General Essay Topics For Competitive Exams For Class

11+ Essay Writing

Independent School Essay Writing Next Page.

With thanks to various 11+ Forum members, particularly Freya, for their helpful posts on this topic.

Children often feel that the essay element of the 11+ is a monumental task, and parents preparing them for it often feel the same way! We hope that the advice on this page will help your and your child to break the task down into manageable pieces, and also provide you with some useful shortcuts.

On this section you will also find advice on essay writing from an 11+ veteran who took several Independent School exams. The advice given is particularly helpful for longer essays and for more challenging topics and tests.

The essay test may be as little as 20 minutes or as long as 50 minutes, and may be factual or fiction. There is usually a choice of titles, but it is important to check the type of topics that have come up in the tests for each school in the past. There are some examples below of essay titles that have come up in past 11+ tests around the country to get you started.

Examiners in different areas may have different priorities. In some areas they will mainly be interested in the content of the work, rather than demanding good spelling or punctuation. In other areas accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling may be required as well. All examiners will be looking for one key thing: the “beginning, middle and end” that most children find so difficult to achieve in essays.

If your child does not excel at fiction writing and you know for certain that they will have a choice of factual or fiction topics, you could focus on developing their ability to write a persuasive factual essay rather than battling uphill with creative writing.

Planning

Learning good planning technique is essential to success in an 11+ essay. The elements that need to be planned are:

  • Who are the characters? Can you describe them?
  • Where is the story set?
  • What is the plot – what will happen in the story?
  • How will the story begin?
  • What will happen in the middle?
  • How will it end?

With very limited time for planning an essay in the 11+ a child must learn to make rough notes on all of these points within a very tight timescale. In some areas the children are given 5 minutes specifically to plan their essay, but in other areas that time is included in the time allotted for the whole task, and speed is critical.

Building up a “bank” of characters and settings that your child can fall back is well worth doing. Typical characters might be: a criminal; an old lady; a spooky person; a scary man, a nice friend, etc. Settings might include: A rocky seashore; a dark wood; an old, empty house, etc.

To develop the “beginning, middle and end” balance, you can work out how much your child is likely to write in the allotted time and then start to rule 3 sections on their page, one short one, a longer one and a third short one. They then have to complete the “beginning” within the space allowed in the first section, fit the middle into the longer section and the ending must take up the whole of the last section

Even after extensive practice a child may still find that they are running out of time. It is well worth preparing some “emergency endings”, and never, ever falling back on the stock phrase: “And then I woke up and realised it was all a dream”. It is an ending that makes the hearts of teachers and examiners sink to their boots!

Vocabulary

Plenty of adjectives and adverbs will make for interesting writing, and you can help your child to make “stock lists” of appropriate words for different settings. For example, if the story is a “spooky” story, help them to think of dark, scary adjectives and adverbs.

As time goes on it is also worth helping a child come up with “stock phrases” that can fit into almost any essay, such as:

  • Linking mood to weather: Tears like the rain/waterfalls; Eyes bruised like dark clouds; Heart beating as raindrops thundered; Eyes twinkling like dew on fresh grass.
  • Descriptions of surroundings: Sweet, cloying scent; Patchwork of autumn leaves – vibrant reds, ochres, etc; Shafts of sunshine dappling; Trees whispering to each other; Angry water seething and boiling.
  • Descriptions of being frightened: Being chased, hiding and anticipating being found.

Essay topics

For creative writing, the topics set for 11+ essays tend to have the same common themes, and it is worth having a “stock” story that can be used in each of these settings:

  • Being lost, scared or alone
  • Doing something exciting or achieving something (’the best day of my life was . . . ’)
  • Animals
  • Taking a holiday
  • Having an adventure
  • Being in a city or in the countryside

These are topics that have come up on past 11+ papers around the country, with a few additional titles contributed by our 11+ Forum members:

  • A surprising spy
  • Removed
  • Break time at school
  • Write a story about a lost key
  • Is life too hectic to enjoy fully?
  • My favourite memories
  • A farewell party
  • An attempted robbery
  • It was a while before I realised my cat could talk
  • Moving Houses
  • I don’t know what that noise was …..
  • The new pupils
  • The storm
  • The Burglary
  • My Brilliant Idea
  • Visiting Relatives
  • The Balloon
  • The school rules
  • Panic
  • A place that inspires you
  • Your favourite day out
  • Are Jamie Oliver’s new school dinners a good idea.
  • What makes a good friend?
  • Describe the scene and the activities at a bus station.
  • What are your reactions to discipline? How far is it necessary both at home and at school?
  • How does the life of your generation differ from that of your grandparents?
  • Discuss the good and bad effects of competition in modern life
  • Is life too hectic to enjoy fully?

Independent School Essay Writing Next Page.

Probable Essay Topics for UPSC Mains 2017 Essay Paper/Probable essay topic for UPSC 2017/Essay topics for IAS exam/Essay for UPSC exam

The Essay Paper is one of the nine papers in the UPSC civil services mains exam. It is called Paper I and is out of a total of 250 marks. Here, you will have to write essays on given topics. You have to write two essays in 1000-1200 words each. You can choose one topic out of 4 given choices. This article gives you a list of probable important essay topics for UPSC 2017 mains exam. Do remember this is not an exhaustive list of current affairs essay topics for UPSC exam.

Generally, relevant topics are those which have made headlines the past year. Current affairs topics which have brought about major changes in the country or affected lives in a significant manner, issues which shook the nation and so on provide fodder for the UPSC to frame essay questions.

Also See | UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam: List of Essay Topics of Past 15 Years (1993-2015)

Expected Essay Topics to prepare for IAS Mains 2017. (Only topics are mentioned. Questions could be framed by the UPSC on them):

Essay topics for IAS

  1. North-eastern India. Special attention needed.
  2. Nuclear power plants in India. Whether India should focus more on them, etc.
  3. Attack on Africans in India.
  4. Farmer suicides.
  5. PM Modi’s agricultural schemes.
  6. Demonetization
  7. Prohibition on liquor and its effects.
  8. 100% FDI in ecommerce.
  9. Freedom of expression versus nationalism.
  10. Digitisation and Indian democracy.
  11. Pros and cons of 2017 Union Budget.
  12. Pollution in India. Environmental crisis.
  13. India’s responsiveness to natural disasters like flooding, etc.
  14. Make in India.
  15. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  16. Beef politics.
  17. India against terrorism.
  18. Energy security in India.
  19. Syrian crisis.
  20. Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu.
  21. Intolerance debate in campus.
  22. Social media versus conventional media.
  23. India’s educational system.
  24. Relevance of Gandhi today.
  25. Pros and cons of a cashless economy.
  26. Relevance of SAARC today.
  27. Relevance of BRICS.
  28. Water disputes between Indian states.
  29. Value education in India and corruption.
  30. Trial by media.
  31. Tiger conservation in India.
  32. Development and Green India.
  33. Poverty and crime.
  34. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” (Albert Einstein)
  35. Inclusion of women in the armed forces. More combat roles for women.
  36. Superstition in India.
  37. Is socialism relevant?
  38. “Good fences make good neighbours.” (Robert Frost)
  39. Freedom of press in India.
  40. India’s role in the changing global order.
  41. Poverty and gender equality.
  42. Beti Bachao.
  43. “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family.” (Kwegyir-Aggrey)
  44. Juvenile crime in India.
  45. Crime against women in India.
  46. Should there be priority for India’s space missions amidst pressing issues like poverty, unemployment, etc.?
  47. Corruption in the armed forces.
  48. Scrapping of the Planning Commission.
  49. “No country for old men.”
  50. “The death of dogma is the birth of morality.” (Emmanuel Kant)

You can also go through BYJU’S Editorial Roundupsection where relevant editorials from newspapers are given date-wise. Also given are probable essay question based on these editorials. This will surely aid you in your essay paper preparation.

For tips on how to prepare for essay in UPSC exam, click here.

Also read how to prepare essay for UPSC | 10 Things to keep in mind while writing an Essay for UPSC Mains

Go through our tips on how to write essay in UPSC exam and attempt writing essays on the probable topics given in this article.

Visit BYJU’S Website forstrategy and articles on free IAS prep and all the latest on UPSC IAS exam.

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