Why is Polity for UPSC Optional?

Aspirants often think about why do so many people choose polity as their optional in UPSC? They usually encounter various interviews from toppers securing good ranks, with Political Science and International Relations as their UPSC optional subject. Although many aspirants worry about the vastness of its syllabus, it is still chosen by some because of the relevance of its topics to the UPSC exam as a whole, and not only to the optional papers.

Political science is one of the most vital subjects for any civil service exam, along with UPSC; especially those who wish to become a bureaucrat must brush up their understanding of the basics of Political Science and International Relations, along with the current handling of the political environment.

What is the Success Rate of Polity as UPSC Optional?

To understand the success rate of PSIR (Political Science and International Relations) as an optional subject, here are some previous year’s analysis of candidates with pol. science.

Year No. of Candidates Appeared No. of Candidates Recommended Success Rate Percentage
2017 1246 117 9.4
2016 1380 85 6.4
2015 1107 121 10.9

Advantages of PSIR as UPSC Optional

There are many advantages to choosing Political Science as UPSC optional:

  • Questions: Many segments of the UPSC prelims, as well as that of General studies paper 2 contain questions related to Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations.
  • Integration of Mains and Prelims: This integration of Mains and prelims paper helps in saving a lot of time, with effective preparation of prelims cum mains strategy.
  • Non-Technical Terms: As it is a comprehensive subject and does not involve technical terms, aspirants from any background can choose polity for UPSC optional. The concepts here are very general, and can be easily grasped through extensive newspaper reading.
  • Application-based Questions: In the new revised syllabus, the omission of factual questions has made answering easier, as there will be questions related to the aspirant’s concept understanding only.
  • Repeat Questions: Although it is said that the syllabus of polity is vast, there are still a number of questions which are repeated almost every year, like Marxism, Marxist notions of state, Gramsci, and many more.
  • Interrelated Topics: Considering the vast syllabus myth, many of the topics involved in polity optional are interrelated, which helps in saving time as well as efforts.
  • Common Topics: There are certain topics which are common in Paper-1 as well as Paper-2 of Political Science optional. For example, Liberalism, Feminism, Ideas of Marxism, Issues of Democracy, Human Rights, Environment, etc.
  • Current Affairs: Preparing polity as an optional also boosts understanding of the current affairs.
  • Interview Advantage: Even in the interview round, a good knowledge of topics in Polity such as governance, international relations can help aspirants score well.

What are the Best Polity Books for UPSC?

The optional paper of polity for UPSC consists of two papers, Paper-1 and Paper-2. Each paper is of 250 marks, making the whole optional paper 500 marks. The papers consists of sub-parts as given below:

Paper-1- It comprises of topics related to political theory and Indian politics

Paper -A: Political Theory and Thinkers

Paper -B: Indian government and Politics

Paper -2 It comprises of topics related to comparative politics analysis and international relations

Part -A: Comparative Politics and International Politics

Part -B: India and the World

Once the aspirants build their base through NCERT polity books, they can go for other standard books. The books required range from books for Indian polity for UPSC, to books dedicated to international relationships. According to the categorisation of papers, here is the required polity book list for UPSC.

Polity Book for UPSC Required For Political Science Paper I

  • An Introduction To Constitution– DD Basu
  • An Introduction To Political Theory– OP Gauba
  • Fifty Major Political Thinkers– Ian Adams And RW Dyson
  • A History Of Political Thought: Plato To Marx– Subrata Mukherjee And Sushila Ramaswamy
  • An Oxford Companion To Politics In India– Niraja Gopal Jayal And Pratap Bhanu Mehta
  • Foundations Of Indian Political Thought– VR Mehta
  • A New Look At Modern Indian History– BL Grover And Alka Mehta
  • India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra
  • Indian Government And Politics – BL Fadia

Polity Books for UPSC Required For Political Science Paper-II

  • India’s Foreign Policy – VP Dutt
  • International Organisations– Spectrum Books Publication
  • International Relations – V N Khanna
  • Challenge And Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy– Rajiv Sikri
  • Does The Elephant Dance?: Contemporary Indian Foreign Policy– David M. Malone
  • Global Politics– Andrew Heywood
  • MPS-004 Comparative Politics: Issues And Trends- By Expert Panel Of GPH

Points to Remember for Political Science & International Relations Optional

  • Using relevant quotes from various political thinkers enhances the quality of the answers.
  • Reading and understanding of the editorials in the newspapers can provide valuable answer material .
  • While making polity notes, one must keep in mind the syllabus with respect to the two papers involved. This will help in distributed preparation of the papers.
  • The previous year’s UPSC polity questions should be given importance, to analyse the structure of the optional paper.
  • Although Political science is a comprehensive subject, some parts might get difficult to understand, for that one can take online classes from the available polity teachers for UPSC.
  • Keeping  the current political perspectives in mind is a must while writing answers.
  • You can relate the recent political developments with theoretical frameworks to add value to the answers.
  • Examples should be relevant and contemporary.
  • While writing answers for polity optional, the answers should have the following parts:
  1. Compare
  2. Criticise
  3. Contemporary
  4. Conclude

There are various advantages of political science optional because of its relevance to the UPSC exam as a whole, but still aspirants should choose their optional papers according to their level of understanding. To know about various other UPSC optionals, visit the website of UPSC Pathshala, where the best polity teachers for upsc are always ready to take care of your doubts and provide excellent guidance.

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Why Do So Many People Choose Polity As Their Optional In UPSC?
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Why Do So Many People Choose Polity As Their Optional In UPSC?
Why so many people choose polity as their optional in UPSC? The answer to this and other queries related to polity for UPSC are given in this article.
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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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