How to prepare for UPSC Psychology?

Psychology is very popular among the UPSC/IAS aspirants as a second optional in Mains, but in prelims very few people take it up. Psychology is primarily opted in prelims by those who have a background in the subject or by doctors. But then there are exceptions to every rule and this generalization is hardly a rule. I opted for Psychology in prelims because of the curiosity and interest factor though i had considered history and public administration previously.I realized that Psychology was one subject which i could read again and again and yet not feel drained.In fact with every repeated reading one acquires newer insights into the subject. Many aspirants ask that which optional should they select and my answer (backed with some experience) invariably is that you chose any optional/subject depending on your interest in the subject, just don't have this herd mentality that since everyone else is opting for this particular optional i should also take it up.Because whatever subject you opt for in prelims, you will have to read it again and again to get clarity of concepts essential for this exam.And believe me you can clear the prelims with any optional provided you have the right preparation and attitude towards the exam.Don't be negative and listen to others but chart your own course.So i opted for psychology primarily because of interest in the subject. I joined Vajiram & Ravi for GS and Psychology in the winter of 2004 and slowly i realized that in popular perception i had committed a suicidal error by taking up Psychology for prelims.Everyone warned me about the low success ratio of psychology students in prelims and how tough it is and so on.Thankfully, i got good support and guidance from my mentors,family and friends which helped in clearing prelims with psychology in my first attempt itself.

If you have psychology as your prelims optional then this is what you must do :
1.Baron and Morgan-King are two text books that need to be read from end to end.Don't think that only few chapters are important,don't be selective just thank your stars that in psychology you have to read just two books .Moreover the subject matter is so interesting, but do make synoptic notes of what you study.

2.Get the class-notes of Mukul Pathak Sir (Vajiram & Ravi) which should be available in xerox shops.Even if you do not get it,no harm done but try getting it.

3.Get GRE book by KAPLAN for Psychology. This book is a sure shot winner all the way but much would depend on how you make use of it. It contains two test papers with detailed explanations and tips on how to arrive at a correct answer in MCQ's even when you are not sure about the answer.

4.Get the previous ten years question papers of UPSC for psychology.The problem is that these are unsolved.I can help those of you who are interested in this separately as i have solved the papers till 2008.Though in psychology sometimes the options are so close that the right answer would depend on the examiner's point of view in framing the question.But not to worry as this is the same for all the candidates.

5.Make it a point that you get familiarity with the names and their contributions in psychology.These are easy questions and you should not miss out on them.

6.Don't be over-cautious in exam because of negative marking,back your instincts if you have prepared well.

I will be covering psychology in much more detail in later posts,please feel free to ask anything relevant to prelims and UPSC preparation.Your comments and queries will be my motivation in continuing with this blog .All the very best !!!!


nandha... said...

hi sir,

i am a post graduate in English Literature. In the beginning I thought I would take up the same as my optional subject but, many people discouraged me frm doin so. i am interested in psychology. Will it be fit for a person of arts background like me?? kindly help me...

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