National Finals - Essay Writing
The primary goal of NorthSouth contests is to foster the spirit of competition and learning among the youth. Parents and children should focus on the joy of learning and interacting with other writing participants rather than on the possible outcome of the contest. Specifically, the Essay Writing contest is intended to encourage writing skills, which demand quick thinking, good organization of ideas and cohesive writing style.
In addition to all the general contest rules stated by North South Foundation, the following rules are applicable for ONLINE Essay Writing Bee (Leadership In Writing) Competition.
There is only one level of competition for essay writing Bee:
- EW3 (Senior Essay Writing Bee): Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12
- A 1st rank winner at the National Finals of the North South Foundation Senior Essay Writing contest is not eligible for competing in future essay contests conducted by the Foundation.
- Essay bee is a written test. Each contestant will access the test paper ONLINE with the essay topic question ten minutes before the contest begins. Thus, the contestants will not know the essay topic ahead of time.
- During this 10 minutes time, the contestants needs to plan on how to write the essay and they are also required to go through the criteria on which the essay is going to be graded.
- The maximum time allocated to complete the essay is 60 minutes. Contestants must type in their essays ONLINE in the space provided and SUBMIT before the time expires.
- The essay must be an original composition written (typed-in) by the contestant using the ONLINE editor and must be written in English.
- There is NO limit to the number of words used or the length of the essay typed-in.
- Only your typed-in entries will be graded. Students are not required or allowed to upload their scratch paperwork that they used.
- Students can modify their writings in any way within the allocated time during the contest, until they click the 'SUBMIT' button or the time expires, whichever is earlier. Once a contest is submitted or if the time runs out, no writings (type-ins) can be changed.
- Contestants may use blank paper sheets, pens and pencils for scratch work. Contestants must not use books, handwritten or electronic notes, websites, phones, smart watches, or any other form of external help – in person, or by messaging/emails/etc.
- An essay submitted will not be returned under any circumstances. NorthSouth shall reserve the right to publish the essay, name, school and photo of any participant in any manner it deems fit..
- Guidelines for judging criteria: Senior
- Each essay will be graded by a minimum of three judges and the average of the judges scores will be used for ranking. The decisions of the judges are final.
- The first, second and third place winners and the 4th and the 5th ranks will announced. The first place winner shall be ahead by at least 0.01 point to be declared as the champion.
- In case of a tie, the participant of lower (or lowest) grade will be the winner.
If there is still a tie among the contestants who are in the same grade, multiple winners will be declared sharing the same rank. When announcing joint winners, the following rules are used:
- If two are tied for the 1st place, skip rank 2 and announce rank 3 for the third contestant.
- If two or more are tied for the 2nd place, skip rank 3.
- If three or more are tied for the 1st place, skip ranks 2 and 3.
Winners and Ranks:
- The following tips are not all-encompassing but designed to make you think about essay writing and how you can write the best possible essay.
- Essay writing or for that matter writing is an important skill in life. Whether you win the bee or not, you are a winner if you made the best possible effort you are capable of. In fact, the main purpose of essay writing bee is to improve your writing skills.
- One of the best ways to prepare for essay writing is reading widely. Cut down a little on watching TV or other less essential activities and use the time to read some good books (fiction or non-fiction).
- Write a journal everyday: Write about your accomplishments for the day and any major events that happened during the day. This will not only improve your writing skills but also help you chronicle important events in your life that you can look back later in your life.
- Mimic the essay writing bee: Pick any of the sample essay topics given below. Take ten minutes to think about the topic and structure your essay. Then, write the essay for sixty minutes continuously without interruption. Stop at the end of sixty minutes. Ask your parents or friends to critic your essay and give you their feedback. An extra pair of eyes is always helpful.
- Do the dry run as given above at least once before the essay writing bee. Needless to say, the more the times you do this, the better prepared you will be. Ask your parents or friends to give you a topic. Each time, try to address the feedback that you received during your previous attempt.
- Write your essay using Microsoft Word or another word-processing software on a computer since the Essay Writing Bee is virtual this year.
- Follow the guidelines given below for your dry run.
- Read and understand the topic: Read the topic at least twice and make sure you understand it thoroughly.
- Develop an outline or structure for your essay: Think about how you will start your essay. Will you start with a story, an anecdote, an analogy, an opinion or a key point about the topic. The start or introduction of the essay should be impactful, one that gets the reader interested in your essay. Also, think about how you will conclude your essay. Finally, think about what points you will present to make your case and reach the conclusion.
- You can jot your thoughts down on scratch paper during these ten minutes and the subsequent sixty minutes. Other than that, you are not allowed to use any books, website, person or any other source in writing the North South Essay. In other words, you have to rely entirely on your thought process except for the points you jotted down on the scratch paper.
- Beginning of Your Essay: Write the introduction or start of the essay with a story, anecdote, analogy, opinion or a key point as you decided before.
- Middle of Your Essay: After the start, expand upon the topic and express your thoughts, write the pros and cons if the topic has two sides and if you have an opinion, present arguments in support of your opinion. But at all times, remain focused on the topic.
- End of Your Essay: Highlight the main points and take-aways and write you conclusions.
- Use standard English. Avoid using slangs and slang abbreviations such as using the word “like” with every sentence and abbreviation “u” instead of “you”.
- Write the essay in a way that would be interesting to the reader. Include personal experiences, incidents, anecdotes, analogies or stories that relate to the topic and will help you communicate your point across more effectively. But include those only if they are relevant.
- You need not always follow the sequence: If you have a thought for the end of the essay, you can jump to the end of the essay and write it down before you forget that thought. This is a luxury you can indulge in because of the electronic nature of the essay writing contest this year. Alternatively, you can jot your point down on scratch paper to go back to it later.
- Complete your writing a few minutes before the end: If you can complete the first draft of your essay a few minutes before, you can go back and fill in any gaps and make your essay a more coherent whole.
- Correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting. Make sure your essay is split into paragraphs at the right places. Rearrange the paragraphs if necessary so they flow logically and smoothly from beginning to end.
- Make sure that you submit your essay before sixty minutes are over so there is no abrupt end to your essay.
- Remember to rely entirely on your thought process and your memory for the North South Essay Writing except for any points you jotted down on scratch paper.
- America is a melting pot of cultures. Is it important to maintain an identity relating to one's native country? Why? Some say that maintaining one's own native identity can lead to a polarized society. For example, some don't like America becoming bilingual with Spanish as a second language. Do you agree that promoting one's culture can lead to polarization? Explain your stance in detail. If you were the President of the United States, how would you defend your perspective and convince the public?
- Consider the statement: "Wealthy politicians cannot offer fair representation to all the people." Describe why you agree or disagree with this statement. If you are the President of the United States, what you would do to achieve the dream of Abraham Lincoln, "democracy is of the people, by the people, for the people?
- Basic Guide to Essay Writing
- Tips on Writing Essays: I Can't Write Essays: Tips to overcome struggle writing essays (gradebees.com)
- Explore the Guardian’s research into how to write better essays
- General Essay Writing Tips: (internationalstudent.com)
- Beginner’s Guide to Writing an Essay: (scribbr.com)
- Ten Steps to Writing a Great Essay: (thewritepractice.com)
- 8 Tips to Writing an Excellent Essay:(bmmagazine.co.uk)
- How to Write an Outstanding Essay: (Grammarly Blog)
- Great Essay Writing in 8 Steps: (Oxbridge Essays)
The NSF Leadership-in-Writing is the latest addition to the suite of annual NSF contests. It is intended to encourage good writing skills while nurturing creativity, the ability to think quickly, and present well-connected ideas persuasively and succinctly. It is designed to be in line with the "timed writing" component of current standardized tests (SAT). Good writing style will be the key differentiating characteristic in identifying the winners.
The essays will be scored by a qualified panel of NSF Essay Contest judges (three judge will score each essay). Every submitted essay will be read and ranked by every judge on the panel. Depending on the number of contestants, winners will be identified based on NSF Leadership in Writing Contest judging rules. The decisions by the judges shall be final and shall not be subject to any further appeal.
Results will be announced within 2 to 3 weeks after the contest. All regional and national contest results shall be posted on the NSF website.
The NSF Leadership in Writing Bee is intended to encourage “impromptu writing” of “timed essays” with discipline, logic and creativity.The “timed” mode encourages discipline and brevity.It should have good content, good language and good style.Good content implies well-connected ideas written persuasively and effectively on the “given topic”.The child must be able to express his/her idea of leadership very clearly. Examples may be used as and when required. Good language implies the use of good vocabulary. The right word used in the right place packs in a better punch.Writing is a fine art and therefore it is expected that the participant will use the best words possible while writing on the topic. For example, one can say a line very plainly - ‘he is liked by all’ or one can word it better as in ‘he is appreciated by all’.Good style implies many things – writing with flair and color, creativity and adding one’s own personal touch. Grammar and punctuation errors will be taken into account.
Online registration via NSF homepage is generally available, starting early January. You can also refer to the NSF Contest Calendar or ask your Regional Coordinator about registration deadlines and contest dates.
Currently, the national finals will be held only for the senior level. In the future, they may be held for all levels.