How are Philosophical Essays Different?
Essays in Section A are completely philosophical in nature.Answering requires a mature understanding of various aspects of our life.These Questions in Section A test the understanding of an aspirant about the abstract ideas that forms a part and parcel of our lives.While the other Section focuses on general nature of Questions that are related to socio-political,technological and international affairs, Section A focuses on abstract aspects of human life.
The individual and the larger society becomes the focus of such philosophical essays.The essays require a basic understanding of oneself to write a meaningful answer.
What should be the preparation for Philosophical Essays?
Philosophical essays can be mastered if prepared over a period of time.Unlike the general essays that emphasizes on Knowledge and the accompanying analysis, philosophical essays tend to focus on perception and the connect between one’s life experiences and the quote asked in the question.
“Philosophical essays have to come out of the heart than from the mind.”
It is the training of the heart that assumes importance in the course of preparing for philosophical essays rather than training of your ntellect.This training for freshers have to be done in a phased manner.
The first step would be to understand the different areas from which UPSC asks philosophical questions.Refer our 50 Essays-50 Weeks to understand some of the common themes that are asked in the Philosophical Essay Section.
The Perception Phase
Once the broad areas are identified, the next step is to get an exposure to the underlying ideas.Browse about these ideas and concepts and understand the different philosophical thoughts about these ideas.
The next step is to write down these ideas in your own words to the length of around 100-150 words. This forms the base thought upon which further reading would be done.This write up in your own words provides direction to further explore these themes.
The Connect Phase
When you read these concepts and thoughts of various scholars on these themes try to relate it with examples if given. Perceiving these philosophical themes in the form of examples establishes the connect to our lives.As a gradual process start associating such themes with examples from your own lives.This is the most important part of preparation for philosophical essays.This continuous effort to establish the connect between the quote, the underlying concept/philosophy and your real life experience gradually becomes an automatic process. It is this constant exercise that will help you in providing examples to make your essay stand out in comparison with answers written by others.
How should an answer to a Philosophical Essay be like?
Philosophical essay that you write should be written with the objective to provide more clarity on the question/quote that has been asked.
“The answer should not veer around the abstract but rather should touch upon the reality.”
While quotes catch the attention of the examiner in the case of General Essays,using quotes in Philosophical essays is not advised since quotes only end up making the essay even more abstract.
Instead of a quote, a narration/dialogue between two persons can be a good start to answering philosophical questions.Such narrations/dialogue in philosophical essays can create a favourable impression on the examiner if it clarifies the meaning of the quote.If you are not able to construct such a dialogue it is better to start with a simple introduction and explain the essence of the Essay as the answer travels further.
Examples play a crucial role in scoring well in Philosophical Essays. Since the objective of the philosophical essay is to clarify the quote,apt examples from daily life that is common to all should be used. This makes the Essay more relatable to the examiner.If the examiner feels a personal connect with what you have written, he would be forthcoming in giving that additional marks that are required to get the highest score in the Essay paper. It is by using such examples toppers score above 160 in the essay paper, whereas the median score hovers around 130.
The examples should not be stand alone cases. There needs to be a connect between various examples.Each example and the accompanying explanation should be done keeping in mind the other examples. This gives the ‘integrity’ and seamless flow to the essay.
It is better to come up with examples while you brainstorm for the first half an hour on the essay topic. Even better would be to prepare examples beforehand during the course of preparation.
Simple language that brings out your understanding of the quote in the form of coherent,clear and connected thoughts supported by lucid examples is the winning formula when it comes to philosophical essays.
Make Philosophical Essays your strength than your Weakness
Approach Philosophical Essays with a curious bent of mind. It is in these philosophical Essays individual creativity can be fully unleashed. Normal Essays in the other section have very little scope to prove your excellence in Essay Writing. On the other hand, these Philospophical Essays are the deal breakers. Toppers score really high marks when it comes to Philosophical Essays.
The best way to strengthen oneself with respect to Philosophical Essays would be to get exposed to as many philosphical themes and quotes as possible.
“These quotes are the reflections of the heart & soul of such brillaint men.”
Instrospection on these quotes can open up vistas in our own lives to find answers for Questions that we would have until that moment never given much thought and attention to.
Attempting to find answers and examples from our own lives inorder to make sense of the Quotes of these Great Men is an exercise to train ourself to think within the confines of one’s own exprience and live. This training alone can help one to generate points in the Examination for such Philosophical Essays.
To summarize , all you need to do inorder to master Philospohical Essays and score the highest possible marks in the examination is to understand,introspect,extract from experiences and present lucidly with well structured paragraphs.
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