What is an Essay?
An essay is a piece of academic writing that generally consists of 1500 and 5000 words. This is an intellectual exploration of a topic to find different arguments and evidences to develop the writer’s perspective, opinion or stance. The word essay originally means an attempt or a try at some topic, but technically it usually means a comprehensive piece of writing on a specific topic. The purpose and given time of an essay determines its length and for students of CSS and PMS its length is 2500-3000 words or 20-25 paragraphs or 250-300 sentences. Every essay has four major portions which include outline, introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. Your examiner marks your essay, making comments not only about what you have said (content and arguments) but also the way you have written or organized all this in your essay (grammar, expression, structure). Your examiner will grade your essay too, so that you can see where you stand in relation to whatever standards apply to your examination. However, one should not see essay writing is simply compilation of some information on some given topics without any coherence and logic but there should be logical connection among ideas, sentences and paragraphs. In addition to the above, an essay consists of three major parts:
|A. An outline||5%|
|B. The introduction||10%|
|C. The main body||75%|
|D. The conclusion||10%|
The introduction and the conclusion (unusual paragraphs), although very important and key parts of the essay, often provide a complete summary of the essay relatively in short and brief writing. The bulk of an essay, both in form and substance, is contained in the main body which usually consists of 18-20 usual paragraphs. The introduction is intended to lead the reader into the topic and clarify what the essay will specifically deal with. It usually consists of one paragraph, but this depends on the length of the essay and the amount of background information the context requires. The introduction will contain a key sentence at the end in form of thesis statement – if necessary more than one sentence – which ideally appears at the end of the introduction. Then start the usual/body paragraphs which deal with the major ideas that support the thesis statement and this is always in form of description or stance. Each main idea/argument is presented in a separate paragraph and developed with supporting ideas in the form of definitions, explanations and connection with the topic of the essay. This is always illustrated with examples, quotations, facts and data where appropriate or necessary. The conclusion brings the reader back to the purpose of the essay and draws all the points together before making a final comment on the basis of previous discussion/argument. Ultimate purpose of an essay is to show a progression from a general level -in the introduction- down to the specific -the statement and body- and back up to the general level again: conclusion. The purpose of a CSS/PMS essay is to provide written evidence of your ability to give your opinion on a topic, weigh arguments, organize your thoughts, express these thoughts in a logical, coherent, critical and correct grammatical manner and finally reach at the conclusion. In short an essay is an opinion of the writer in 20-22 paragraphs. Furthermore a good and an attractive essay must have following five components which the examiner of the essay always examines while assessing the essay.However; it is a fact that even many talented students could not pass
Types of Essays: 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. There are over a dozen types of essays, so it is easy to get confused. However, essentially there are four major types of essays which are included in CSS. These include;
Factual or Social: 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;
Global Warming: Its Causes and Consequences (2018)
Energy Crisis: Causes and Consequences (2012)
Descriptive: 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.
Pakistan is Rich in Resources but Poor in Management (2010)
World as a Global Village: Learning to Live Together (2016)
Argumentative/Persuasive/Literary: 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;
Is colonial mentality impeding Pakistan’s progress?
Are modern wars not holy wars?
Great nations win without fighting.
Narrative: 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. These are;
Descriptive: The type of the essay that always describes concepts, ideas, events, social evil etc. in the farms of primary and secondary statements.
Argumentative: The type of the essay that requires your stance in the form of yes or no. In short the argumentative essay is a specific type of writing in which a student chooses a topic (often a controversial topic), researches it extensively, and then uses the evidence gathered in the research process to establish his/her opinion or position on the topic in an essay designed to persuade others to share that opinion.
This table will further elaborate and help the students to understand different kinds of essays
|Key Differences||Argumentative/ Literary/ Expository||Descriptive/ Factual/Social|
|Nature of topic||Statement/quotation in the form of question||Statement /Issue/Fact|
|Requirement||Prove with your stance of yes or no.||Describe in the forms of universal, primary and secondary headings.|
|Knowledge||Diversified, as every argument should be taken from different subject/field.||Average|
|Length ||Short (1500-1800)||Average(2000+)|
|Criteria of checking||Knowledge with Extra-ordinaryLanguage||Minimum Knowledge with good Language|
For more notes on how to write an essay click here.
For complete sample essays click here.