Psychology optional is a subject which is reasonably popular amongst IAS aspirants. Statistics suggest that 8% of the candidates who selected psychology as optional subject got recommended for interview round. Psychology is a scientific study of human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in the given context. It is science, although some of the theories are philosophical so the laws in the psychology are not as precise
Candidates having background in psychology can opt this subject for IAS preparation. Candidate having non-psychology background can also opt for this subject if they have keen interest in this subject.
Psychology has two papers:-
Paper I of Psychology optional consists of the theoretical aspects and basic principles of psychology.
Paper II consists of applied psychology and its use in various fields.
Some of the advantages of selecting psychology as optional subject are:-
- Subject is highly interesting and engaging.
- Lot of scope for using real life examples and one can related to his own life.
- Ample study material is available
- Moderate syllabus that can be completed in time.
Few tips that one should follow are:-
- Go through syllabus and collect relevant study material
- Focus on understanding than note learning.
- Adopt proper answer writing skills
- Make efficient utilization of time and stick to the word limit
STEPS TO BE FOLLOWED
- Get acquainted with complete syllabus
- Selecting right study material for UPSC 2018 is almost important. I would suggest studying one book multiple times rather than studying multiple books one time.
Below are the few recommended books for Psychology optional–
- NCERT psychology class 11th and 12th books
- Psychology by Baron (for Paper I)
- Applied Psychology by Smarak Swain (for Paper II)
Try to read NCERT books to understand basic concepts and to cover most of the syllabus.
The remaining topics can be studied from Baron. Smarak Swain’s book covers all the topics of paper II. One can also join online IAS coaching classes to clear some of the doubts.
- Preparation Phase
One should start UPSC preparation one year before the prelims and complete the syllabus by December end. Then one can start with revision of the subject right after the prelims. After completing basic psychology for paper I, start with applied psychology for Paper II. Prepare a time bound study plan for each topic and if required one should prepare their own notes. Try to develop the gist of every topic in the form of a flow-chart or a diagram. Practice answer writing skills to ensure that you can convey your answers in an effective manner. Every good answer should contain two components namely content and presentation.
- Have look of previous years question papers and solve few of them.
- Last few days before exam
The last few days before the exam should be spent wisely in revising the syllabus covered earlier. Don’t try to learn new things in this time. One day before the exam try to finish the revision on time and then relax for some time.