Are you confused about how to write a biographical sketch or bio sketch? If yes, and searching the format of the biographical sketch then don’t worry because you’ve landed at the right place.
In this blog post, I will share the complete bio sketch format along with biographical sketch examples for college students which are valid for all classes/grade students. However, the word limit for biographical sketches may increase with the increase in class.
What is a Biographical Sketch?
A biographical sketch or bio-sketch is a brief description of a person’s life and his academic and other achievements in life. It is formal and factual. It focuses on those points which make the person special or respectable. One may write about one’s teacher, a parent or a grandparent.
Format of Biographical Sketch: Guidelines
- Be brief and factual.
- Omit unpleasant details about a personality.
- Focus on what you find positive in a person.
- Prepare a general outline before writing on the following lines:
- details about birth (place, time, date)
- family background
- physical appearance
- professional achievements
- awards and honours
- contribution to society
- death (if the person is no more)
- Use the past tense in case the person is dead.
- If a person is alive, use the present tense to write his bio-sketch.
- In case the person concerned is no more, use the past tense throughout. However, use the present tense to refer to something about his personality which has relevance in the present. For example, writing about William Shakespeare, we can say:
William Shakespeare is one of the greatest dramatists in the world. He was born in 1564 in England. His father was a farmer’s son. He wrote many plays which are read with great interest even nowadays.
Useful Tips for Biographical Sketch
- Use the given clues carefully.
- Use the present tense for information that is valid even now, and the past tense for something connected only with the past.
- Be brief and factual.
- Well researched.
Marking Scheme in Exam
Biographical Sketch Example for Students
Example 1:- Using the information given below, write the bio-sketch of A.R. Rahman, a famous Indian composer, in about 100 words.
Born: Dileep Kumar-January, 1966, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu rises success as A.R. Rahman, music director and singer.
Family: loses father at an early age; mother’s influence great
Trained Under: Master Dhanraj, Illaiyaraja
Education: Graduate in Western classical music from Trinity College of Music
Significant year: 1992-sets up a recording studio; film career begins
Achievements: Awards: fourteen Film Fare, four National Films, two Grammys, two Academy, etc. Padma Bhushan in 2010.
Contribution to music: immense; a national icon
A. R. Rahman was born in January 1966 in Chennai as Dileep Kumar and is now a famous music director and singer. He lost his father when he was quite young. His mother influenced his personality greatly. He had his initial training under the legendary Master Dhanraj and Illaiyaraja. He did his graduation in classical music from Trinity College of Music in England. Back in India, he set up a recording studio in 1992, beginning his film career. His music brought him a lot of fame and covetous awards. He is the first Indian composer to have won two academy awards. He has to his credit fourteen Film Fare awards, four national awards, besides two Grammys. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2010. He is one of the national icons.
Example 2:- Using the information given below, write the biographical sketch of Mahatma Gandhi in about 100 words.
- born on 2nd October 1869, Porbandar Gujarat
- went to England to study law
- went to South Africa, protested against the British policy of apartheid
- returned to India, plunged into the fight for freedom
- used non-violence and truth as his weapons
- was against untouchability, partition
- assassinated on January 30, 1948
Mahatma Gandhi, who was born on 2nd October 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat, was the tallest leader of the Freedom Movement. He went to England to study law. Thereafter, he went to South Africa where he protested against the British policy of apartheid. He returned to India and led the struggle for freedom. He used truth and non-violence as his weapons. He was against any kind of untouchability. He wanted the people to treat the untouchables as their equals. He was not in favour of the partition of India. He was assassinated on 30th January 1948.
Example 3:- Using the information given below, write the bio-sketch of Florence Nightingale, the founder of trained nursing as a profession.
- born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy
- taught mainly by her father, learnt several languages
- become an expert on public health and hospitals
- From 1854-to 56, during the Crimean War, worked in charge of nursing, struggling with shortages, in difficult conditions
- worked day and night, seriously ill, become blind
- the Order of Merit was conferred on her in 1907; died in 1910
Florence Nightingale, the founder of trained nursing as a profession, was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy. She was mainly taught by her father. She learns many languages. She becomes an expert on public health and hospitals. She realized that her mission was to look after the sick. In 1854-56, during the Crimean War, she worked in charge of nursing. She had to work in difficult conditions but she did not give in. She worked day and night, nursing the sick. As a result of her hard work, she became seriously ill and blind. The Order of Merit was conferred on her by the King in 1907, She passed away in 1910.
Example 4:- Using the information given below, write the bio-sketch of Aruna Asif Ali, a revolutionary freedom fighter of India in about 100 words.
- born in 190 in a Bengali family
- educated at Nainital, married a famous lawyer Asif Ali
- hoisted the Tricolour in Mumbai in 1942 braving police threat
- remained active in politics
- President, Delhi Congress Committee; Mayor, Delhi, M.C. (1958)
- Lenin Peace Prize, Indira Gandhi Award
- died in 1996
Aruna Asif Ali was one of the well-known revolutionary freedom fighters of India. She was born in 1909 in a Bengali family. She was educated at Nainital. She married a famous lawyer Asif Ali. She hoisted the Tricolour in 1942 in Mumbai facing a police threat. She was very bold, daring and adventurous. She remained active in politics after India got freedom. She became President of the Delhi Congress Committee and the Mayor of the Delhi Municipal Corporation after Independence. She was honoured with the ‘Lenin Peace Prize’ and ‘Indira Gandhi Award’. She passed away in 1996.
Example 5:- Using the information given below, write the bio sketch of Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India.
Name: Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (A.P.J. Abdul Kalam)
Nickname: Missile Man
Occupation: Engineer, Scientist, Author, Professor, Politician
Born: 15 October 1931
Place of Birth: Dhanushkodi, Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: 27 July 2015
Place of Death: Shillong, Meghalaya, India
Famous as: Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President from 2002 to 2007
Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, In Tamil Nadu. He was the youngest of five siblings. Dr Kalam earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from the Madras Institute of Technology and in 1958 joined the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). He soon moved to the Indian Space Research Organisation, where he was project director of the SLV-III, India’s first indigenously designed and produced satellite launch vehicle. Rejoining DRDO in 1982, Dr Kalam planned the programme that produced a number of successful missiles, which earned him the nickname, ‘Missile Man’.
From 1992 to 1997, Dr Kalam was scientific adviser to the defence minister, and he later served as principal scientific adviser (1999-2001) to the government of India with the rank of cabinet minister. His role in the country’s 1998 nuclear weapons tests established him as a national hero. In 1998, Dr Kalam put forward a countrywide plan called Technology Vision 2020, as a road map for transforming India from a less-developed to a developed society in 20 years. The plan called for increasing agricultural productivity, emphasising technology as a vehicle for economic growth, and widening access to healthcare and education.
In 2002, he was sworn in as the 11th President of India. He was in office till 2007. Dr Kalam wrote several books, including an autobiography, Wings of Fire (1999). Among his numerous awards were two of the country’s highest honours, the Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the Bharat Ratna (1997).
After leaving office, Dr Abdul Kalam chose the academic field and became a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, The Indian Institute of Management Indore and an honorary fellow of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
On 27 July 2015, Dr Abdul Kalam was delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong when he suffered a heart attack and his condition became critical, so, he was shifted to Bethany Hospital where he died of cardiac arrest.
Biographical Sketch Sample Questions for Practice
Questions 1:- Using the information given below, write a bio-sketch of Abraham Lincoln, the famous President of America in about 100 words.
- born in 1809 in a log cabin
- had to struggle hard to get an education
- become President in 1861
- champion of democracy
- stressed equality
- abolished the system of slavery
- the civil war
- defeated the states which had seceded from the Union
- assassinated in 1865
Question 2:- Using the information given below, write a bio-sketch of Helen Keller, a miracle of our times in about 100 words.
- Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1880
- became deaf, dumb and blind due to a disease
- Miss Sullivan taught her to read and write
- began to read books through the Braille
- passed many exams
- got degrees
- become a writer, helped the blind and the deaf
Question 3:- Write a biographical sketch of M.S. Dhoni based on the outlines given.
Full Name: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Nicknames: Mahi, MSD, Captain Cool, Thala
Birth: 7 July 1981 (Ranchi, Bihar)
Profession: Indian International Cricketer
Captained India: Limited-overs format from 2007-16; Test cricket from 2008-14; Style: Right-handed middle-order batsman and wicket-keeper
Personal Achievements: One of the highest run scorers in ODIs with more than 10,000 runs scored; considered an effective ‘finisher’ in limited-overs formats; widely regarded as one of the greatest wicketkeeper-batsmen and captains in the history of the game
Achievements under his captaincy: India won the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many words should a biographical sketch be?
Biographical sketches are usually not of many words. This is a one-paragraph description of your professional identity that includes all the important highlights of your life. It is written in about 50 to 200 words.
Are Biosketch and biography the same?
No, Biosketches are short descriptions of one’s achievements and events in life. A biography is a detailed account of one’s life written by someone else.
What are other words for a biographical sketch?
You can say a biographical sketch is a life story.