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How to score 160+ in the Essay —

I have 165 in the essay paper which is the one of the highest scores that they have given this year. Here are the mock essays that I wrote as part of the test series at Vision. This will give you a general idea of my writing style and the multiple things I incorporated to enhance my marks.

Some general things to bear in mind:

  1. Manage your time well as you have to write two good essays. I gave each essay 30 minutes brainstorming time and 1 hour writing time.
  2. Brief paragraphs are the way to go. Make checking easier for the examiner.
  3. Be creative but also be logical. Project both your imagination and your analytical skills in the essay.
  4. Keep linking your content back to the essay topic. Don’t go off on a tangent.
  5. Five pillars to get good marks:
    Quotations, Examples from current affairs, Data, Reports, Index.
  6. Choose a topic where you have at least three of the above mentioned five things.
  7. Make a small essay notebook. Keep quotations on key topics (democracy, environment, education, women, health) and by key people (Nehru, Gandhi, Tagore, Mandela, Vivekananda, Kofi Anan, Martin Luther, Dalai Lama, Shakespeare), data (economic, social and political facts and figures), reports (human development report, economic survey, pratham ASER) and index (GII, Gender Gap, EDB, HDI) ready. Read these multiple times and see where you can fit them in your essay.
  8. Underline the important points!
  9. Keep your presentation neat and tidy
  10. Your social science optional and general studies paper will give you enough content to write a decent essay so there is no need to prepare for essay as such. Take the plunge and start writing/deconstructing an essay each week.

My 2017 Mains Essay:

I’ll give you a basic idea of how I attempted my 2017 essays in the examination hall. I actually documented what I wrote in my essays in my journal as soon as I came home. This was solely to help future aspirants in case I cracked the exam. You can thank me later :p
Random advice: essay is the first paper of the Mains week so you’ll be a bundle of nerves. It is helpful to do some deep breathing in the examination hall as you’re waiting for the paper to begin. You must get this paper right so that there is happy energy and positive momentum for the week.

(a) Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classrooms.

I started with a quote by Tagore: The real worth of a nation is not measured by its abundance of resources but by the character and capabilities of its men and women.
My introduction elaborated on the paradox of India — about how we are the third largest economy in PPP terms and global power with significant heft. The other side to the story is that 58% of wealth is owned by 1%. I gave some statistics on poverty and education in India. I connected education to India’s tryst with destiny. Quoted from Nehru’s stellar August 15, 1947 speech.
I wrote about the power of classroom and addressed what happens in a classroom in three paragraphs — The self concept of children is developed. Democratic ideas are instilled. The passion to solve problems facing the country is nurtured.
In the following paragraphs, I linked the classrooms to the economic and political destiny of the nation.
Then I wrote about the need for a new model of education for the 21st century. Revamp the curriculum and train the teachers. We need to move away from the chalk and talk format of education and inculcate critical thinking skills. We need to teach our children compassion. We must sharpen the mind and sensitise the heart.
In the concluding paragraphs, I wrote about government interventions like RTE and RUSA but how we are still lagging behind. And how we need to fix this to reclaim our rightful place in the comity of nations.

(b) Fulfilment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth.

My introduction quoted from Stree Purush Tulna by Tarabai Shinde which is one of the earliest feminist tracts to be published in India. I started with the history of patriarchy and how gender inequality in India is legitimised, religiously sanctioned.
However, things are changing with the emergence of the ‘new woman’ courtesy the second wave. Women are questioning and critiquing the status quo that has led to economic and political empowerment.
Is this change a myth or reality?
1. Myth because it is concentrated in the upper caste, upper class, metros.
2. Patriarchal norms are embedded. I wrote about the glass ceiling and sexual harrasment at the workplace.
3. Poverty has a female face. I gave some statistics on this.
4. Only 61/543 members of parliament are women.
I ended with some general recommendations on the way ahead for women in India.




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