You have to win a competition
Essay writing, in order to compete, requires two main pillars: (i) correct and concrete language, with a touch of literature; and (ii) the content or, in simple words, knowledge about the topic. So, do not focus on just the language – as most aspirants do – as authentic and a bit unique material also carries the same weight.
Choice of the topic
The first point to bear in mind before writing your essay is the choice of the topic. In this context, the most crucial parameter is: do not go for a critical or controversial topic. Putting it in simple words, avoid as much as possible a topic carrying multiple viewpoints, e.g. a literary topic, LGBTQ, religion. On the other side, chose a topic that has agreed-upon viewpoints, e.g. education, environmental issue, population and economics, as well as one related to current affairs.
Essentials of an essay
v You must take care of the thesis statement on top; your essay starts with it and it is what brings clarity to the introduction you write. Put simply, the thesis statement is the best way to give introduction to the essay topic. Just keep in mind that a thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your essay and it usually comes in the middle or near the end of your introductory paragraph.
v In the main body of the essay, write your points in an argumentative way. Say, you are writing an essay on ‘Education’. One thing you must do while expressing your thoughts in these paragraphs is: instead of writing simple sentences in favour of education like, “Education is really important for society and its development,” write “No country in the world has developed without education and research.”
v Similarly, try to write your views with the help of examples from history or the contemporary world. For instance, if you are writing on corruption, you can qualify your argumentby citing the example of India as this country got independence two years before China and it has never experienced derailment of democracy, yet it is more corrupt than China – argument about continuity of democracy is quoted in Pakistan more than often as a reason for lack of development. So, you can qualify the point that the basic reason for India’s laggardness in prosperity is that it’s a corrupt country.
v Next point is to write standardized words and use adjectives instead of simple parlance. For example, instead of writing “It’s a reality,” write “It’s a tangible reality” or “It’s a time-tested reality”. From standardized words, I mean that you should use some advanced-level vocabulary; for example, instead of ‘process’, write ‘phenomenon’; instead of ‘hungry population’, write ‘starved humanity.’
v Also take care of confusing words, e.g. as phenomenon is singular of phenomena, you should write ‘the phenomenon of rain’ and ‘all phenomena of nature (Numerous aspirants incorrectly write ‘phenomenas’ as plural, so please take care of this). Another example of commonly misspelt words is: vacuum (uu), and hygienic (ie not only e). So, if you want to write the phrase ‘the rights of the students’, it will be like ‘students’ rights’ (notice apostrophe has been used after s as rights is the plural form of right – the possessive case of a plural noun is made by adding an apostrophe after the final letter if it is an s, e.g. lawyers’ fees, twins’ parents, students’ books, teachers’ salaries, girls’ team, etc.). You must make a list of such words and be a master of it.
v Next factor that can enhance your potency to get through the essay paper with excellent marks is the use of idiomatic expressions and jargon for the topic. You should use two to five idioms. To learn those, you need to find out (and memorize the correct use of), in the preparation stage, such idioms that are related to the topics of the essay, e.g. Economy, Current affairs (terrorism, 5th generation warfare, China-US cold war), Education, Environmental crises, Feminism, and others.
v Jargon means some specific words used to describe a certain happening or situation by the professionals of that field. Like price hike is called inflation, rapid increase in overall population is termed as explosion but rapid increase in urban population is called implosion, efforts to destabilize a country mean subversion. You can master this by looking up the relevant chapter of “Discovering the World of English” by World Times Publications.
As a writer blessed with an experience of a decade, my foremost and compelling piece of advice – in the world of writing, it is called ‘Golden Tip’ or ‘Dying Writer’ s Advice’ and ‘Will to the young writers’ – to the aspirants would be: practice writing as much as you can. A candidate must write at least twice a week, be it short essays – to me, starting with short essays is a better choice. As a famous saying by Bernard Shaw goes, “If you want be a writer, take pen and paper and just start writing. Remember, without this, one is trying to learn driving by reading books.”
One more vital addition to such efforts is to translate articles from English into Urdu, and vice versa. One more ingredient to make your Essay a real potent piece of writing can be the use of alliteration, hyperbole and assonance.
For any queries feel free to write to World Times and watch the video(s) of WTI.