Choosing the right optional subject for the UPSC civil services exam is crucial as it carries a weightage of 500 marks! It’s a make-or-break deal, so you need to have a solid strategy to nail it. Picking the perfect subject and mastering it thoroughly is the key to acing the mains. With the right plan, dedication, and hard work, you can crack the UPSC civil services exam and pave your way to success!
At this point in your journey leading UPSC coaching centres such as Chinmaya IAS Academy in Chennai can provide you with the right guidance, recommend the best study materials and everything else you require. So, honing your skills, knowledge and answer writing abilities with the help of experienced teachers is always going to be a great option.
Sociology as an Optional- What do UPSC Coaching Centres in Chennai Advise?
For those aiming for the UPSC, sociology as an elective for mains is a common choice. This is a rare topic because it appeals to people with both scientific and humanistic education. Sociology, like other optionals, is open to anyone, and prior educational background of the subject is not required. Generally, it is a high-scoring subject, though it depends on the student’s proper approach and exam preparations. Regular writing practice and careful course planning can often result in a score of 315 or higher in sociology optional.
Preparing for sociology optionals
Sociology Optional is a popular choice among UPSC aspirants due to its broad syllabus. However, certain theories can be baffling without the guidance of an expert. If you lack a mentor or senior to guide you, seek external assistance first. Once you have a solid foundation, you can use the following approach to level up your preparation:
Sociology Optional- Syllabus Evaluation & Preparation Approach
Before beginning to study for the sociology optional, you should review the entire syllabus. The course materials should be memorised to draw appropriate analogies when answering questions. You should study for the optional sociology exam along with the UPSC GS syllabus, just as you would for any other exam subject. Both Paper 1 and Paper 2 of General Studies cover the material on the UPSC Main Examination syllabus for the sociology optional. While GS paper 1 focuses on Indian culture and society, paper 2 covers the fundamentals of sociology.
Investing time in building a strong conceptual foundation during the initial phase of your UPSC Sociology Optional preparation will pay off in the long run. It’s crucial to gain clarity of thought on sociological themes and thinkers to interlink various parts of the syllabus effectively. This will enable you to use your knowledge judiciously in both Paper 1 and Paper 2, giving you an edge in the exam.
Take a look at test questions from previous years to get a feel for the types of material covered on the exam. Next, study the solutions of high achievers to learn from their examples. Inculcating answer writing skills similar to qualified aspirants will always be helpful.
Study fundamental books
Reading the standard sociology books can be helpful- but that’s not the best place to start. The 11th and 12th-grade NCERT books are an excellent place to start if you want to be well-prepared for the sociology optional. Writing answers to the questions provided at the end of each chapter in the NCERT Sociology Optional book can be immensely helpful. This exercise not only strengthens your understanding of the topic but also helps you to analyze and articulate your thoughts better.
To enhance your understanding of Sociology Optional, it’s recommended to selectively read ‘Sociology – Themes and Perspectives’ by Haralambos and Holborn, popularly known as the ‘Blue Haralambos’. Though the book seems voluminous, it’s actually written in a simple language, making it easy to comprehend. During the first reading, focus on highlighting the key points, and in the second reading, make detailed notes.
Paper 2 of Sociology Optional has few standard sources in the market, and most questions are based on current topics that need to be analyzed using sociological terms. To ace this paper, you must connect static portions of the syllabus with dynamic current affairs while answering questions.
It’s crucial to supplement topics such as deprivation, poverty, violence against women, secularization, inequalities, and regionalism with current affairs and dynamic data sourced from newspapers like Indian Express or The Hindu.
Create a glossary
Sociology toppers have a unique approach to cracking the UPSC civil services exam. One of their strategies involves creating a list of sociological terms and concepts that they come across during their preparation. These lists include terms such as ‘feminization of poverty’ and ‘informalization of labor’, among others.
Notes Preparation & Answer Writing Tips for UPSC Sociology Optional
When studying for the UPSC exam, taking notes is essential. This is especially true for sociology, which encompasses many theories, models, concepts, and thinkers. It would help if you made revision aids like flowcharts, tables, and figures. The Theory of Deviance by Merton is one such example.
Update your notes
To excel in the Sociology Optional paper, it’s essential to stay updated with current affairs and incorporate them into your notes regularly. Often, you can find sociological case studies in newspapers or the names of lesser-known sociologists that can be included in your notes. Moreover, relevant current affairs examples can be added to supplement topics. Additionally, you can make notes from reputed magazines like Economic and Political Weekly, along with newspapers.
Practise answer writing
In sociology, answer writing skills play a vital role in scoring well. It’s different from subjects like math or chemistry where you can provide precise answers.You must set the scene, address the question, provide relevant anecdotes, draw connections to relevant thinkers and theoretical frameworks, offer constructive criticism, and wrap things up with a fitting conclusion.
For this, it’s essential to practice answer writing. Enrolling in an optional test series helps simulate exam conditions, improve time management skills, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it improves your speed, helps understand the question, and write structured answers with the right keywords.
Answer writing tips
Linking various topics of Paper 1 and Paper 2 while writing answers for Sociology Optional is crucial. This helps in showcasing the depth of one’s understanding of the subject and also enhances the quality of the answers.
- Pay close attention to the kind of materials that tend to pop up on the UPSC mains exam.
- Use various sources, including newspapers, surveys, budgets, and magazines.
- Use the opinions/ theories of relevant thinkers wherever applicable.
- Adhere to the question paper’s word limit while composing your response,
- Add brief paragraphs and bullet points in most answers.
- Highlight the most essential ideas, names of authors, or keywords.
- Try to provide balanced answers for opinionated questions.
Sociology can be a brilliant choice as an optional paper in UPSC mains but remember to maintain the right approach and preparation techniques. The facts and methods provided in this article will surely help you. However, you can gain a substantial advantage if you opt for guidance and tutoring by our experienced and skilled teachers. At Chinmaya IAS Academy we are proud to have played a part in creating some of the finest civil servants of our country. Being one of the most well-known UPSC Coaching Centres in Chennai we are always there for our students. To start or advance your UPSC preparation, get in touch with us today.