Sociology is a scientific study of society, social interactions, including patterns of social behaviour and culture. It uses a range of methods to research and evaluates the body of information on social order, development, and change. As far as UPSC is concerned, the Sociology Syllabus for UPSC IAS Exam plays an important role in evaluating the rank of candidates in the UPSC IAS Exam. Hence, to prepare for this subject you will need to practice sociology optional question papers. You can go through the sociology optional notes for UPSC as well This will be discussed later on in the article.

Format of Sociology Paper

Sociology has proven to be a crucial part of the General Studies paper as well as an optional paper in the civil service mains exam. As one of the easiest optional subjects, many candidates select Sociology as an optional UPSC IAS Mains Test. Also, the sociology of other optional subjects has two papers.  The first paper of Sociology deals with the basics of Sociology, where the second paper focuses on Indian culture, its structure, and its transition.

Why Should You Choose Sociology as Your Optional Subject for UPSC

It’s easy to understand and score. It’s just social science, and it’s very popular with students who belong to arts and humanities backgrounds. Since it is simple to follow in terms of ideas, students of science background can pursue it safely. It has a concise syllabus too. The topic helps with the essay paper since, generally speaking, at least one essay is asked on social issues. It’s also going to help in the interview round.

It is fascinating, particularly if social and civil issues matter to the applicant. It helps to recognize and run society and its diverse layers. Many successful candidates feel that sociology is a reasonable choice instead of geography. Because in geography one needs to be completely right in the maps, one can lose marks and there is a large demand for Geography, as many aspiring people go for this.

Also Read: How to Score 300+ in Sociology 

How Should One Start the Preparation for Sociology

The timeline of training depends solely on the individual ability to understand and the analytical ability to study over time. In order to finish the two optional sociology papers, an average of 4-5 months is necessary to cover the entire syllabus. Applicants should start planning NCERT ‘s books on Sociology Theory and Fundamentals.

Go Through Sociology Optional Question Paper

Go through former year’s articles and write as many responses as possible and review them. It is important to go through previous articles. Almost 4-5 questions are replicated each year/   Education and mobility, issues of old age, ethnicity and faith, the neutrality of value. Questions on these topics have been posed without fail in the last five years. You can download question papers from various websites.

Where to Start?

Begin the training of UPSC by studying ‘Sociology: Themes and Perspectives’ by Haralambos and Holborn. This book will give you a basic understanding of all the basic principles of sociology. It also includes case studies and studying will help you apply theory to work.

List of Important Books for Sociology:

  • Sociology by Anthony Giddens
  • Sociology Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos and Holborn
  • Handbook of Indian Sociology by Veena Das
  • Indian Society by S C Dube
  • Social change in modern India by M N Srinivas

Making Notes

Make sure your notes are detailed, i.e. they cover every subject in the syllabus. After developing detailed notes for and subject, students are also advised to develop brief notes for quick revision after the prelims. Integrate knowledge about current affairs in your notes and responses in the form of examples to make your responses specific, up-to-date and more marks fetching. For example, if you are writing on women’s rights then you can include triple talaq, Surrogacy regulation bill as your example.

This optional subject requires comprehensive writing practice. The more you can write the answer, the better. Make it your intention to write at least two to three sociological responses per week. For an even better grip on the subject, UPSC applicants should write sociology answers on a daily basis for 3 months.

How to Exceed the Answer Writing Section

Answer writing preparation is key to one’s training for the UPSC. The writing style is extremely critical in order to get a good score. The trick is to keep the vocabulary as clear as possible and relevant at the same time.   Views of philosophers and sociologists, case studies, book references, etc. can be widely used. However, a case study should not be added without seeing the significance of the part, as this could lead to negative labelling.

Below is Some Tips to Help You in Your Writing Section:

  • The structure is the core of the writing response. A really well-structured response appeals to the examiner and guarantees that the reader has a logical flow. Practice writing answers on a regular basis and attempts mock tests to help you construct the answers on the D-day without much trouble. It will be the first step in getting good marks.
  • It is better to be objective in one’s responses and showcase a  balanced opinion. Just focusing on one perspective can make your writing boring and biased. Also,  Providing a valid and strong inference justifies your reasoning.
  • The goal should be to write accurate answers within the specified word limit. The time restriction during the exam can be resolved by practising writing an answer, as there would not be enough time to understand and compose.


Finally, when it comes to sociology, please note that perception of social issues events, injustices, etc. will often vary from one person to another, so there is room for writing answers that are unique and creative.  So, do not restrict yourself and give predictable answers, just think outside the box and make the writing portion interesting.

Also Read: List of Books Recommended for Sociology 

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Sociology Optional Notes for UPSC: Why Should You Choose Sociology in UPSC?
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Sociology Optional Notes for UPSC: Why Should You Choose Sociology in UPSC?
Want to go for an easy optional subject for UPSC? Find out how you can prepare for the Sociology optional subject and why it’s better than the geography optional subject.
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UPSC Pathshala
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