How to Prepare for Philosophy Optional for IAS Mains 2017

How to Prepare for Philosophy Optional for IAS Mains

How to Prepare for Philosophy Optional for IAS Mains: The decision of selecting the best optional subject is very crucial and it plays a significant role in your overall score of the IAS exam. One should choose the subject wisely and must be able to cover its syllabus along with general studies. Philosophy comes out to be one of the most favourite choices of Civil Services Aspirants.How to Prepare for Sociology Optional for IAS Mains 2017

Similar to our previous article, we will be giving you a brief study plan, some handy preparation tips, and strategy to help you prepare for philosophy optional subject for upcoming IAS mains exam.


How to Prepare for Philosophy Optional for IAS Mains 2017

Philosophy is the kind of subject which can be covered without any classroom coaching. You can easily clear the subject if you are focused and have the right guidance and study materials. Communication with successful candidates who have taken Philosophy as their optional subject will definitely help.

As per the changed syllabus, philosophy can be beneficial for your GS papers like Ethics & Integrity (GS Paper 4) as well.  One can take philosophy one has the logical aptitude. This optional paper has less of syllabi and more of technical terms and these require an in-depth understanding to connect one concept with another. The syllabus of philosophy is divided into 4 sections-


  • Part-1 Western philosophy
  • Part-2 Indian philosophy


  • Part-1 Social-political philosophy.
  • Part-2 Religious philosophy.

Recommended Books for Philosophy

  1. Patanjali class notes (gives you good basic understanding)
  2. Dutta and Chatterjee (INDIAN PHILOSOPHY)
  7. O.P GAUBA (selectively)

There are a few things you should keep in mind while preparing for IAS Mains optional subject. Head over to our next section of how to prepare for Philosophy Optional for IAS mains exam.


Exam Strategy and Preparation Tips for Philosophy Optional

When you are preparing for your optional subject, check for availability of books and other study material. If you have some previous educational background, then it is most definitely a plus point. Pay special attention to the tips and strategy mentioned below for better understanding of the subject.

  • First and foremost, try memorizing or at least go through the syllabus once. It helps to put the study material in right perspective. It also helps in knowing which topics have not been covered yet. A decent score demands completion of syllabus.
  • Most questions can be easily understood and written if philosophical concepts are clear. Thus, get your concepts/basics cleared with the help of reference books and good teachers.
  • For theory subjects like philosophy, you need to understand what various terms mean and master the jargon of the subject. Once you understand the concepts and the jargon, you can start writing your own notes and analysis.
  • Practice with previous years’ question papers to understand the pattern of questions. This is the best exercise that you can adopt to score good marks in competitive exams.

Exam Strategy for Philosophy Paper 1

Paper 1 of philosophy optional is purely conceptual and logical. If you have a firm grip on concepts you could score good marks in it. But, it requires a good understanding and writing practice. Philosophy is all about articulating effectively.

As far as possible, remember the Sanskrit terms in Indian Philosophy and use them in your answers. Try to link Indian Philosophy with western concepts in your answers. Try also to remember the core argument of each philosopher in 1-2 lines. The first paper is highly scoring because all the questions are predictable in nature. We have to critically examine the questions and give as many comments as possible.

Exam Strategy for Philosophy Paper 2

For paper 2, various reading sources are available in form of newspapers and journals such as The Hindu, Times of India etc. You can take the help from Internet to cover various topics, for example- Women Empowerment, Land and Property Rights etc.

Solve problems from a philosophical point of view. For Example- if asked to compare democracy with monarchy, write about the advantages and disadvantages of both the terms and try to quote famous personalities like Leibnitz Monadology.

For Religious Philosophy, you require a deep knowledge of paper 1. If you have done paper 1 properly then religious philosophy is all about practice. Paper-2 is all about answer writing. So, you need to prepare for philosophy optional by practicing with previous year’s questions as well.


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Practice essay questions so that you are able to write lengthy answers in your paper. Now, head over to our last section of the article for a few answer writing tips for philosophy subject.


Answer Writing Tips For Philosophy Optional Paper

  • Philosophy as a subject in answer writing requires a good introduction and conclusion.
  • Another aspect is- comparative analysis of one thinker with another. Site as many examples and quotes as you can in your answer. This makes the content rich and thought-provoking.
  • Understand the question – examine, analyze, critically analyze, short notes, explain, describe, etc. Each question type expects a different response from the aspirant.
  • Your answers need to be structured so that the examiner has a linear logical flow while reading it. This will ensure better marks.
  • Be objective in your answers and wherever possible, provide a strong, logical conclusion to your answer.
  • Focus on the keywords, elaborate upon them with the help of thinkers, then, connect all the keywords together, and finally, draw a conclusion.

We hope this article provides you with useful information on how to prepare for Philosophy Optional for IAS Mains examination 2017.

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