How to Write Essay for UPSC Mains Exam? Toppers Advice

The Importance of essay has increased manifold  and every serious candidate is trying to maximize their score in essay.This year every one is focusing on Optional,essay and Ethics paper as last year mains marks stand testimony that they are the most scoring areas.But as usual the best approach is to try to score in a balanced way in all papers.

In this post I would like to share the best resources on how to prepare for essay.The best advise I received on how to write an essay is try not to be a hero. One of my friend who is in service said this to me,he said  few people try to choose a Different topic from the rest and try to prove their uniqueness and some times it backfires. (two such hero’s I know became martyrs both scored less than 50 in essay).

He said best way is to write a common topic and give your best and you will probably score more than average, there wont be any surprises in your mains score in this approach.But exceptions are always there if you are too good you might score very high marks  if you choose a different topic but its a risk anyhow.

for example that year essay were

So best way is to write PPP or Woman but try to write it better than others.

How to write a Mind Blowing UPSC mains essay

by UPSC toppers Dr.Roman Saini and Hemant Rohilla they got 145 and 160 respectively out of 250.

Part 2 will be uploaded soon.

Gaurav Agarwal : How to improve Essay Writing for UPSC Mains?

Gaurav Agarwal has written some wonderful articles on his personal experience of how he improved his score.

Here are the list of articles he wrote on essay.

  1. How to improve Essay Writing for UPSC Mains?
  2. UPSC Essay: Are our traditional handicrafts doomed to a slow death?
  3. UPSC Essay: Credit Based Higher Education System – Status, Opportunities and Challenges.
  4. UPSC Essay: Is the criticism that PPP model of development is more of a bane than a boon in the Indian context justified?
  5. UPSC Mock Essay: Internet: the new battleground for governments and people on free expression, privacy and transparency?
  6. UPSC Mock Essay: Governance is not about institutions but about people being empowered to engage with them.
  7. UPSC Mock Essay: Regulatory Institutions in India: White Knights or Trojan Horses?
  8. UPSC Essay: Science and Technology is a panacea for the growth and security of the nation

Others :

List of Previous years Essay questions


  1. Be the change you want to see in others (Gandhi)
  2. Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success?
  3. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) along with GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) would be the right indices for judging the wellbeing of a country
  4. Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation.


  1. In the context of Gandhiji’s views on the matter, explore, on an evolutionary scale, the terms ‘Swadhinata’ ‘Swaraj’ and ‘Dharmarajya’ Critically comment on their contemporary relevance to Indian democracy.
  2. Is the criticism ‘Public-Private-Partnership’ that (PPP) model the for development is more of a bane than a boon in the Indian context, justified?
  3. Science and Mysticism: Are they compatible?
  4. Managing work and home-is the Indian working woman getting a fair deal?


  1. Creation of smaller states and the consequent administrative, economic and developmental implications.
  2. Does Indian cinema shape our popular culture or merely reflect it?
  3. Credit-based higher education system-status, opportunities and challenges.
  4. In the Indian context, both human intelligence and technical intelligence are crucial in combating terrorism


  1. Geography may remain the same ; history need not.
  2.  Should a moratorium be imposed on all fresh mining in tribal areas of the country?
  3.  Preparedness of our society for India’s global leadership role.
  4.  From traditional Indian philanthropy to the Gates-Buffet model-a natural progression or a paradigm shift?


  1.  Are our traditional handicrafts doomed to a slow death?
  2. Are we a ‘Soft’ state?
  3. The focus of health care is increasingly getting skewed towards the haves of our society.
  4. Good Fences make good neighbors
  5. ‘Globlisation’ vs. ‘Nationalism’


  1. Role of media in good governance
  2. National Identity and Patriotism
  3. Special Economic Zones: Boon or Bane
  4. Discipline means success, anarchy means ruin
  5. Urbanization and its hazards
  6. Is an egalitarian society possible by educating the masses?

Older Essay


1. My Vision of India in 2001 A.D.
2. The emerging Global Order, Political and Economic.
3. “He who Reigns within himself and Rules his Passions, Desires and Fears, is more than a King”.
4. Compassion is the Basis of All Morality.
5. Men have failed; let Women take over.
6. Economic Growth without Distributive justice is bound to breed Violence.
7. Ecological considerations need not hamper development.
8. Computer: The Harbinger of a Silent Revolution.


1. Youth is a blunder. Manhood a struggle. Old age a regret.
2. Indian Society at the crossroads.
3. The Challenge before a Civil Servant Today.
4. Modernisation and Westernisation are not identical concepts.
5. A useless life is an early death.
6. Politics, Business and Bureaucracy—a fatal triangle.
7. Multinational Corporations—saviours or saboteurs.


1. Politics without ethics is a disaster.
2. The new emerging woman-power: the ground realities.
3. When money speaks, the truth is silent.
4. Whither Indian democracy?
5. Restructuring of Indian education system.
6. Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the life-blood of real civilization.
7. Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.


1. Literacy is growing very fast but there is no corresponding growth in education.
2. Restructuring of the UNO to reflect present realities.
3. New cults and godmen: a threat to traditional religions.
4. The VIP cult is a bane of Indian democracy.
5. Need for transparency in public administration.
6. Truth is lived, not taught.


1. What we have not learnt during fifty years of Independence.
2. Judicial activism.
3. Greater political power alone will not improve women’s plight.
4. True religion cannot be misused.
5. The modern doctor and his patients.
6. Urbanization is a blessing in disguise.


1. The composite culture of India.
2. Woman is God’s best creation.
3. The misinterpretation and misuse of freedom in India.
4. India’s contribution to world wisdom.
5. The language problem in India: Its past, present and prospects.
6. The world of the twenty-first century.


1. Women empowerment: Challenges and prospects.
2. Youth culture today.
3. Mass media and cultural invasion.
4. Resource management in the Indian context.
5. Value-based science and education.
6. Reservation, politics and empowerment.


1. Why should we be proud of being Indians?
2. The cyberworld: Its charms and challenges.
3. The country’s need for a better disaster management system.
4. Indian culture today: A myth or a reality?
5. The implications of globalisation for India.
6. Modernism and our traditional socio-ethical values.


1. What have we gained from our democratic set-up?
2. My vision of an ideal world order.
3. The march of science and the erosion of human values.
4. Irrelevance of the classroom.
5. The pursuit of excellence.
6. Empowerment alone cannot help our women.


1. Modern technological education and human values.
2. Search for truth can only be a spiritual problem.
3. If youth knew, if age could.
4. The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
5. Privatisation of higher education in India.
6. Responsibility of media in a democracy.


1. The Masks of New Imperialism.
2. How far has democracy in India delivered the goods?
3. How should a civil servant conduct himself?
4. As civilization advances culture declines.
5. There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
6. Spirituality and Scientific temper.


1. India’s Role in Promoting ASEAN Co-operation.
2. Judicial Activism and Indian Democracy.
3. Whither Women’s Emancipation?
4. Globalisation and Its Impact on Indian Culture.
5. The Lure of Space.
6. Water Resources Should Be Under the Control of the Central Government.


1. Justice must reach the poor
2. The hand that rocks the cradle
3. If women ruled the world
4. What is real education?
5. Terrorism and world peace
6. Food security for sustainable national development


1. Women’s Reservation Bill Would Usher in Empowerment for Women in India.
2. Protection of Ecology and Environment is Essential for Sustained Economic Development.
3. Importance of Indo-U.S. Nuclear Agreement.
4. “Education For All” Campaign in India: Myth or Reality.
5. Globalization Would Finish Small-Scale Industries in India.
6. Increasing Computerization Would lead to the Creation of a Dehumanized Society.


1. Independent thinking should be encouraged right from childhood.
2. Evaluation of Panchayati Raj System in India from the point of view of eradication of poverty to empower to people.
3. Attitude makes habit, habit makes character and character makes a man.
4. Is autonomy the best answer to combat balkanization?
5. How has satellite television brought about cultural change in the Indian mindset?
6. BPO boom in India.

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