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Your attitude

If essay's paper is deceitful, then, it is persuasive as well. Honestly, since it is the most persuasive paper, it is the most deceitful too. This paper makes me remember that part of Mahabharata when Duryodhan went to the palace made by Pandavas. He sees water in place of floor and floor in place of water. It was only looking at this foolish behavior of Duryodhan that Draupadi comments 'the son of a blind man is also blind'. He was deceived although he believed that 'there was water and the other place was ground'.

I didn't have to give essay's paper, but, being a Hindi literature student and then a professor, I know this topic very well. I have always scored well in essays. You can even say that I have been in love with writing essays. I also won a prize in a national competition for essays in the year 1985. My love for essays became even more prominent when I opted for the career of writing. I am going to share the same experiences of mine.

I am sad to say that I have seen many students who are not very serious about this paper, There are reasons for this. The first is that you are generally given four topics, out of which, you have to write on only one. This makes a student think that it is not a tough job. They are not wrong in thinking this either as the topics which are given don't ask for any specialty in it. They think they can write and it is true that they write as well. I have never met such an unfortunate and stupid student who would say that he was unable to write the essay. Everybody knows language and everybody has some knowledge on the topic (proficiency level may differ though). There is also a possibility of connecting two dots from a totally different context. There is no review required either. They consider this to be like batting in such a situation where there are no fielders on the ground- even no stumps and no wicketkeeper. That means a free flow of runs and no possibility of getting out.

Perhaps, now you have understood why I said, 'this is the most deceitful as well as persuasive paper'. As soon as you become over-confident in regard to anything, you become prone to be deceived by that thing then and there. Same is the case with the essay as well.

You think that this paper is easy which is not wrong. But you fail to understand that 'the easier the work is, the more difficult it is to do it'. It is very easy to draw a curvy line. But, drawing a straight line is the most difficult. You can apply this logic to essay paper as well. If it was such an easy paper, there was no need for UPSC to include it in the most difficult exam of the nation. Am I wrong in saying this?

Let's use Mathematics

The written exam is only for 1750 marks. Out of this 250 marks are assigned for essay. If we remove these marks, then, the written exam is for 1500 marks. Suppose you score 825 out of 1500, which is 55% and is considered to be a good score in IAS. You have scored these marks on studying the subject. Marks for essay are not included in this score.

The problem with the essay paper is that you can get from minimum 10% to 75% marks. 10% means 25 marks and 75% means 187.5 marks. Hence, the maximum round off marks is 185 and minimum are 25. This way the difference between minimum and maximum marks is 160. Let's imagine that you have scored 825 in rest of the exams. Now if you score 20% in essay, then, your total score wouldbe 825+50= 875. Hence, your percentage would be 50 since you have scored 875 out of 1750.

Now let's talk of a student who has scored 50% mark in other papers excluding essay. That means 750 out of 1500. He can score 75% in essay. But we suppose that he has scored 60%, which is not difficult. Now his total score is 750+ 150= 900.

Now let's calculate this score. Even after scoring 55% in 6 papers, the first student's total score was 875 since he could score only 20% in essay. On the other hand the second student got only 50% in 6 papers. But finally he scores more than the first student by 25 marks since he scores 60% in essay-irrespective of the fact that he was 75 marks behind in the re t of the papers as compared to the first student. It was only by scoring more in essay that he moved ahead of the first student. Just think that if the first student scores 50% rather than 20° 0 in essay, which is not very difficult, then, his total marks would be 950. 950 out of 1750 mean 54.8%. That means selection i definite, that too, with a good rank. My question is how was this difference created? Very clear answer- essay.

Art, not science

Don't make the mistake of taking this calculation ofmin as imaginary. This is true and it generally happens with the science students. That is because writing an essay is an art and science students lack the experience of this art. Although it isn't difficult to learn this art. And you can even master it by practicing. The purpose of this chapter is more or less to teach you this art.

I have a batch mate. His daughter has done masters inSociofogy from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi. After this, she tried to attempt the IAS exam. Unfortunately she lost all of her attempts except the last one. That girl accidentally met me at the World Book Fair in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi where I went to participate. When she greeted me, I was shocked because I had known her since the time she knew only to cry and could barely speak. Listening to her greetings, it seemed that even today by way of uttering those words she was actually crying. I immediately thought of the 6-months-old girl and I could sense her untold sadness which really troubled me. I called her aside and we sat and started talking in a corner. My wife, son, my batch mate and his wife went to have a look at the books. She told me it was her last attempt at IAS. In May, she has the preliminary examination and the mains exam in October. Before this she had taken the mains exam twice, the first time she couldn't clear it, the second time, she did clear it but couldn't clear the interview. Since it was her last chance, she became very sensitive.

We talked to each other for about 3 hrs. She told me about her marks of every subject of both the years. It was very clear that she could score well in all the subjects except in essay. She was unable to score more than 40-50 (at that time it was for 200 marks). I thought if she could get 60 somehow in essay, then, her selection was definite. So I asked her to change the game plan. I wanted her to prepare well for essay now and not much for the other subjects. So I told her how to prepare for essay and gave her my book as well.

I am glad to say that neither did she disappoint her parents nor me. She got 25th rank and now she is an IAS officer. Myfriend's family got not only an IAS daughter but also an IAS son-in-law. A small weakness of not being able to write a proper essay was one of the major problems in her major success.

So, you shouldn't ignore this part. I am not saying that you should prepare for it on the cost of other parts. If you want to crack IAS, you shouldn't ignore any part of the exam, and especially, the essay. If you ignore this, then you shouldn't expect success. Perhaps, you are not able to reach the 75% mark, but, at least you would be able to score more than what you could with a little more practice and seriousness.

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