How to prepare for the "Mains Exam"? - Part 2

What is “General Essay Type” paper? What do they ask in that paper?

In this paper, you will be required to write an essay on a specific topic. The choice of topic will be given. You should keep closely to the subject of the essay to arrange your ideas in orderly fashion, and to concisely!

Just to give you an idea, here are the topics of the 2001 essay type paper.

Write an essay on ANY ONE of the following subjects:
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.

So, how to tackle the essay type paper?

Read a lot of essays. Read as many essays as you can get your hands on. One good source of high-quality essays, are the essays published in the CSR or Competiation Succes Review. Try to get a hold of their magazine. It is full of useful information!

Make sure you read only “great” essays by “top” authors! This will give you a feel of how essays are written. Also try to get a good book on writing essays. There will be many available in your local book store. There is pattern or way in which you essay must be structured. All this can be learnt from a good book on writing essays.

Finally, practice! Write essays on challenging topics and get them read by friends and colleagues or teachers who have a degree in the English language. They may be able to give you some good pointers to improve your presentation on performance.

Vinod K.Jacob, Topper 2000 suggest that this is how you should actually use your time when writing the essay paper in the exam:

45 minutes can be given for planning out structure and content of your essay, then two hours of writing (around 200 words). Finally, 15 minutes just in case you need some extra time to write some more or read though your essay and improve and correct it!

What is the “English qualifying paper” all about?

The English Qualifying paper is just a “Qualifying” paper. It does not add to your final score. The paper is designed to prove that you have a good command over the English language.

The paper will consist of:
(i) Comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Precis Writing
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary
(iv) Short Essay

If you have studied in an English medium school, this paper will be easy for you to prepare for. This format is very similar to the format that the school English papers have!

If you have not studied in an English language school you will have to take some effort to master the English language. You can do this by reading a lot. You need to read and try to properly understand what you read. Keep a dictionary with you always. Keep referring to in with any new word you come across. Interact with fluent English speakers. All this will give you control over the language.

You could also try to read’s “How to speak English fluently?” article. It has many useful tips to help non-English speakers learn and master the English language.

However, if you are from a non-English medium school, you have on thing in your favor. The “Qualifying Indian Language paper” will be easy for you!

What is the “Qualifying Indian Language paper” all about?

This paper is just like the English language paper. It is designed to prove that you have a good command over some Indian language. This paper too is just a qualifying paper. The marks you get in this paper is not added to the final score. You just need to get enough to qualify!

You can give this paper in one of the following Indian languages:

  • Assamese
  • Bengali
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi
  • Kannada
  • Kashmiri
  • Konkani
  • Marathi
  • Malayalam
  • Manipuri
  • Nepali
  • Oriya
  • Punjabi
  • Sanskrit
  • Sindhi
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Urdu

This paper generally consists of the following:
(i) Comprehension of given passages.
(ii) Precis Writing
(iii) Usage and Vocabulary.
(iv) Short Essay
(v) Translation from English to the Indian language and vice-versa.

If you do not have command over an Indian language, this paper could be a problem for you. You might have to read up and concentrate on the paper until you get a hang of the language you select.

If you have a good command over an Indian language, you will not have worry too much about this paper. Just worry about your presentation and practice writing a few papers!

Okay, finally after all this is over, we get to the last part of the “Civil service exam” selection process! The interview!! So, lets try to understand, how to tackle the interview next!

Next - What to do in the Interview? >>

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Table Of Contents

  1. How to become an IAS/IPS officer? - Introduction
  2. Civil Services Exam - FAQ
  3. Pattern of Civil Services Exam
  4. How to prepare for the "Preliminary Exam"?
  5. How to prepare for the "Mains Exam"? - Part 1
  6. How to prepare for the "Mains Exam"? - Part 2
  7. What to do in the Interview?
  8. Preparing a study schedule!