Essay Paper UPSC Mains 2021: UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam (CSE) 2021: How it changed?

ESSAY QUESTION  PAPER – UPSC Civil Services  IAS Mains – 2021

 In the Essay Paper UPSC Mains 2021, all the Essay Topics look philosophical. This is the trend over the last two years. Scores for such essays have stark differences- Some candidates score very high, however, most of the candidates score low marks.

Hindi Translation is fine this time. After a lot of criticism, UPSC has started working on the translation, at least for 8 essay topics.

Two Essays are to be written, one from each Section. This is the same after UPSC Mains 2013.

This article contains the UPSC 2021 Mains Essay Paper, and discusses the approach for How to prepare Essay for UPSC.

Here is the Essay Paper or UPSC Mains 2021:


Section A

1. The process of self-discovery has now been technologically outsourced.

2. Your perception of me is a reflection of you; my reaction to you in an awareness of me.

3. Philosophy of wantlessness is Utopian, while materialism is a chimera.

4. The real is rational and the rational is real.


Section B

5. Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

6. What is research, but a blind date with knowledge!

7. History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce.

8. There are better practices to “best practices”.



UPSC Essay Syllabus

“Candidates may be required to write essays on multiple topics. They will be expected to keep close to the subject of the essay, to arrange their ideas in an orderly fashion, and to write concisely. Credit will be given for effective and exact expression.”

How to prepare Essay for UPSC

  • Expectations in Essay Paper are different from GS in many ways.
    • In GS, marks are awarded mainly for content.
    • In essay, students are assessed on the content, language and grammer, structure, coherence and flow. and not commit any fundamental spelling or grammatical errors.
  • You must arrange your ideas properly in a structured way.


Introduction of the Essay

Writing an essay is like presenting a movie script to the examiner. The opening scene should be glorious enough to keep you hooked to the entire story.

Structure of the Introcuction Paragraph: How to write a good introduction to an Essay?

  • The best way to write an introduction to an essay is to explain the topic itself. It can be improvised by adding relevant anecdotes or quotes.
  • A good introduction to an essay should be clearly expressed. It should be able to immediately clear up any doubts regarding the topic if there is any.

Introduction can be started in many ways:

  • With a Quote: The quotation should be related to the topic.
  • Through an anecdote: Write a short story. It can be based on your personal experience, can be related to a famous personality or event, or can be based on any hypothetical situation.
  • Focusing on the keywords of the topic: We start explaining the keywords of the essay topics. We can make arguments or conversations based on these keywords.
  • Related current affairs: Please try to avoid any controversy or political angles.

Once, you have started the introduction in the above ways, it must be supported elaborated using facts, data or analysis.

By writing a well-crafted introduction, you will be able to create a curiosity in the mind of the examiner, and keep her engaged throughout the essay. A great introduction is, therefore, essential to write a great essay.


Read more about writing a good introduction for UPSC

Conclusion of the Essay

Structure of the Conclusion Paragraph: How to write a good Conclusion to an Essay?

  • Write one or two statements in a negative tone.
  • Now, summarise the theme of your essay in 3-4 statements.
  • End the para on a futuristic or optimistic point.
  • Use Quotes, Rhetoric and lofty expressions, constitutional themes, Sanskrit lines etc. to conclude your essay.
    • eg. Every drop in the ocean counts. 
  • Try to give reference to the introduction in the end. It gives a sense of completeness to the essay.


Read more about writing a good conclusion for UPSC