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All About Sociology Optional

All About Sociology Optional

Sociology is one of the most popular optional subjects when it comes to the UPSC examination.

The primary reasons behind this are:

  • • The moderate to short length of sociology syllabus as compared to the other optional subjects.
  • • The ready availability of optional material for sociology in the market.
  • • The overlap of sociology syllabus with social issues of GS paper 1, the thinkers part of GS paper 4 or the Ethics paper and its use in improving the quality of your Essay answers as well.

But the main reason would be that it is that it is very difficult to go wrong with it and get a bottom level score.

Once you are thorough with the subject and have a decent grasp on its fundamentals, it will not be an exaggeration to state that with a bit of innovativeness from your side, you can attempt a question to a certain satisfactory level even if you have not prepared the topic very well.

That means that you do not have to worry about leaving a single question in the mains paper and should target to attempt 100% of the paper.

How, you will ask?

• Sociology optional paper 1 contains 6 important thinkers and once you develop a conceptual clarity about them, you can use the same thinkers in your sociology paper 2 multiple times. (After all, a Marxist perspective is bound to always criticize the establishment, just like a feminist will find a patriarchal basis in every social arrangement.)

• By interlinking your current affairs preparation with paper 2 of sociology and using current examples in paper2, along with quoting the same 5 -6 thinkers of paper 1 ,you can write a good answer even if you don’t remember a single sociologist’s name for that particular paper 2 topic.

Thus sociology is the kind of optional which provides you a safety net even when UPSC decides to throw a bouncer.

A score of 300 to 330(out of 500 total allotted marks) is very much achievable if you are able to receive proper guidance and mentorship to pursue a smart strategy towards the sociology optional.

And once you are done with your sociology optional, you will always have that one extra dimension-a sociological perspective to add to your GS answers.

Not only this, you will never have a one dimensional viewpoint of any issue ever again…even the best of ideas have their dysfunctions and the most evil of institutions in the society have some functional significance. This adds to your personality and reflects in your interview as well.

To help you further finalize the optional for UPSC,we will advise you to go through the syllabus and course material once.

Books and sources:

This is the list of source material/ books for sociology optional:

Paper 1

  1. IAS Gurukul’s class lecture notes (handwritten)/ printed material
  2. Essential Sociology by Nitin Sangwan
  3. Sociology Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos and Holborn
  4. Sociological Theory by George Ritzer

Paper 2

  1. IAS Gurukul’s class lecture notes (handwritten)/ printed material
  2. Principles of Sociology by C.N. Shankar Rao
  3. Sociology of Indian Society by C.N. Shankar Rao
  4. Selective reading of Economic and Political Weekly magazine.

Sociology optional Topper’s strategy:

After having a heart to heart chat with the sociology toppers who are also our ex-students, we have devised a strategy for serious UPSC aspirants to help them channelize their energies in the right direction.

  • • It is very important to pay regular attention in the class and develop conceptual clarity for all the thinkers.
  • • In case of any doubts do not hesitate to ask Pranay Aggarwal Sir as many questions as are required till you develop complete clarity. Remember, it is wise to ask a question, and unwise if you do not ask it!!
  • • For the first 3 months, devote three to four hours to your optional every day.
  • • For the first few weeks, write an answer daily and then, two -three answers weekly to get adequate answer writing practice.
  • • Fill you answers with as many relevant sociological thinkers and sociological perspectives/ theories as possible.
  • • Show your answers to your mentor so that he may nudge you in the right direction.
  • • For Paper 2, continuously update your notes while reading the newspaper. For example, names of lesser known sociologists often crop up in newspaper articles and writing then in your answer will give your answers freshness and an extra edge.
  • • Interlink your current affairs with your sociology topics throughout your preparation. This way you keep preparing from sociology unknowingly even when you are preparing for your General Studies papers.
  • • After the first two reading of your syllabus, compile your classroom notes into short, crisp notes (with just the highlight word and few lines for each thinker and topic) that you can refer to one day before the main exams.
  • • Revise your notes multiple times rather than adding new books and materials.