Essay writing is an academic skill .It requires holistic understanding of theoretical aspects (principles, rules, forms, methods, layout ) and continued implementation phases (writing from sentence, paragraph mini Essay to fully fledged Essay. Getting it checked and keeping catalogues of errors).
Based on my practical experiences in competitive examinations and academic teaching in different coaching academies ,I am going to explain the enigma of writing in the form of dialogue between two students of mine at the Civil Officers Academy.
Dialogue between Izzaz and Javeria about CSS Essay Writing
Javeria: Hi Izzaz!When I start Writing CSS essay, I feel it is all Greek to me? What should be the modus operandi for successfully tackling this mind boggling assignment? Is there any short cut to it ?
Izzaz: Hey Javeria! I hope you are in the best spirit. It is not difficult but only different .Practically speaking, English language is a second language, and we need to learn it mechanically by following it’s hard and fast rules like players do in sports .The salient features are as follows:
1) Understand the fundamental requirements of the exam (CSS, PMS, UPSC, IAS) from stem to stern .
2). Try to read instructions of the FPSC/UPSC syllabus and examiners’ reports holistically .
2). Learn all the meticulous facets or principles of academic writing (Academic Essay Writing).
3). Follow FPSC/UPSC recommended books instead of relying on regurgitated, run-of -the-mill stuff .
4). Focus on time management vis-a-vis the scope of English essay and Précis.
Javeria: My God !Instead of beating around/about the bush and sketching more technical aspects, it is time to talk about the most simple strategies regarding writing on topics assigned by our English essay mentor. During initial classes ,I have developed immense interest in writing a full fledged essay, but our sir made us confused by assigning Essay on the Covid-19 and Changing World order .Was not it a deliberate ploy to make us deter from writing ?
Izzaz: Oho,its not the case !As usual ,you ask very pertinent questions;however,you interrupt my flow and sometimes it grates on my nerves .Had I taught you at primary level, I would have punished you as traditional teachers do. By the way ,I am going to dissect this enigma too and the instructions follows as :
1). Understand the question assigned by your English teacher .Learn about the different types of essays and forms of writing.
It is important that you understand both (or all) core dynamics in great depth; you should be able to take into account the theoretical aspect (Statement)and applied or practical (evidence) manifestations(requirements).
2) Plan and schedule
If you want to do it yourself conveniently, you should start planning your essay the moment you receive the essay question rather than waiting for Godot.
First you have to start Understanding the question
Outline, Visualise, and Map the essay aspects
Start methodical search by Collecting articles, reading data and materials
3) Read voraciously and widely
Sit down calmly and start Reading and taking notes in different forms, such as bullet points, sentences ,and even paragraphs
It is recommended that before you start writing your essay, you should initiate a careful ,broad search for relevant literature.
You need to Learn how to sift through a large amount of data and knowledge body .It is an important academic skill.
It is recommended for the aspirants to use key words related to the given topic. Memorise the relevant jargons of every topic and try to make use of them efficiently.
If you search on democracy, the following concepts or jargons should be focused :
(The Overall Concept of Democracy)
Types of democracy
The main types/forms of democracy are:
1. Representative democracy
2. Presidential democracy
3. Parliamentary democracy
4. Authoritarian democracy
5. Participatory democracy
6. Islamic democracy
7. Social democracy
8. Popular Sovereignty
9. “The People” in a Democracy
10. Democracy and Equality
11. The Common Good
12. Majority Rule/Minority Rights
13. Democracy and Human Rights
14. Democracy and Representation
15. Government and Politics
16. Identity and multiplicity
17. Rules and Law
19. Rights & Freedom
20. Conflict and resolution
21. Diversity & Pluralism
22. Responsibility and rights
23. Political system
27. Democratic peace
28. Deliberative democracy
30. Ministerial responsibility
32. Direct democracy
33. Rule of law
34. Intra party elections
35. Accountability and transparency
36. Civilian Supremacy
38. Rights of minorities
39. Economic justice
40. Literacy and awareness
41. Civil society organisations
44. Role of opposition
45. Freedom of speech
46. Independent foreign policy
47. Institutional reforms
48. Women empowerment
49. Consensus and consultation
50. Fundamental rights
There will appear a large number of articles;however ,it is wise to select relevant ones by reading through the abstract or ,summary, or first lines to locate that it’s relevant to your topic.
4) Do not rely on a single source .Search authentic, well reputed and critical sources .
5). Be critical
It means you approach the issue from different perspectives.
Critical thinking is what will make your essay stand out(different).
It is actually engaging with theories in an academic manner. To put it simple ,you have to provide arguments in support of your statements .
6). Now ….Start writing very much comfortably .Points to keep in mind :
First make rough outline on the last two pages of your answer book
Leave the first two pages blank for original or formal outline which you will neat after completing your Essay
Start introduction paragraph by keeping all the essentials of intro writing .Here you can write some sentences roughly .
Move to the body of your Essay by giving technical treatment to each section of the outline .
Compose conclusion very carefully.
I hope, Javeria, now you understand it !
Javeria: Gasping in surprise and feeling confident.Thumbs up DR Izzaz !It is a stark reality that it turns out to be an Achilles heel of 93 per cent aspirants just because they are not well versed in values of academic writing.
Honestly speaking ,you have unpacked it in a more comprehensive manner .God bless you .Now I will write it in true letter and spirit and will make you proud ia.
Izzaz: Thanks a lot, Javeria! The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. So ,kill the fear you have developed about writing .Another golden pieces of advice to you are :
“When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all.” –Theodore Roosevelt.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” –Theodore Roosevelt
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” –Theodore Roosevelt.
“Either I will find a way, or I will make one.” – Philip Sidney.
Dear Students! The dialogue is based on candidates’ instinctual response I have gathered during different academic sessions on Essay writing. It is clarified that complex items of Vocabulary are used in a bid to make students understand the correct application of lexical varieties.
Feedback and comments are highly valued .
Stay tuned and connected for more academic articles .
What to read for essay ?
No defined syllabus. Read major issues related to important aspects of domestic and global affairs .Make your own notes .
Get it checked from professional mentor .Keep catalogues of your errors .Revise them all systematically.
Sources to be read :
- The Diplomat
- Foreign Policy
- Foreign Affairs
- The Hindu
- The Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Business Line
About the author:
Saeed Wazir is Islamabad-based mentor of CSS Essay and Précis having five years experience in competitive exams teaching. He is qualified PMS three times. He is teaching at Civil Officers Academy having specialization in English Literature, Linguistics and American Studies from NUML, Islamabad.
He contributes to Foreign Policy news, Dawn, Daily Times, the News International, CSS Times, and The Weekly Pakistan. He can be reached at Csspms55@gmail.com.