Essay Writing Tips for UPSC Mains: Best Strategy to Success

Essay paper plays a crucial role in the UPSC mains exam. The essay paper is of a total of 250 marks. At first, aspirants used to write 1 essay in 3 hours, but in 2013 there was a change made in the syllabus, and now the aspirants have to write 2 essays in 3 hours on two different topics. 

The two essays have a word count of 1000 to 1200 words. There are two sections: Section A and Section B, and there are four topics of essays. Out of the 4 topics, aspirants can choose one topic from each section to write an essay. Candidates can select the topic of their choice from any four topics. The UPSC Essay Paper is of 250 marks with one essay, which is for 125 marks. 

So before giving essay writing tips for UPSC, I would advise you to get enrolled in an ias coaching institute such as The Thought Tree (T3). The Thought Tree will help you in preparing for the UPSC exam. From teaching difficult concepts in a simple manner to providing mentorship until the selection takes place, T3 has got it all covered for you. All these features make T3 the best IAS coaching in Jaipur.   

Given below are some essay writing tips for UPSC:

Tips for UPSC Essay Writing

1. First Read, Understand, and then Write

Before Writing the Answer:

  1. Read the topic carefully and then take some time to comprehend the question. 
  2. Gather all the information in the brain, give it a thought, analyze the question from different angles, and choose a format for writing the essay.
  3. Make the rough work section for dividing the writing piece into an introduction, body, and conclusion, and assign the data you are going to write on the topic amongst under the respective headings.


The Introduction should give an idea of the topic and submit your point. The Introduction should spark an interest in the examiner’s mind and show the examiner what is to come. For making it interesting, add a quote or a personal experience.

Main Paragraph

The Main paragraph should have an in-depth description of the topic. While writing this, don’t sound generic and submit the point which applies to the topic. Keep in mind that combine all the paragraphs in a thread and maintain the flow of the topic. 

2. Don’t Divert from the Topic 

While writing the essay, try not to divert from the topic. Don’t beat around the bush and write the things which are not required to fill the page. Avoid writing a lot of phrases or quotes on the topic. As it will make the examiner think that you don’t have anything good to write and you are just writing for the sake of the word count.

3. Provide an Example

Adding examples to the topic will make it more interesting to read. And do provide a real example. Look for examples online on how to give an example for making your essay look decent. 

4. Use an Extensive Vocabulary

While writing an essay, it is important to use powerful words. It will demonstrate your ability to write. Read a dictionary, learn new words regularly, and make a list of all the good words in the journal. Review all the words and try to use them while speaking and writing.

5. Revise Your Essay

After completing the essay, make sure to revise and go through the entire written essay from the start till the end, and underline the important words or quotes with the help of a scale and pencil. Also, check if there are any grammatical or spelling mistakes and correct them. A few words here and there can be added or removed, but avoid doing that a lot. 

6 Practice a Lot

Writing needs to be practiced, and after that, only you will be able to write a good essay. For good practice, consider joining a reputed institute that offers test series, as it will help you develop your thought process for writing on any topic. Practicing will also allow you to present the information in a precise manner.

7. Recommended Books 

Writing an essay cannot be taught in 2 months or so. It is a continuous process that takes a lot of reading before writing something reasonably large to fill the 20 pages and score 100+ marks.

Read the editorial section of The Hindu Newspaper.

  • Read the editorial section of The Hindu Newspaper.
  • Read magazines such as Frontline, Kurukshetra, Yojana.
  • Watch discussions and debates on the news channels. 
  • Also, check topics of previous years’ question papers.

Read More: Education Opportunities That Every Student Should Consider


Keep in mind that reading these tips will not do anything unless you test it out realistically. Ultimately, essay writing is done for understanding and evaluating the personality of an aspirant, which shows what their characteristics, opinions, values, attitude, aptitude, writing ability, and other such qualities are also looked over by UPSC in an aspirant.  

So I hope this article was helpful to you and gave you an idea about how to write an essay. Essay writing will take a lot of time, so choose the topic wisely, understand, and then write and revise in the end.

Good Luck!

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