Essay Writing for CSS-PMS Exams

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March 19, 2020
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Essay Writing for CSS-PMS Exams

Civil Service has ever been a dream career for ambitious young graduates. This dream turns to a nightmare when a CSS aspirant comes across Essay Writing. He/She receives invariably threatening “expert opinion” regarding essay viz, “just secure the essay “, “English essay is the only decisive factor in CSS”, “English essay is a double edged sword” and so on. Surprisingly, English essay salt, every year, corroborates the claims of the nay Sayers.  Is this because of misfortunately difficult level of essay or because of lack of understanding on the part of aspirants? I would unequivocally blame the aspirants for little or no understanding of fundamentals of an english essay.

In this essay writing series, I would try to make everyone understand all about english essay. There are four parts of this series and each part would consist of an important stage of essay writing.

Part 1 would consist of the following things:

  • What is an essay?
  • What are the types of essay?
  • What are the parts of an essay?
  • How to write an introductory paragraph of an issue based essay?

Part 2 would consist of the following things:

  • How to make effective outline of an essay?
  • How to generate arguments in body paragraphs?
  • When and where to put figures?

Part 3 would consist of the following things:

  • How to understand the central theme of the given topic?
  • How to attempt descriptive and argumentative type of essays?
  • How to conclude an essay?

Part 4 would consist of the following things

  • How manage time during exams?
  • How to write a common topic in an uncommon way?
  • How to write an effective essay?

Now, let’s start the first part of this series.

What is an essay?

An essay is a piece of writing that methodically analyses and evaluates a topic, a question or an issue. Fundamentally, an essay is designed to get your academic opinion on a particular matter. Many students get confused about the word opinion in essay writing, and think that essay writing should just stick to report the facts and forget about opinion altogether. However, there are major differences between an academic opinion, based on strong evidences, and a personal opinion, based on emotion and feeling without concrete evidence and logic, and it is important to comprehend these when you are putting together an essay. Writing a good and comprehensive essay is not about simply surveying and re-telling existing ideas. Instead, a good essay takes into account various opinions and points of view and puts forward an argument that reflects the writer’s informed opinion and stance. Furthermore; there are many kinds of essays which differ from one another on the basis of formation of outline, selection of words, presentation of facts, organization of arguments, composition of paragraphs, forms of tenses and description or narration of ideas and events. Writing different types of essays effectively has become critical and key requirement to get good marks in essay writing. Students must remember that every type of essay has its own requirements and their different approaches can be obviously seen in structure.

Types of Essays

1. Factual or Social Essays:

The essay that describes socio-economic issues is called factual or social essay. The purpose of such essays is to explain a topic in a logical and straightforward manner. Without bells and whistles, such essays present a fair and balanced analysis of the topic based on facts mostly in the form of causes, impacts and solutions. Furthermore; the key requirement in such essays is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or recommendation in simple but flawless language. The writer builds a case using facts, examples, expert opinions, and sound reasoning to get good marks. The writer should present all sides – primary and secondary statements – of the argument in order to facilitate the examiner but must be able to communicate clearly and without equivocation why certain causes, consequences and solutions are more critical. Its ideal length is 2500-3000 words and it always gets only passing marks. Some of its examples are;

  1. Global Warming: Its Causes and Consequences (2018)
  • Energy Crisis: Causes and Consequences (2012)
  • Descriptive Essays:

The descriptive essay provides details about how something looks, feels, tastes, smells, makes one feel, or sounds and this essay paints a picture with words. In CSS/PMS such essay often requires comprehensive description and analysis of some concept, personal event, organization and movement. Analysis does not mean telling the story. Many students fall into the trap of telling the reader what is happening in the text instead of analyzing it. The topic you have chosen to analyze is divided in primary and secondary statements. After stating the problem, elaborate and present your argument. Its ideal length is 2000-2200 words and mostly such essays get good marks.

  1. Pakistan is Rich in Resources but Poor in Management (2010)
  • World as a Global Village: Learning to Live Together (2016)

3. Argumentative / Persuasive / Literary Essays:

This is the type of essay where you prove that your opinion, stance, theory or hypothesis about a topic or an issue is correct or more truthful than that of others. This requires a writer to defend a position on a topic using evidence/arguments from personal experience, literature, political science, theology, history, psychology and sociology to support his or her stance/viewpoint. The writer usually uses several different arguments to prove his/her point and you may not quote more than one example from one source. In short, it is very similar to the persuasive essay, but the difference is that you are arguing for your opinion as opposed to others, rather than directly trying to persuade someone to adopt your point of view. The argumentative essay should be based on pros and cons and you have to support one side with solid evidence and examples. Furthermore; it also involves subjectivity of the readers/examiners and thus enables them to award highest as well as lowest marks for the same essay. Some of its examples are;

  1. Is colonial mentality impeding Pakistan’s progress?
  • Are modern wars not holy wars?
  • Great nations win without fighting.
  • Narrative Essays:

A narrative essay is a description of some past events, and personality in which the writers share their personal experience. Writing a narrative essay provides the examiner an opportunity to get to know and understand you better. During the process of writing a narrative essay, you will learn ways to articulate personal experiences to inform and entertain others. Narrative essays provide human interest, spark our curiosity and draw us close to the storyteller. However, narrative essays never appear in any type of competitive exams like CSS/PMS.

Actually in simple words, the essay has two major types and they are totally different from each other on the basis of formation of outline, composition of introduction, construction of body paragraphs, organization of conclusion, selection of words, presentation of facts, organization of arguments, forms of tenses and description or narration of ideas and events.

What are the main components of an essay?

  • Outline: This is a whole picture of essay. Students are advised to draw a headline-based sketch of the essay.
  • The introduction: This is where the subject or topic is introduced. The big picture, points, and ideas are briefly written here.
  • The body: All the main ideas, topics, and subject are discussed here in details. This also includes evidence or information that support the essay.
  • The conclusion: The last part of an essay and usually summarizes the overall topic or ideas of an essay.

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