Depending on the guidelines that your school provides, the formatting of your essay will differ, but there are a few things your paper will always need. If you used other people's work in your definition essay, you will have to cite it properly. Remember to include footnotes, end notes or in-text citations. Also, you will need to have a bibliography or works cited list at the end of your paper. Your teacher or professor may also want you to annotate your works cited list by writing a couple of sentences about each of your sources and how they contributed to your essay. You will likely also have to provide a title page with the title of your essay, your name, date, class and instructor.
In 2009’s mains attempt, I got only 20/200 marks in the Essay. It was about ‘are we a soft state?’ . I wrote it only from the foriegn policy and law-n-order point of view, without seeing the cultural -historical contexts. It was a monotonous essay without any spark. Moral of the story: do try to see different angles of the subject and give a thorough thought before you start writing.
Some veterans are in opinion that you should pick up the essay on technical subject, example space-technology, advances in medical science, how IT has changed lives and so on. Because only a few people attempt them, and due to technical nature, your ideas are unlikely to be in conflict with the examiner so you’ll get more marks.
But then again you need enough ‘content’ to write 1500+ words else the padding route=digging your own grave. And there are enough toppers who wrote the non-technical essay and still got in the top-merit list so as usual for every generalisation made about UPSC, you’ll find a counter example!
Also excellent is Mr. Winerip’s advice that: “Honesty is important.” I told my child, “It’s more important to be genuine. If profundity happens to come genuinely, that’s great, but don’t tie yourself in knots trying to be “profound.”” Luckily, the kid did write genuinely and while the resulting essay was not particularly profound, I do think my child’s (charming, in the mom’s opinion) personality came through. Plus admission results were overwhelmingly positive. My child accepted an offer of admission at a college which has proven to be an excellent match.