What is an Essay ?
An essay is an art of writing on any theme or subject. For banking examination purposes, the term essay has a definite significance. In an essay, the writer states his knowledge of, and gives his opinions about a certain topic. An essay may combine narrative and descriptive elements, but it will also include criticism and comments representing the writer's own ideas, views or thoughts.
Aims of Essays
An essay tests the ability of the writer to :
- Choose properly the right subject
- Organize the matter
- Narrate, report, explain, persuade or argue ideas choherently
- Compare and contrast ideas, arrive at conclusion with the help of relevant arguments.
- Use correct style
The aspirants should know how to organize the subject matter, correct syntax, punctuation, proper grammatical construction and correct spellings.
Classification of an Essay
The categories under which an essay may be classified are many. The main ones that are asked in Banking Exams are :
Features of Good Essay
- Unity : It must have a unity. There should be a clear definition of the subject and it should be developed with a definite purpose. Nothing irrelevant should be included, but at the same time there should be variety in the treatment of the subject. Different points of view on the same subject should be given.
- Order or Sequence : This involves planning, arranging the facts in a proper order or a sequence in the ideas, feelings or thoughts expressed in it.
- Brevity : Your essay should not be long. Word limit given in the question should be adhered to.
- Personal Feelings : Aspirants must not be afraid to express their own personal feelings in the writings. The personal ideas and opinions expressed add an individuality to the essay.
- Style : To acquire a good style, you should read editorials of The Hindu, the work of successful essayists like R. L. Stevenson, Hazlitt, etc. Reading helps to widen your horizon, adds to your knowledge and helps you in expressing your thoughts.
- Most Important : Do not copy the style of other writers. With constant practice in writing, you will develop your own style.
- The main feature of a good style is Clarity. Words must be chosen accurately; they must be placed in the right order.
- Slang or Colloquial expressions must be avoided.
- One should avoid using the first person in any essay in which the subject can be treated impersonally. For example, in topics like 'World without oil', etc. expressions like 'I think', 'In my opinion' should be avoided. Only when your personal views are asked, then use the 'first person'.
Rules to be Followed in Writing an Essay
Your Essay must have at least 5 paragraphs.
1. Introduction : It is very important to give a good beginning to your essay. A striking sentence, or a beginning with an original idea arrests the reader's attention. You should have some time and thought on how to begin with a definite idea, with bearing on the theme. The very first paragraph should let the reader know what the subject of the essay is.
Read some opening remarks :
- Begin directly with the Subject : "If you want to see a sea of faces - some blank, some pathetic, some pale, some with swollen sleepless eyes - stand before an examination hall."
- Begin with a surprise or a dramatic element : "Terrorists strike again in Kashmir! Devotees gunned down inside a Gurudwara! Everyday you read these hedlines".
- Begin with a quotation : "IF there is paradise on earth, it is here, it is here", said a famous poet about Kashmir.
- Begin with a humorous description : "It is very difficult to determine in which category I fall. If I go by the opinions of my parents, I seem to fall in the second category - The wont's - they think I oppose everything".
- Begin with a question :
- Is a truth the greatest virtue in the word ?
- A healthy body or a healthy mind ? Is there really a choice ?
- "My childhood memories are a mosaic of festivals, pujas, celebrations, new clothes and a never-ending treat of sweets and sumptuous food".
In short, your beginning should never be lame or flat !
2. The Body : The second, third and fourth paragraphs should develop the subject in a smooth and orderly manner. Here planning is very important, it will reduce the risk of mistakes.
3. Your ideas should be written in the order of their importance, with care taken of sequence.
Just read carefully the following example :
Example Essay Topic :
Looking back at the last ten years of your life, describe the events that have been significant in shaping your personality.
(A) After a dramatic beginning : Where do I begin from ? - What do I chose ? I am overwhelmed with memories :
(B) The body of the essay can contain the following events :
- Joining School - the First Day
- Making Friends
- Any important sickness
- Changes - Father's transfer - new school, new town or city
- First experience in learning - cycling, swimming, games
- Getting your degree; First job (if any); responsibilities
- Learning values, influence of parents, teachers and peers
Important : It is not at all necessary to write about all the above changes. Pick up three or four and after each event write how it shaped your personality. E.g : Games taught me sportsman spirit, team spirit and effect on my physique etc.
4. The Conclusion : Just as the introduction is important so is the conclusion. There should not be an abrupt end to your essay. Your essay must be given a well-rouinded conclusion.
Example : Rounding off an essay on "Water Shortage".
Slides, films, newspapers and the visual media should be used to train the young and impress children about how precious water is and how criminal and unethical it is to waste it.
That's all for now friends. In my next post I will share few more tips on choosing the topic of the essay from the given options, followed by a few examples. Happy Reading :)
English and Foreign Languages University,