Along with 2 compulsory papers of language, 4 general studies papers and essay paper aspirant have to choose one optional subject for UPSC civil services mains examination. Aspirants have hugel number of choices for optional subject example political science and international relations, history, geography, anthropology, mathematics etc. Sociology as optional subject is one of the favourite choice of aspirants past many years. Optional subject is of 500 marks out of total in UPSC civil services mains examination. Hence choosing right optional subject is of undue importance in UPSC civil services examination. Sociology optional can fetch average 310 to 345+ marks in many cases.
Preparing for sociology optional don't need any special academic background unlike other optional subjects which need specialisation in particular subject like engineering. Sociology optional has short syllabus as compared to the other optional subjects like mathematics, geography, history etc. Preparation of sociology optional also helps in general studies paper 1, paper 4. Indian society e part of paper 1 also topics like women empowerment, communalism, socialism, urbanisation etc. can be covered while studying sociology optional. Sociology Optional also helps in essay, student with sociology optional can score good in essay as well. Some fix topics like education, women's issues, child, education etc. are covered in curriculum of sociology optional only. So students don't need to prepare for them separately. Student can write diverse view points as well as opinions with the help of sociological studies and data in all four GS papers as well as in essay. There are many overlaps in paper 1 and paper 2 of sociology optional only e.g. religion,kinship,family etc. students can give impressive answers in UPSC civil services examination interview due to their wider analysis of various social problems prevalent in contemporary society. There are many good books for sociology optional like haralambos and holborn, Ritzer,ignou are available for sociology optional. Due to its short syllabus the sociology optional can be master with the guided preparation of 3 to 4 months and one can easily allot a significant time for a revision purpose and answer writing.
Sociology optional is nothing but study of society hence one have to study concepts like religion, marriage, kinship, social movements etc. Syllabus of sociology covers topics like modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of sociology, scope of subject comparison with other social sciences, concepts like positivism, fact value and objectivity etc. One has to study thinkers like Karl Marx, emile durkheim, Max Weber, talcott parsons, Robert king Merton and Mead for western sociological thought in paper 1. There also so Indian sociologist aspirants have to study for paper 2 like GS Ghure, m n Srinivas, A.R. desai etc.
To proceed with sociology optional analysing syllabus is the key. Aspirant should memorize each and every topic and sub topic of the syllabus so that he or she will not read stuff Irrelevant to the syllabus of UPSC. Referring previous year question papers can provide insights about what is the nature of questions ask in the UPSC civil services mains examination as well as marking scheme of questions. The topics which are ask by UPSC repetitively should be given more focus.
Aspirants must prepare short notes for the topics listed in UPSC syllabus so that it will be easy to revise the stuff before going to exam. Paper 2 of sociology is dynamic in nature and it needs linkages of static portion with current issues happening. So current affairs related to the topics mentioned in UPSC syllabus which appear in the standard newspapers like the Hindu for Indian express must be noted. With consistent preparation and answer writing practice one can score really good in sociology optional.