Having a strong grasp of psychology optional (UPSC) can prove advantageous for candidates preparing not only for the optional subject but also for GS paper 4 – Ethics. Various topics such as Attitude, Emotional Intelligence, and Aptitude, covered under GS paper 4, are directly related to the Psychology syllabus. Reading from the recommended sources can offer a comprehensive perspective on the subject matter.
1) NCERT Psychology – Class 11 and 12
2) Psychology – Robert Baron (Paper 1)
3) Introduction to Psychology – Atkinson & Hilgard (Paper 1)
4) Introduction to Psychology – Clifford Morgan and Richard King (Paper 1)
5) Psychology – Saundra K. Ciccarelli (Paper 1)
6) Applied Psychology – Smarak Swain (Paper 2)
7) Understanding Psychology by Robert S. Feldman
8) Tests, Measurements and Research Methods in Behavioral Sciences by A K Singh
Although the reference books mentioned above offer a thorough comprehension and can enhance conceptual clarity, it is crucial to exercise selectivity while reading them. It is advisable to adopt a study approach where one book is studied multiple times, rather than reading multiple books just once.
How to prepare for psychology optional (UPSC)?
Psychology is one of the optional subjects offered by the UPSC for the civil services mains examination. If you are considering psychology as your optional subject for UPSC mains and are unable to decide, you can go through the list of pros and cons that we have given below. After that, you should assess your own strengths and weaknesses and then come to a conclusion.
Pros of psychology optional (UPSC):
- Psychology is generally considered a highly interesting subject.
- Good study material is readily available for this subject.
- It can be scoring because you can use a lot of examples from real life to substantiate your answers.
- Anyone can take up this optional – you need not be a graduate in this subject.
- Psychology can help in the Ethics paper.
- Psychology can also help in certain portions in GS I (social issues) and the essay paper.
Cons of psychology optional (UPSC):
- If you are really not interested in studying this subject, you better keep off it as it can come across as vague.
- For people with a different academic background, psychology may be a tad hard to follow.
- There is very little overlap with the general studies papers.
- The syllabus for psychology optional is considered relatively vast.
- Stick to a minimum number of books for this optional.
- NCERTs are very important for this subject.
- You have to take care not to write answers like you would in the GS papers.
- It is also very important to form linkages between the topics in the syllabus.
Steps to be followed:
- Start with NCERT’s to master the basics and develop overall understanding of syllabus
- Proceed to standard reference books for Paper 1 and directly applicable concepts to Paper 2
- Focus on enhanced conceptual understanding rather than memorizing facts
- Good hold on Paper 1 concepts crucial as foundation for Paper 2
- Chapter on statistics in Paper 1 requires extra efforts
- Root answers in theory for Paper 2 and use psychological concepts or theories from Paper 1 to support arguments
- Use contemporary examples from Indian context to make answers more relevant
- Adopt standard format for answering attitude and behaviour change questions
- Inclusion of case studies, examples, experiments, issues in newspapers, and diagrams hold value to answers
- Aim for effective revision and rely on own concise notes
- Develop ability to interlink Paper 1 and Paper 2 for effective answer writing
- Practice answer writing regularly and address content and presentation
- Solve previous years’ papers and get them checked by a mentor or teacher
- Join test series for critical feedback, perspective, and interactive sessions
- Follow simple rules while writing answer like underlining keywords and diagrams and focusing on structure
- Effective time management during exam is crucial, brainstorm for 5 minutes and divide time accordingly
- Stick to word limit and develop time management skills with repeated practice
- Spend last few days before exam wisely in revising syllabus covered earlier, avoid new information.
Paper I Strategy:
- Develop a strong foundation in Paper I.
- The chapter ‘Research Methods’ is increasingly becoming popular with the UPSC.
- A few topics are repeatedly asked.
- The book to follow for the paper-I is Psychology by Robert Baron. Alternatively, you can use Psychology by Saundra Ciccarelli.
Paper II Strategy:
- Develop your answers rooted in the concepts of psychology that you learnt in Paper I.
- Give a lot of examples to support your answers and make sure you quote a majority of Indian examples.
Toppers in Psychology Optional:
|Joseph K Mathew||2016||574|