple math question. You can calculate it by counting how many words you write in a line and how many lines are there on a single sheet of paper. You can multiply the number of lines with the number of words you write in one line. The number that you get is the number of words you write in a page. Now divide 2400 by this number and you will get your answer; I would like to strongly suggest that you shouldn’t exceed the word limit. If you do this, then you will definitely be caught. It would be better that you don’t write because then there will not be much effect.
f. Handwriting: I will not say that a good handwriting is must for becoming an IAS or for scoring more marks, but, I would say that handwriting should be comprehensible and should be such that the examiner doesn’t have to really work hard to read and understand it. Good handwriting doesn’t mean a beautiful one but is more related to its comprehensibility. When we write very fast, then, it definitely has a very bad effect on the handwriting. However, the good part here is that there is no need of hurrying up for essay. Hence, the extra time can be used to improve your handwriting.
I don’t have enough space to include few essays in it. Nonetheless, all the important points needed to write a good essay have been included. If you devote some time using these suggestions for writing an essay while practicing, then, I am sure that you will benefit from this. This will make you an expert in it.