by Dr Bijay Ketan Upadhyaya,I.A.S.
Rank 5,CSE 2008
Hi, I have got 140 in Essay in 2006 Mains & also 140 in 2008 Mains. Many candidates are confused about How to PREPARE ESSAY ¦ So writing this piece ¦
Essay preparation for Civil Services Exam can be of two types:-
1. LONG-TERM PREPARATION
2. SHORT-TERM PREPARATION
I will first write about long-term preparation. It can be done by those aspirants who have 1 yr or 2 yr or 3 years in their hands i.e. before Mains exam ¦
1. LONG-TERM PREPARATION – (The Path Less Trodden):-
¢These things should be done when you are doing your GRADUATION these days or u have enough time say 10 months at least to go for Extra-Curricular reading :-
¢ For long-term preparation be regular with any two national newspapers. I would recommend THE HINDU & THE TIMES OF INDIA. The Hindu gives you simple & effective writing style while TOI gives u stylish English & increases your vocabulary. Both are needed to write a good Essay.
¢ Read 2-3 hours everyday. Specially focus on the Editorials & other Analytical & Critical articles. Say in Hindu focus on Magazine, Book Review, Literary Review, Business Review, Open Page, 2 page OP-ED Page etc & in The Times of India focus on its Editorial Page. Whenever you encounter a DIFFICULT PHRASE, EDIOM, PART OF SPEECH etc just see the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary or Chambers Dictionary & in a Diary note down that word, its meaning, its usage in sentence etc. This MUST be done within 1-2 minutes. Don t keep it pending.
¢ Or else one word is lost from your vocabulary. By doing this your VOCABULARY will increase & you will know HOW TO USE THAT WORD IN A DIFFERENT CONTEXT. This is a gradual & continuous process and it will take 12-18 months to make your vocabulary very strong & have command over the language & expressive power.
¢ In addition to newspapers read as many articles from GOOD MAGAZINES as possible. The following magazines can be referred to.
a. FRONTLINE ( Must )
b. THE ECONOMIC & POLITICAL WEEKLY ( Must )
c. MAINSTREAM (Optional)
d. WORLD FOCUS (Optional)
e. THE ECONOMIST (Optional)
f. TIME or LIFE ( If you have access to a good library)
¢ I am not saying that you should try to finish all these magazines in one month. But try to read as many HIGH QUALITY ARTICLES as possible. This will increase the RANGE & VARIETY of your thinking & will make you knowledgeable about the happenings around the world & different streams of thought. (For Example: – What is œStream of Consciousness? What is œTheatre of Absurd? What is œObjective Correlative in T S Eliot s poems? What is The Revival Movement? Etc)
¢ Jot down POWERFUL & EFFECTIVE sentences that you come across in a Diary. Any Quotations or Important Sentences said by Intellectuals like Amartya Sen, Manmohan Singh, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Bertrand Russell, Arundhati Roy etc should be noted down.
¢ Revise your Diary in free time many times so that you can remember these quotations, important words, sentences etc & use them at relevant places in your Essay in Mains Exam.
¢ Apart from these things read a lot of NOVELS, POEMS, PLAYS, SHORT STORIES etc
¢ I am giving a list of some of the books that I read. You can pick up some of them ¦
1. R K NARAYAN S NOVELS (SWAMI & FRIENDS,THE ENGLISH TEACHER,THE GUIDE,THE DARK ROOM,THE BACHELOR OF ARTS,WAITING FOR MAHATMA,THE PAINTER OF SIGNS etc)
2. WAITING FOR GODOT —– by SAMUEL BECKETT
3. T S ELIOT —– SELECTED POEMS
4. THE GOLDEN TREASURY
5. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ( MACBETH,KING LEAR,TEMPEST ¦ ETC)
6. ENGLISH AUGUST —— by UPAMANYU CHATTERJEE
7. GEORGE ORWELL —– THE ANIMAL FARM,1984
8. BERTRAND RUSSELL —– SCEPTICAL ESSAYS, PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAYS, HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY
9. THE DISCOVERY OF INDIA — JAWAHARLAL NEHRU
10. THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS —- ARUNDHATI ROY
11. MIDNIGHT S CHILDREN —- SALMAN RUSHDIE
12. PLAYS OF HAROLD PINTER or at least know about his works.
13. ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE —- by GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ
14. NOVELS OF CHARLES DICKENS like GREAT EXPECTATIONS, A TALE OF TWO CITIES, HARD TIMES etc
15. Search TOP 100 NOVELS OF ALL TIME in Google & read some 5-10 novels of any author œWHOM YOU LIKE ¦
The basic idea is to make yourself œwell-read & with a COMMAND over ENGLISH ¦ For this READ SOME GOOD QUALITY novels or poems mentioned above or after searching Google (For ex. Best 100 Poems of Twentieth Century, Best 100 Plays of All Time etc. )
Hope this detailed guideline on Essay helps ¦
| This article is written by Dr. Bijay Ketan Upadhyay, IAS. Rank “ 5 , CSE- 2008.
Read his other Articles on our blog in theStrategy Section link on the top of the page. http://bijayketanupadhyayaias.blogspot.com/