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Most Preferred optional for 2014 Mains exam?
  • I am confused between history, geography and political science.

    Which subject takes the least time to cover the whole syllabus?

    Also which is the most preferred subject for 2014 exam according to current trends, scoring opportunity and viable for self study?
  • These are the wrong questions to ask when choosing an optional. But I'll answer them anyways:
    1. Time to cover syllabus: History < geography < political science.
    2. In most years, the number of aspirants for geography > history > political science.
    3. There is no such thing as "scoring opportunity". It all depends on your effort and UPSC's mood.
    4. Self-study for geography and history is seen as being easier than political science.

    Choose the subject for which you feel you have the best aptitude and you can be among the best in the country.
    Thanked by 1flyod
  • Stardust said:


    1. Time to cover syllabus: History < geography < political science.



    How did you arrive at this one, mate? :-?
    Keep calm and carry on reading!
  • arithkv said:

    I am confused between history, geography and political science.

    Which subject takes the least time to cover the whole syllabus?

    Also which is the most preferred subject for 2014 exam according to current trends, scoring opportunity and viable for self study?



    You won't get right answers unless you ask the right questions. You should be asking yourself - Which subject do I like? If none of these, then do read some basic texts on all of them and then decide. Remember there is no Pali anymore - Else I might have suggested that! :P

  • Arpit said:

    Stardust said:


    1. Time to cover syllabus: History < geography < political science.

    How did you arrive at this one, mate? :-?

    At one point of time I was considering these optionals (and ended up choosing pol sci) and so have a basic idea of what is required to be done. Political science has too much dynamic syllabus and we pretty much have to study the entire BA + MA course of IGNOU, so I am sure that it takes more time than the other two. While the other two have a mostly static syllabus for which ample upsc-specific material is available, unlike pol sci.

    But of course, I could be wildly off mark! "Time to complete syllabus" is a very relative term because it depends on your aptitude, effort and strategy.
  • Partho said:

    If none of these, then do read some basic texts on all of them and then decide. Remember there is no Pali anymore - Else I might have suggested that! :P



    If you do not have a prior interest, what Partho has suggested will give you probably the best option.

    Also consider the availability of resources in market to study an optional comprehensively. One may also (if one can) try to foresee, if one will be able to sustain the momentum for that particular optional during the preparation.

    Keep calm and carry on reading!
  • Stardust said:

    "Time to complete syllabus" is a very relative term because it depends on your aptitude, effort and strategy.



    I was about to write this, but then you 'edited' the comment!!! :-))
    And @arithkv, kindly note - this is an important aspect.
    Keep calm and carry on reading!
  • Hi,

    Thank you guys for your fast replies.

    I have inititally thought of history as my optional. But the syllabus consisting of 51 chapters in 2 papers made look the subject too tough to handle.

    II find geography little bit easy for me to grasp. But I guess I am just grasping on factual datas which may not be useful in UPSC exam aspect. So I realise that I should also look at previous question papers of mains exam (which I havent done) before deciding on the optionals.

    II dont have much understanding of political science except that people with interest in history used to take political science as second optional during earlier times (when 2 optionals were there).

    So still undecided on optional.
  • Stardust said:

    These are the wrong questions to ask when choosing an optional.




    Thanks for your reply. So what are the right questions to be asked when choosing an optional. Please guide.

  • Look at your question...
    Most preferred in 2014...
    i don't think 2012 annual report is out yet and even that will only have most preferred in 2012...
    2013 applications are not in yet...
    2014 .... do i even have to ask...???

    But lets put aside the obvious errors in syntax for the moment and analyse the causal link behind your reasoning...
    Why in the world would anyone want to know which is the most preferred coz that data has no significance for an aspirant...
    May be if i am a publisher of optional books it would help me but otherwise its a moot point...
    CREDIBLE HULK...
    ESE E&T, CSE EEE.
  • Its all depend- how will you enjoy the subject (and also see the annual report).
    In my case geography was my first choice then polotical science.. after 2 months of confusion I've finally stopped at sociology (which was never in my list of optionals). see what I've done-
    Read all NCERT - books (11, 12- 4 books)
    On first reading- It was like a punishment, dint know which line to underline- because most of the things written, we already know ...too bore.. napping/reading simultaneously.
    2nd reading- gained some interest, underlined some lines.
    3rd reading (still going on)- very interesting, learnt to think simultaneously with reading (social issues).
    Now waiting to read the big books.. I hope that too will be interesting.
    So-- to have some idea please- start with ncert basic books.
    Dedication is inversely proportional to Time
  • I agree with all views expressed above.

    The most preferred optional as what the market says is - Pol Science and IR (linkage with GS and essay), Pub Ad (linkage with GS), Geography (linkage with GS) Psychology (linkage with ethics and Mukul Pathak for optional coaching).

    If u in absloute dilemma, choose any 1 out of above 4
  • Your query doesn't make sense because logically one would go for the 'least preferred' optional. Then the competition would be less and if you work hard, there are very good chances of you getting above average marks, which would automatically boost your final score.
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In this Discussion

MISSION IAS 2014

Philosophy Booklist


1. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy[link]
2. Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy[link]
3. Critical History of Western Philosophy by Y Masih[link]
4. The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant[link]
5. Social and Political Philosophy by O P Gauba[link]

3 Essential Books for Public Administration (Optional)


1. Laxmikant's Public Administration [link]
2. Prasad & Prasad Administrative Thinkers[link]
3. Mohit Bhattacharya [link]

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