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7/9/13 [Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers Mrunal 1/8
[Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers
Question from a reader
Im from chennai. I have choosen my optionals as geography and political science. But when I approached the coaching centres,
they told me that they are not offering political science as it is not a good optional in terms of scoring and popularity .They are
manipulating me that pub ad is better and I need to join only pub ad coaching. What should i do.
You ask them, If Political science is not scoring, then how did Abhiram and Kartik Iyer got 4th and 7th Rank respectively with this
same optional subject, in UPSC 2010 Exam?!
Anyways, here goes the strategy and booklist for Political Science. (Geography strategy was given in previous article, click me)
Abhiram (AIR 4/CSE 2010)
Booklist for Political Science
Paper 1
Paper 2
Karthik Iyer (AIR 7 / CSE 2010)
Related Articles on Booklist / Study plan for Mains Optional Subjects
Abhiram (AIR 4/CSE 2010)
In response to queries regarding my political science preparation, ive decided to put up this post. Please note that I obtained 326 in
pol.sci (138+188), which clearly shows my strength (paper 2) & weakness (paper 1). For paper 1, please do not regard my method as
The list of books I followed:
1. Political theory O P Gauba
2. International relations V K Malhotra
3. Constitution by D.D. Basu
4. Indian govt & politics by Fadia
5. Indian political thought by V.R.Mehta
6. Indias struggle for independence by Bipan Chandra (not a must)
7. Modern Indian history by Spectrum
8. Political thought & theory Printed notes from several sources provided by my teacher, Balalatha madam
9. Cosmos book hives vol.1 & vol.3
10. World focus magazine
11. Civil service times
12. Hindu & frontline
13. International & bilateral issues Self-made notes from Internet, M.o.External Affairs website & the Hindu.
For paper 1
I could not prepare as well as I wanted to, because of the lack of time (started reading thinkers & thought only after UPSC Preliminary
Examination). I read & re-read OP Gauba for the concepts like justice, equality, hegemony, rights, ideology etc. Even though
ideologies part is good in gauba, Id suggest you go for Andrew Heywoods ideologies (take a photocopy if you find the book
expensive). Ive always found Indian political thought confusing for the most part, even in VR Mehta. For thought & thinkers, I mainly
depended on Cosmos book-hives publication (vol. 1) and printed notes from various sources provided by my teacher balalatha
madam. I also depended on the internet for some thinkers like gramsci & arendt. (Unfortunately, none of the major thinkers I prepared
were asked in the mains!)
As far as Indian nationalism is concerned, I stuck to Bipan Chandra & spectrums history of modern India. IGNOU material is ok, but
I never got time to read the same. Also, I combined the preparation for certain topics like radical humanism w/ MN Roy, dalit
perspective with Ambedkar etc. Which I believe helped me save time.You can depend on DD Basu & Fadia for Indian constitution &
7/9/13 [Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers Mrunal 2/8
politics. But fadia is bit outdated with regard to examples, so better find out recent ones for political issues if possible. For the various
national commissions (nhrc/sc/st/women etc), I totally depended on their respective websites.
I went through the recent election analyses in The Hindu (by Yogendra Yadavs team) for understanding election trends.
Paper 2
Comparative politics was & remains a puzzle to me. So I read only Cosmos book-hives (vol. 3) for the topic. But some seniors in the
field recommended Ronald chilkote for this topic, whose book I could never lay my hands on. For IR theories (power, natl security,
approaches to IR study etc.), Vinay Kumar Malhotras International relations is really good. For some topics like globalization,
international economic order etc., its better to add contemporary issues that you may read in periodicals & newspapers to the answer
you write.
Also, try to take stands on issues like do we need NAM? (Better to stick to yes with reasons), UN/IMF/World bank reforms etc.
During the days of preparation itself. Write these down in point form along with substantiating reasons, so that its easier to revise
before the mains. Tapan biswals book is good for the international economy part, but again ive not read the book due to time
Use the internet to the maximum when youre studying about international & regional organizations like UN, ASEAN, OAS, AU, EU,
and SAARC etc. At the same time, understand the pros & cons of such organizations as well as intra-group relations of various
countries (Indias big brother attitude to south asia, Thailand-cambodia clashes, eastern vs. Western Europe etc.) & how they affect
the cohesion of the groupings. For contemporary world concerns like environment, terrorism, gender issues etc. I depended on Hindu,
frontline & Civil Service Times.
For India & the world part, I depend on wikipedia, world focus, Hindu & min. Of external affairs website. I prepared my own notes
for these topics. Another thing I did was to note the + & of our relations with every major country. For this I took a paper, divided it
into two columns, one for the +ves & the other for ves. Jot down points you pick up from the newspaper daily in the columns, &
youll get a very good idea of our bilateral ties.
Try to read the Nov-Dec annual issue of world focus cover to cover as it covers bilateral ties with almost all important nations. Also
understand the background dynamics of issues so that you may be able to voice clear opinions. Eg: indias role in a post-taliban
Afghanistan & its ties with US & Pakistan in this perspective, India vs China in Africa, indias stand vis--vis irans nuclear option etc.
PS I dont think international relations can be mastered in a short span of time. So better start reading current affairs magazines & the
Hindu as early as possible to build up your base. There is no better source for IR than the internet, but only if you have regular access
to it.
Regards & all the best,
Karthik Iyer (AIR 7 / CSE 2010)
Abhiram has already given a good outline of his strategy for Political science and im afraid i have nothing more to add there,but i am
still posting on how i went about preparing my optional for mains.
A Backgrounder-i finished my graduation and sat at home,preparing full time.i joined IGNOU (MA pol sci) and University of Pune
(MA history) to keep me sane (studying at home drives me insane,used as i am to being a hostelite).so had plenty of time in my
hand,and access to a great library,a personal collection of my own relative whos a professor of some renown in the subjects i chose as
I had chosen political science as my prelim option and began preparing with that.I had a friend who did Raus classes in delhi in
2006-7 and cleared ,and i began by buying his stack of notes he had scribbled while attending class.
Before i made much headway there my IGNOU MA books came,and took my fancy and so i gave them a detailed reading.(by
this time i had finished off that guys notes once,they covered the portion,but left me feeling not satisfied)
I found them a little too advanced (despite my BA in Pol sci) and so went to the BA books of IGNOU.
Both BA and MA books done after a painful ordeal,i really could not make my mind up whether there was enough bang for buck
in them.
Then (around december) i started borrowing and reading original books like-
The Prince,Politics among nations,Political theory,Das Kapital explained and a long list of original books.Western Political
Thought in particular was something i spent a lot of time understanding.The story of philosophy is a good book for that.
Burke,Ebenstein,Rosseau,Bentha m,Mill,Locke,Hobbes,Easton,Alm ond,Coleman,Powell,Deustch,hey wood,rawls,amartya sen
are some authors that readily come to mind.Indian Political thought i read in Sanskrit in original then English and made extensive
notes (as my other optional was history,this overlaps).I scanned what parts i liked and thought important (and these scanned
pages,when collated became my notes).OP Gauba was a book i frequently turned to for flow.
I paid special attention to Marxist thought and its development,dependency theorists,and newish developments thanks to
Writing practice i carried on along with each topics initial study (which i did as they are listed in the syllabus).In writing
7/9/13 [Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers Mrunal 3/8
Print || PDF
(Need Chrome)!
passages,id consciously try including something from all my sources in each para,so that my answers were more rounded and
had multiple points of view.
I made no distinction in study for prelimns and mains till april 2010,and later only started paying more attention to factual details.
Indian Polity i did from Laxmikant and DD Basu,and again noted the dry bones(facts expected from every aspirant like article no
for emergency,important court cases in SC) down in my notes.
Once my notes were done (around 800 pages in all) i kept revising and re-revising it i had some confidence that anything asked
from it,id put in a fair answer.
I was lucky everything was asked from that only,and so i could answer,though not to my expectations or satisfaction. For
remaining topics like Feminism, i used net extensively and kept a view on current trends (like formation of UNW).
Paper 2
As far as paper 2 was concerned, my preparation was current affairs(newspapers and magazines) and internet based.I did not read any
special book for it and this might have cost me heavy as my score is not up to scratch in this paper,as is the case in GS2 where a heavy
dose of International Relations is seen.But based on the same,i could ace my interview which was based solely on i do not know
the efficacy of my preparation,or maybe my writing style or handwriting itself cost me heavy.
EPW is a great magazine,frontline is indispensible,and i used to surf websites of BBC,CNN,Al-Jazeera for important events.
Writing practice was done extensively, and simultaneously with other things.
This is all i have done for Political Science-made notes and read them,and i was lucky to get the marks i did for it.
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46 comments to [Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers
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thanks mrunal
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can i get the pdf of the books mentioned will b really helpful..
7/9/13 [Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers Mrunal 4/8
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sir very thanks for your priceless advice..
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sir im open university graduate..(without pass 12 th std..can i appear CSE..i saw UPSC website (at frequency asked questions section open
university students can appear)but im very scare to attend coz UPSC may be change his mindwill u please explain whether i can get
any remedy from court?
Chandan Shukla
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Mr. Abhiram strategy is undoubtly precious for ny IAS aspirants,like me all IAS aspirant shuould follow thr stategyall the details he shared
with us is excelent for us . nd the way Mr Iyer started thier suggestion to us is lookin he is genious in writing skillsas i started reading their
first stanza i impressed .thanks guys for urs valuable suggestion
Raghu Sharma
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Can u plz upload the previous Political Science papers.
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a lot of thanks mr.abhiram and mr.karthik for your guideline.i was facing a lot a lot of problem regarding books.
Reply to this comment
sir i am preparing for civils but not have tested my luck and knowledge yet. I am doing masters in english so it is obvious dat i should opt for
it only but everyone says dat english subject is not worth selecting for civils.kindly guide me and enlighten by suggesting some good
combinations with itthankyou.
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Given your post-graduation, itd be better if you take English lit. as your optional.
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Thank you sir.
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Frstly, thank you for your efforts in this regard. It helps.! :)
it would be grt if u cld put up Prvs yr Political science question papers in the same manner in you have done for Geography and GS. It shall
be of a grt help.
Alok singh
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Dear sir, ur work is highly admired. I wish to get a brief strategy and gud listing of books with preferred author for history mains.please do
the needful,thAnking you.
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7/9/13 [Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers Mrunal 5/8
Read this interview
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please mrunal please send prvious year political science and international relation mains papers
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HELP ME SIR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anu Sharma
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Hi The interviews are both excellent and inspiring. I have chosen Political Science as one of my optional subjs due to my interest in the
subject. But there is just one problem. No proper guidance out here in Chennai! Abhiram Shankar had mentioned about a certain teacher
who no longer teaches at the institute he has specified. Most important aspect for mains is someone to guide you for answer writing and
evaluate the same. I understand that the subj is something that must be studied by oneself and internalized. But one still needs the guidance
and insights of a teacher for better answer writing.
Reply to this comment
hi.i m from optional is gujlit and
sir please tell me which institute is best for medium) among the following????/
2.destination academy
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Not my optional so no idea. Better ask some student in SPIPA.
Reply to this comment
HI! mrunal I am planning to get my prelims & mains GS study material as well as optional study material for sociology & pol sci. from RAUS
IAS at Delhi! The total cost for study material will be around Rs.21000/-
Now my main query is should I go ahead & buy the books,are they providing quality study material,will it be worth spending Rs.21k on
RAUS IAS STUDY MATERIAL.My only criteria is quality of study material! My idea being, why buy many books if i am getting
complete,through & highly analytical study material being prepared by a well known institute from last 50 years!
Please throw some light as am wasting my precious time as i want to prepare for CSAT 2013?
Hoping a positive & a favourable reply.
Thanking You,
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Hi! Mrunal,I had been through the part of your website,where I have got the required information for the questions I have asked you above &
hence thank you for the detailed info about study materials from the coaching classes!:) I have decided to stick to textbooks for optionals &
TMH for CSAT Paper 1 & 2.I hope my choice for the books is good :)
guys & gals pls let me know is the choice of books good & as there are quite a good no. of serious players out here!
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sir/ madam give me some excellent book for for ias mains
7/9/13 [Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers Mrunal 6/8
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sir send me list ias mains for plo. science
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Hi Mrunal , I am not very creative writer and my writing skill is also very good , so I am planning to go with scientific subject Geography and
Geology , As I am an working engineer I dont have any background for these subjects , I have only chosen by reviewing previous year
papers , Also I can devote a max of 4 to 5 hr in a day ,
Plz suggest , I am really confused .
Thanks in advance .:)
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u cant opt for geography n geology both as a combination..
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Hi Mrunal,
I want to take Political Science and Geography as my optionals. However, I just found out that the exams of these two are on consecutive
days (this is my first attempt). I dont think there would be enough time to revise for Geography exam after the Pol Science one. Would it be
wise to select some other subject instead of Geography as I havent started my preparations for it? Would History be a better option or is it
too big a subject?
Prof. Medha Patki
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This is an extremely important information and strategy for the students of Political Science.
vipin meena
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sir thanks you so much for sugges pol science syllabus
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do you think that optional subjects wont be there in mains in 2014
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it will b great sir if u upload any toppers notes of political science and international relations like u upload the notes of sociology of kshitij
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Sir i have done Btech in Computer Science..and i want to do IAS..sir please guide me about 2 subjects to choose i have been thinking for
Political Science and Sociology..
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same here . even i intend to go with pol science and sociology .
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i am 32y old.i belong to sc cat..i hav done m.a(pol.sci.).can i start prepration for ias .plz tell me best combination for pol sci. and other
7/9/13 [Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers Mrunal 7/8
plz reply very soon
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i have to get the information of 2014 10std guidens please give te information of lecture.
Aiman Reyaz
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Sir please answer, earlier I chose History and Psychology as my optionals but now I think that History is too much for me, so can I choose
Pol Sci as I think I know a lot of topics in Paper I?, please tell me. Please answer this.
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Hello sir sir i wish i could be an IFS officer in the near future .. i would be eligible to take up the exam by 2015 .
for becoming an ifs officer a candidate must have taken pol. sci. and intl. relations as optional subject sir ?????? or any optionals is ok sis ?
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Hello sir sir i wish i could be an IFS officer in the near future .. i would be eligible to take up the exam by 2015 .
for becoming an ifs officer a candidate must have taken pol. sci. and intl. relations as optional subject sir ?????? or any optionals is ok sir ?
Reply to this comment
IFS doesnt have specials criterias. you have to take the civil service prelims- mains-intrview. the domain like IAS IPS IFS are alloted as per
your rank(based on mains + interview performance).
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sir could you please reply to get selected as an IFS officer should one compulsorily take political science and international relations as
an optional paper ????????
lovepreet singh
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sir i have completed my basics are not clear in want to shift from commerce to humanities .i want to do MA in
particular plz guide me in which subject should i do MA which give me some benefit in general i dont come from
humanities background, so i have less knowledge about humanities.i have two options: sociology or plotical science . and befoe doing MA in
particular subject plz tell me which books should i read so that i dont face any problem while doing MA.
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I am preparing political science from main perspective (2013) and would like to form a group of same minded fellow aspirants from
chandigarh region so as to analyze our strengths & remedy our weaknesses.
Please comment on this post if anybody is intersted.
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Does anybody have any clue regarding Sankalp ias for political science ??
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7/9/13 [Strategy] Political Science for UPSC Mains Exam with Booklist and tips by toppers Mrunal 8/8
Can u provide me for the link of the cosmos bookhive vol 1 and 3 as I am unable to find it. either on flipkart or anyother site
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I have the same query. I am not able to find anything on the internet. Mrunal please provide us a link for these books.
rahul babanrao bansod
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thank you ibrahim sir your guidance will be very useful to students like me those who are from rural area
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Hi Mrunal,
The flipkart link to almost all the books you have suggested above say Out of print :-(
Please suggest alternatives !
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Can you please tell me whats the difference between Indian polity and Poliitical Science.